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Ross Barkley – Messiah or Angell?

by   |   10/08/2014  Comments (89)  jump

This will undoubtedly divide opinion amongst posters on ToffeeWeb and risk the wrath of many but I want to raise what is, in my opinion, fast becoming an 'elephant in a room'... namely, Ross Barkley and just what he is going to add to our 'push on' this season.

Like every one of you, I acknowledge that the boy is undoubtedly a great talent with certain attributes that others his age, simply don't have. (Here it comes...) However, how is he going to now transform the 'sporadic' form of his debut season into becoming a week-in, week-out 'force' in the Premier League? At the moment, I don't see the type of drive and focus that will take him to the level that will ultimately see him mentioned alongside the elite players in Europe. This in itself is a worry, as we know he will still be attracting the type of media coverage that has destroyed many other 'talents' before him.

Let's be fair, there are not many 19-year-olds in Europe's top leagues who have been given the luxury of being 'carried' for a season, in an attempt to nurture their skills. I personally applaud Roberto for having the bravery to do this, but what worries me is that we don't see enough 'end product' from him, and looking at him in the World Cup – and, indeed, yesterday again – his conditioning simply doesn't allow him to influence games in slower, possession-based play.

His passing is becoming negative and his movement increasingly ponderous/static (in fact the Besic boy showed more dynamism yesterday, from a deeper role). He is a player that we have seen in flashes, excels in fast/powerful play (like his expensive new buddy up front) but he, in the 'free role', is the guy that needs to dictate the speed of play, and he simply isn't, for me, showing that he can do this on a regular basis. He has guys around him that sacrifice elements of their own game (and invite criticism) to do his defensive duties, which can limit our ability to switch tactics in games.

So now the honeymoon is over, he must deliver in a consistent manner. Also, he's not a surprise element this year and defenders will also have a plan to nullify him.

So ToffeeWebbers, how is he going to adapt and improve? Is the addition of some pacey new wingers (?) going to allow him to express himself? If not, how is he going to improve us this year?

ps: I do hope he finds the 'missing ingredient' and attracts all he big money 'speculation' next year as it will mean he has influenced another memorable year for our club!


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Reader Comments (89)

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Lyndon Lloyd
1 Posted 10/08/2014 at 17:02:36
John, I think the insertion of "Angell" is massively prejudicial from the very start! I realise it makes the title work but theyÂ’re completely different players and Ross has done more for this club already than that much-maligned striker ever did!

How will he improve? By playing under Roberto Martinez at the heart of our team. He is 20 and while more of what you ask could conceivably be asked of a player by that age, letÂ’s not forget that he lost a big chunk of his development time to long-term injury. He is still learning but is in the right system to do so.

I also don’t think there’s any merit to bringing up a) his performances in the World Cup which were – mercifully for his sake, as it turned out – too brief and happened in a broken system in a team without any cohesion or b) what has happened in pre-season because, well, it’s pre-season and doesn’t matter.

IÂ’ll concede that he does need to find consistency and Martinez must have a plan in place to deal with the matches where things just arenÂ’t happening for him (I see that as needing to come from a signing before the deadline but IÂ’m not confident it will happen) but, despite his quick rise to national prominence, I very much see his career as a gradual progression.

As for "what he is going to add to our Â’push onÂ’ this season", hopefully everything he did last year and more: Dynamic runs forward, link-up play, spectacular goals, free kicks...

Patrick Murphy
2 Posted 10/08/2014 at 17:05:55
How is the Honeymoon over? - he is a young player who has a lot to learn and he certainly has the basic skills to produce more than most players of his age. If in two years time he hasnÂ’t progressed to become the player which most Evertonians think he will be then the honeymoon may be over - but anyone expecting the finished product right here right now should have a long hard look at themselves and what they expect from a player who has less than 50 appearances under his belt.
Sam Morrison
4 Posted 10/08/2014 at 17:20:07
I think thereÂ’s a lot of pre-emptive stuff on TW right now; pieces that seem to imply weÂ’re on the verge of being let down by the manager and team. I know weÂ’re all a bit disappointed with the pre-season performances, but thatÂ’s all they are - pre-season.

IÂ’d certainly agree Ross needs to become more consistent, but thatÂ’s not going to happen overnight. HeÂ’s just signed a new contract and heÂ’s a young man who is still finding his way. I think he needs to be judged on the next three seasons, not the last three games.

Kev Johnson
5 Posted 10/08/2014 at 17:09:50
I think thereÂ’s a fundamental misunderstanding here on what his role is. HeÂ’s not playing in "the free role". HeÂ’s not a playmaker, nor is he suited to that role. As I said elsewhere, heÂ’s by nature a soloist rather than a conductor.

Martinez is aiming at fluidity in our positional play and the idea that an old fashioned number 10 is the creative genius, while his team-mates just get the ball and give it to him, is a bit old hat. Creativity and positional flexibility are expected from all the players. Destination: post-Barcelona Total Football Heaven. Next stop: Leicester!

I think what Ross needs to do is focus on making more goals for others this season. I have no doubt whatsoever that he will net a few screamers himself along the way.

