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England U21s would be backward step for Barkley

16/01/2015  Comments (24)  jump

Roberto Martinez isn't keen on the prospect of Ross Barkley playing for England in this summer's U21s European Championships, suggesting that it would be a retrograde step for the midfielder.

Although Gareth Southgate has more or less ruled out taking Raheem Sterling, a similarly established Premier League player, for the tournament, he is still considering calling up Barkley but while Martinez said that Everton have a good relationship with the Football Association and would discuss the matter more fully, he voiced his misgivings at his press conference today.

"I think at the moment it's impossible to give a straight answer," the manager told reporters. "We have a very good relationship with the FA and Gareth Southgate and we will speak about it I am sure.

"But... Ross Barkley has been involved in the best possible tournament, the World Cup with the senior side, so I don't think other tournaments can be a positive, not just for him but for the rest of the squad.

"Those experiences for the Under-21s are to prepare you for the senior level and once you have reached the senior level I think you are blocking someone else's path.

"I think Ross has been full of terrific experiences and is growing all the time but clearly it will be a decision based on what the Under-21s manager wants to do and we'll always be happy to assess on that basis as we always do."


Reader Comments (24)

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Ian Burns
1 Posted 16/01/2015 at 18:00:50
Personally I am hoping it is none of RMÂ’s fecking business in the summer and a new manager (Paul Clement but prefer Frank de Boer) will advise Mr Southgate whether or not he will be making an appearance.
Bill Gall
2 Posted 16/01/2015 at 18:13:00
What is his problem? He canÂ’t decide were BarkleyÂ’s best position is and has turned him into a confused Defender/Midfielder/Winger trying to be a striker.

It just may be the making of BarkleyÂ’s potentail to be given better coaching of the modern game than what he seems to be recieving at F.F.

Ian Tunstead
3 Posted 16/01/2015 at 18:24:25
Martinez, you are destroying our best prospect since Rooney! Barkley needs to be brought down a peg or two and realise that he has to work and earn his place in the senior team.

Sometimes you need to take a step backwards in order to take two steps forward.

Pete Edwards
6 Posted 16/01/2015 at 19:02:19
Do you think Martinez is maybe trying to not dent Barkleys confidence by not dropping him! Bit of reverse psychology.. admitidley it doesnt seem to be working so far but none of us know what goes on at finch farm do we! Just a thought
Al Reddish
7 Posted 16/01/2015 at 21:00:06
I think the U21's would do him good. He is nowhere near England standard at the moment and to keep telling him he is our best player when he is playing shit isn't helping him.
Colin Glassar
8 Posted 16/01/2015 at 21:11:14
I agree Al, maybe being a big fish in a small pond would do him some good. More responsibility, need to show leadership etc?
Michael Penley
9 Posted 16/01/2015 at 23:31:17
"Once you have reached the senior level..." Has Ross reached it? Senior footballers are consistent and put in maximum effort each game. I haven't seen that from Ross this season, and I hope that's down to his injuries.
Ant Dwyer
10 Posted 17/01/2015 at 01:22:16
I'm all for Ross playing Under-21 football as he's limited under Woy anyways as he clearly doesn't trust him.

Also let's be fair, his form is awful; a run out in a favoured position with less pressure may help him enjoy his football.

Mike Allison
11 Posted 17/01/2015 at 07:48:07
Agree with most of the above. Playing in the senior team doesn't necessarily mean you've made it. Ross needs to work on his game, and the under-21 tournament could be a valuable experience.

As an England fan I also want our best players playing in the side. A stronger team means more chance of success and development of a winning culture. The current system sure as hell hasn't been working.

Harold Matthews
12 Posted 17/01/2015 at 10:01:18
Could be what he needs.
Sean O'Brien
13 Posted 17/01/2015 at 10:14:29
Without being too negative Everton Under-21s would not be a backward step for him at the moment – never mind England. A run of games in his best position is what he needs to get his confidence back.

Shot to pieces at the moment and scared to try anything. Moving him after QPR performance to accommodate Barry did not help anyone.

John Raftery
14 Posted 17/01/2015 at 11:37:28
The problem with Ross is that, while he is capable of scoring the occasional great goal, he is so inconsistent – a manager never knows what he will get from him. He is fairly useless when he hasn't got the ball while his decision-making is often very poor when he is in possession. Hence we get very few assists from him and he cannot be relied upon to turn a game in our favour.

I fear he will go through his career with all these flaws in his game because he does not seem to have progressed despite being a regular first team player over the past 18 months. Ross cannot be compared to Rooney in any shape or form. I hope I am proved wrong but I doubt he will ever reach anywhere near that level.

Playing for the Under-21s can hardly do him any harm, but given his recent poor form and lack of progress, would he be an automatic choice?

James Hughes
15 Posted 17/01/2015 at 12:37:59
Good article in The Mail today (I know that sounds like an oxymoron) about Ravel Morrison – despite all his talent, no-one wants him at present.

Maybe Ross should pay heed, albeit for totally different reasons... it shows that, without the right application, that immense talent is just a wasted luxury.

Helen Mallon
16 Posted 17/01/2015 at 12:41:15
I have watched Ross very closely lately and he seems to have lost all interest in playing football. His touch is poor, his passing is poor, and he never tracks back and makes challengers. That’s not to say he is a poor player — I just think HE knows his best position but the boss thinks he can make him an all-round player being able to play on the wing behind the striker and deep lying.

Well, I have news for Roberto: Ross is a centre-midfield player who had his best game in that position against QPR.

