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Barkley needs lots more games

by | 22/11/2014  Comments (50)  jump
Ross Barkley needs to make substantial progress through many more games before he can begin to be thought of as a midfield general, says Roberto Martinez.

Eventually, I want Ross to play that position, but eventually' is maybe 100 games in the Premier League. That's the thought – but not yet.

To play that role, you need to reduce what you do on the ball and put in more work off it.

"Ross's outstanding quality is the way he brings that transition as soon as he wins the ball, how he attacks and drives at space.

You don't want to take that away from his play too much. At the moment, it would be a big loss if you restricted Ross in what he gives you naturally as a raw talent.

Quotes sourced from The Mirror


Reader Comments (50)

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Anthony Hawkins
2 Posted 22/11/2014 at 08:06:18
Why is Martinez so desperate to change fundamental parts of Barkleys game? It reminds me of how Ferguson seemed to strip Rooney of his flare.
Harold Matthews
3 Posted 22/11/2014 at 07:56:34
Not quite sure what Roberto has in mind. Fabregas and Ya Ya Toure are a bit lazy when tracking back. Xavi Alonso can be slow getting forward. Scholes couldn't tackle but never lost possession and scored goals.

Ross is probably a bit like Ya Ya who spends more time on the ball than the others.

Personally, I'm slightly disappointed. He always had the look of a goal scorer but it seems he will now be aiming for assists.

Colin Glassar
4 Posted 22/11/2014 at 08:52:16
I think we might need a gagging order on Roberto as lately he's not making much sense. Barkley is a 'unique, incredible and phenomenal talent' (his words), if that's the case let him free!!! Let him do what he does best and run at people. That's why we have the likes of McCarthy and Barry to cover Ross, Kev and Aidan when they bomb forward isn't it?
For gods sake Roberto, if you're not going to be coherent in speech and thought just shut it.
Harold Matthews
5 Posted 22/11/2014 at 08:59:43
With you all the way on Barkley Colin. Tactical instructions are ruining his game.
Kevin Gillen
7 Posted 22/11/2014 at 09:09:19
I don't think Roberto is trying to do anything negative about Barkley. He is a liability when the opposition have the ball and the best football teams are good in and out of possession. Finding space is an art for midfielders. Pienaar is the best I have ever seen. When he passes the ball he runs behind the defender so he doesn't know where he is. Ross still has a way to go before becoming the finished article and you can always improve as a player. That's all Martinez is pointing out.
Mike Allison
8 Posted 22/11/2014 at 09:13:55
Pick him then Roberto! He's not going to get games sitting on the bench. Steven Naismith is keeping him out at times. I hate to see Barkley coming on as a substitute, it just doesn't suit him.

When he starts games he looks like a genuine talent who could potentially grow to be world class, when he comes on as a sub he looks like he's won a competition to be there and is wearing his boots on the wrong feet.

Wayne Smyth
9 Posted 22/11/2014 at 09:18:11
I think Roberto is correct.

Due to his natural abilities to run at pace with the ball into space, Ross is best suited to playing from a deeper position in the long term, perhaps as a midfield two alongside someone like Barry or Besic who have more natural defensive tendencies.

To play behind the striker, you need a lot more footballing intelligence. Someone like Pienaar, Naismith. It will come for Ross too, but perhaps not for a long while.

Given that's the case, Ross is going to need to put in more work off the ball to turn him into a top quality all round midfielder, and give us that balance. You can't carry a player in this league, especially not in the middle of the park.

Harold Matthews
10 Posted 22/11/2014 at 09:18:28
Smack on Mike. Pity you couldn't have a word with Hodgson and Roberto. Sit the lad on the bench and he loses interest.
Mike Allison
11 Posted 22/11/2014 at 09:33:51
I often think it's a pity I can't have a word with managers Harold!
Nick Entwistle
12 Posted 22/11/2014 at 10:17:13
“To play that role, you need to reduce what you do on the ball and put in more work off it.

Blimey, has the ghost of Moyes taken up residence inside Roberto?

