With an 84% pass completion rate, 66% tackling success, a 50% shot accuracy and the scorer of the winning goal in Everton's 2-1 triumph over Swansea City on Sunday, December 22, Everton's all-rounder Ross Barkley once again attracted punditry acclaim thanks to his starring ever-present role.
Speaking to EvertonTV, Barkley said: 'It was a special moment… we didn't play so well in the first half but we were better in the second. I thought the goal was coming, I saw the free-kick and took my opportunity.'
Enjoying a break-out season on Merseyside, Barkley has been subjected to much hype surrounding his current ability and potential to develop over the next decade, including being appraised as a hybrid of former England star and one-time Evertonian Paul Gascoigne and ex Chelsea professional Michael Ballack by current manager Roberto Martinez.
Like Gascoigne, Gary Lineker - also a star with England and Everton - reserved high praise for Barkley, citing the 20-year-old as a 'star in the making', a 'prodigious talent' and that 'England have a real player'. He also mentioned that regardless of hype and media attention, Barkley should respond positively and react accordingly if he is going to go on to become a great player…
Ross Barkley is a star in the making. Prodigious talent. England have a real player.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 22, 2013
Love watching Barkley play. Brings a smile to my face. Proof that if they're good enough, young English players will emerge.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 22, 2013
image: © damo1977