Richard Nelson
6 Posted 10/08/2014 at 17:19:28
Ross is a talent, no doubt about that... but he has to stop taking so many touches, maybe the movement ahead of him isnÂ’t the best but he has to see the pass quicker...then he will be a great talent!
Lyndon Lloyd
7 Posted 10/08/2014 at 17:33:02
Kev (5): "HeÂ’s not playing in "the free role". HeÂ’s not a playmaker, nor is he suited to that role."

A very good point, one I forgot to raise in my response. He doesnÂ’t conform to the usual pigeon-holing of players, IMO.

Steve Carse
8 Posted 10/08/2014 at 17:27:52
IÂ’m not too sure what position BarkleyÂ’s supposed to be playing. Whatever it is, heÂ’s simply not involved enough.

I think too that heÂ’s now not too sure whether he should be passing the ball simply or trying to do something more with it. His natural instincts would seem to have been eroded, first by Moyes and more recently by Hodgson.

He seems to be a slow learner in terms of making his decisions. HeÂ’s still making the same poor decisions that made Moyes reluctant to play him.

Linda Morrison
9 Posted 10/08/2014 at 17:38:26
This is why I, on other threads, have said this will be a season of transition.

The young ones have had their first season in the sun when they showed their POTENTIAL, we need to be patient with them, all of them.

The manager has to try to keep the club near the top at the same time as managing the change over from the "old guard" to the new.

I think this will take at least a couple of seasons but he will get us there.

Have faith and letÂ’s stop being so negative

Ian Glassey
10 Posted 10/08/2014 at 17:37:43
John Cotton, I could not agree more I think your spot on, I have had many a heated disagreement with my mates after the match about Barkley. They think he is a world beater I do not, to me something is missing just my opinion.
Kev Johnson
11 Posted 10/08/2014 at 17:46:08
Lyndon - itÂ’s for precisely that reason that I favour a Pienaar-style player on the left of a 4-2-3-1, rather than an out-and-out-winger (which it looks like weÂ’re going to get with Atsu). IÂ’d like someone with a bit more patience to balance RossÂ’ impulsiveness. Mind you, I have a feeling weÂ’re going to be going 4-3-3 or 3-4-3 at times in the upcoming campaign. God knows how that will work! WeÂ’ll just have to wait and see...
Phil Walling
12 Posted 10/08/2014 at 17:32:23
I get your drift, John. Can we really afford to indulge his Â’occasional bursts of outrageous skillÂ’ in a side which is programmed towards a steady build up based on short passing ?

As a variant to this method - and in the short-to-medium term - the answer must be YES. But too many games in which he fails to make his mark - particularly if we are not picking up points - and I suspect he will be the first to be sacrificed.

Of course, it will be to Â’protect himÂ’ but in reality it will be because heÂ’s not making the progress we all expect of him.
My money is on his Â’coming throughÂ’ but he wouldnÂ’t be the first Â’wonder kidÂ’ to fail the test. Just look at Cleverley and Wilshire as examples of the breed.

Wayne Smyth
13 Posted 10/08/2014 at 17:48:03
No-one knows what Ross is capable of. Ross doesnÂ’t know, Martinez doesnÂ’t know, and we sure as hell donÂ’t either.

What we do know is that he is a level headed 20-year old with a willingness to listen and learn and more ability at his age than the vast majority of players out there. Easily the most talented player from our academy since Rooney.

I think when you look at BarkleyÂ’s performances, you have to take into account the players around him and the context of the match. Pre-season is a pointless canvas on which to judge a player, because Barkley does not have players on the same wavelength playing around him. There is no continuity to the team or tactics and importantly, Roberto seems to place more emphasis on the workout and the lessons that can be learnt than the actual result.

People complain about Barkley not assisting enough or contributing enough. Do they count the fouls he draws and the red cards he gained for us? The chances he created that were not put away? When Barkley has a bad game, how much of that is down to the players around him not performing?

I donÂ’t think we carried Barkley at all last year, I also donÂ’t think he "needs" to find consistency. Even playing inconsistently he was one of our better forwards. Is Mirallas consistent? Lukaku? Baines? Why is 20 year old Barkley singled out as having to meet some higher level of consistency than the rest of our squad?

I think over time weÂ’ll see Barkley mature and add a lot more to his game, especially as Roberto brings in quality players like Besic and Lukaku. WeÂ’ll see Barkley play a deeper role as he understands when he can and cannot give the ball away, and when he starts playing from deep, I think heÂ’ll probably end up having more space to run into and cause damage.

Lyndon Lloyd
14 Posted 10/08/2014 at 18:10:07
Kev, IÂ’m inclined to agree and IÂ’m not sure we need that out-and-out winger as a guaranteed, week-in, week-out starter in the side.

IÂ’m very much looking at this coming season in terms of variety and depth within the squad. I want Atsu or a winger like him in there so that we can play a different way when, as we saw in games like Southampton away last season, the system with which we start a given match just isnÂ’t working... at all!

Deulofeu was frustrating to watch at times but he was a nightmare for defenders when brought on late in matches and if Atsu has pace and is prepared to run at the opposition, then those are the kinds of options weÂ’re going to need.