Patrick Murphy
13 Posted 22/11/2014 at 10:18:01
I agree with those who say just let Ross off the leash and allow him to play his natural game, however, Roberto always has an eye on the future, in my opinion too much so, as football is a fickle mistress and events happen that can derail any plans a manager may have. On the other hand it will probably be better for Everton FC in the long run if Roberto can get players to add aspects to their game that don't come naturally to them. In the end it is down to the individual players to take on board what the manager wants and carry those instructions out on the pitch. The risk with Barkley is that he will get fed-up with being told of his inadequacies and his confidence will suffer, which won't do the player or the club any good in the short-term.
Wayne Smyth
15 Posted 22/11/2014 at 10:33:40
Nick, I don't think Roberto is solely talking about what you think he is(graft).

One of our big problems is lack of movement. Not even Messi can pick up the ball and ghost past half a team except on the rarest of occasions. Most top attacking players rely on movement and taking up intelligent positions to create chances, advance the play or score goals.

Look at Eto'o's header a few weeks ago. It was his movement from deep that created the chance for him to get his head on the ball. It wasn't his height or his ability to beat players with skill or his running ability.

I think and hope Roberto is going to try to get Ross to rely less on trying to beat half a team when he gets the ball, and perhaps work more on his off-the-ball game to try to get in really good positions.

The other thing I'd say is that I can't think of many players who Roberto has ruined. Most seem to have improved under him and gained in confidence. We should have a bit of faith that Roberto will improve Ross in the right areas without disrupting his natural talents.

Sandra Bowen
16 Posted 22/11/2014 at 10:42:49
Mike, Harold. Both spot on regards him coming on in games, he's awful coming on as sub and never gets to grip with the game, always tries too much to impact the game without adjusting to the pace. I also find it amazing that both Martinez and Hodgson use him this way. Start him, always start him. It's so much easier getting to grips from the beginning and he has much more influence. Naismith on the other hand seems to be able to do it with much more ease.
Nick Entwistle
18 Posted 22/11/2014 at 10:58:56
I'm not sure what he means Wayne. Robbie is talking in terms of midfield general here and ends up being very confusing, saying he needs to reduce his time on the ball and increase work off it, but yet says you don't want to restrict Ross's natural talent which is very much on the ball.

Then again its all just press conference nonsense I never bother with, but I just thought it was interesting to make the contrast if this had been quoted by Moyes.

Phil Brown
19 Posted 22/11/2014 at 11:02:40
Most of you could start a (forum) fight in an empty room.

All Roberto is saying is that Ross is currently much better suited to playing the No 10 role as it plays to his strengths rather than a deeper role which requires much more defensive work. He's not yet ready for that although he will grow into it, particularly for home matches where we need to break down stubborn opponents who park the bus.

We are going to continue to play with 2 defensive midfielders to allow our full-backs - the best in the Premier League - to get forward and provide width.

Andy Walker
20 Posted 22/11/2014 at 10:58:58
He is nowhere near the finished article. He has great ability on the ball, can beat players and is a decent finisher. However, his positional play and decision making need serious work. He did himself no favours with his 5 mins for England where he charged after the ball like a 10 year old and simply got passed around. He then tried to keep the ball under pressure in his own half near the penalty area when a simple pass was required.

He needs to learn, my concern is that these are the same areas he has needed to develop for the last few seasons. He doesn't seem to be a quick learner, or is ignoring what he is being asked to do. Hodgsons rollicking may be a little insight into his attitude ie maybe he can't accept advice?

Nick Entwistle
21 Posted 22/11/2014 at 11:06:20
Actually, you are right Wayne, read the article and he's talking of controlling the midfield in future by doing less on the ball, but for now its about improving his ability in attack.

I don't know if its a none CL club type of thing, but say at Chelsea or City you have your two deep in their 4231, but you don't hear of getting Silva or Hazard touted as future midfielder generals sitting deep pulling the strings. Shouldn't Ross be sitting behind the strikers ripping up defences and well into the future? I don't see him as the Lampard type no matter how many goals that guy has got. I want Ross to frighten the defences not pull the strings further back.

