Everton’s Ross Barkley has had a difficult season as he and boss Roberto Martinez appear to disagree over where he is best placed.
Barkley believes he is at his best when played behind a striker but so far this season he has played as a number 10, a number six and out wide. Speaking to Premier League World he said:
“I can have my greatest impact behind the striker. I am free to roam around, take players on, have shots and create chances”.
Barkley believes this change in positions has meant his second full season in the English top flight hasn’t been as successful as he had hoped.
It seems Barkley and Martinez disagree on what his best position is. The Blue’s boss has picked Barkley to play in different positions over the past two season because he is versatile and he clearly thinks that this is one of the biggest compliments he could give him.
Martinez’ comments have ignited a debate: just what is Barkley’s best position?
Barkley’s best season for Everton came when he was playing regularly in the No. 10 position. He was able to run at unsuspecting defences and be the first line of support for Romelu Lukaku.
Now it looks like Martinez believes he will be best in a central midfield role. Fans were shown how this could work back in December in a match against QPR. As he develops as a player it may be that he will play less in the No. 10 role.
However, Everton fans tend to prefer to see Barkley deployed in his favoured position behind the lone striker. It is where he feels the most comfortable and it’s not really surprising that Toffees fans share this opinion.
Barkley has made the most of his impact in that position teaming up with other players in the squad to great effect. Martinez may continue to play him in this position for now but if the manager gets his own way he will likely end up deep in the midfield.
He clearly believes he could really develop as a strong midfielder and have an impact like Michael Ballack did when he changed from playing in the No. 10 position to become a midfielder. The Toffee’s boss is using the German as an example and an idea of what Barkley could achieve.
Wherever Barkley plays one thing is for certain he will always try his best. However, sooner or later not having an identity will take its toll. Other clubs are already keeping an eye on the young England star and maybe and offer of a permanent position could draw him away from Everton in the future.
The fans have spoken; Barkley should stay as a No. 10.
The question is: will that happen and for how long?