What I also think we need – and it wouldn’t necessarily be a position that would work with Barkley in the same line-up – is a playmaker who can dictate play from the middle and create chances in the role that Osman was placed last season with varying consistency of effectiveness. As I say above, though, I don’t think that kind of player is on Roberto’s radar.

Raymond Fox
15 Posted 10/08/2014 at 17:49:54
Ross is suited to being a impact player at this stage of his career, heÂ’s a soloist as Kev 5 mentions not a play maker.

We are being too impatient, last year exceeded the great majority of fans expectations I think its right to say.
Ross and John both emerged with all the usual over the top media hype etc, became full England players very quickly, maybe too soon because they are both still very inexperienced and nowhere near the finished article.
IÂ’m not knocking them, just pointing out how wet behind the ears they still are.
They are both young diamonds but need time and be allowed to make mistakes.

I think what the friendlies showed how badly we need a link in midfield to get the ball up front more quickly, for me its where we are lacking most.

Sid Logan
16 Posted 10/08/2014 at 18:07:59

It takes a brave man to make the points you made.

However I believe taking account of is age and the fact (as Lyndon reminds us he lost a chunk of his development through major injury) he will come good.

Ross has a superb and natural ability and what he need from us as supporters is patience and time. The more he plays the more he will instinctively absorb what he needs to do and who better than Roberto to guide him?

I reckon by the end of this season you will have seen enough progress to to ensure we continue to support his development season by season. At the end of the day IÂ’m certain our patience will deliver a massive pay-off and the consistency and brilliance that we all hope for!

Thomas Surgenor
17 Posted 10/08/2014 at 18:22:15
Has anyone seen Gareth BaleÂ’s pics lately?
Ronaldo is clearly having an influence on him.

Point IÂ’m making is, Ross can be whatever he wants to be.
If he has the passion/commitment of Ronaldo or Bale and makes football his Â’lifeÂ’.
The he can be a world beater.

If not.. he can always reach the level of a Rooney (not a bad thing but not a Â’worldÂ’ star... just over hyped by English media.)

Mike Allison
20 Posted 10/08/2014 at 18:25:01
As so often, what I was about to say turns out to have been said already by Lyndon. Ignore the World Cup and pre-season (in years gone by you wouldnÂ’t even know the results pre-season let alone analyse performances) and look at the attributes he has as a player.

However, I agree there is a basic issue being correctly raised by the OP. Barkley, as we all constantly admit, still has a lot to learn. I think all thatÂ’s really happening here is that we are expressing a collective worry that he wonÂ’t develop in the way weÂ’re all hoping. He will have to find out what he can and canÂ’t do at the top level, and what works and doesnÂ’t work. Then he, along with his coaches, will have to figure out what he can do to improve, and what heÂ’ll have to accept as a limitation.

Knowing your own game can be as important as having the raw talent, and Barkley isnÂ’t in that position yet. Barry, for example, is.

Mark Frere
21 Posted 10/08/2014 at 18:34:42
I would like to see more goals from young Ross. We were treated to the odd spectacular goal last season but his actual goal return was quite disappointing. If heÂ’s not going to be the midfielder creator like a David Silva then I think he needs to score more goals. The lad has incredible natural talent and if he can improve his decision making in the final third and perfect the art of arriving in the box at the right time like Lampard has done for Chelsea, then Barkley can become a very special player.
Tony Abrahams
22 Posted 10/08/2014 at 18:11:45
John Cotton, he is 19 years of age and has already come back from two broken legs. The second break would have finished a lot of kids but alls it did to Barkley was rob him of another year of his development.

Some good points John, but what do you want from someone with so few games under there belt? The finished article? I only ask because you did say in your article that he has been carried for a season?

Peter Z Jones
23 Posted 10/08/2014 at 18:18:26
John. What the hell? ToffeeWeb really is the land of pessimism disguised as realism sometimes. How does this piece "divide" opinion? IÂ’ve actually yet to hear any pundit or person I know speak of Barkley in anything but a positive light. HeÂ’s an incredible midfield prospect with rare physical gifts and surprisingly advanced technical ability. Period.

The question of whether Ross can improve his sporadic form is posed. You ask how this can happen as if itÂ’s completely implausible that a young player with minimal experience can improve with more game time and practice. This is how any human that has ever dedicated his/her life to any discipline has improved. ItÂ’s pretty fucking simple. Whether he does or not is the unknown, as Wayne Smyth so aptly put.

But what is the point of the glass half empty attitude? If Ross was 25 and still making the same mistakes a la Aaron Lennon, then I could understand this point of view, but heÂ’s 20 for ChristÂ’s sake. And whatÂ’s more ridiculous is that youÂ’ve raised all these doubts before the season has even started. Not cool man.

Kev Johnson
24 Posted 10/08/2014 at 18:54:15
As someone who lives down South and comes into contact with supporters of various other teams, I can tell you that all of them are amazed by Our Ross. If I could sum up their comments with one word it would be "Wow!"
Ken Buckley
25 Posted 10/08/2014 at 19:14:12
I think with Ross we should stop thinking of him as a Â’Wonder KidÂ’ but rather a very promising youngster who has the belief and the backing of the team manager and his staff.

