Me and Stonsey. Hard work pays off. pic.twitter.com/eZZSymmDPl— Ross Barkley (@RBarkley20) June 2, 2014
The 2013/14 season has been a whirlwind for Everton’s Ross Barkley.
After finding his chances limited under David Moyes, during his time at Goodison Park, he was finally given a regular starting berth by Roberto Martinez, after the Spaniard was appointed at the start of this campaign, and he has immediately repaid his manager’s faith.
Barkley’s power, pace and skill has been a highlight in what has been a superb season for Everton and his World Cup call up is a culmination of his brilliant form throughout the campaign.
He now goes to Brazil with many supporters urging Roy Hodgson to start him, having started the season as a relative unknown.
And it was whilst he was playing for the former that he played against a current team-mate whose rise has been just as remarkable.
John Stones, who joined Barkley at Everton at the start of 2013, was playing for Barnsley while Barkley was on loan at Leeds last year, and the attacking midfielder took to social media site Twitter to post a picture of the two competing against each-other in the Championship to highlight their progress.
Stones, like Barkley, has benefited hugely from the faith that Martinez has shown in him and his performances in Everton’s defence were enough to convince Hodgson that he has what it takes to compete in Brazil.
Stones goes to the tournament on the ‘stand-by list’, but is the first-choice replacement if Manchester United’s Phil Jones is to miss out through injury, after he picked up a shoulder problem towards the end of the campaign.
He did make his England debut on Friday night, though, when he came off the bench against Peru to complete a dramatic rise to international stardom.
The duo are likely to be pivotal players for Martinez as he looks to develop a squad that can breach the gap to the top four and it is unlikely that this will be the last World Cup that either travel to.