Connect with us

England National Team

Does Ross Barkley deserve a World Cup place?

Published

on

The 20-year-old Evertonian has well and truly come to the attention of football fans throughout English football. He has been a key player for Everton in many a game, but the unbelievable moments which left fans in awe earlier in the season have become rarer of late. Whether Roberto Martinez has been protecting the youngster from burn-out, or if he was losing match sharpness, it cannot be denied that he has not experienced as many first team minutes in the New Year. Therefore, has he done enough to secure a spot on the plane alongside Gerrard and Hodgson?

To start off, I would like to draw some likenesses to Everton’s last home-grown superstar; Wayne Rooney. He was also arguably the last player for England who could put you on the edge of your seat game after game. Ross Barkley broke through the ranks at Goodison Park and made his much acclaimed full debut at the tender age of 17, just one year older than Rooney. During his rapid progression through the youth team and academy set-up, he was attracting praise from all angles within the club. Manager at the time David Moyes and experienced fellow pros such as fan favourite Tim Cahill were quick to predict big things from the youngster.

His play style also bears a great resemblance to that of the current Manchester United forward. Neither have blistering pace in their locker but both are tremendously strong runners. What would often define Rooney’s performances in his early years was his willingness to take on defenders and pass them at ease with the ball. Once their man was beaten, only a foul or a terrific tackle could bring them to a halt. Barkley’s natural exuberance and enthusiasm to chase every ball has further endeared him to the Everton faithful. It has become a regular occurrence to see him pick up the ball on the edge of his own box, only to power through the gears and be looking to create a goal moments later. A classic example of this took place at Newcastle recently when a typically surging run was followed by an emphatic finish.

In addition, Barkley’s build is very much that of an older man, much like Rooney at the same point in his career. This impressive physique assists him in holding off defenders, relatively good aerial prowess, winning crucial 50-50s, and attaining real power in his trademark pile-drivers.

Throughout the season, he has demonstrated outstanding quality on the ball; a trait which certainly not every England international can boast. Capable of keeping the ball ticking over and maintaining possession, as well as pinging the Hollywood pass when required, he is a fantastic option to draw on in the middle of the park. He also provides a goal threat from his midfield berth, recording 92 shots and registering 7 goals. While this is not a particularly good conversion rate, the nature of his play dictates that many of his attempts come from distance. A goalkeeper is rarely left unruffled when he takes a pop at goal. Meanwhile, he exhibits these qualities on both feet equally well, and with so few genuinely two-footed players remaining in the game, he stands out above the rest. In fact, arguably his best 2 goals this season have come from his ‘weaker’ left foot. The magnificent solo effort against Newcastle mentioned above, and an incredibly clean strike from outside the box against Nowrich back in mid-August.

The last consideration; and arguably the most important one for England in high pressure tournament football, is that he has looked completely at ease on the international stage. This is much more than can be said for many of the recently capped Three Lions. Other central midfielders such as the much maligned Tom Cleverley and even Jordan Henderson to a certain extent have looked lost at international level. Barkley has grasped his somewhat limited opportunities in an England shirt and has looked at home, along with other youngsters Jack Wilshire and Adam Lallana.

For England to even progress from the group in the summer, they will need to be able to maintain possession for extended periods of time. Players such as Barkley and others who are not over-awed or afraid to take the ball in tight areas could well prove invaluable. He may well still hold a surprise factor for some foreign defenders, which was most memorably seen at Euro 2004 when Rooney announced himself on the world stage. Barkley has done nothing other than increase his stock this season and despite a slightly less effective latter half of the campaign, he gives something different to any team; that much sought-after X-factor. I therefore believe that he is worth his place in the final 23 for sure, if not necessarily a starting berth.

I am currently at university studying Mechanical Engineering, but in my spare time I'm into all things football. I'm an avid Liverpool fan but always try to remain impartial. My other interests include gaming and Formula One.

England National Team

Should Kieran Trippier have missed out on World Cup spot?

The Tottenham Hotspur player is heading to Russia this summer.

Mathew Coull

Published

on

Gareth Southgate announced his World Cup squad earlier today and Tottenham Hotspur find themselves well represented yet again. Eric Dier, Danny Rose, Dele Alli and Harry Kane are all present, with the latter expected to captain his nation this summer.

However, the other Tottenham player included can surely count their lucky stars to find themselves included.

A lot of the talk on social media since the announcement of the squad has centred around the right-back position.

Southgate is spoiled for choice with Premier League winner Kyle Walker and Champions League finalist Trent Alexander-Arnold both included in the 23-man squad. With Ashley Young also present, right-back or right wing-back is well covered.