Ross has lost his football mojo. The only way he will get it back is to play him in the centre of midfield next to Besic or McCarthy for the rest of the season.

And he SHOULD go to the Euros for more experience as he got nothing but earache from Woy at the World Cup.

Phil Walling
17 Posted 17/01/2015 at 19:10:51
No doubt Rosses pride would take a knock were he asked to go back to U21s now he's reached maturity. Many have refused the demotion of which Jonjo Shelvey springs to mind but it did neither of them a favour to throw full caps at them in the first place.

I think the guy needs all the experience he can get at present as for sure he's going nowhere under Martinez. And whilst Hodgson gets criticism for his handling of the player, I think his is the more honest approach because all the flattery has done nothing for him whatsoever.

Darren Hind
18 Posted 17/01/2015 at 19:31:19
Whats the worst that can happen ?
Paul Hewitt
19 Posted 17/01/2015 at 19:46:33
Think Ross going with the U-21's would do him good.A good tournament would do his confidence the world off good.
Wayne Smyth
20 Posted 17/01/2015 at 19:52:11
I find it difficult to criticise young players playing in a team who are collectively playing badly.

We've got quite a few players with limited experience but who are in key positions. Robles, Lukaku, Barkley, Stones, Besic. You would hope the senior pro's would be pulling their weight, but many are just as guilty of playing below par.

As key creators and goalscorers Barkley and Lukaku are doing the most difficult job in football and both have come in for a lot of stick. Lukaku, by his own admission, has sorted his head out in the last few weeks and is giving every game 100% effort. Hopefully Barkley will do the same.

If I'm honest I don't think Barkley should be in the U-21's. He's gone past that level, ability wise. He needs to be playing with players of a higher level to gain anything useful. Whether his form is good enough for the full squad is another matter.

My opinion is that either he goes with the full squad or stays at home.

Mark Frere
21 Posted 17/01/2015 at 21:05:06
I don't think demotion to the U-21s will do Ross's confidence a world of good. he's played at every age level for England and that ship has sailed. He's either good enough for the senior side, or he isn't.

I would just like him to get a consistent run in our team playing behind the striker... which will help him to get into some kind of rhythm and help him find some consistency. It isn't beneficial to anyone trying to jam Naismith and Barkley into the side at the same time; neither of them are wingers and more often then not, Barkley is played out of position out on the wing... and it's clear that this isn't young Ross's position and he doesn't (yet) have the maturity keep swapping about in different roles.

Sadly, Naismith (for all his commitment and hard work) is still a very limited footballer. Barkley has 5 times more natural ability... so lets just keep him in the side in a settled position and let his natural ability develop and shine through.

Pete Edwards
22 Posted 18/01/2015 at 10:19:36
Isn't it strange that although everyone agrees he's not a winger/wide player, there is a bit of a split opinion over if No 10 or centre-mid is where he should play.

My thoughts are that he should, when everyone is fit, play in a midfield 3 with McCarthy and Besic and be given some freedom.

Wayne Smyth
23 Posted 18/01/2015 at 10:39:17
I think so too Pete. Maybe in future with more experience he can play off the striker successfully. At the moment playing centre mid gives him a lot more ability to use space to hurt the opposition and run at them using his physical attributes.

When he's pushed further forward, he's easier to mark and he is also reliant much more on trying to find intricate little gaps for passes. That kind of football intelligence to make the right decision in tight space only comes with experience.

Mark Frere
25 Posted 18/01/2015 at 15:19:26
Wayne - Barkley’s best position might be the deeper midfield role where he performed well against QPR, playing alongside Besic... but the problem is though, we are overstocked in that position as we have McCarthy, Besic and (in Martinez’s eyes) the undroppable Barry. Ross won’t get a sustained run in the side playing that position, so IMO it’s best for him to stay central in a more attacking role (kept away from the wing) where hopefully, he can add more goals to his game and become more intelligent with his passing.

Also, I would like Baines to play CM more often to make way for young Garbutt. Baines looked more than capable of playing midfield over the festive period and it would be a tradgedy to lose Garbutt because he’s not getting the opportunities he deserves.

Wayne Smyth
26 Posted 18/01/2015 at 15:23:43
Mark, I think we're both in agreement in that we have too many players for the same position. The fit players we have probably suit a 4-3-3 or 4-3-1-2, rather than Martinez's insistence on playing with wingers who aren't actually wingers.

If there were a midfield 3 instead of a 2 then Barkley could not only be accommodated, but also play in the position where he has given his best performances.

I also think you're right about Garbutt... although I'd drop Baines completely. Baines has been a complete let-down this season. His corners are crap, he has stopped getting forward and contributing to our attacking play so much.

In the few appearances Garbutt has had, his set pieces actually look dangerous and he has been getting forward too. I've been disappointed not to see Browning either when we've been short at centre half. He looked quality when he has played.

Mark Frere
27 Posted 18/01/2015 at 15:41:47
I think you could be right about a different formation suiting our players better... not that I think Martinez will change from his tried and tested 4-2-3-1 formation. Anyway, if we were to switch to 4-3-3, it would help our lack of quality in wide areas and will enable us to fit 3 central midfielders in the side in a position that best suits them.

How about this for a starting 11?


Coleman Jagielka Stones Garbutt
McCarthy Barkley Besic
Mirallas Lukaku Kone

I think Browning is a RB. He played well there against RS earlier this season and is only 5'-11" in height which is rather small for a CB. Furthermore, I watched him play CB against Sunderland U-21s and he was very shaky in that game. Looks much more like a RB to me.

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