(Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Roberto Martinez has cast further doubt on Ross Barkley's involvement in the Under-21s European Championships with England by suggesting that the 21 year-old needs "a proper break" this coming close season.
Barkley's astronomic rise to prominence during Martinez's first season in charge was followed by a call-up to the World Cup in Brazil last year and his club manager is making no secret of his belief that playing for the U21s now would be both a retrograde step for the player and an impediment to the advancement of other young England players.
Barkley has been selected by Roy Hodgson for the senior squad for the forthcoming Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania and the friendly in Italy but he remains a candidate to join Gareth Southgates U21s in June's tournament in the Czech Republic.
After missing the first two months of the current Premier League campaign with a medial knee ligament injury, Barkley has struggled for form and consistency for Everton but he showed flashes of brilliance in the ill-fated Europa League second leg in Kyiv that have reinforced Martinez's belief that he needs the biggest stages to bring out his best.
"What Ross brings is the bigger the occasion, the bigger the performance and bigger the response," he told the Liverpool Echo.
"What was pleasing last Thursday night was to see the 'old' Ross getting away from people, being so threatening with his forward pass and getting his shot away with either foot.
"He hit the post with his left foot and with his right foot. I loved seeing the signs of the old Ross appearing.
"We need to look after him and make sure he has that sort of standard for the rest of the season and has a proper break in the summer.
"Do that and we will have a player completely new for next season after the experiences he has had this season."
Quotes sourced from Sporting Life
Reader Comments (52)
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1 Posted 24/03/2015 at 15:38:56
If we get another 3 points soon then the rest of our fixtures will become relatively meaningless. Why not rest him then and let the lad go and represent his country at a major international tournament?
Free of the constraints placed upon him at Everton this season, Ross may re-find the kind of form he consistently showed for us last season. If he’s picked then he should go IMO and it should be down to the player and have NOTHING to do with the manager.
2 Posted 24/03/2015 at 16:15:19
3 Posted 24/03/2015 at 16:24:33
4 Posted 24/03/2015 at 16:25:14
5 Posted 24/03/2015 at 16:35:08
If a rest benefits Barkley and Everton then I'm all for it.
6 Posted 24/03/2015 at 16:47:48
On one hand I am all for having a full off season on his jollies but then think that the lad needs to give his confidence a boost and the U21s might do that for him.
7 Posted 24/03/2015 at 16:51:27
8 Posted 24/03/2015 at 16:57:30
If he plays well in all that time he'd likely be off somewhere else and the media wouldn't give a fuck about if he's injured for friendlies but fit for competitive games and that he played without a rest the entire time he was in the Everton first team.
Fuck the U21's, fuck woy and fuck England. It's all a corporate scamming, fan fleecing, scapegoating, tapping up media circus that is designed to suck the money and joy from football fans with its best seats reserved for the Tarquins and Tobys and never ending substitutions.
I wouldn't be unhappy if he never went near woy (mascherano is the world's best player) Hodgson and the rest of those quarter final fucktards.
9 Posted 24/03/2015 at 18:20:14
10 Posted 24/03/2015 at 18:31:24
11 Posted 24/03/2015 at 18:37:16
12 Posted 24/03/2015 at 18:28:15
13 Posted 24/03/2015 at 18:59:10
Classic club v country stuff. He should do whatever he wants and not listen to Bobby!!!
14 Posted 24/03/2015 at 19:10:46
15 Posted 24/03/2015 at 19:22:19
16 Posted 24/03/2015 at 19:24:35
Deary me, let's not hold the poor little lad responsible for his own performances. After all, he's only 21, barely out of his doidies. By all means, let him go off and be "coached into playing in his Correct Position"... which in Barkley's case would be Upright With Head Out Of Ass. Maybe he'll learn to actually put in a strong, consistent, confident effort. You know, like a grownup.
17 Posted 24/03/2015 at 19:56:39
Guess that is what TW is for, as we all have our own opinions.
