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Antonio Conte hails Ross Barkley ahead of Chelsea arrival

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte branded Ross Barkley ‘a very strong player with great technique’ when questioned on the England international during his pre-game press conference on Friday afternoon.

The Blues are currently preparing for Saturday’s FA Cup third-round clash with Norwich City, but are busy behind the scenes as they prepare to announce the arrival of Barkley from Everton.

Indeed, it is understood that the 25-year-old has completed a medical with the Premier League champions, and the £15m deal is expected to be announced on Friday afternoon.

Conte has insisted that Chelsea will need to be patient as Barkley battles back from a long-term hamstring issue, but the Italian has tipped the midfielder to have a big impact.

“For sure we’re talking about a young player, an English player. He can have good prospects for Chelsea. I think the club decided on this investment also for his contract,” Conte told reporters.

“He had a bad injury and has not played for seven months. We have to hope to recover him very quickly and have him for the rest of the season.

“He is very strong physically with great technique. It is important to understand when he can recover from his injury. He has had a long injury with surgery, he’s not played for seven months.”

Barkley has scored 27 times in 179 appearances for Everton since making his debut for the Toffees in 2011.

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