Ross Barkley. The name, as the weeks pass, is one that is becoming more and more familiar to English football fans outside of the Merseyside region; for those on the Merseyside have known about this young man for a long time.

          Whilst trying to obtain other peoples opinions on Barkley, I decided to speak to an Everton supporting colleague of mine, who, quite simply, said that “he has all the attributes to become a more complete player than any other Everton academy graduate – including Wayne Rooney.”

          Big praise indeed, and whilst the comment should be taken with a pinch of salt – especially when considering the bitterness which some Everton fans still feel towards Rooney, thus clouding the judgment slightly – I must say that of the several occasions that I have been able to watch Barkley in action, I have been particularly impressed by the understanding of the game in which this 17-year-old – not 18 until December – has shown.

          In recent years, there have been many labels attached to players, which, quite frankly, are overused, and inflated, phrases. One of these happens to be the term ‘outstanding young player’, e.g “that lad looks like an outstanding young player.” So, what exactly qualifies a young player as an outstanding talent? Does a central midfielder who possesses strength, quick feet, undying stamina, and the ability to pick out passes fit into this class of player?

          These qualities, all of which, under the right coaching, will only improve over time, have led to rave reviews of Barkley. His club manager, David Moyes, said during the summer: “I think Evertonians have not got an awful lot to be excited about at the moment, so Ross gives everybody something to look at and cling on to.”

          Rio Ferdinand, during an open letter supporting England’s failed 2018 World Cup bid, at which time, Barkley was still just 16, name checked the Everton youngster, amongst others, as part of the next generation of English players: “We’ve got some talented youngsters, the likes of Josh McEachran, Ross Barkley, Ezekial Fryers, and John Bostock.”

        Barkley, made his debut for England’s Under-17 team against Kazakhstan in October 2009, and went on to play a prominent role in England’s triumphant 2010 European Championship side in Liechenstein, May 2010. During the tournament, Barkley scored one goal – the only goal of the game in a group-stage victory over Greece – and during the 2-1 victory over the Spanish in the final, he played the full match to mark England’s only ever European Under-17 Championship victory.

          One of the main problems with many potentially brilliant young players in the modern day is that they lack the determination, and dedication, to make the sacrifices that will ultimately help them gain an advantage over their rivals. Things such as nights out have to be relinquished in order for these young players to give themselves the best possible chance of having long and successful careers in football.

          Barkley, is certainly a player who is willing to persevere, after coming back from a triple leg break which he suffered during an England under-19 match, after colliding with team-mate, Andre Wisodom.

          The injury couldn’t have come at a worst possible time for Barkley, who, at sixteen, had been on Everton’s bench for the previous three games, and many felt, was about to be given a chance. Instead of crumbling, though, Barkley showed his character and after nine months of rehabilitation, returned to action, and impressed in Everton’s recent pre-season tour. So much so, infact, that after one game, Phil Neville, who during his career has played with, and against, some of the world greats, took to his twitter account to single out Barkley for special praise: “I think we all know we have got something special there. We just all want him to keep going out there and enjoying his football.” 

          Recently, Chelsea, Manchester United and City, amongst anyone else boasting a sizeable transfer budget, have been linked with bids for the precociously talented teenager. However, David Moyes, after losing Wayne Rooney while he was still a teenager, will want to make sure that, if he is to be sold, it will be for a substantial amount of money – possibly more than Rooney was sold for – and that he were sold to a club who would help nurture and give the player a platform to flourish on.

          As for now, though, Barkley must be happy just to be playing football again. And one thing seems certain when it comes to this young man: he is going to keep playing football for a long time yet.