There is a need to be patient until they can get him fulfilling that great potential on a regular basis or not as the case may be.

It is a certainty that the staff know his high and low spots and will be working to eradicate the low spots and give him the understanding of how to use his high spots to enhance his performance to the point where his spasmodic flashes of genius will become part of his all round team play.

To this end I can see him playing only parts of quite a few games this season. I believe he can blossom and I wish him all the luck in the world.

Dominic Tonge
26 Posted 10/08/2014 at 19:39:01
I think that we should also take into account the following: Ross had a major injury, which set his development back about twelve months at a very important time. He showed massive maturity to not let the injury get him down. He went about his rehabilitation as apposed to going out with his mates and letting his fitness and his bond with staff and teammates being eroded.

Ross also took being farmed out on loan well. This is despite playing in a Sheff Wed team that was, not good, and not really condusive to him being coached with an emphasis on positive, technical, possession based football. This was hardly remedied by a stint at Leeds, under (I believe) the odious Warnock. Hardly a Cruyff like mentor. Ross didnÂ’t really figure there, and when he did, he spent most of his time watching the ball get lumped from the back line to the strikers.

My point is that Ross is young, and he has shown a willingness to work, to learn, and to earn the right to play his football. There is not a player who canÂ’t be coached, and I am sure RM and staff will have a far more fluid and freeflowing type of football in mind, I am also sure this will suit our better, more technically gifted players. Ross is amongst that group.

David Chait
27 Posted 10/08/2014 at 20:05:03
He clearly isn’t a playmaker yet... But the position he plays and the way RM speaks about him I do think he intends for him to grow into that role.
I recall the U17 World Cup I think it was where he was a very clear playmaker... But him along with many others in our team need to stop trying to be heroes and just pass sometimes... I don’t know if Everton can afford a soloist unless he turns out to be Pele...
Don’t forget Besic is only a year older and shows more technical ability and vision already... Man we have a player there. I think RM sees more in training that we have only seen in small doses so far.. Reckon there is lots to come.
Mike Childs
28 Posted 10/08/2014 at 21:04:38
HeÂ’s going to have to improve or loose his minutes this year as our midfield is deep. He has the skills to do it. Like everyone else I would have love to have seen a few assist last year but again as someone already stated is his fault that most of his best pass were wasted by the player receiving the pass. BesicÂ’ versatility and desire is going to put a few on notice if they want first team football.
Dave Williams
29 Posted 10/08/2014 at 21:16:53
I hope he doesnÂ’t read this thread and get discouraged by some of what is said.

Very few players are mature at 20 and the fact that Ross is an unconventional type of player will make it a longer process. The only players of his type I have seen are Gascoigne and to a lesser extent the young Ballack and Ross has a style which cannot be coached. He will learn when to pass and when to run with the ball over the next couple of years but I think most of his learning will be self taught as he works out how to adapt and impose his natural game on the opposition.

Give him time - GascoigneÂ’s game matured quicker and he ruined himself!

Dick Fearon
30 Posted 10/08/2014 at 22:06:28
I can only go on what knowledgeable writers have said and frankly it is worrying. There seems two main lines of thought and the worry is that neither is positive.
The one that goes Â’ itÂ’ll be alright on the nightÂ’ is more fingers crossed and hopeful than genuinely positive.
The other line of thought is very far from positive and tends to be filled with doubt and purely negative.
In light of our pre season performances there is absolutely no doubt that a massive improvement is required and quickly.
I fall somewhere between both camps and trust in Roberto to find a solution.
I expect the first three games to be a slug fest with points at a premium. Four would be a decent return with a win against Leicester a definite must.

Dick Fearon
31 Posted 10/08/2014 at 23:01:03
I inadvertently omitted a final paragraphs which said we cannot afford Ross to drift in and out during these early games.
Jon Withey
32 Posted 10/08/2014 at 23:05:42
No doubt Barkley, Stones and Lukaku will discover consistency over the next few years - similar to McCarthy and Coleman.

I clearly remember how poor Jagielka, Baines and Fellaini were initially.

It does seem to take a couple of seasons to get into the habit of regularly putting in good performances.

Bob Hannigan
37 Posted 10/08/2014 at 23:16:48
LetÂ’s see how he does after about a dozen fixtures. He is still a kid and seems to be very level headed. IÂ’d rather have him than not. Great skills, great potential and an Evertonian at heart, not focused on moving on.
Si Cooper
41 Posted 10/08/2014 at 23:56:29
F*ck me! We managed to get 5th last season and we were Â’carryingÂ’ players?!

How many games did the lad cost us? Who should have been playing instead of him?

People are setting ridiculously high standards. LetÂ’s wait and see how he does (when he is used) before we obsess about his failings.

Harold Matthews
43 Posted 10/08/2014 at 23:55:19
HeÂ’s not a creative No10. HeÂ’s Ross Barkley. HeÂ’s unique. HeÂ’s very special.....and he plays for Everton.
Charles Cook
45 Posted 11/08/2014 at 00:15:20
Interesting to see Ross unfavourably compared to Besic. Not sure about that at all . Mo looks very promising but raw and certainly gave the ball away very cheaply in the last match but thatÂ’s the honeymoon period I guess.

