Ross Barkley’s celebration amongst the Goodison Park faithful rounded off a rather eventful week for the England international. During the Toffees’ 3-1 win over Burnley on Saturday, the 23-year-old played a pivotal role in both a defensive and an offensive aspect, twice clearing the ball at crucial moments, as well as forcing the Clarets into an own goal.
His dazzling display on Merseyside came after he was punched in a city centre Liverpool bar last Sunday, as well as insulted by Sun journalist Kelvin MacKenzie in his column.
Much has been made about Barkley of late, even without the aforementioned events. This season his form has fluctuated more than ever and manager Ronald Koeman has been rather public in his criticism of the midfielder. Meanwhile, he is seemingly out of the picture at international level, despite the fact he’s picked in the general squad.
Which is exactly why we here at FootballFanCast recently asked our Everton-supporting readers just how important Barkley was to the club’s cause over the next few years. Looking to grow into what is hopefully a prosperous new age for the Toffees under the ownership of Farhad Moshiri, do Everton need their academy graduate to become the poster boy for their rebuild? Or is he too inconsistent to be relied upon?
Out of contract at the end of next season, a decision on that matter from top brass at the club needs to be made soon. Interestingly enough, the fans are relatively split on the Barkley situation.
While keeping him at all costs proved to be the most popular (53%) potential outcome amongst our readers, the notion of letting him leave didn’t seem to scare quite a large 47% of voters.