How important a role can Ross Barkley play in the end of season run-in?
In February this year I showed no love toward former Leeds United manager Neil Warnock and his treatment of Everton youngster Ross Barkley. The England youth international was coming off the back of an extremely successful stint with fellow Yorkshire side Sheffield Wednesday and was looking to earn a season-long loan spell with the Elland Road side during an initial one-month spell.
However after the month was up Warnock informed Everton it was best Barkley returned as he could not guarantee the player a place in his side that was lacking a creative spark.
‘’I spoke to David and Ross but I can’t guarantee playing him – and I did say I would do that when I took him. It’s only fair to them that he gets first-team football. You’ve got to be straightforward with each other and I couldn’t guarantee him that. But David was great about it and so was Ross and he’s going to be a cracking player in the next few years.”
I simply could not fathom how Warnock didn’t see the value in this gem of a player and how unfortunate it was he would now likely miss out on plenty of first-team football in front of the great fans that Leeds United have; it would have been tremendous experience for one so young.
Now however Everton fans can tip their cap in the direction of Warnock and say thanks for not taking him on board.
While Warnock is no longer with Leeds United either Barkley has recently been called upon to fill the gaps created by suspension and injury at Goodison Park.
On Tuesday night he showed us all once again a glimpse of the talent he possesses; albeit raw and untapped.
At times he does appear clumsy and almost stuck-in-the-mud with the ball in possession. However what shone through against Arsenal was that Barkley seemed the better player in comparison to (admittedly a half-fit) Jack Wilshere on the night.
First of all is his passing ability. Absolutely first class vision is one thing but to be able to put the sufficient weight on a pass to complete your thought process is another entirely.
Then there was his tenacity. You would think somebody who suffered such a nasty injury so young like Barkley did (he suffered a sickening triple leg break in 2010) may be cautious going into challenges. But Barkley had plenty of bite to go with the ‘bark’ on Tuesday as he rattled the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla and Wilshere with some strong and fair challenges.
He even managed to get a couple of decent strikes from range off at goal; the second of which looked like emulating a certain Wayne Rooney against the same opposition in 2002 until it scratched one layer of white gloss off the left upright.
With Everton’s thin squad always in need of any extra reinforcements the presence of this new bullish looking Ross Barkley could in the end prove vital in their European push.
What have you made of Ross Barkley’s performances for Everton?
image: © joncandy