Ross Barkley

After Wednesday game against Ecuador and indeed most of last season I can’t be the only person who is mightly impressed with Ross Barkley. He is good at getting ball and running at defenders, he has pace, power and as proven against Man City a beautiful shot. He really is one of the brightest young English talents around and here in lies the problem.

“He’s got drive, he’s got energy, But he’s got a lot to learn as well, not least of all when he needs to release the ball, when he can turn with it, when he just needs to secure it, because for every good turn there was a time when he lost the ball and put us on the back foot defensively.”  “Barkley’s rather hoping he can get in the starting XI and be the main man. He has wonderful pace and ball control. What he’s got to learn is at this level every mistake can be crucial. The trick you try at the wrong moment could lead to the turnover that costs you the game. I was anxious to play down the expectations. I’ve seen too many young players lifted to the stars, made the new Keegan, the new Hoddle, the new Gascoigne, the new Terry, the new Rio. Every time someone has a half-good game, they are the new star.” – Roy Hodgson on Ross Barkley after Wednesday’s game.

These were the words of Roy Hodgson after the game on Wednesday and I can see exactly what he is trying to do, he’s trying to stop people like me and everyone else ranting and raving about Ross Barkley being a world beater at 20. He’s trying to lower our expectations so we don’t do what we’ve done with Wayne Rooney and put the weight of all our expectations on one players shoulders for 10 years.
While I can see what Roy is doing I think he needs to be careful about knocking Barkley down too much, after all he is only 20 and the be picked out for criticism after his 1st international can’t feel great. I honestly believe that a quiet word in private would have done better. Yes if you give the ball away against a team like Italy you might not see if again for 10 minutes, and in Manaus you don’t want to be chasing the ball for 10 minutes, but the positives from Ross in that game we’re very encouraging.

“He is a special player, a unique player and this is so rare. He is the biggest talent for his age I have seen in European football. He has power, pace and technical ability – elements you rarely find in a player. He would look at home in the Spanish, German or Dutch models, no doubt about it.” – Roberto Martinez on Ross Barkley

His club manager Roberto Martinez isn’t afraid to say how good he believes Ross is and I truly believe every word, and as an English man it is very exciting but I do also think that while he has potential he is still a long way from being an England starter on a regular basis and being truly one of the best players in Europe, with time he will get there, but right now I think he should be kept in the wings and slowly introduced.
Players like Barkley and Sterling are the future of English football and I would hate to see them burn out young or not be able to handle the pressure the fans and media will inevitably pile onto them so perhaps, for this World Cup at least, they should be kept as impact subs, where I believe they will be able to provide a great impact than if they start every game.