Brian Harrison
22 Posted 22/11/2014 at 11:03:52
Doesn't seem like a day goes bye without RM making a comment about one of his players, the press must love him they are almost Guaranteed a quote a day from him.
Last week Barkley according to RM was going to be Englands best ever player but today he says he lacks certain qualities.
I would much prefer he said nothing and let the results and performances do the talking, and so far neither have been sparkling.
Phil Walling
23 Posted 22/11/2014 at 11:09:58
I don't think that Martinez can afford the luxury of Barkley just 'doing what he wants' as is being suggested here. He may be special but he ain't that special. Yet.

His 'greatness' is more about what we know he CAN do rather than what he DOES on anything like a regular basis.

I've had a go at Roberto on a number of occasions and he helps Ross not one iota by all his 'greatness' speeches. But he's right in saying the lad will need a hundred games under his belt to be a midfield general.

The question is whether the manager can afford him automatic inclusion when he often doesn't merit selection.

Wayne Smyth
24 Posted 22/11/2014 at 11:26:53
Phil, I agree with most of what you say, but as for whether we can afford to play him, it's a non-question as far as I'm concerned.

Ross won't get better by sitting out games or playing 10 minutes here and there. He needs games. He needs to make mistakes, learn, play against top quality defenders every week.

He probably has more natural talent and ability than any player in our squad, all thats required is fine tuning and guidance. By all accounts he is well grounded and eager to learn, so there is no reason not to give him as much game time as required, even if it hurts our results in the short term.

Infact the same is true of Lukaku and Stones. Players like Browning and Garbutt could well make the grade too, but are perhaps less proven than the other 3.

If we can develop those kind of young players as a core of a future Everton side I think we're in good shape.

Phillip Mark
25 Posted 22/11/2014 at 11:54:28
You know, despite all the talk on here about where he should be played, we looked an entirely different proposition when Barkley and Coleman returned to the side after injury. Fluid and dynamic instead of tippy tapping it left to right with no penetration.

Quite simply, as Martinez said, the boy needs games to improve the areas he’s lacking and give him confidence. Give him another 2 seasons of starts and hes going to be a world beater... No matter which area of midfield we play him.
Paul Andrews
26 Posted 22/11/2014 at 12:00:24
Brian @ 22,

The last manager talked about his players a lot.

With such gems as "Baines is the second best left back in the league "

Bet he felt 10 feet tall in his next game

Phil Walling
27 Posted 22/11/2014 at 11:50:20
Absolutely understand what you are saying ,Wayne. In an ideal world, all the lads you mention would be given time to develop and I'm sure they would do so.

Trouble is that in the modern game not only we, but the paymasters, demand instant results. With so much at stake per Premier point - and managers' bonuses being aligned to points targets - 'developing teams' as they used to do has gone out of the window. We all want it NOW !

One aspect of Rosses game that does concern me is his decision making 'in the last third'. I've heard it said that is something that can't be taught because it's entirely instinctive. We shall see.

Arran Leyland
28 Posted 22/11/2014 at 11:57:08
I Really do despair sometimes. We have one of the best English talents in memory come through our ranks, adore our club, and have an absolutely spectacular debut season, then because they get an injury and haven’t played all season you get people like Phil writing drivel like "he often doesn’t merit selection."

What planet are you on Phil? He’s played all of about 2 games this season and got an assist in one, and your there berating him. He should start every important game he is fit for, no question at all. He needs to get to these hundred games as quickly as possible. Even now he is one of, if not the, best attacking player in the squad, and in a few years time, if he rightly gets the games he could be one of the best players Europe.

Some fans on here have very short memories. I swear, if a player didn’t score in last weeks game then he’s crap.

McCarthy, Besic and Barkley have the potential to be one of the best and most expansive midfield threes in world football. Then with Big Rom, Stones and Coleman in that mix.And some of the other lads coming though like Ledson, Browning, Green, Mcaleny etc. Wow.

Let the boys play and get behind their development. COYB

Brian Harrison
29 Posted 22/11/2014 at 12:14:43
Surely if Barkley had been turning in top class performances then his place in the team would be guaranteed, but he hasnt and for me if it is a choice at present between Barkley and Naismith to play behind Lukaku then Naismith wins all day long. Football is a results business for the team and for individuals for me the age of a player is of little interest its what is best for Everton that matters and not worrying about game time for youngsters.
Jim Lloyd
30 Posted 22/11/2014 at 12:11:24
I think Andy Walker has it right and I agree with most of what Wayne says too.

