Frank Lampard believes injured Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley showed “a lack of professionalism” after he was pictured shirtless in a nightclub during the international break.
The 25-year-old, who has been sidelined with an ankle injury, has been left in London while the Blues take on Valencia at the Mestalla Stadium in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
But Chelsea boss Lampard insisted Barkley remained in his plans and challenged the England midfielder to get fit and prove his worth on the pitch.
“There are two separate issues, one is the headlines this week, Ross knows how I felt about the first headline,” said Lampard.
“I backed him then and I still back him now. But he showed a moment of a lack of professionalism as far as I’m concerned.
“It’s not something that I want to be a pure dictator about and come down hard on, because I also understand all my players are humans and have lives.
“I don’t police every moment of their lives. So I don’t think it’s a terrible thing that he’s done.
“But Ross has had an injury, he’s still kind of carrying an injury, there’s a bit of pain on shooting.
“So he just has to work his way back in, in terms of the fitness thing, and train well.
“And I certainly don’t hold anything against my players.
“I like Ross, he’s certainly one of my players. And he needs now to show all his reactions on the pitch.”