Why this is the season Ross Barkley must take the next step

This year Everton have returned to be one of the standout teams. In his third year as coach, Martinez has created a strong core of young and energetic players. Stones and Lukaku have often bagged the headlines due to their outstanding performances. Ross Barkley, however has also had an outstanding season to create this triumvirate of exciting Everton players. Often regarded as one of the most talented players to come through English football, Barkley has pundits and fans alike wondering when he’s finally going to take the next step.

Having been brought into the Everton first team squad for the 2014/15 season Barkley has shown serious promise. He has constantly drawn comparisons to great footballers, namely Gascoigne, Lampard and Michael Ballack. Many agree that Barkley has it all. He’s strong, quick, can dribble with ball, can shoot but also has the odd trick in his locker. Fast forward to last season and people were wondering whether Barkley would ever fulfil his potential. As this season has gone on though, it seems like Barkley is on the verge of becoming the player everyone thought he could be. As we enter the Christmas break, he stands with six goals and five assists already. Moreover, Barkley seems like he’s playing with more confidence. It does also help to play in a team with a lot of talent who are also playing at a high level.

At this present time , Everton is the best fit for Barkley. He is one of the main pieces within the Everton side. He has now become an integral part of the spine of Everton. Martinez has places huge emphasis on the player, and has played him a lot and often for the full 90 minutes. Barkley is ideally suited to be the number ten in an Everton side that plays high paced and counter attacking football. Moreover, he has a manager that obviously believes in his talent and importance with the team as he remarked that “When you’ve got that outstanding talent, you just need to fit it in a team” while also adding that Barkley is still very young. At only 22 he still is relatively young but at the same time the time he has the crucial stage where he needs to push onto the next level of his development.

When watching Barkley there is one problem that arises, it seems that he almost plays too fast. When he receives the ball, he looks to charge forward without letting the play develop. This not to stay that he is rushed, but rather that he is impatient. With the players around him, he doesn’t have to do everything. He is playing in an Everton side with some of the best young talent in the league while also being led by one of the better managers in the league, as Wenger said “He has massive potential because he has a good combination of technical qualities and physical qualities…he is certainly one of the most promising”.

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Internationally he is starting to become a Roy Hodgson favourite. At first Hodgson did doubt him over his ball retention and that he sometimes doesn’t stamp himself on games and challenged Barkley to show that he “can’t be left out”. Now Barkley has become an integral part of the England set up.

Last summer there were rumours of a move away Everton, namely to Man City. Now, Barkley is playing well this year and could maybe play a bit better. Sometimes he makes mistakes and maybe plays like a bit of a road runner – he looks to go as fast as possible and is sometimes sloppy, something that Roy Hodgson has reservations about. With the transfer rumours in mind, we must look at two things. Is this the season the season that Barkley breaks through and earns a big move away, or is it a season where Barkley improves and pushes Everton into the top four. Either way, it not only could be his breakthrough year, but it has to be the year that Ross Barkley steps up. Right now Barkley has the world at his feet. At club level he is playing in his hometown and amongst a strong core of young players looking to start a revolution at Everton. He’s playing well and it looks like this will be his year to shine, he certainly needs it to be if he’s going to fulfil his potential.

Featured image: all rights reserved by r..m.

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