Last Saturday, we made one of our forays from darkest Rutland up to Goodison Park. It was a very special day: my five-year-old grandson was joining us for his first to a live match at Goodison. This, of course, entailed a visit to the Everton One store where the full kit was bought and the name on the back he chose was Barkley and the number 20.

During the match, I watched Barkley intensely, especially when he didn't have the ball. He didn't have a great game – who did? He seemed to run at players and then stop and look for a sideways pass, a tactic which is obviously worked on at Finch Farm as most of the Everton team did the same thing and the ball went endlessly across the park. Now Barkley had more excuse than most: he's coming back from injury, he's obviously not at peak fitness or match sharpness, but he's also in many ways as gifted as any young player in the country.

I've wondered over the last few days what will be Barkley's role in the Everton team? As a midfielder, will he be an attacking midfielder, like Scholes, Lampard or our own Tim Cahill? They played mainly in their opponent's half and drifted into the box finding space and scoring regularly. But Barkley rarely gets into the box and even at set pieces where his six-foot frame could be very useful, he positions himself outside of the box, waiting to drive in a misplaced clearance.

With his power and size, he could develop into a box-to-box rampaging midfielder, like Robson or Gerrard. Robson's stamina was outstanding and Gerrard always had the energy and the ability to split a defence with a 40-metre pass. Again, I'm not sure if that's Barkley's strength.

He could play deep alongside McCarthy, and run the midfield as Pirlo does, being ever available for a pass and dictating the tempo of a game with a range of passing, long and short.

In the old days, he might have been a second striker playing off or just behind a powerful frontman, like Law, Greaves, Keegan or our own magnificent Roy Vernon... but that role has disappeared, in favour of a player at the head of a diamond, which is really the role Cahill etc play.

Barkley has a marvellous build, he has pace, he's two-footed and has a great shot in both feet. But what will be his role? Has he the footballing intelligence to be the main man in the Everton team? There'll be Coleman, Stones, McCarthy, Mirallas, Lukaku, Barkley, plus the academy players... the potential is immense, but Barkley needs a role and Martinez's job is to utilise his ability and develop this supremely gifted young player, so that he doesn't drift through games showing us just cameos of his ability.

I know Barkley is still young, coming back from injury etc... but I would like to see him making himself the main man in the Everton midfield. Funnily enough, in many ways, he's like that other great talent Yaya Toure who does so well for Man City, except in Europe or games against the big teams when he drifts out of the game. The cricket term is a flat-track bully and I don't want that to be Barkley's fate. He's the best homegrown midfield talent since Colin Harvey and he needs to be as central to Everton's team as Harvey was from the day he forced his way into the team.

Incidentally, my grandson loved his first live Everton game. He looked a little surprised when I told him my first Everton game yielded 12 goals, an 8-4 win over Plymouth Argyle... I did tell him that, almost 500 games later, I've yet to see another 12-goal game!

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Michael Kenrick
1 Posted 05/11/2014 at 15:05:16
You make some great points there, Rick. The potential is most definitely there but, very similar to Lukaku, it's simply not being used in the best way for the team currently.

We could be such a fantastic attacking team if Lukaku, Barkley, Mirallas, McGeady and yes McCarthy all played up to their incredible potentials with the right roles in the side and instructions to get themselves and the ball forward with pace to put the opposition defence under some real pressure.

Sam Hoare
2 Posted 05/11/2014 at 15:18:05
Some good questions. The trouble is that he is being played as the central attacking midfielder and as such a lot of moves flow through him but he is not to my mind that gifted creatively. He's not a player to spot an intricate through ball. Or at least not yet.

His strengths seem to lie mainly in running with the ball and being able to shoot and pass decently off both. But if he comes up against a crowded defense as against Swansea then there is no room to run into and it's hard to fashion space for a shot.

I think box-to-box is about right and Toure and Gerrard seem the best comparisons to me. Trouble is that at the moment our formation has two defensive central midfielders and one attacking and perhaps Ross does not specialise in either. Might it be that Martinez has to change his favoured formation to get the best out of the boy wonder?

