Ross Barkley: Is The Young England Star Everton’s Future?

So Fellaini’s finally gone, boo hoo, and with that inevitability out the way I want to invite Ross Barkley to step forward. Labelled ‘the Blue Steven Gerrard’and ‘the boy wonder’, Barkley injects a glimmer of hope to the Merseyside club. During the first three games of the new season Barkley has shone for the Toffees and now with England knocking the door and a call up for the upcoming international break already, the stars seem to be aligning for young Ross.

For me, personally, I’ve followed the Evertonian’s blossoming career ever since those spurt of appearances back in 2011. Even Alan Hansen was applauding the youngster’s performances for the team back then, deeming him to be “possibly one of the best players England has produced.” Quite the compliment from the Scot, also quite the statement of pressure for a player in the infancy of his career, but nonetheless a compliment – especially noting Hansen’s past cynicism of youth, which I’m sure, will haunt him for all eternity.

Everything aside, Barkley has made the Premier League stand up and take notice of his talents so far this season. His early form has, maybe, a little prematurely got him a place in the England set up, which undoubtedly will have delighted the 19-year-old. How could it not?

One goal and one Man of the Match award and he’s been directed right to the top by Roy himself, “Welcome to the big time” because that’s what Barkley’s been handed the keys to. He’s readying himself to take his place in a squad full of seasoned professionals, vastly experienced, talented players at club and international level. So do three decent performances merit a place in two important World Cup Qualifiers? It seems so. I’ve got nothing against Barkley, I tip my hat to you, but Hodgson – maybe you’re throwing him in at the deep end.

A likely feature in the Moldova game, Barkley could gain invaluable debutant experience with training and playing in the international fold, a debut cap, the first of which I’m sure will be many for him. But playing time in the Ukraine game is a little out of reach for the youngster, so crucial that game, that qualification could hinge on it, with Montenegro out in front by two points and  a game played more.

But Roy has been known to get a little crazy in his time – he once signed a 31-year-old named Christian Poulsen for Liverpool for £4.5 million of the Queen’s English sterling. Roy you little rascal. So basically, what I’m saying is, even though Barkley is inexperienced at club level, he still might get a run out in England’s most important qualifier to date so far.

Good luck to you lad.

Now various things have been said about Barkley so far this season and there was small, minor reports surfaced that two “big clubs” had enquired about him. 

Let him do his thing, let him go about his quiet business as a young, English midfielder, starting out in the Premier League, In this day and age it’s impossible, virtually irresistible to stay out the limelight and stay from straying down the wrong path.

look over Stanley Park and you’ll see a player who’s fame has undoubtedly gone to his head. Raheem Sterling, a year younger than Barkley and at 18 years old, he already has a reported two children, a possible conviction against him for an assault against a woman in August of this year, he’s also got previous for assault too.

So that’s what too much, too soon can do to a young man, Raheem reportedly picks up in excess of £30,000 a week, crazy money, but English talents, in the English game pick that kind of money up. Sterling has one England cap to his name, for his exploits last year, can he do it again this year?

Hopefully, but Barkley should be taking note of the failures and pitfalls football holds for its new prey, it’s all there for the taking, all pregnant with potential, the right head on the right shoulders will go furthest and providing he stays injury free, as he has battled injuries in the past he’ll be a star. Injuries have a cruel habit of stunting a player’s progress, Jack Wilshere’s a prime example, and he’s in fast danger of becoming Darren Anderton take two, just another sick note.

Still only 21, Jack’s been injured more times than you and me have had hot dinners. Seeing him dither off in the north London derby on Sunday was a frustrating site for any England fan, stomach problems, a dicky tummy after a dodgy ruby, will hopefully be the worst case scenario for him and we’ll see him playing during this crucial international period. So, like Wilshere, keeping fit will be a major peril in Barkley’s early progression.

Back to Barkley now, with Everton’s deadline day signing’s seeing in two new centre midfielders. The 19-year-old will be pressed for competition. Experienced Gareth Barry and ex Wigan player James McCarthy, the first signed on a season long loan and a fee of £13 million for the latter, not to mention the coup that was landing Romelu Lukaku on a year loan.

So with waving bye to Fellaini for around £27.5 million, plus the deadline day robbery of Steve Clarke who willingly stumped up £6 million for Victor Ainchebe, I think perhaps a couple of cheeky zeroes have been added there by Roberto Martinez and it was good business indeed all round at Goodison.

Everton fans have much to shout about in just those signings, but they have their new boy wonder to cling to also, the stage is set for Ross Barkley this season – the 2013-2014 season could see the making of a new English star.

By Michael King    



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