Forget Jack Wilshere, is Everton starlet England’s future?

Ross Barkley (Everton)Much is made of Jack Wilshere being the prodigal son, but for me Ross Barkley is the real deal.

Everton fans may still be mourning the loss of Marouane Fellaini and rightly so because they have lost someone of undoubted quality. The Premier League club need not dwell on this for long though, because I believe they have a man of potential world-class ability waiting in the wings to fill the void.

Ross Barkley has taken the Premier League by storm this season, and has rightly won himself many admirers. Displays which have shown a degree of confidence and experience beyond his mere 19 years of age, the youngster has shown himself to be the creative spark to fire both Everton and England forward.

Standing toe-to-toe with the established stars of Chelsea, Barkley stood firm where others would have buckled. A constant source of inspiration and direction for the ‘Toffees’, the future appears to be bright for the talented youngster.

[cat_link cat=”everton” type=”list”]

At 19 he is far from the finished article, and as much as Saturday’s performance was a success for Barkley it wasn’t without its faults. From time to time he was caught in possession and gifted Chelsea the initiative when perhaps they didn’t warrant it. Whatever the critique and advice Barkley is afforded going forward, I am convinced he will take it in his stride.

His peers regard him as someone that realises that he was a lot to learn, and that he is readily keen to make the best of his abilities. In Roberto Martinez he has the perfect manager in my view to harness this precocious wealth. A midfield pool that contains the likes of Osman, Barry and McCarthy is definitely conducive to harnessing this talent, and the style of football that the Spaniard is trying to breed is perfect to develop Barkley’s abilities.

The manager has unerring faith, playing the Englishman as much as possible so far this season and clearly he understands the balancing act required here.  Barkley has occupied an advanced playmaker role this season, and this suits him perfectly at this stage. Any mistake he makes has been easily covered by a supporting cast behind him containing the stoic Gareth Barry amongst others. The Premier League is a baptism of fire to even the hardiest of footballing souls, but I think the way Barkley has been employed so far is both shrewd and effective.

Perhaps most important for Everton fans, and this is something that cannot be taught, is Barkley’s innate Scouse steel. A terrible leg break may have set the youngster back somewhat, but now he shows the self-confidence and aggression crucial to Premier League success.

Watching Barkley he wants to be out there, he wants the ball as much as possible. Not shy of a tackle, he offers the balance that perhaps Everton and England both crave.

Such self-assurance would have been tested away on England duty, but from observers he looked every bit the assured talent that his admirers have touted him as. Could we have a future a star in our midst?

I believe so.

The future is bright for Barkley, but it always important to temper the excitement. Whilst the comparisons to Wilshere will be made, it is important to learn lessons from the Arsenal midfielders career so far. Played readily at such a young age, much by necessity, Wilshere has been constantly dogged by reoccurring stress fractures and related injuries. Maybe Wilshere will continue his rise to prominence, but personally his development has been slowed by an excessive workload at such a young age.

Martinez knows he has an abundance of riches in the middle of the park, with Gibson on the return as well. The need to push Barkley into the action week in week out isn’t there, and I can see the Spaniard rotating the squad heavily as we enter the bulk of the season. Difficult I know to do considering the excitement surrounding the player, but for the long term this is an understandable necessity.

A loan spell to the Championship may still not be a bad bet, even if it draws a degree of disappointment from fans.

Everton may well have lost their talismanic star to United, but if they play their cards right they may have a gem for years to come.

Is Ross Barkley the real deal?

Join the debate below

[opinion-widget opid=”220415″ width=”full”]