Dave Lynch
3 Posted 05/11/2014 at 15:50:08
Someone will ger the best out of him but I fear it will not be Martinez...
Anthony Hughes
4 Posted 05/11/2014 at 15:48:44
I think I prefer to see him in the "hole" position behind the striker. From that positon he can slot the passes into his forward or if he's going to run and carry the ball and commit opposing players then he's doing it from the last third of the pitch and close to goal.
Jay Harris
5 Posted 05/11/2014 at 15:55:39
I have held the view all season that team selection is preventing most players from reaching their potential. Let me expand on that.

Naismith, Lukaku and Eto'o are all centre-forwards in the traditional sense with Naismith having a high workrate but inferior ball control to Eto'o; Lukaku's strength is running at defenders but poor first touch, especially with back to goal. When Lukaku is playing his game, he looks good alongside Barkley without Naismith and Eto'o.

IMO the problem is they are all crowding the same space and not opening up defenders by running wide; additionally, with so many forwards, the midfield is weaker so Barkley is the only midfield player who is forward and therefore has no-one to link up with except 2 or 3 forwards all in the same space.

That is why we play better with Ossie in the team, even though he may be the weakest link. I would like to see Besic, McCarthy, Barry and Barkley in the same team and then see how Barkley does.

Liam Reilly
6 Posted 05/11/2014 at 15:58:50
The number 10 role for me and give him license to drift. Because of his quality he's now a marked man and the freedom to drift and drop deep around the park would carry defenders with him making space for the other forward players.
Jay Rollinson
7 Posted 05/11/2014 at 15:58:26
Definitely not one of his better games but he was being asked to play on the left wing when he is predominantly right footed, which meant him having to turn infield most times. Secondly, when he did get the ball and run with it, he had to 'stop and look for a sideways ball' because there was no room left to run and no Everton players ahead of him (at least until Lukaku came on), so had to wait for support arriving through the middle. Eto'o spent most of the game dropping deep or out to the right and Naismith just wasn't at it all day.

As for his best position? He should be a simple central midfielder at the end of the day. Playing almost as a second striker is alright as a stop gap but, as he shown often at youth level, he can dictate play from the middle of the pitch when given the chance. There was a snapshot of this ability in the Goodison derby last season when he was moved deeper and took the game by the scruff of the neck and, in my opinion, that's where his long term future should lie.

Tom Bowers
8 Posted 05/11/2014 at 16:08:14
Barkley must be a starter from now on. Obviously, like any other player, he should be left out if his form drops or he is injured but, when fit, he can be the match winner and is learning all the time.

I wish also we had two players like McCarthy as then we could have one deep and one as a permanent attacker from midfield. I think he could be the Â’Â’Peter ReidÂ’Â’ type offensive midfield captain that the team is crying out for. Sadly, Gibson with his injury problems cannot give the team that option and probably RM doesnÂ’t see it that way anyway.

This season we have seen, Naismith, Mirallas and Osman slot into midfield roles but none of them have the tackling skills necessary to make Everton a powerful team in that department. Mirallas has to be up front more alongside the main target man when he comes back with Barkley just behind.

Oviedo may also come good as the left-sided midfielder if Pienaar is not rated anymore come January Besic has talent but needs to control his tackling and I think he will be a force with the right coaching.

Andrew Ellams
9 Posted 05/11/2014 at 16:28:21
Best in a 4-3-3 linking the midfield and the forwards. Would be a great provider for a front 3 of Lukaku, Mirallas and EtoÂ’o. He is the player Osman never quite became.
Steavey Buckley
10 Posted 05/11/2014 at 16:35:51
The two most important players in the Everton team are Barkley and Lukaku, because these two players make things happen on the field; when Barkley runs at defenders, he takes them away from Lukaku, who then is in a much better situation to receive a pass and score. Like the game against Aston Villa at home this season. Yet, recently on this forum some fans are running these two fantastic players down.
Patrick Murphy
11 Posted 05/11/2014 at 16:40:16
I don't think that Ross can play any other position but the number 10 role, but that means he is easily marked, so it's up to the other attackers to make space for themselves, from this viewpoint I would push Baines further up the pitch at least until Mirallas returns which would mean putting a youngster in the left back position. I would also put Barry alongside Jags at the heart of the defence. The problem at the moment is that too many players are not performing to their true capabilities and it is noticeable that Naismith has performed poorly since Ross returned obviously as that number 10 role is also Naismith's preferred position.

