1 October 2019

'Barkley's Only Crime Was Eating Chips In A Cab'  (Sky Sports)

Ross BarkleyRoss Barkley was "naive" to be out late in Liverpool in the build-up to a Champions League game but did not break Chelsea's code of conduct, says Frank Lampard.

England and Chelsea midfielder Barkley, 25, has apologised to Lampard after pictures emerged on social media showing him outside a taxi talking to police on Sunday night, with reports he refused to pay the driver after spilling food.

Barkley was not required to ask permission to go out in Liverpool as it was more than 48 hours before Chelsea's Group H match against Lille on Wednesday and is travelling with the rest of the squad, Lampard said.

"He hasn't committed a crime - other than eating chips in the back of a cab - a bit out of order for the cabbie," said Lampard.

"But on a serious note, what he has done from my point of view is been naive to be out on that evening in the build-up to a Champions League game. He's admitted that and is very aware of that.

"On a professional level, those are things that shouldn't happen.

"But from my point of view I like Ross, I've had absolutely no problem with him. He trains hard, wants to do well. He's admitted he made a mistake and I'll take that at face value and we'll move on."

Chelsea players were given the day off on Sunday after victory over Brighton on Saturday - a game which featured seven of their academy products.

The average age of Chelsea's squad has dropped from over 27 in the past five seasons to just 25 years and 176 days -making them the fourth-youngest side in the Premier League.

"What the lads need to do is - firstly for their own benefit - behave, whether you're a footballer or anyone growing up," Lampard added.

"Secondly, be aware of the pitfalls. We have a very good bunch at this club.

"I made mistakes as a player. I've got confidence in them that they're professional lads that want to do their best for the clubs."

Lampard 'positive' over Kante fitness

N'Golo Kante trained with the rest of the Chelsea squad on Tuesday morning but Lampard said the midfielder will need a late fitness test before deciding whether he plays against Lille.

Kante has endured a stop-start season so far and after returning from a sprained ankle he was then ruled out of the win over Brighton on Saturday with hamstring problem.

"It's a domino effect," said Lampard. "The main injury is feeling good but he's had a few niggles.

"Everyone is working towards getting him regularly fit so he can play some continuous games. I'm hoping that can come soon.

"We obviously need him."

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