Had it not been for an injury on mid-week Three Lions duty, at the epicentre today’s FA Cup clash between Arsenal and Everton would have been a midfield battle between two lads in hot competition for a place in Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad – Jack Wilshere and Ross Barkley.
Regardless, in Wilshere’s absence, the Toffees prodigy gave a strong account of himself, despite the 4-1 scoreline, so we’ve come up with a list of three reasons why Barkley should be on the plane to Brazil, illustrated throughout this afternoon’s ninety minutes.
Amid all this talk about English football being in the dark ages and debates over our cultural inability to pass the ball properly, the 20 year-old’s technique is incredibly refreshing. The ITV studio pundits questioned Barkley’s end product before the match, but he soon silenced them with this vital contribution to the Toffees’ only goal of the afternoon, in the form of a whipping, devious cross;
Another area the Three Lions currently lack is mobility and penetration, especially on the break. But once again, Barkley gave evidence this afternoon that he’s capable of filling that void. Prior to the exceptional delivery discussed in point one, the Goodison starlet picked up the ball just outside of Everton’s box, before driving up almost the entirety of the pitch before linking up with Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku to aid the Toffee’s first of the afternoon. The powerful, surging run delighted Twitter:
— Richard Buxton (@Richard_Buxton_) March 8, 2014
What a run and ball from Ross Barkley!
— GrandOldTeam.com (@grandoldteam) March 8, 2014
Ross Barkley has power,pace,great physique and good ball skills, place on the plane?
— Luke (@CFCLuke10) March 8, 2014
Barkley is such an OG at these counter-attacks
— TikaTakaGuy (@TikaTakaGuy) March 8, 2014
Competition for a place at the heart of England’s midfield is incredibly fierce, but unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the overall quality. In today’s action alone, Barkley convinced a strong Twitter contingent that he’s far more deserving of a spot in the World Cup squad than many of his young, central midfield rivals. Namely Jack Wilshere – who has struggled for fitness and form all season – and Tom Cleverley, who, well… just isn’t very good at football.
Ross Barkley is already a better player than Jack Wilshere
— Omar Akhtar (@OmarAkhtar_) March 8, 2014
Rooney, Ox, and Barkley are the only 3 English players with that certain spark.
— V.Simmons (@_VSimmons) March 8, 2014
Magnificent from Barkley. Great run and a stunning delivery into the box—How can this man not be ahead of Cleverley for a seat on the plane?
— Nikolas Postinger (@nikpostinger) March 8, 2014