Luton’s Ross Barkley claims Arsenal star begged him to ‘stop running at me with the ball!’
Posted by  badge Boss on Dec 16, 2023 - 09:52PM
The midfielder caused the Gunners plenty of problems earlier this month (Picture: Getty)

midfielder Ross Barkley has revealed that he ran so ragged earlier this month that the skipper asked him to ‘stop running at me’.

The Gunners picked up a thrilling, last-gasp 4-3 victory at Kenilworth Road earlier this month, though they were given an almighty scare by the plucky Hatters.

After equalising twice in the contest, Barkley gave Luton an unlikely lead in the 57th minute – though Kai Havertz cancelled that out just six minutes later before bagged all three points deep into stoppage time.

Barkley has been something of a revelation since returning to the Premier League and caused plenty of problems for Arsenal before backing that up with another strong display in a narrow defeat to Manchester City a few days later.

In fact, the former Everton and Chelsea midfielder says his direct running was such a threat that Odegaard even pleaded with him to give him a break, with Barkley suggesting he targeted the Arsenal skipper off the ball.

Speaking to , Barkley revealed: ‘Odegaard did say, “You have to stop running at me with the ball!”’

He continued: ‘Declan [Rice] is physical. Odegaard is less physical but world-class on the ball.

Odegaard had his work cut out against Barkley (Picture: Getty)

‘When I had the ball, I knew I could move the ball away from him.

‘Teams expect Luton to be more direct. With me, I try and bring calmness to the middle of the park, suck a few players in and give other players more time on the ball.’

In total, Barkley dribbled past Odegaard four times and has been dictating games for Luton, with the 30-year-old of the belief that he is back at a level that could earn him a spot in an England squad that still has Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips in it.

‘I feel I’m good enough to play for England again,’ Barkley explained.

‘The squad’s developed and become a stronger unit, No 3 in the world, and I know Gareth Southgate’s goal is to be No 1. We are going in that direction.

‘I feel I could help with that because I do add something different. Maybe my role is a role that could be good for England.’

Asked if he feels he could dovetail with Jude Bellingham and Rice in a three-man midfield, he replied: ‘Yes, I could play that role. I believe in my abilities. I have to take care of my football at Luton first.’

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