Frank Lampard has praised Ross Barkley after he came off the bench to fire Chelsea into the FA Cup semi-finals, saying the midfielder is “reaping the benefits” of hard work on the training ground.
Barkley was introduced at half-time against Leicester on Sunday as Lampard responded to a sluggish first-half display from his side at the King Power Stadium with a triple substitution.
The former Everton midfielder, who also scored in the fifth round win against Liverpool, swept home Willian’s cross after 63 minutes for the game’s only goal and set up a last-four clash against Manchester United at Wembley next month.
Barkley has found himself in and out of the starting XI at Stamford Bridge this season, with only 14 of his 23 appearances in all competitions coming from the start.
Despite the lack of regular action Lampard says Barkley’s attitude cannot be faulted and thinks his match-winning display on Sunday is just reward for his efforts.
“I played with Ross and I know he’s a great lad. He wants to be the best player he can be and has a great attitude in that sense,” said the Chelsea boss. “I won’t touch on that one, all I’ll say is before we went into lockdown he put in some really good performances for us.
“His attitude has been spot on in training since the minute we’ve been back, how he trains and it shows how he looked after himself in lockdown.
“He was unfortunate not to start against Villa and since then has made an impact in every game he has played.
“A great example of when you train at a level, have that attitude and when you have the quality that Ross has. He can score goals. He can shoot with both feet. He makes the box. He defended well and showed great discipline in his game against Manchester City.
“He is reaping the benefits and showing it. I've got lots of time for Ross, he's a big player for us and you could see that in the last three games.”
Next up for Chelsea is a trip to West Ham in the Premier League on Wednesday.