Frank Lampard is backing Ross Barkley to beat the Everton boo-boys this afternoon.
In a week when fans abusing players is in the spotlight – after Eric Dier’s clash with a Spurs supporter – Chelsea ace Barkley is sure to be targeted by the Toffee faithful at Stamford Bridge.
The ex-Everton midfielder has been public enemy number one with the blue half of Merseyside since a £15million move to the Londoners in January 2018.
But Lampard, no stranger to stick during his playing days from West Ham supporters, is adamant Barkley can hack the inevitable flack coming his way.
And he is urging the England international, 26, to silence the snipers with a match-winning display – similar to the one that helped knock Liverpool out of the FA Cup on Tuesday.
Ross Barkley was once a fan favourite at Everton
The Chelsea boss said: “Ross has been away from Everton for a couple of years, but in the life that footballers live, you move, you’re going to get abuse.
“I’m not coming down on fans here. There’s abuse and there’s the typical behaviour of a fan who gives some light-hearted reaction to a player who played for them. That I get.
“To try and take as little of it as possible – and actually show what you can do on the pitch – is always the best answer. That’s what Ross needs to do.
“What I know with him is he’s a really good-natured lad. He’s very close to his family, who obviously have roots back in Everton.
Ross Barkley scored last time out as Chelsea beat Liverpool 2-0 in the FA Cup in midweek
“So, I don’t think he’ll have a crazy reaction and revel in it. He’s not that type.
“But he’s the determined type. He’ll want to do well against his old team.”
That was something Lampard specialised in whenever he faced his first club West Ham.
The more the Hammers hate-mob attempted to rattle him, the more pleasure he took in beating them.