Chelsea’s Ross Barkley insists he has learned from his ‘mistake’ following the midfielder’s off-field controversies earlier this season.
The England international was tipped to play a starring role under Frank Lampard this season after impressing during pre-season, but has since found himself on the periphery at Stamford Bridge with a series of incidents away from the pitch hindering his progress.
Barkley was criticised by Chelsea boss Lampard for his behaviour after being pictured with police after arguing with a taxi driver during a night out in his native Liverpool in September, whilst he was also pictured dancing shirtless in a Dubai nightclub during the summer – though Blues chiefs were said to be unconcerned regarding the latter incident despite criticism in the press.
The former incident involving the taxi driver came just days before a Champions League encounter with Lille, however, and is said to have incensed the club’s hierarchy, with Barkley now vowing to curb his off-field antics and concentrate on returning to his best form.
The 26-year-old made his first appearance in three months during the club’s FA Cup third round tie against Nottingham Forest last weekend, and after scoring the second goal in the 2-0 win insists he has learned his lessons as he bids to re-establish himself for club and country.
‘You have to be careful because everyone is wanting to catch you out,’ Barkley told the press after the game.
‘It is that 10 seconds when you are not looking like a professional when you have got to let your hair down but then you can’t forget about your job.
‘It was unfortunate of me to get caught in that position and it will happen many times to players over the years because you know what phones are like nowadays.
‘I am just keeping my head down and it won’t happen again. You have got to be aware of your surroundings when you let you hair down… it is just more about being with the right company and in private.
‘When you play in the Premier League, you are a high profile player, so it is about keeping low-key and switched on. When you are on holiday or away you need the right people around you.
‘I have made that mistake and it won’t happen again but I am sure it will happen to young players in the future.’