Paul Merson says Chelsea flop is now a ‘player of the season’ contender | Football

Ross Barkley’s performances for Luton Town have earned great acclaim (Photo: Getty)

Arsenal legend Paul Merson believes ‘outstanding’ Luton Town star Ross Barkley is worthy of a ‘player of the season’ nomination.

Barkley made a shock return to the Premier League last summer by joining the newly-promoted Hatters on a free transfer from Nice.

Having suffered years of decline following an ill-fated move from Everton to Chelsea in 2018, many were unsure what to expect from the England midfielder.

But he has been in brilliant form for Luton, with six goal contributions in his last eight games helping Rob Edwards’ side move out of the relegation zone.

The 30-year-old was superb in the 4-4 draw at Newcastle United last Saturday, and though they are 17th in the table, a point above the drop, there is real faith the Hatters can survive.

Merson certainly thinks so, singling out Barkley for special praise in his Sky Sports column, writing: ‘Luton won’t go down. They have come up and played like they are – Championship players with an unbelievable attitude.

‘They have not come up and thought they are Premier League players now and tried to play like them, rolling it around at the back. They have been amazing.

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Barkley endured a tough spell at Chelsea (Photo: Getty)

‘Alfie Doughty is a very good player. The goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski makes good saves. Carlton Morris and Elijah Adebayo up front are a proper handful. They run the channels and close people down. Albert Sambi Lokonga has done well since he came in.

‘Ross Barkley is not far off player of the season. He’s turned it around.

‘When he went to Chelsea from Everton, I thought it was a good signing. But he didn’t play in the same way, he played too safe and that wasn’t him. He was bought because he can pass and dribble.

‘He’s gone back to expressing himself. He’s been outstanding.’

Tipped for big things after impressing at a young age at Everton, Barkley moved to Stamford Bridge for £15million but would end his time there in 2022 after scoring 12 and assisting 11 in 100 games.

He hasn’t played for the Three Lions since 2019, but some are even tipping him tobe in contention for a place in the Euro 2024 squad.

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