I find it difficult to name our best formation / best eleven at the moment because a) many are under performing and b) It is difficult to see what it is that Roberto wants from his team at least from an attacking perspective.

Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Barry, Garbutt; McGeady, McCarthy, Osman (Gibson), Baines; Barkley (Naismith); Lukaku (Eto'o)

It's not easy this managerial lark!

David Chait
12 Posted 05/11/2014 at 17:09:20
The most influential I have seen Barkley was the U17 European Championships I think it was. He ran the team by always being the outlet and moving the ball very much like Gerard to be fair. Getting up field at the right time, he was THE outlet... We have him too far up in my opinion... but then we have two defensive midfielders... tricky!
Geoff Evans
13 Posted 05/11/2014 at 17:34:07
David, 12 – That's one defensive midfielder too many.
Dick Brady
14 Posted 05/11/2014 at 18:53:09
Barkley has always been the type of player who can be brilliant for one game and then very average for the next three. That's fine because he's young and the hope is he'll eventually develop into a player who can do it every game but the injuries seem to be holding back his development.

Moyes used Barkley sparingly because of the games he would disappear from and Moyes preferred consistent performers. Roberto is more willing to accept the average performances from Barkley in the hope that he'll turn it on every now and again.

What we really need is for Barkley to stay free from injury for the rest of the season. Hopefully that will lead to him playing much more football and finally developing into a more consistent player.

Adam Luszniak
15 Posted 05/11/2014 at 18:59:52
Really interesting topic this one. From my point of view I think it's difficult to evaluate players solely as individuals when they play a team game. For me, Barkley is at his best when he's charging up the field with Mirallas and Lukaku. These three seem to bring the best out of each other in my eyes.

To do this, I think Ross is best utilised behind the striker. As has been stated he seems at his best when running with the ball at his feet, yet I wouldn't discount his passing off hand.

As I remember it, It was Ross who set McGeady off for the only move of any note during the Lille away game. It's just a shame that McGeady couldn't find a cross of similar quality to the ball he received from Ross!

Eddie Dunn
16 Posted 05/11/2014 at 18:57:13
Dave 3, I fear that you will be proved right.

It is hard to see him fulfill his promise within our current system.

Ian Tunstead
17 Posted 05/11/2014 at 19:46:08
What do you mean, "Barkley has a marvellous build"? What exactly is a 'marvellous build' to play football? Does Messi, Xavi or Rooney have a marvellous build? Did Maradona, Pele, Cruyff, Platini or Best? The only top player I can think of with a similar build to Ross is Zidane.

Maybe there is no such thing as a 'marvellous build'.

Henrik Lyngsie
18 Posted 05/11/2014 at 20:26:34
Currently we play two defensive midfielders who are not very creative nor offensive. But they allow the full backs to be very offensive. At times we appear as lacking creativity in the midfield with this setup.

I have in other threads suggested to play Barkley as defensive midfielder alongside McCarthy when we need more creativity maybe at home against the middle teams.

In the longer run, when he becomes more mature and disciplined, I think he could develop into a world class central/defensive midfielder. Imagine, 3 years from now, how strong a partnership McCarthy & Barkley could become.

Phil Walling
19 Posted 05/11/2014 at 20:28:19
If the insistence on ticci-tacci is the undoing of Barkley, Martinez will never be forgiven. Judges far outside the Everton camp see this lad as something really special.

Unfortunately, due to a chequered history of injuries and – I think – confusion about his role in the team, we have all too rarely seen the best of him.

Early days, I know... and consistency is something which he –and many of his team-mates – must strive for. Unfortunately, I don't think this direct type of player fits the Martinez mould and he may – very regrettably – have to move away to fulfill his massive potential.

Then, of course, it will be Kenwright who gets the blame!

Paul Tran
20 Posted 05/11/2014 at 20:54:25
Phil, what is the 'insistence on tici-taca'? Your own old thread shattered your nonsense that Guardiola and Martinez are fans of pointless passing. The only way Martinez is going to 'ruin' Barkley is by playing him when he's not fit.