Hard to say for ceratin but, to me Roberto is saying that where Ross is now, there are aspects of the game he needs to learn to develop a "great player" and become the Midfield General that Roberto hopes he'll become.

It's great when he waltzes through half a team and sends in a belter past a bemused goalie (last season's home game against Man City.) and sends the crowd wild. Too often though, he'll make wrong decisions, lose the ball or doesn't see the killer pass.

I think it is nonsense to say we should just chuck youngsters in and expect them to become seasoned professionals overnight. I've seen that happen too often at Everton, when we have been in the mire and hoped that youngsters will pull us out of it.

Ross has got great natural talent, has great skill with the ball but he is only half the player that I hope he will be.

If anyone can remember Bobby Collins, well he was the Man who ran the team. As much as I hate to say it, Gerrard has done the same for our dear neighbours. Peter Reid in the Eighties team is another great.

If Ross can become like any of them in reading a game, geeing up other players and learning to see the game several moves ahead. We truly will have a great player.

Colin Glassar
31 Posted 22/11/2014 at 12:28:57
How can he be turning in top class performances when his career, since the age of 16, has been one of constant interruptions? The lad needs a run of 12-15 games to get him into top shape and to improve his confidence. Give the kid a break.
Dave Abrahams
32 Posted 22/11/2014 at 12:32:08
I also think Andy Walker has hit the target saying Ross is a slow learner. I think he is a very slow learner in as much he is still making the same mistakes now that he was making when he first came into the team.

He is still only a very young player and he loads ability which will eventually show itself but it will be a be long learning road. I think the same applies to Lukaku.

Stephen Brown
33 Posted 22/11/2014 at 12:46:08
I believe Barkley is being the victim of Â’over hypingÂ’ a young English talent. Stop talking about him so much and just let him play in his best position to develop into the player we all hope.

Time to stick to our best team for a run of games as this season really needs to Â’startÂ’ from this weekend! Hope Mirralas is fit as his absence has me convinced he is possibly our most important player. No substitute for pace and goals from midfield.

Phil Walling
34 Posted 22/11/2014 at 13:06:19
The point, Colin, is that if a high proportion of those 15 games are losing games and Ross is poor in most of them, the bubble will have burst. Martinez just cannot take that risk!
Mike Oates
35 Posted 22/11/2014 at 13:18:28
Ross needs to desensationalise if that's a proper word. Whilst we want him to run at people, spread passes all over the place, score blinders etc he's just got to learn that for a huge amount of any game it's just the simple pass, don't try anything silly particularly close to your own box and mark his opposite player.

it's this latter area were Barkley is dividing opinions, Hodgson just won't stand for possession lost , he won't carry just flair/luxury players , Martinez allows mistakes to be made but only in the knowledge that Barry and McCarthy can clear up the mess. Martinez clearly means that Barkley cannot, will not be allowed to play in Barry's position yet. It is Barry that controls are game, McCarthy's role is to get the ball back ASAP after we lose it, it is Barry that sets the pace.

Barkley's current role is to put the fear of God into the oppositions midfield and back four , keep them on their toes and try to get Lukaku, et al in behind them. He does it as I said early this week, once in about 4/5 games, which at the moment isn't good enough to displace Naismith.

Danny Broderick
36 Posted 22/11/2014 at 13:43:36
Martinez talks in riddles some times, I'm sure he even confuses himself. I read one article where RM states he doesn't want Ross to play for the Under-21s. Here, he says Ross needs a hundred games to be ready. Which one is it?
Geoff Evans
37 Posted 22/11/2014 at 20:36:53
Sixty million for someone who’s first touch is at best clumsey and at worse woeful is a joke. A another loan spell at Leeds is more like it.
Paul Burns
39 Posted 22/11/2014 at 20:49:17
Before you know it, Barkley will have a great career behind him. ItÂ’s only 5 minutes since Rooney was a kid and now heÂ’s running round with a wig on.

