'Naive' Barkley says sorry over taxi driver row
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has revealed that "naive" Ross Barkley has apologised for being involved in an incident on Sunday night in Liverpool.
The Chelsea midfielder was escorted to a cashpoint by police following a row with a taxi driver, who alleged that Barkley dropped chips in his car and refused to pay for his journey shortly before midnight.
While Lampard has admitted Barkley did not break club rules, it is the latest example of a Premier League player becoming embroiled in trouble on a night out, after Danny Drinkwater was attacked in a Manchester bar last month. Lampard has held talks with Barkley (25) to address the situation and accepted his apology.
"What he has done, from my point of view, is naive to have been out on that evening in the build-up to a Champions League game. He has admitted that as well," said Lampard. "He hasn't committed a crime other than eating chips in the back of a cab, which is probably a bit out of order for the cabbie. He hasn't broken a club code being out 48 hours before a game.
"This morning, he admitted to making a mistake. I will take that one at face value and we move on. On a professional level, these are little things that shouldn't happen. From my point of view as well, I like Ross. I have had absolutely no problem with him since he has been here. He works hard and wants to do well for this club."
Lampard has used the Barkley incident as a timely warning to his young squad over their responsibilities in public.
"Unfortunately for them, they live in an era where there are many benefits to them in terms of their careers, but there's many difficulties that come with that," he said. Chelsea face Lille tonight in search of their first points of the campaign, after the home defeat against Valencia last month.
Lampard knows the margin for error is already small, with a double-header against last season's semi-finalists Ajax coming up next.
N'Golo Kante will be assessed ahead of the game after missing Saturday's 2-0 victory over Brighton with a hamstring injury, but Lampard said he was "positive" that the France star would be ready.
Lille lost their opening game 3-0 to Ajax and have not won a European game at home since 2012. Chelsea will come up against striker Loic Remy, who may have something to prove to his former club, having spent three years in London without managing to hold down a regular place. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
Lille v Chelsea, Live, BT Sport/Virgin Media, 8.0