Jay Harris's point about too many similar players is spot-on. Like his predecessor, Martinez seems to keep his trust in certain players, leading to an unbalanced team.

The main problem at the moment is whether Lukaku and Barkley are actually fit or not. I think Martinez is happy for Barkley to drift around, he just needs more balance around him. There are too many players who are playing in a not-quite striker, not-quite midfield role.

If it was me, I'd play Barry centre back, a midfield four of Besic, McCarthy, Barkley, Osman for an hour (Mirallas/Oviedo when fit), with Lukaku and Eto'o up front. There's an option there to drop Eto'o behind with one up front, plus 30 mins of McGeady when Osman's knackered after 60. For all those obsessed with wingers, we've got the best attacking full-backs in the country, when they're given the space to penetrate.

What are your thoughts, folks?

Ian Bennett
21 Posted 05/11/2014 at 20:47:50
He looked lost wide left to me, and I am not sure he'll score/create enough as a 10 long term.

He will be a number 8, no doubt for me. In an ideal world I'd parter him with McCarthy and an Alonso type to dominate a midfield, going 3 up top to plunder the goals - oh for a Peter Beardsley. That said, I've been an Evertonian for 30 years so he'll probably be sold in January....

Phil Walling
22 Posted 05/11/2014 at 21:12:46
Paul, I think the 'old thread' shattered only the illusion that Guardiola was addicted to the style. Martinez was, I thought, admitted as not only one of it's founders but also a continuing disciple.

If that is not the case how do you then explain how so much of last Saturday's 67% possession of which he was so proud was made up of 'non-progressive' passes?

Mike Childs
23 Posted 05/11/2014 at 21:39:40
There's nothing wrong with Barkley; the boy just needs to play with his head up more. Unfortunately, the good ball control with his feet is costing him forward sight.
Colin Glassar
24 Posted 05/11/2014 at 21:40:21
Phil, wtf is ticci-tacci? Is that some new fangled pizza from Wigan? I knew they made great pies but I didn't know they were into fancy Italian grub.
Wayne Smyth
25 Posted 05/11/2014 at 21:48:34
I think our current formation or tactics aren't to Barkley's advantage when he's played behind a striker and the opposition defends deep. There quite simply isn't the space for him to run into and passing options are too often limited by the opposition being able to easily mark Lukaku or whoever is near him.

When we are playing teams that like to defend deep, like Swansea did, I would play Barkley as a central midfielder with licence to get forward. At least then he can move forward at pace, committing players and he won't always have a defender up his arse waiting to tackle him as soon as he receives the ball.

He's also wasted out wide. We need wide players on the wing who are able to stretch the opposition and get crosses in. When central midfielders are played out wide, they too often come inside further congesting the centre of the park.

Talk of him being turned into a defensive midfielder is ludicrous. Maybe when he's 33. His strength is his pace, two footed ability, shooting and stamina. Why would you lose all of that by asking him to sit in front of the back 4, spray passes and break up the opposition attacks?

However, that all said there are a few things to bear in mind when considering his performances thus far this season:

1) The team is generally not playing well;
2) Key players are still out injured or have been playing with injuries (eg, Lukaku);
3) We lack quality and pace in wide areas;
4) Barkley himself hasn't played a lot of football this season and is probably still getting himself fully match sharp.

Kevin Tully
26 Posted 05/11/2014 at 22:12:04
There is no 'enigma' as far as I'm concerned. Quite simply, this boy will become as good as any attacking midfielder in the Premier League once he gains some vital experience.

Ross is still very green, and he needs a good run in the side, without injuries hampering his progress. The trouble with young talent like Ross (and it seems Lukaku) is that – if they aren't winning games single handedly, or scoring wonder goals every week – they are labelled as 'average' or even slated by some.

A poorly timed original post, in my opinion, it will take the lad at least 4-6 weeks to get back up to full speed, and we aren't playing particularly well at this point either.

Both Barkley, and Lukaku will be a superb partnership in the coming weeks but, as always, the children amongst us will be whinging if they don't score a brace each in the next game.

Steve Pugh
27 Posted 05/11/2014 at 22:36:19
Phil #23,

How much of last Saturday's possession was non-progressive?

