Everton and England star Ross Barkley is approaching a crossroads in his fledgling career.
A player of undoubted ability can no longer be considered a player of potential, it’s time the boy became a man and started to produce top class performances on a regular basis.
If you were to watch a compilation video of Barkley’s greatest moments, there would be no disputing his special talents.
However, the alarming dip in form he suffered in the second half of last season must be a small bump in the road and not an indication of a more permanent downturn in career trajectory.
The arrival of new manager Ronald Koeman and his highly rated backroom staff will surely aid Barkley in his quest for more consistent showings.
And the more demanding nature of the Dutchman, as opposed to the often perceived over-indulgence shown by former manager Roberto Martinez towards his young charge, could be just what is required to push Barkley onto the next level.
An injection of cash within the corridors of power at Everton means a higher level of player can now be attracted to Goodison Park.
Therefore, Barkley may no longer take his place in the starting eleven for granted. Yet, on the flip side he could be the talisman and superstar Everton have been craving for an age, who they could build a new team around.
But one thing which cannot be argued, is that the upcoming season is one of huge importance for the young blue.
Step up to the plate and the sky can be the limit, but if he fails to grasp this opportunity, we may never see the best of this mercurial talent.
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