During the 2013-14 season, a young attacking midfielder named Ross Barkley burst onto the scene for Everton. Barkley scored his first goal for the blues and was named “man of the match” during a 2-2 draw with Norwich on the opening day of the season, and went on to score 7 goals in 37 appearances in all competitions that season. he then scored just twice in 35 appearances the net season and 12 in 47 the next. He has scored 5 goals in 32 appearances so far this season.
Ross Barkley seemed to be exactly what English football needed. A quick, skilful attacking midfielder who can run at players through the middle and create chances and wear down the opposition defence. He seemed to reinvent the creative midfielder role, and effectively play with the style of a winger, but in the position of a midfielder. He was compared to Paul Gascoigne early on in his career and consistently showed brilliant potential.
But so far, Barkley has failed to achieve what he could. It’s a well-known fact that he has shown a lack maturity, running when he should pass and passing when he should run, the latter being the much less common. This was clear in the toffee’s recent game against rivals Liverpool. There was a moment where he took the ball under control and had forward Romelu Lukaku to his left. It was seemingly obvious. Slide in the big Belgian, and put him one on one and let Lukaku do the rest, but instead, he took a heavy touch to his left and gave it to Dejan Lovren like a Mother to their Baby. He then shoved his studs into the Croatian’s leg and earned a yellow card for his troubles.
However, it’s not all Barkley’s fault. Everton fans will probably slaughter me for saying this, but some of the blame has to be put onto Gareth Barry. When Barkley receives the ball, he should be using his experience and ordering the team forwards to support him, and also, he should be ordering Barkley as to what to do. This would help the Englishman immensely on the experience front, and would for sure add another tooth to the Everton attack.
Barkley cannot be regarded as a young talent for much longer. He is 23 years old, which may not sound much, but seeing as teammate Romelu Lukaku is the same age and has already scored over 80 premier league goals and is their all-time top European competitions scorer, it’s hard to see him as a success.
But, there is still time. He’s playing regularly for Everton, and with Lukaku supposedly leaving at the end of the season he could soon find himself as the man they rely on to attack with. He’s also getting consistent(ish) caps for England and is certainly filled with potential, so keep an eye on him.