What is your source? and how do you define non-progressive?

Colin Glassar
28 Posted 05/11/2014 at 22:57:07
The lad has bags of talent. Once he matches that with a bit of experience, he will be unstoppable (hopefully for us).

His best position would be driving deep from midfield dictating play and tempo.

Bobby Thomas
29 Posted 05/11/2014 at 23:25:40
Ian #17

Barkley’s a very similar build to Michael Ballack.

Trevor Lynes
30 Posted 05/11/2014 at 23:28:17
A Number 10 is the old inside left, which was Roy Vernon's position; an attacking midfield player which is what they are called today should be scoring goals. That is what the lad needs to do if he is ever going to become a finished product.

In the '80s we would have four or even five players in double figures at the season's end. Mountfield scored 14 from centre-half.

Barkley and other midfielders need to shoot more often. The game is about goals and the best forward players score and that includes Barkley, Osman, Pienaar, Naismith and McGeady. We are missing Mirallas big time.

Willy Russell
31 Posted 05/11/2014 at 23:38:01
Barkley built like Ballack? Bollocks
Harold Matthews
32 Posted 06/11/2014 at 00:14:57
I didn't think he played too bad the other day. Don't know what all the panic's about.
Steve Carse
33 Posted 06/11/2014 at 01:01:53
Barkley is about a year behind where he should be in his development due to the limited game time he got under Moyes's tutelage. He now needs to be playing in EVERY game to get him fit, into a rhythm, and to improve his still dodgy decision-making.
Michael Kenrick
34 Posted 06/11/2014 at 04:55:15
In the '80s we would have four or even five players in double figures at the season's end.

Memory playing tricks on you in your old age, Trevor. Four happened only once — in our best ever season: 1984-85.

Multiple players getting into double figures for league goals in a season is pretty much a rarity for Everton – at best it's usually just one: check out Everton Top Scorers by season.

Paul Tran
35 Posted 06/11/2014 at 07:44:42
I'll tell you why, Phil, it was because of a lack of movement and an absence of players running at a packed defence. As both Guardiola and Martinez keep saying, you keep the ball and pass it around to get the other team out of position. You then use pace/flair to strike.

Where I agree with your constant cynicism is that it looks great on paper until no one takes the responsibility to make something happen. All too often, we take the 'easy' option to pass sideways.

There's nothing wrong with keeping the ball, all the best sides do it. Martinez has to get them taking more risks, though if he did, I'd look forward to seeing you on here criticising the team for giving the ball away.

John Atkins
36 Posted 06/11/2014 at 08:21:36
Got an invite to hospitality at the Citeh game last night so thought I would go along for some free scran.

All the talk after the game from their delusional fans was how they have to go after Ross in January!!! That they need a young, passionate attacking midfielder who can run at the opposition and take players on as well as someone who gives 110%. (Unlike most of their Foreign players last night who seem not to give a shite.)

Made me think how proud I was to have someone like that at our club – and he is one of our own!!

Phil Walling
37 Posted 06/11/2014 at 08:48:37
Perhaps, Paul, I should have said 'non-productive' rather than 'non-progressive' although merely holding the ball for its own sake can often be used to 'run down the clock' which, in itself, might be a means to an end!

I think Guardiola talked of close passing to lure opponents to one area of the pitch and then, with an incisive pass, switch play elsewhere. Perhaps too academic for me but I do think Martinez has not yet got over the message of when his players should 'make the switch'.

But do you not agree that 'our man' seems to give too much credence to possession stats as though they were an end in themselves? Or are the players he has to work with incapable of applying the incisive switch pass the other Spaniard referred to?

Trevor Lynes
38 Posted 06/11/2014 at 09:13:42
OK Mike, perhaps I am doting but I remember five in double figures the season you mention plus three with double figures on quite a few occasions. I think the one I missed was when Steven only scored nine but ten overall.

My point actually is the dearth of goals coming from Pienaar, Osman, Barkley and others including McCarthy and Barry. If players do not shoot then they cannot score and the players mentioned are hardly ever shooting.

