By 90Min
April 01, 2018

Ross Barkley's nascent Chelsea career has been blighted by injury problems but he appears to be nearing a return to full fitness, having played for the club's development squad on Saturday.

A hamstring injury kept the 24-year-old Englishman sidelined at Everton for the first half of the season, before Chelsea brought him to Stamford Bridge for £15m in a surprising January transfer.

He made his Blues debut against Arsenal in a 2-1 League Cup semi final defeat and also played against Newcastle in the FA Cup, before making his Premier League bow in a 3-0 home loss to Bournemouth on the final day of January.

Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

He has not played for Chelsea since then, having suffered a recurrence of his hamstring troubles, and it remains to be seen how he will fit into Antonio Conte's plans once he is ready for inclusion once more.

The club tweeted a picture of Barkley from Chelsea's Premier League 2 match against Derby County on Saturday, and some Blues supporters on Twitter were less than impressed to see him playing for the youth team.

Others were quick to point out that the best course of action might not be to throw a recently-sidelined player back into a full-throttle Premier League match.

(You may also be interested in Antonio Conte Admits Uncertainty Over Chelsea Future Ahead of Huge Tottenham Clash)

Barkley has made 22 appearances for England since making his international debut in 2013, but the last of these was against Australia in May 2016.

He was part of Roy Hodgson's squad at Euro 2016 but remained on the bench for all four of England's matches and has not returned to the side since Gareth Southgate's appointment.

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