Time flies in football and itÂ’s about time Ross showed some maturity and the ability to learn his best position, adapt his game to suit it and force his way into the team on merit because, if heÂ’s not careful, heÂ’ll be spending more time on the bench and then blundering around as a sub and no amount of hype from Martinez will be able to excuse the waste of his talent.

Jamie Barlow
41 Posted 22/11/2014 at 21:20:20
His first touch for our first goal wasn't bad.
Jim Lloyd
42 Posted 22/11/2014 at 22:30:48
I'm not sure that trying to give an assessment of Ross's strengths and weaknesses is bashing him. This discussion took place because of Roberto's comments. In his view, and I thought it showed today, that Ross is not yet the whole package.

Hopefully, he will be a great Everton player in years to come but he's not there yet. When we have a full team again, it seems to me that Martinez is allowing Ross to use his talent in the most effective way, and he can surely do that. But it is as a forward running, extremely skillful and exciting talent that he is able to help our team.

You're right about his first touch for the goal, yet throughout the match, I thought his good and not-so-good points were on show. It is not that great.

I think Lukaku is in a similar stage of maturity. Eto'o showed both of them how apply the skills they have in an all round effective way.

These two lads are both talented but it's Martinez's job to develop other aspects of their games. I'm sure he will.

Anto Byrne
47 Posted 23/11/2014 at 04:23:53
Barkley simply lacks match fitness and conditioning. He is less effective out wide but still does good things and will get better each game he plays. Contrast that with Naismith who runs his socks off but ultimately has no pace to run at defenders and will look to pass the ball. The opportunity is lost as defenders get back.

We just have to be a bit patient as both Pienaar and Naismith have many years of experience. Match fitness and confidence go hand in hand so let's not expect too much from Ross until he has another 5-6 games under his belt.

Just how poor were Distin and Jags in the first few games and now they look pretty good. Even Barry took a few games to come good. Mirallas was up and running pretty quick after a slow start.

For me, play Ross next to Lukaku in a 4-4-2. In the middle, creating havoc and running at the back four.

Aman Kanji
48 Posted 23/11/2014 at 10:15:44
Whether he come on as sub or starts, he looses the ball too many times and runs down blind alleys trying to take on two or three players when a layoff would have been more effective. He did that twice yesterday and ending up on his arse trying to shoot when a pass was on.

We're fighting for consistency at the moment, which means we need players all over the park who DO deliver AND who aren't on the pitch to keep up their morale... He was poor at Sunderland and Swansea and Burnley. Not great yesterday either, apart from first 10. His dive was embarrassing.

Dave Williams
49 Posted 23/11/2014 at 10:48:57
He has a load of ability but is clearly not a quick learner. I would have expected him to be running games by now or at least having a big influence on far more than he is.

Roberto sees him every day and I think has it spot on. Ross was so physically superior to opponents in youth football that his size and power were enough but he is against grown men now and he has yet to learn how to play sensibly against them and then burst forward when the right opportunity appears.

Ledson and Walsh are coming through now and will overtake him if he doesn't get to grips with what Roberto and Hodgson are trying to teach him. Like Linda above, I love him but would take City's hand off if 㿞-60m was offered as it would be a great deposit on the new stadium which we have to get in order to progress and I think we have the youngsters coming through to replace him if he continues at his current level of performance.

Trevor Lynes
50 Posted 23/11/2014 at 14:19:06
The suggestion of playing Barkley and Lukaku together upfront is a good one IMO. Naismith will be out for the next couple of games and it is worth a try. Osman playing deeper in Barry's absence may be able to provide some good ammunition,, and if Pienaar gets back playing in front of Baines, then I can see a decent goal threat from the left again. Coleman behind Mirallas will do the same down the right side.

The team would be: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka and Distin, Baines, McCarthy and Osman in front of the back four. Mirallas, Pienaar out wide on the flanks with Barkley and Lukaku striking.

It is about time Barkley started getting in position to score goals; otherwise, he is hardly worth a place in the side. He can frighten defences if he runs at them but deeper he is wasted.