If Barkley is to fully reach his potential then the lad must do what he is supposedly doing in training, banging a few in. Last season we were having plenty of attempts on goal but just lately we are hardly troubling the opposing goal keepers. This is certainly not all down to Lukaku and EtoÂ’o.

Paul Tran
39 Posted 06/11/2014 at 18:18:15
Phil, I completely agree with you about possession stats, they are meaningless nonsense that are only used when the result isn't right.

Your second point is really interesting. The players clearly are capable of 'making the switch', but can they do it consistently? Or is Martinez consistently able to get the message across?

Plenty of sides other than Barcelona keep the ball well, create and score chances. There's no reason why this squad can't. Martinez has to get on them to be bold, shoot or just be more direct in the final third. It's frustrating watching us hold back from the only statistics that matter.

Ian Tunstead
40 Posted 06/11/2014 at 19:42:39
Bobby I think you missed my point. If it mattered what build you had to play football, Anichebe would have been the best player in the world.

This has been the problem with scouting for years looking for big strong athletic players while the real talented footballers who are on the small side are written off. That's okay if you want to play like Stoke but most of the best players in history have been small or flimsy looking like the players I listed. Ballack was hardly one of the best players in history, was he?

Bill Gall
41 Posted 06/11/2014 at 19:51:54
The way that Martinez chops and changes his teams, plays players out of position, I believe it is nearly impossible to define Barkley's position.
Phil Walling
42 Posted 07/11/2014 at 14:01:52
I tried on another thread to tease out where people thought Ross Barkley could best be accommodated and, in particular, where he would have improved last night's display.

I got few takers which tends to bear out my view that it depends which Barkley turns out and that it's just to soon to answer the question.

Phil Walling
43 Posted 07/11/2014 at 18:10:46
An old Everton buddy just rang to ask me if I knew if we won more games with or without Barkley in the side .I'm no stato and the situation is confused by all those 10 minute cameos make these days.

Anybody got the figures to hand ?

Lyndon Lloyd
44 Posted 07/11/2014 at 18:27:53
Phil, I looked into that a couple of weeks ago and found that there was no real difference in our results when Barkley was in the side.

I didn't record any specific stats because there wasn't I wasn't seeing a hypothesis you could form based on his availability.

Rob Halligan
45 Posted 07/11/2014 at 18:50:24
Just reading the "gossip'column" on the BBC website. While I know it's only a rumour, and none of us believe them, The Times is saying Man City are preparing to sell Yaya Toure next summer, and replace him with either Paul Pogba, or surprise surprise, Ross Barkley. Funny coz I didn't know Barkley was available for sale. Don't know about Pogba though. These tabloids just piss me right off.
Phil Walling
46 Posted 07/11/2014 at 19:34:15
Lyndon, thanks for that, I rather thought as much. I guess the real question is whether by end of season we will be better off if Ross has played as a regular.

Time will tell.

Rick Tarleton
47 Posted 07/11/2014 at 20:47:57
Years and Years ago, I was taken with a team to Lilleshall, then the Mecca of England training and the coach, I think his name was Alan Wade, he was something with the England youth or Under 23. Yes, it was that long ago, set-up, and all he shouted at us was "width and depth".

Width was basically passing to one of ours along the line, but depth was a pass through that took a layer of defence out. basically Everton (and Arsenal, Liverpool, Swansea et alia) do the width, but don't do the depth. Barkley ought to be the kind of player, with his immense talent, to run this midfield and make depth happen. Because I'm ancient, it isn't Gascoigne (he's better than him) I compare him with, but Charlton (Bobby, not Jack) who could run at defences, shoot with either foot, and deliver a defence-splitting pass.

Barkley ought to be that good with his gifts and talent but, as most people have commented, it's simply not happening. I think Barkley's that good, but he looks lost in the Everton set-up, for whatever reason. I posted this to see if my view was a minority, that basically, he's not so far delivered at all on his potential.

Bobby Thomas
48 Posted 07/11/2014 at 21:02:09
Willy Russell #32

Fantastic insight.

By the way. Barkley & Ballack are the same height.

Barkley is still filling out and is well built anyway, clearly spent time in the gym.

You’re the one talking bollocks, lad.

Paul Tran
49 Posted 07/11/2014 at 21:11:55
Like a long list of promising young EFC players, Barkley has been hyped. He is talented, could be anything and will play a part in whatever we do this season.