The guy was fabulous at times, generally good and occasionally quiet, thatÂ’s my take on his season and stood comparison with any player his age in the league.

For me there isnÂ’t a young English player IÂ’d rather have , and going back to the original post, I thought he had a very decent World Cup and havenÂ’t picked up any suggestion his stock dropped there.

Andrew Keatley
46 Posted 11/08/2014 at 00:33:12
Ross Barkley is special. He can do things that other players canÂ’t and he can see things that other players donÂ’t.

ItÂ’s about execution though. So far weÂ’ve seen occasional games punctuated by his brilliance, several games that seem to have passed him by entirely, and even a few games when he has been something of a liability. ThereÂ’s an argument to be made for the fact that, to paraphrase Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (a ToffeeWeb first?), "when he is good he is very very good, and when he is bad he is horrid."

One of the downsides of being a special player is that people expect you to be special all of the time. As far as IÂ’m concerned, if we want to encourage Ross to succeed then we have to be prepared for him to put in the odd horrid mistake. ItÂ’ll pay off in long run. And the more experience he gets, the more mistakes heÂ’s allowed to make, will only stand him - and us - in greater stead when he comes into his prime (provided heÂ’s still here!) and is able to exercise better judgement of when to try and show how special a player he is, and when to just be solid and unspectacular.

Jason Lam
47 Posted 11/08/2014 at 02:37:07
He's still very young we won't see the best of his career this season so don't fret it. COYB
John Daley
48 Posted 11/08/2014 at 04:24:19
"...I want to raise what is, in my opinion, fast becoming an 'elephant in a room'... namely, Ross Barkley"

Bearing in mind that the idiom you chose to use means a glaringly obvious problem that people simply refuses to acknowledge, it seems bizarre that Ross Barkley is your chosen target. If the boy is a problem then he's a problem any other Premier League manager would love to have. A problem they would be willing to pay through the nose for.

"Lets be fair, there are not many 19-year-olds in Europe's top leagues who have been given the luxury of being 'carried' for a season"

Carried? Yeah, that's 'fair' alright. About as fair as Edward Longshanks was to Scottish grooms on their wedding day when he granted 'Prima Nocte', permitting English noblemen the right to nob their new brides before handing them back baggier than a wizard's sleeve.

In what respect did Martinez or any of his teammates 'carry' Barkley last season? To claim he was carried implies he contributed almost nothing of note. He struck some of the most memorable goals seen at Goodison last season, drove the team forward countless times, was always looking to make things happen, linked up well with Lukaku and forced his way into the England World Cup squad. If he was nothing more than a mere passenger weighing us down then he'd have been pushed off the boat a long time ago.

"His passing is becoming negative and his movement increasingly ponderous/static"

You know what? You're right. It's like Phil Neville's rocked back up at Finch Farm, found a rubber Ross Barkley mask, mixed a load of rophynol in the real boy's Ribena and took to the pitch in his place, remembering to refrain from any excessive finger pointing so as to ensure his true identity remains unrevealed. Because, apart from that one dead giveaway, no one would ever know the difference between the two.

".he, in the 'free role', is the guy that needs to dictate the speed of play"

He doesn't have a free role.

"He has guys around him that sacrifice elements of their own game (and invite criticism) to do his defensive duties"

Like who? He's playing in a position, pushed right up behind the forward for a reason. He doesn't have any real defensive duties, by design. He's shoved that far up to enable him to focus on hurting the opposition and making something happen. He's playing the part he's supposed to in a pre-conceived system. He's not just thought to himself 'Screw this defensive shite. That's for losers like Leon.....the little, Lizard faced, Lilliputian legged motherfucker'. Nobody is suffering or sacrificing any element of their own game because of Barkley failing to bring something he should to the table.

"So now the honeymoon is over"

Damn right. If he's not the finished article after his first full season as Premier League starter then he's never going to be is he? We should flog him for a pittance seen as though he's pissed his potential up the wall by...err....failing to be perfect prior to his 21st birthday.

Adrian Byrne
49 Posted 11/08/2014 at 05:22:28
IÂ’m sure we will see some Angelic performances from Ross this term. He scores goals, takes players on, makes driving runs, can make incisive passes. The window has not closed so I expect a couple of players to come in and add some quality that will let Barkley express himself even further.
Jamie Sweet
50 Posted 11/08/2014 at 05:54:48
We're an impatient bunch aren't we.

I saw more than enough from Ross last season to tell me that he's destined to become an Everton legend.

For those of you who are not sure, refresh your memory with this clip

I know you can make anyone look good on youtube... but you can't make just anyone look THAT good!

Peter Z Jones
51 Posted 11/08/2014 at 06:12:23
John Daley nailed it.
Spragg Johnson
52 Posted 11/08/2014 at 07:04:48
His free kick against Swansea and solo effort vs Newcastle were two of the highlights of last season. He has special skills, a genuine love for this class and he is not scared to try something outrageous. All he needs is timing (ie. best time to pass) and consistency. Get off his back , he's awesome and he's OURS.
Tony Draper
53 Posted 11/08/2014 at 07:35:52
Ross Barkley, messiah or Angell ?