For many, Trippier is now simply taking up a space in the squad. The former Burnley man is indeed a very good player and an excellent crosser of the ball. But with Walker the most consistent right-back in the Premier League this season and Liverpool teen Alexander-Arnold on fire in recent months, Trippier should have naturally been left out.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Many Tottenham fans will of course disagree, but some will also be able to see that Trippier’s inclusion is just not necessary.

His place could have gone to another central midfielder or a wildcard option, someone like Fulham wonderkid Ryan Sessegnon immediately springs to mind.

There is, of course, the fact Walker may be operating as part of a back three this summer, which could allow for the taking of two other right-back options. But he would still be available and ready to move into his more natural position anyway.

The likelihood now is that one of the three players will not get a look in out in Russia, when their spot in the squad could have been used more effectively by Southgate.

As good and consistent as he is, the Tottenham man should have been left at home.

Continue Reading

Crystal Palace

Wilfried Zaha would surely be in England World Cup squad if he had waited

Wilfried Zaha has been in fine form for Crystal Palace this season.

Mathew Coull

Published

on

Crystal Palace fans will be over the moon today, as Ruben Loftus-Cheek was confirmed in the England squad for this summer’s World Cup. Whilst he may be a Chelsea player it is his loan spell with Palace that has helped him make the cut.

But some less informed fans on Twitter have been causing a bit of a stir, by insisting another Palace player should have been in the squad heading to Russia this summer. The player in question is Wilfried Zaha.

Undoubtedly, the 25-year-old would have been a great option for England this summer. His inclusion, perhaps at the expense of Danny Welbeck, would have been popular with fans.

(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

But here’s the problem, Zaha has eight caps for the Ivory Coast.

He may have played twice for the senior England team, but last year he decided to change allegiance and play for the country of his birth.

At the time of his decision, it appeared as though Zaha was hitting a glass ceiling with the England team and the decision to play for the West African nation was taken.

He has since gone on to score two goals for his country and he loves representing The Elephants. But it is not difficult to imagine a tinge of regret at his decision.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Zaha has been magnificent this season and played a key role in keeping Palace in the Premier League. He would have surely been an absolute certainty to make the England squad ahead of Welbeck if he had still been eligible.

Unfortunately for Zaha, the Ivory Coast failed to qualify for the World Cup this summer so he will be watching the competition and his buddy Loftus-Cheek from home.

Perhaps Zaha will now regret not giving his England career more time. But Palace fans will be happy their star man can rest up this summer, ahead of a hopefully even better campaign 2018-19.

Continue Reading

England National Team

Exclusive: Jodie Taylor – Seattle Reign start; Phil Neville and World Cup hopes

The forward spoke about her adventures in the United States and time with the England Women’s’ National Team.

Jake Jackman

Published

on

Jodie Taylor
Photo: Getty Images

Jodie Taylor has had a globetrotting career to date and made the most of her talent since breaking through at Tranmere Rovers as a 15-year-old.

She is currently playing in the National Women’s Super League with Seattle Reign after joining the team from Melbourne City. It didn’t take her long to make an impact at the club as she scored on her debut against Washington Spirit.

In an exclusive interview with The Boot Room, the England international spoke about the importance of her good start:

“It was great to get my first goal for the club. It is a challenge joining a new club, settling in, getting to know teammates, staff, gelling with players on the pitch. So, to get on the scoresheet so early on in the first game was a great first step.”

The 31-year-old has played in a number of leagues across the world and those experiences have helped her develop into the clinical forward that she is today. However, the USA has provided her best times as a player.

Soon after breaking into the professional game, she took a scholarship with Oregon State University and that gave her a taste of the country. Since then, she has played for several teams in America.

(Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

“I love the US – both on and off the pitch. I love the competitiveness, the speed and the intensity of the game here. There is no easy game, every match is a test physically and mentally. It’s a challenge. Off the pitch I love the lifestyle and the people. The Pacific North West is a beautiful place and I feel fortunate to be at such a great club in a beautiful part of the world.”

It has long been thought that the NWSL is the best domestic league in women’s football and the comments from Taylor show why players opt to move there. The competitiveness of the league helps the development of the players, while the lifestyle of the USA is appealing to European players.

The England international was first introduced to the country as a as a teenager and has been keen to ply her trade there ever since.

Throughout her career, Taylor has spent time in the States, England, Sweden and Australia. Although each country will have provided different challenges, she will have learned equally from each. Consequently, she is keen to encourage other players in the women’s’ game to test themselves in new cultures.

