Last week, England manager Roy Hodgson made it clear that he was not entirely happy with Ross Barkley’s performance against Ecuador. The 66-year-old believed that the midfielder gave away the ball a number of times and did not like his decision-making on certain occasions.
However, the 20-year-old still gained widespread good ratings for his display, especially because he was the architect of the Three Lions’ equaliser in their 2-2 draw in Miami. Hodgson did eventually hail the Everton starlet, but he was quick to point out that he has a lot of learning to do and needs to understand that every mistake is crucial.
All of which is justified, but Barkley is an adventurous young player whose pace and skill can be terrifying to the opposition. He came on at half time against Honduras in England’s final warm-up game on Saturday and was yet again impressive. The youngster was an instant threat and linked up well with Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge.
Barkley is unlikely to start against Italy in England’s opening World Cup game in Brazil on June 14, but he could be used as an impact substitute. Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has now underlined just why the midfielder could be so crucial for the 1966 World Cup winners this summer.
Ferdinand, who retired from England duty last year, made a series of posts on social networking site Twitter during the game.
I just wanna see Barkley drop people with silky touches & the mad body feints...fearless at that age...love it!— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) June 7, 2014
I still think Barkley will be most effective from the bench at this stage of his career for England though.— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) June 7, 2014
a centre midfielder who can beat people & produce end product - a dream to play with...a nightmare to face!— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) June 7, 2014
Barkley is being considered as ‘the next big thing’ in English football, but it is clear that he has a lot of learning to do. However, given his youth vigour and the quality he has, it would be a shame if he is asked to tame his game.