Ross Barkley is Ross Barkley Evertons No 20.
And thank "The Holy Trinity" that he is !

Phil Walling
54 Posted 11/08/2014 at 08:14:00
Right to focus on those magic moments but Duncan Mckenzie and Andy King gave us those but not seen as 'greats' !

I think Ross will make it but still has much to prove.Patience please !

Stuart Gray
55 Posted 11/08/2014 at 08:17:25
I remember watching Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo in their early days and thinking Rooney was a) the more complete player and b) destined to be the world best player. Turns out neither of those were true.

Point is, Barkley is 20. Time will tell how he develops but he has the raw talent to be brilliant. From here it's mainly down to him. Ronaldo and someone like Beckham put in the hours and made the most of their talent. Rooney arguably hasn't.

By signing a new contract I think Barkley had already shown more application than Rooney, that's a good start.

Peter Bell
56 Posted 11/08/2014 at 08:34:12
Rooney was at his best when he came on the scene as a raw 16 year kid with no English style methodical coaching.
Everything he did was totally spontaneous and left you in awe of his ability.
Watched him control a 30 yard pass with the outside of his foot against West Brom that left me shaking my head inadmiration.
Sadly he left and was asked to track back, work hard and help the defence, and this country ruined another talent.
People critised Delefou last year for not tracking back, but I believe that was something barca asked RM to do as part of the agreement
Phil Walling
57 Posted 11/08/2014 at 08:49:02
Wayne Rooney ruined? How we love to re-write history to score a point !

Over 200 goals in 400 games over 10 years since leaving here and rewarded with a salary that makes him fifth highest paid in world soccer.

As George Best was moved to say, 'Where did it all go wrong?'

Dave Lawley
58 Posted 11/08/2014 at 09:23:38
Bale and Ronaldo for the first couple to few years after their 'breakthrough' seasons had little influence on games whether through assists or goals, they showed great skill and promise but were allowed to develop into what they are now, world beaters.

Give Ross time and support and he may or may not be a world beater but he needs the opportunity to be all he can be, my opinion, yes he CAN be the best player of his type in the world if handled properly, step up Bobby.

Dave Lawley
59 Posted 11/08/2014 at 09:32:09
Phil, I get where Peter is coming from. Obviously Rooney has had a great career scoring lots of goals, winning lots of things etc etc, but I agree his move to United destroyed the player he could have been.

SAF bought the best young player of his generation and changed him into what he needed at United, a finisher.

Rooney was so much more than that, to watch him run with the ball at his feet was beautiful, at Goodison he had everything, he could do anything, at United he taps them in, I know over the years he scored the odd blinder, he is still Rooney, but I agree with Peter he was ruined by United, I often watch watch him play now and wonder where that player has gone, such a shame.

Dick Brady
60 Posted 11/08/2014 at 10:18:46
He has potential but the jury is most definately out on Ross Barclay.
Barry Stevens
61 Posted 11/08/2014 at 10:19:52
Every so often a player arrives in football, who has a style almost unique to them. I believe Ross Barkley is one of them. Tall, and athletic. Strikes the ball with either foot with both technique and power. Dribbling skill that allows him to glide(not run) past opponents with ease. Add to these the vision and ability to produce the unexpected.

I agree he is by no means perfect. He needs to improve his tackling, heading, finishing and awareness of whats around him sometimes with his decision making. These will all improve with the more games he plays.

He will become an Everton legend. If you know and understand football, you should be able to see that. Instead of negative criticism, support him. Gerrard had similar fickle fan's when he broke into the shites team. Those that would groan when he lost the ball. Those that said David Thompson was the better prospect. Luckily for them the majority didn't and helped support him to become one of their best ever players. Lets do the same for Ross.

Kevin Tully
62 Posted 11/08/2014 at 11:10:56
Firstly, why the feck do you want to pigeonhole him as a great, or awful as the title suggests?

I bet you expect him to score a screamer in every game, or if he doesn't, he's just a 'decent' player to you? That's precisely the problem with our young players, why do people want to hang labels on their young shoulders at every opportunity?

Guess what, he will have a few poor games this season - along with every other player in blue. I bet some will then say he hasn't fulfilled his potential! If you haven't seen enough last season to convince you of his talent, then I suggest you take up watching another sport.

Even if Ross is at the peak of his development now, today, he is better than most of our midfield.

There was an article last season on McCarthy being 'An Elephant in the room.' That was as ill-informed as this effort I'm afraid.

Kev Johnson
63 Posted 11/08/2014 at 11:34:28
Patrick Murphy
64 Posted 11/08/2014 at 12:03:41
Kev - another caption to that cartoon - if BK was the Elephant - could be

"㿌m I’ve spent and they are still moaning like hell! - Nothing satisfies them!"

Kevin Tully
65 Posted 11/08/2014 at 12:19:38
Matthew Roberts
66 Posted 11/08/2014 at 12:17:56
What an annoying and pointless article. No, heÂ’s not the best player in the world yet, but itÂ’s laughable to think we "carried" him last year. Behind signing Rom, getting his contract nailed down was our best bit of business. I completely agree with everything John Daley (#48) said, and he said it better than I can.
Ernie Baywood
67 Posted 11/08/2014 at 12:20:47
This thread is timely because his performance on Saturday had me pondering exactly what sort of player he is. I'm used to boyhood Evertonians charging around and sweating blood for the cause.