“Playing in different countries, experiencing different philosophies and playing styles, experiencing new cultures, being challenged and being out of my comfort zone has really helped me develop both on and off the pitch and I would recommend more players to experience this.”

Her career path has been unconventional and it held her back for a period. Taylor proved her quality early on as she scored 29 times for Tranmere before taking up a scholarship offer in America.

(Photo by Tobias Schwarz/Getty Images)

It was clear then that she had the tools to play for the national team, but her first England cap didn’t arrive until 2014. This was 12 years after her professional debut.

Since then, she has played her part as the team have become beloved and the increasing support underlines the growth of the women’s game.

“We have come a long way over the past few years. It has taken a lot of hard work, sacrifice and commitment, from both players and staff to get to where we are now (2nd in the world). We have a lot of depth to our squad, which has been huge in tournaments. 

“I hope that when people watch us play, they see heart, desire and pride and what it means to represent England. “

England Women’s captured the hearts of the nations as they made the semi-finals of the 2017 European Championships held in the Netherlands and, although they were eventually knocked out of the competition by the hosts, who went on to lift the trophy, they played some excellent football and emerged as a serious force in the global game.

The tournament also represented Taylor’s breakout as an international star, as she finished as the competition’s Golden Boot winner, with five goals. This included a hat-trick against Scotland during the group stages.

(Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

“I was extremely clinical with my finishing at the Euros. However, I put a lot of my success down to the team. My teammates provided brilliant service and created quality chances to allow me to put the ball in the back of the net. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have scored any of the goals that I did.”

The Seattle Reign forward comes is very humble about her performances during that competition, but it wouldn’t have come as a surprise to those that have followed her career closely. Taylor has scored a signifcant number of goals wherever she has played. Her finishing has only gotten better with added experience.

The European Championships have provided a platform for this England team and it is important that they continue pushing as a group. The World Cup is quickly approaching and Taylor spoke with confidence when discussing the chances of the team.

“I believe it will. In the last two major tournaments we have just fallen short of making it the whole way. We continue to keep improving and no doubt we will be contenders to win the World Cup next summer.”

A controversy involving Mark Sampson meant that the team’s management structure has undergone wholesale change throughout the last six months and that will likely impact England Women’s preparation for the World Cup.

Former Manchester UnitedEverton and England full-back Phil Neville was an unpopular appointment as the new Lionesses’ manager, but Taylor says first impressions have been positive.

“I was really impressed with how much he already knew about women’s football and the teams we faced at She Believes. His knowledge and experience is phenomenal. He’s been there and done it as a player. I have no doubt he will take us to another level.”

(Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Despite his lack of experience in the women’s game, Neville has played at the highest level and he will have expertise to pass down to the current Lionesses’ squad.

Taylor has shown that she is keen to continue learning and her new international manager will help her hone her craft further. She has scored twice since he took charge and will hope to remain a key player heading into the tournamant in France next year.

The game in this country continues to gain exposure and the appointment of Neville is likely a tool to continue that trajectory.

Taylor may now be plying her trade in the USA, but only last season she was playing for Arsenal, with whom she experienced the Women’s Super League first hand.

Her record ended as better than a goal every other game, but she admits that injury affected her time with Arsenal.

“I was a little unfortunate with an Achilles injury during my time at Arsenal. It kept me out for much of my first season and once I was back healthy for the second season the focus was on the National Team and the build up to the European Championships.

“I learned the importance of patience! It is an injury that takes time to heal and I found it very frustrating and difficult to be on the sidelines and to not push getting back on the pitch. The club were supportive throughout the process, which I really appreciated.”

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Although they have been dominant in the Women’s game in the past, Arsenal didn’t win the WSL during Taylor’s spell with the club.

There were some good times for the forward in North London, but her struggles with injury did limit her impact, especially during her debut season.

During her time back in England, there was an improvement in quality, but Taylor admits it remains behind the NWSL.

“The WSL has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. Teams such as Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea are extremely professional and well supported by the men. The facilities are incredible and are attracting better and better players to the clubs.

“In terms of the standard of the league overall, I don’t think the WSL is as competitive as the NWSL, as a whole, and still needs to improve the teams outside of the top clubs.”

At the age of 31, Taylor has already achieved a lot in her career and has been playing at a high level for over ten years. However, there is a lot more for her to achieve.

The NWSL and World Cup will be her priority with team success being the main objective.

It would be remarkable if England did win the competition for the first time in their history. If they are to achieve that, the Seattle Reign star will have a part to play.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2018 The Boot Room.