Ross Barkley claims he is ready to fill the void left at Chelsea by Eden Hazard’s departure to Real Madrid.
Hazard scored 110 goals and won six major honours during a seven-year stay at Stamford Bridge but completed a move to the Spanish giants earlier this summer.
Chelsea had already agreed a deal to sign Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund before falling under a two-window transfer ban but Barkley has claimed he is also ready to “take responsibility” in helping replace what they’ll now miss without Hazard.
When asked by the Evening Standard if he can step up in Hazard’s absence, Barkley replied: “Yes. You have to fill in.
“Everyone in the squad understands that he was a great player, but he is gone. He has new challenges now and we have to replace his goals and create the chances.
“We have that much quality in the squad we will all step up to the plate.
“Am I ready to take that responsibility? Yes of course. Last season when Eden wasn’t playing we still won games, we still created chances.”
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Barkley has had an impressive pre-season so far, notching goals in friendly wins over Barcelona and Reading to help smooth Frank Lampard’s transition into the Chelsea dugout.
The former Everton man also pointed to Pulisic, as well as fellow youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi, as players who can step up to replace the “exceptional” Hazard.
“We know he [Hazard] is an exceptional player, but we have exceptional players in the squad,” he continued. “We have young ones that will step up and produce the goods as well.
“We have Callum (Hudson-Odoi) coming back from injury and we have signed Christian Pulisic (in January), he is an exceptional talent.
“We have wingers who can create from tight positions, players who can shoot from distance and strikers – young and experienced – who are hungry for goals.”
Chelsea have friendlies against RB Salzburg and Borussia Monchengladbach to come before kicking off their Premier League season away to Manchester United.