But then, I'm happy to critique fathead and I draw the conclusion that it was that kind of attitude that stopped him from being what he could have been. He got praised for chasing back to his corner flag and labeled a British Bulldog. Ultimately he should have been more selfish (in playing terms anyway).

So when Ross strolls around inbetween midfield and attack I need to resist urging him to get stuck in. He may be a 6ft 2in cropped haired scouser but 'getting stuck in' is the wrong use of his talents. Let the boy develop and remember how important he was to us in the first half of last year when he effortlessly dictated games. Prior to his injury of course - the one Bobby acknowledged he rushed him back from.

Philip Roberts
68 Posted 11/08/2014 at 12:14:37
Probably the best young talent this countryÂ’s seen for 20 years, an Evertonian, an England International at 20, and some people are having a pop at him, fucking unbelievable.

Tom Bowers
69 Posted 11/08/2014 at 12:52:48
Certainly a tremendous player when he wantÂ’s to be but I am worried he may become similar to a lot of players who have flashes of brilliance far too rarely. I hope I am mistaken and perhaps judging him on one season is wrong but we shall soon see what happens this season.

He is still young and learning so perhaps the guidance of RM will really pay off but Ross has to want to do it and become involved more in some ways like Alan Ball screaming for the ball. With his talent, Everton have the potential to really go places.

Tony J Williams
70 Posted 11/08/2014 at 13:12:19
He excites me, in a totally manly type of way.

He is the player who gets the ball and screams, "I'm going that way, who's with me?"

Only other players I see do that is Ossie to an extent and John Stones.

He will be a great (please, please let this be true)

David Graves
71 Posted 11/08/2014 at 13:16:24
John Daley as usual your post is the highlight for me.
Ross Barkley carried for a season? Wtf.

Gary Russell
72 Posted 11/08/2014 at 13:34:08
John Cotton... your opinion is the elephant in the room.
John Cotton
73 Posted 11/08/2014 at 15:03:38
And there you have it... the Wrath of a few TW regulars who want to vent, until everybody else is bludgeoned into submission. :o)

The post was not actually intended as a 'critism' of the boy. He is undoubtedly a very talented & level-headed lad with the 'world at his feet'. It is merely a concern that he may well not live up to the hype that is now surrounding his every move, and as such – the team will suffer in it's quest to challenge consistently.

Simple questions to those who have responded with such vitriol, and taken every point made, as a slur on their very being? (John Daley – you seem to have a few disciples.)

Apart from last season's Man City & Swansea games, where the boy showed us all that he can potentially become... How many games did he 'Boss', given the relative freedom he is gifted in our side?

How many times at Goodison last season did he burst through an 'unguarded' midfield, only for the collective crowd reaction to be a 'groan' when he couldn't find a telling pass or shot on goal?

And, by the way, he is 'carried' (in the same vein as other creative midfielders) through having his defensive duties picked up by the two guys behind him, running around like lunatics, plus people like the much maligned Leon Osman (who is inviting criticism, week-in, week-out) retaining a team shape throughout 90 mins!!

God, I hope it's not an 'I told you so' situation (like so many of you enjoy on here!!!) in the coming months – as we all lose then!! COYB

Tony J Williams
74 Posted 11/08/2014 at 15:12:09
May I point out John, that if the post was not supposed to be a criticism of the boy, you may not want to suggest that apart from the two games of your choosing, he was carried by the team around him.

He is a forward player and I would believe that he should not be criticised too harshly for the defensive side of his play. The same with Del Boy, he was cack at tracking back but he was exciting to watch.

Furthermore, if it's not a criticism, what's with the "I told you so" point at the end then?

Si Cooper
75 Posted 11/08/2014 at 15:11:25
John, McCarthy and Barry do the job they do precisely to allow other players concentrate on attacking whenever possible. That includes the full backs and whoever is playing the more advanced midfield role (which isn't always Ross Barkley).

That is not 'carrying' anyone, it is the system RM has set us up to play and it has not been fashioned purely to accommodate Ross Barkley.

Kevin Tully
76 Posted 11/08/2014 at 15:48:40
John - you say ’His passing is becoming negative and his movement increasingly ponderous/static.’

You cannot seriously expect to put a statement like that on here and moan when you get criticised. Reading your article, you would think he was a 28 year old seasoned International who had cost a fortune. No perspective whatsoever. Take your medicine.

Tahir Abdullah
77 Posted 11/08/2014 at 16:21:08
Elephant in the room, more like holy cow. Dick @ 60, spot on. As a supposedly creative player, Ross lacks one of the most critical attributes for him to become a great ie vision. His ponderousness on most occasions underscored by a poor record of assists to date shows that he lacks vision. A good individual, and eventually maybe an Everton great, but in essence just a raw, occasionally exciting lad. I remain to be convinced; over to you Ross, prove me wrong. Now cue the deification....
Patrick Murphy
78 Posted 11/08/2014 at 17:02:16
Let's hope that Ross and the rest of the team are buoyed by the news from Everton's OS which states:-

On top of a massive 97 per cent of supporters renewing their Season Ticket from last season, Goodison Park will welcome over 4,000 new Season Ticket holders through the turnstiles this year. And, with over 30,000 seats pre-sold, it means that limited tickets will be available on a match-by-match basis.