I just watched the first half of QPR v Liverpool and that wide left guy Bolasie runs like Bolt and is as strong as a bull. I said we should have tried for him a year ago. He is so fast and direct with a bullet shot, I would love to see him playing for us. He should definitely be in a better side than QPR.

Jamie Barlow
51 Posted 23/11/2014 at 19:55:55
He is Trevor. He plays for Palace.
Patrick Murphy
53 Posted 23/11/2014 at 19:57:31
Ross needs many more games before we see him at his best, he has not yet made a half-dozen appearances for Everton this season and people are already saying let's take the cash for him – how many of our stars from the past would have been sold on that criterion?

It'll be another 18 months to two years before Ross has the necessary experience to dominate games in the PL. Unfortunately the lad does seem a tad introspective and unlike Rooney does not at this moment in time, immediately come to life on the football pitch.... But he will do – and hopefully in the blue shirt of Everton.

Colin Glassar
54 Posted 23/11/2014 at 20:04:30
Omg, now Ross is to be used as a deposit on this mythical stadium we are supposed to be building? We could sell Seamus to pay for the goalposts and corner flags, Mirallas to pay for the grass, Lukaku's sale could buy a few rows of seats etc......
Wayne Smyth
55 Posted 23/11/2014 at 20:22:01
Phil, I'd hope most Evertonians don't share your view that instant results are demanded by Martinez or instant performances by our younger players.

I think many fans are quite pragmatic, they understand the financial constraints of the club, and the fact that Martinez apparently has a long-term plan that he is working towards and are prepared to give the side time to develop, providing they can see evidence that things may improve down the line.

That's certainly how I see things. I could quite happily live with a few mid-table finishes, if it meant that in 3 or 4 years we had a core group of young players who were immensely talented and able to crack the top 4 and stand a decent chance of staying there.

Only Martinez knows why he isn't picking the younger players so much. Maybe he doesn't rate Browning or Garbutt, although I find that hard to believe, especially when the alternative is a very awkward Hibbert playing out of position. Maybe they're not performing so well in training? Either way, I'm hoping by the end of the season they get a decent chance.

Dave Lynch
56 Posted 23/11/2014 at 20:53:27
If anyone offers anywhere near 㿞 million for him, then snap their arm off.

Unfortunately for Ross, there are a lot better out there for the money we would get for him.

Willy Russell
57 Posted 24/11/2014 at 00:28:38
Yeah, we could get that feller from QPR.
Trevor Lynes
58 Posted 24/11/2014 at 09:40:09
Thanks for correcting me, guys.... :0) I always get mixed up between those minor London sides. Must be Alzheimer's kicking in!

Anyway, I hope you agree that Bolasie is worth a punt.

Dave Williams
59 Posted 24/11/2014 at 11:50:36
Colin – unfortunately the only way we will ever get to be a regular member of the hierarchy will be to get a new stadium to generate the cash required. The thought of getting there via a team made up of brilliant homegrown players is very attractive but we would still need the revenue from a new stadium to sustain that as the production line is never infinite – look at Man Utd for example, where theirs has pretty much dried up.

If Ross was performing like a 㿞M player I would not want to sell him but if City offer that now when he may make it big or may not then I would take the money. If it was 㿊M, I would probably say No but a ridiculous offer like 㿞-60M whilst he is playing so inconsistently would be hard to turn down.

As for Seamus, Colin, he is the best in the country in his position so a totally different proposition and should not be sold. Selling unrealized potential for a crazy fee is another matter entirely.

James Marshall
60 Posted 24/11/2014 at 20:37:36
The thing is, he's right. Ross does very little off the ball and when he passes it, he does very little to follow it up, ie find space and make further things happen. He needs to watch someone like Xavi or Iniesta to see what you should be doing off the ball. Martinez is spot on. Ross has a lot to learn and is raw. End of story.
Steavey Buckley
61 Posted 24/11/2014 at 21:07:11
Ross has just recently returned from a nasty injury and his not yet as good as last season, made worse by being played out of position, because there are a lack of wingers. And that is because, so far, Atsu has been a big disappointment as a replacement for Deufoleu.

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