The top players do it consistently; so far he hasn't done that. Martinez shouldn't play him because we think/wish he's going to be special, he should play him when he earns his place. I'm also wondering whether he's 'managing' Ross's fitness.

If he's as good as we hope he is, he should be shining whatever the shape of the team. I think he could be the one that threads our team together, but he has to deliver consistently.

Better to judge him on what he does this Sunday, rather than his absence in a 3-0 win.

Colin Glassar
50 Posted 07/11/2014 at 21:29:19
Paul, it's hard to be consistent when you are consistently injured. Every time the lad seems to be hitting a bit of form something happens to him.

I agree he needs to nail down a place/position in the team or he could end up being a jack of all trades like Rooney. I just hope Roberto identifies that position before he goes the way of so many talented young players who have failed to live up to their potential.

Willy Russell
51 Posted 07/11/2014 at 21:29:07
Blimey, Bobby... Barkley – Ballack – Bollocks.

’Fantastic insight’ on your part methinks. Just a bit of word fun actually – but I’ll take your word for it that they are exactly the same size.

Tony Abrahams
52 Posted 07/11/2014 at 22:13:30
Barkley is going to be a great player, but itÂ’s going to take time, of course. IÂ’ve seen him play great games against all the big teams bar Chelsea, but never seen him play two great games in succession.

He needs to develop mentally because he missed a lot of football through injury at the stage of his career when this usually happens naturally. I think he knows how good he his but generally gets excited instead of just doing things naturally and then dwells on it when he knows he should have done better.

Like a kid who tries too hard to show you how good he is, Barkley will get it right in the end and then we can all enjoy "one of our own" help making the Blues great again!

Phil Walling
53 Posted 08/11/2014 at 01:00:04
Colin, a month away from his 21st birthday, Ross is far behind the level real geniuses like Rooney, Ball and Gazza were at that age.

Mainly because of development marred by injury, he is behind Oxlaid-Chamberlain, Walcott and Wilshere although, to me, more talented.

I fear that, for all the flashes of brilliance, he must establish himself this season or follow the Rodwell trail.

Charles Cook
55 Posted 08/11/2014 at 02:55:49
Tony 53 – he was very good against Chelsea in the 1-0 win last season; poor down there mind you.

Phil 54 – Why 'must' he establish himself this season? What will happen if he doesn't? Perhaps he'll turn into a pumpkin... How are you defining 'establish'?

Where do the Rodwell comparisons come in? I assume because of injuries but, given the very different nature of the injuries, surely it can't be that.

Can you help me with this paragraph because, at first glance it seems to be one of the most ridiculous ever on this engaging but variable site.

Tony Abrahams
56 Posted 08/11/2014 at 07:08:56
At the end of the day, though, Phil, the two players you mention above seem to have completely different mind sets.

I already think Barkley is established and it is clear to me that, for Everton to push on to the next level, then this kid is going to be central to the plan. You have already mentioned consistency and this will hopefully come with games, and not just to Ross by the way, but the whole squad in general.

Third game back from injury and already playing slightly out of position on the wing; Barkley has got to play central to realise his full potential. I still think your mate Roberto has got us on a leash at the minute, but it's surprising what a win at the bookies and a few whiskeys can do for some people!!!!!

Colin Glassar
57 Posted 08/11/2014 at 13:44:18
I don't disagree with you Phil. His career is at a crossroads right now as he could go the way of Gerrard, Gaza, Hoddle etc... Or the way of Rodwell, Eduardo, Joe Cole etc.... If he can stay fit he can be in that first group without a doubt.
Mike Childs
58 Posted 08/11/2014 at 16:50:51
At first, I wanted to totally disagree with you, Colin, and then I thought about it: if he does leave, it will be his downfall. One thing for certain I feel more comfortable about where his career will go under RM than OFM.
Phil Walling
60 Posted 09/11/2014 at 10:43:06
Tony, I spoke only of the team's performance against Lille. That could hardly have been better. If we lose today, winnings and scotch will count for nothing, believe me !

Returning to Barkley, I see his situation as having 'Rodwell' written all over it !

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