It's going to be a scramble for some matches and we've yet to kick a ball in anger I for one can't wait!

Matthew Roberts
79 Posted 11/08/2014 at 16:51:23
A striker isn’t carried by his defenders as it’s just not his job, the same as Jags wasn’t carried last season by not scoring enough goals — it’s not his job in the side.

I think he looked good last season, certainly not the worst that was in the side regularly, and it seems the England set-up thought he played well enough to warrant a place in their side.

The article certainly is put in a negative slant on him and you can only infer from it that you feel his development should be further than it is at this stage, whereas I feel his development is miles ahead of where I thought heÂ’d be this time last season. I donÂ’t think you should be too surprised at many peopleÂ’s reaction to the article.

Paul Livesey
80 Posted 11/08/2014 at 19:37:12
Everything Wayne smith '13 said plus the addition of he also clearly loves Everton.

He's also the one player my kopite friend really hates scoring against him in FIFA. That'll do for me.

For anyone in doubt go and check out his 7 goals in his debut season and remind yourself of what this lad can already do, and then start to dream again of what he can be capable of with us, his fellow Evertonians behind him.


Barry Stevens
81 Posted 11/08/2014 at 19:53:59
If you really want to piss off Redshites, I'm currently using "See you soon, Lukaku yourself!"
Victor Johnson
82 Posted 11/08/2014 at 20:04:08
Tahir, with such a crap opinion as that it will be more a case of 'cue the defecation'.
James Martin
83 Posted 11/08/2014 at 20:36:42
I think with Ross we'll see him gradually move back deeper into midfield. Indeed this is something Roberto has mentioned a few times. It's impossible to ignore that Ross' best games for us tend to be either against the top teams or away from home. Games when we have less of the possession and he can take advantage of of the turn overs to lead a fast transition. If anyone is seriously doubting his talent just look at what he did away at Newcastle. Can anyone remember the last Everton midfielder who could almost single handedly win a premier league away game in that sort of style?

Truthfully there are not many players in world football who play well with their back to goal in the number 10 position. Players like Iniesta and Messi are pure exceptions who can take the ball on a half turn and simultaneously shrug off two or three tackles and find a pass. Its harsh to criticise Ross for not being bale to do that which is what I think some fans expect because he is so good at beating men at speed.

Roberto knows best but I think the trend in football is moving away from the 4231 with a number 10 role back to the classic 433 with wide forwards. Wenger displayed this formation in the community shield to get Wilshere and Ramsey both in the middle of the park with the freedom to break knowing they have Arteta behind them to cover. Had he stuck with the two sitters and a number 10 you would have had Ramsey with his back to goal and Wilshere being exposed defensively neither playing their natural game. Mourinho will undoubtedly be displaying something similar this season to get the best out of Fabregas. Why would we not be able to have Barry holding with Barkley and McCarthy given license to attack from deep. This formation worked so well for us in 04-05 with Carsley sat behind Cahill and Gravesen who attacked from deep arriving into the box late.

Clealry there's not much wrong with the team set up judging from last season, but we also saw subs such as Osman, Naismith and Pienaar come on for Ross in his position and change quite a few games for the better (Villa away springs to mind), their experience and extra trickery opening the door when Ross couldn't. I think a move to a deeper position would benefit him just like it has Ramsey who was often played on the flank and off the striker to little effect. I think Roberto will eventually do it but is there that much wrong with letting him learn the game and improve his technique in the tightest of areas before gradually redefining his role?

Julian Wait
84 Posted 11/08/2014 at 21:02:32
Seems like we need to get a new sponsor, what with all these elephants hiding in our rooms ...
Peter Z Jones
85 Posted 11/08/2014 at 22:07:54
Harold Matthews
86 Posted 12/08/2014 at 00:21:56
Sorry Tahir. His assist record clearly illustrates the poor finishing of those players he keeps putting through.
Jay Harris
87 Posted 12/08/2014 at 22:36:14
Lets have some perspective here please.

Ross Barkley is widely recognized by all the top professionals in the game (i.e.far better qualified than you or I) to be one of the most outstanding 20 year olds in the game.

His link up play and opening up of defences is better than anyone of his age and the only thing he needs to learn (like Delefeu) is when to release the ball and when to hold it which will only come with experience.

James McGlone
88 Posted 13/08/2014 at 14:25:15

Feel free to take a look at the many YouTube videos of Barkley last season and youÂ’ll find that he did his job in setting up chances. Others werenÂ’t finishing many of them.

Anyway, for a young lad in his first real season, he was one of the best around.

I canÂ’t believe weÂ’re even debating this. The Â’articleÂ’ Â’isÂ’ Â’anÂ’ Â’absoluteÂ’ Â’jokeÂ’.

Tom Hanrahan
89 Posted 15/08/2014 at 18:39:59
Out for 6 weeks?

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