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Ross Barkley believes he has justified his decision to leave Everton for Chelsea

Ross Barkley in action for England during the European Qualifier against Czech Republic
Image: Ross Barkley has returned to the England set-up

Ross Barkley believes his form this season and return to prominence on the international stage has justified his decision to leave Everton for Chelsea.

Barkley departed Everton in January last year in a transfer that led to criticism from supporters of his boyhood club and neutrals, who questioned whether he would be given the opportunity to continue his development at Stamford Bridge.

However, Barkley has featured regularly for both club and country this season and scored his first international goals since 2015 as England thrashed Montenegro on Monday night.

Ross Barkley
Image: Ross Barkley left Everton for Chelsea in January 2018

"Yes, exactly," Barkley responded when asked if he needed the move.

"I am away from my family and down in London by myself. I am in a totally different environment from Liverpool. I miss being with my family, it is totally different. It is how I am maturing as a person and a player. It is good."

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"Since I made the move it was good to challenge myself and win trophies and to improve as a player. I've changed compared to when I was 18, 19 or 20. My diet is much ­better. My ­approach to games is much better and I am going into them with the right ­preparation and I am more ­relaxed, rather than think about things too much."

Chelsea's Ross Barkley (left) and Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri during the training session at Cobham Training Centre, Stoke D'Abernon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday November 28, 2018. See PA story SOCCER Chelsea. Photo credit should read: John Walton/PA Wire.
Image: Barkley has become a first-team regular at Stamford Bridge under Maurizio Sarri

Having missed eight months of last season with a hamstring injury, Barkley was unable to secure a place in Gareth Southgate's squad for the World Cup, but returned to the fold for England's successful Nations League group stage campaign.

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The 25-year-old was left on the bench for England's opening European Championships qualifier against the Czech Republic on Friday, but was given an early opportunity to impress when Eric Dier was forced off injured after just 17 minutes.

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Highlights of England's opening European Qualifiers group A match against Czech Republic from Wembley.

He took full advantage, earning an assist as a youthful England side won 5-0, before scoring twice and adding another assist as he played from the start during Monday's 5-1 victory in Montenegro.

"It was my best ­performance for England. I came up with the two goals and had a hand in a ­couple of the goals - but I felt I could have played better," Barkley said.

"We can all improve. We are not in the game to accept where we are at. We have to ­improve at club level - and at ­international level there is a lot of room for ­improvement.

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Highlights of England's 5-1 win over Montenegro in Group A of the European Qualifiers.

"I never thought I would not play for my country. We all go through ­difficult spells. But I am just believing in ­myself now and having ­confidence.

"My focus is to add ­something to the side - the future is really bright. You see how the young players have performed and how good they are - Declan Rice, Jadon Sancho and ­Callum Hudson-Odoi. They were frightening in training. It's great to be part of it."

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