Barkley looked likely to leave Chelsea in the summer but has remained at the club and is slowly finding first team appearances easier to come by.
The 27-yaer-old is yet to start a match this season, but he has come off the bench twice this week, firstly at Juventus in the Champions League and then at Stamford Bridge against Southampton on Saturday afternoon.
The midfielder had just seven minutes to impress against the Saints, but used it to play a memorable long-ball out to Cesar Azpilicueta on the right wing, who cross for Timo Werner to put the Blues 2-1 ahead, before Ben Chilwell netted late on to complete a 3-1 victory.
Barkley’s efforts did not go unnoticed by his former Aston Villa teammate Grealish, who commented on his Instagram post after the game: ‘What a pass brother.’
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel was also impressed with the midfielder and another returning outcast as Ruben Loftus-Cheek started the game against Southampton.
Both Barkley and Loftus-Cheek spent last season out on loan, at Aston Villa and Fulham respectively, and faced uncertain futures in west London, but they are working their way back into Tuchel’s good books.
‘Ross had a very good situation already in Juventus where he delivered the pass to Romelu Lukaku for our biggest chance in the game,’ said Tuchel on Saturday.
‘But the most important thing is that Ruben and Ross feel no pressure, they are happy to have these chances, feel this support.
‘Maybe they could not imagine to get minutes and important minutes six weeks ago. They can help us because they have this totally positive spirit because they don’t feel this pressure.
‘In the last two games we felt something was lacking. So we decided to put Ruben in because we were aware of the high pressing in midfield and still we wanted to go through midfield.
‘Ruben and Mateo Kovacic not only to pass but to drive through midfield. And of course for Ross we hope he can show what he’s been showing in training. He has a strong right foot and we hope he can maybe assist or shoot from distance and increase the pressure around the box.’