You can forget your Navas’ and Soldado’s, the standout player for me so far this term has perhaps been someone that has slipped under the radar amongst the droves of foreign talent entering our shores.
Everton’s revolution under Roberto Martinez has not been spearheaded by a multi million pound import but instead by a young Englishman by the name of Ross Barkley. The only unbeaten team left in the Premier League, Everton appear resurgent under the new regime and this has in no small part been down to the tireless efforts of their precocious young talent.
I’m not the only one getting excited about the midfield maestro, with a recent England call up just reward for his impressive start to the campaign. Barkley may well be the one to fire Everton back into Europe but does he also have a big part to play for our national team?
The glowing report his Roberto Martinez recently gave to the Mail would suggest this is very much a possibility:
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“I look at Ross and you tell me what weakness he has. He hasn’t got one,’ said Martinez. ‘He takes in information, which for a young lad is incredible. He can use both feet, he can switch the play, he has a range of passing and can receive the ball in any area.”
“He has a great shot and has incredible energy. He reminds me of Michael Ballack. When Ballack was younger, nobody knew what his best position was; could he be a sitting midfielder, an attacking midfielder or play up front? Ross is that impressive.”
Now maybe this appraisal is to be expected from his manager, but Barkley’s fans don’t stop there with praise being received from all quarters of our game. Emerging from a serious leg break, the 19 year old may still have a long way to go but for me he is the answer to our national midfield conundrum going forward.
England performances of late have been dull and stagnant. A team playing at a painfully low tempo and whose first thought is to go sideways above all else. Sturridge, Rooney and Welbeck offer the national side quality in the final third, but as it stands they just simply don’t get anywhere near the supply they require.
Hodgson’s perseverance with the failing old guard is crippling. Gerrard, Lampard and Milner may all still do well for their respective clubs, but together for England they have created the most monotonous of midfields. I can only assume the plan if we actually make it to Rio is to bore the opposition to death because as it stands this isn’t a team to get the pulse racing is it?
The Euro’s should have been a lesson to those in charge that the current set-up just isn’t working, and why not change when you have such prodigious talents waiting in the wings?
For me Barkley even at such a young age is the answer. Destructive as much as he is creative, the Englishman offers the kind of balance that many hoped Wilshere would bring to the side. Two players not too dissimilar in style, these are very much the new breed of English midfielder that we need to foster.
So what is the current balance of power?
Jack Wilshere continues to fall short of the high expectations many have for him both domestically and internationally. Dogged by persistent stress fractures and other niggling injuries, the development of someone with undoubted potential is being slowed. Barkley at 19 may be younger and less experienced, but if Hodgson wants to pick on form then the bow much go to Barkley.
For me the difference between the two lies in the goal-scoring department. Barkley has as many goals this season as Wilshere has in his whole Arsenal career. Wilshere offers creativity and solidity but for me Barkley offers so much more. The Everton midfielder has an eye for goal as much as he does for a pass and this is a trait in remarkably short supply for England.
So forget your Gerrard’s and Lampard’s, the real battle for an England berth should be between Jack Wilshere and Ross Barkley.
For me the clear winner at the moment is the Everton boy who continues to go from strength to strength on the biggest of stages.
Am I right? Or am I getting caught up in the Ross Barkley hype?
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