Everton striker Steven Naismith has made a prediction over when Toffees fans will see exciting midfielder Ross Barkley at his most consistent.
The 21-year-old was superb in the 3-1 win against QPR earlier this week, but there have been questions raised over whether he can produce match winning performances against the big sides on a regular basis.
Naismith certainly thinks it’s possible, but suggests fans may not see the best of Barkley until he hits 25-years-old.
“Young players are going to be hot and cold for many years. It’s not until they hit their mid-20s they will be very consistent,” said the Scot.
“Ross has suffered from a bit of that. He’s got all the talent in the world but he’s got a lot to learn and you just have to give him time to learn.”
Fortunately for Barkley, he has a top quality manager in Roberto Martinez, who is experienced in terms of using and developing younger players.
Martinez already seems to have a good grasp over the best times to use Barkley at the club and has always coached a style, which compliments the natural attributes that Barkley has.
He also knows when to whip him out of the firing line and protect him from the anxiety and worry, which can come hand in hand with the criticism of playing inconsistently.
He’s a top talent and there’s plenty there for him to work with but he’s still a very young man and it could well take four years for him to fully justify the reported £50 million price tag which has been placed on his head by the press.