Gary Neville backs Everton's Ross Barkley to get back to his best

Ross Barkley

Neville insists the England midfielder's struggles this season are normal for someone of his age.

England coach Gary Neville has told TalkSport that he has no concerns about Ross Barkley’s form, stressing that the Everton midfielder is a “massive talent with a fantastic attitude”.

Barkley, 21, earned his first-team breakthrough for the Toffees last season, making 38 appearances in all competitions, while adding seven goals to help the club achieve a fifth-place Premier League finish.

Having broken into the England World Cup squad on the back of his stellar campaign, the former Blues trainee hasn’t quite reached the same heights this term, but Neville insists that is normal for someone at this stage of his career.

“Ross came into Everton when they had a fantastic team last year – he was wonderful and got into the World Cup squad,” the Manchester United legend said.

“All his peaks and troughs were in full view of everybody, and that is the difficulty. You’d like to develop every player in a more measured way, but that’s not the way in which it works.”

Barkley has been in and out of the Everton side since returning from a sprained MCL which forced him to miss the first eight weeks of the season, and Neville believes that remains the right approach for manager Roberto Martinez to take with his development.

The former right-back adds that it was the exact same with his ex-United teammates Paul Scholes and David Beckham and, having observed the 10-times capped international from up close within the Three Lions setup, believes his current struggles will help him become a stronger player in the long run.

“There is no concern at all about Ross,” he continued. “He is a massive talent and has a fantastic attitude to wanting to play football. It’s just natural when you are a young player to have peaks and troughs.

“You’d like to get them through those periods, and Roberto Martinez [Everton manager] is doing that by bringing him in and out of the team and putting him in different positions.

“Think of Paul Scholes’ and David Beckham’s introductions at Manchester United – it wasn’t always continually playing 50 games. They were dipped in for three games then out for two games over a period of two seasons – that is sensible."

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