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Comment by Benjamin Joseph Brugnoli-Edwards on October 14, 2011 at 15:54

Thanks for your opinions, guys, which i respect very much. In my opinion, though, in the modern day-and-age, with the amount of televised football there now is, compared to, say, 30 years ago, where you would hardly see a first team game on television, let-alone an academy game, the pressure on young players is obviously going to be greater, because they now have a greater exposure. But, if a player is good enough, then pressure should not be used as an excuse, as the player will have even greater pressure on him as his career progresses, anyway. Let's take Wayne Rooney, for example, who, at the age of 16, was put under even greater scrutiny than Ross Barkley is at this moment in time, and he came through and progressed into a world class talent. 

Comment by 68Gaz99mufc08 on October 14, 2011 at 14:37

Too much pressure is put on these young players and it's just not fair on them. It's the same with the current crop of youngsters we have at United. The likes of Morrison, Pogba and Tunnicliffe are expected to go on and become United's midfield for the next 10-15 years by some of our fans which is expecting a lot in my opinion. If just one of these players becomes a first team regular, I would consider that a success.


They've all been brilliant for the reserves however we all know that the gap between first team football and reserve team football is huge. It's too early to tell whether any of these players will become first team regulars because none of them have even played a full 90 minutes for the first team yet and playing for the first team is where they will be judged. I'm hoping Morrison and Pogba and a few others will play their first full 90 minutes in the 4th round of the Carling Cup at Aldershot to see how they get on.


We need to give these young players time before we start predicting how good they'll become in the next 2 or 3 years. It would be a good idea to wait and see how good these players are when they've played a good number of games for the first team at least and Ross Barkley looks like he's on his way to doing that. He has already featured 5 times for the Everton first team and could get well into double figures in appearances this season which would be some achievement for a 17 year old, however I'm not sure whether his involvement in the first team has been forced or is by choice because Everton lost Pienaar last season and Arteta this season and haven't really replaced either of them. I've seen very little of Everton this season except for in the Merseyside derby almost 2 weeks ago so can't comment on how good he has been in the games he has played this season.


When I hear Ross Barkley, I automatically think of Jack Rodwell because he's another young Everton player who was hyped up to no end at such an early age and to be honest I don't think Rodwell is the player he's made out to be. On the occasions I've seen him play for Everton and England U-21's he's been nothing more than decent in my opinion.

Comment by the white pele on October 14, 2011 at 13:37
Fergie, sign him up!! 
Comment by WorldClass on October 14, 2011 at 12:39

He is certainly a prospect, but I do feel when it comes to Barkley that:


a) the pressure and expectation being placed upon the lad is a bit excessive

b) that its a failing of most football fans that we're always looking of the New next big thing rather than giving credit to what we have.


I have seen Barkley playing against the Aston Villa reserves and whilst you could see he was a good player ad clearly the best the Everton team no way did he stand out in the matches I have seen him. He does possess what are the key English eliments in size, strength and pace and he does have skills, but as it has been shown many many times before without application it all means very little... too many young boys have been given this next big thing tag and crumpled under the wieght of expectation or under the wieght of their own ego...


Lets see how the lads develop, funny things happen at that age, 3 years ago Delfouneso was heads and shoulders above any other striker in his age group, he was being comapred to Henry in France and look what has happened... now he struggles to get a game at U21's when he was considered a shoe in by the media and fan alike not so long ago...


I remember a lad that came through with Liverpool with Gerrard who was considered to be the "better player"... where is he now? he was called "special" can you remember his name?  What about Rodwell... he was supposed to be a world beater "better then Rooney"?


I struggle with this, I get excited about young players but you also have to recognise that they are by no means the finished articles and still have a long way to go....


My final comment is to point you toward Luke Moore... a player who lost his way when he was thrust in to the spot light after ripping up Youth league records and smashing in goals for fun at reserve level at the tender age of 16... Think it was Gregory who said that this lad could be our Ronaldo (the fat one)... now he's at Swansea...


Hendersen, Barkley, Bostock, Gardner, Wilshere, Rodwell... the future looks bright but these lads have a lng way to go before they are considered to be great players.


Fine article and I agree with most of what you have said.... United look like they will have a good player in the future...  maybe worldclass


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