Ross Barkley, the talented midfielder for Luton Town, has received high praise from manager Rob Edwards. Edwards describes Barkley as an “artist” who thrives on freedom. Edwards also expresses his desire to secure a new contract for Andros Townsend, whom he hails as an “elite athlete.”
Barkley, who will be facing his former club Chelsea in the upcoming Premier League match, has been a key player for Luton since joining on a free transfer from Nice. The team has seen significant improvement since their promotion from the Championship, with back-to-back wins over Newcastle and Sheffield United during the festive period.
At the age of 30, Barkley has expressed his ambition to earn an international recall and believes he is in the best physical condition of his career. Playing in a box-to-box role for Luton, Edwards is keen to allow Barkley the freedom to showcase his skills without restricting him.
Edwards stated, “Ross is a player that still needs an element of freedom to get the best out of him – as long as we can get a couple of non-negotiables from him – he’s got to be able to feel the game to be at his best. He’s an artist, really. You’ve got to allow him a little bit to go and do his stuff.”
Townsend, who joined Luton on a short-term contract, has also made a strong impression on Edwards. The 32-year-old’s deal is set to expire, but Edwards is hopeful that negotiations will result in a new contract. Townsend’s professionalism and impact on the pitch have been highly valued by the team.
Luton’s home ground, Kenilworth Road, has proven to be a challenging venue for opposing teams this season. Liverpool was held to a draw, while Arsenal and Manchester City struggled to secure victories. Edwards believes that the home fans play a significant role in creating an intense atmosphere that can unsettle opponents.
As Luton prepares to face Chelsea, Edwards acknowledges the quality of their opponents but remains confident in his team’s abilities. He stated, “The Kenny’s got something special, and at home we fancy ourselves in every single game. The crowd make it more intense, it’s just different there, it’s a different feel to any other place. It probably is a little bit of a leveller and we know that, and feel it. It doesn’t guarantee anything but we go into the game confident, in good form and really believing.”