18 Posted 24/03/2015 at 20:03:52
The one who needs to commit to Ross is Ross. He's a big boy now. Everybody knows the talent is there, but he isn't going to succeed or fail because of Martinez, or Hodgson, or Southgate, or anybody else you want to blame. The only guy who can make Barkley a star is Barkley. And he's the ONLY one to hold responsible if he doesn't achieve it.
19 Posted 24/03/2015 at 20:11:34
20 Posted 24/03/2015 at 20:31:50
The only thing I blamed Moyes for was dropping him after he made a couple of mistakes and at that time he was not the only one. I believe that even you can see that this season there is a number of players who have lost confidence in the way the team is playing so who's problem is that?
21 Posted 24/03/2015 at 20:44:42
22 Posted 24/03/2015 at 21:03:22
Bill, I think his best position physically is where he played against Kiev... behind the striker... but I don't think he has the brain or the instincts for it. He commits to his decisions too early and stares at where he's going with the ball, and he can't adjust quickly enough when defenders anticipate him, so he loses the ball. Several folks on the TW forum last weekend were speculating that he eventually winds up as a striker, and given his explosive physical abilities and ferocious finishing, that's an intriguing possibility -- his reactions would be more important than his thinking.
Regarding your question about this dismal season, I think the manager and the players are equally to blame. The dropoff in performance from last year is everybody's problem.
23 Posted 24/03/2015 at 21:21:31
Playing tournament football will do him the world of good. Those of you saying he needs to rest, really. He has hardly played this season and his World Cup was a none starter as Woy never played him in Brasil.
24 Posted 24/03/2015 at 21:34:21
England should pick the strongest possible side and go to that tournament with the intention of winning it. Otherwise it is a waste of time and mediocre players will continue to roll off the treadmill into a mediocre England side.
Barlkley should want every possible footballing experience that can add to his development.
25 Posted 24/03/2015 at 21:25:13
Intriguing idea to use him as a striker; if Lukaku and Kone are out for a while, it may be an option instead of Naismith
26 Posted 24/03/2015 at 21:13:58
I think he should go to the U21s who are probably better than the full side anyway and he might win something!
Still, glad he's a Blue.
27 Posted 24/03/2015 at 21:59:20
His decision-making can undoubtedly be poor at times but he has obviously not been handled in the way he needs to be. Good man-management should not turn a player who was the envy of all in the league last season into the mess that he is now
28 Posted 24/03/2015 at 23:23:40
29 Posted 25/03/2015 at 02:05:25
30 Posted 25/03/2015 at 02:28:54
As Mike says, the lad needs to grow up, show more fight and determination, and get himself into the box. The awareness, skill and pace when he ran on to the Atsu pass to slot the ball home was an illustration of his capabilities. Sturridge does it across the park. Barkley could do it for us. I'll bet he wouldn't miss many sitters.
31 Posted 25/03/2015 at 06:06:29
As for him having a break, he appears to have taken a break during games as well so should be fresh.
32 Posted 25/03/2015 at 07:21:14
33 Posted 25/03/2015 at 07:17:05
Many comments on here saying Martinez has coached the confidence/instinct out of the player. I just don't see that. Martinez has many failings but as far as I can tell he's let Ross play how he wants to play and encouraged risk taking. Yes, he has been played on the left or the right of a front 3, and been ineffective there. Don't see that as Martinez's fault when the alternatives have been an injured Pienaar or McGeady for much of the season.
34 Posted 25/03/2015 at 08:15:31
35 Posted 25/03/2015 at 08:35:33
36 Posted 25/03/2015 at 08:32:15
I'm not sure that going this summer will truly do Barkley much good in the long run. I'd much rather see him managed far better by his club and find the form he had last season.
37 Posted 25/03/2015 at 08:46:33
38 Posted 25/03/2015 at 08:50:46
He can take Tom Ince's place. He has 'retired' from international football I believe.
39 Posted 25/03/2015 at 08:56:00
I think actually what Barkley could use is a good rest, a nice holiday and 6 weeks of having no pressure to perform that will allow him to relax and rejuvenate mentally.
It’s the expectation that is weighing him down in my opinion and a Summer Tournament would only add to that. Let the kid have some downtime and re-focus.
40 Posted 25/03/2015 at 09:26:15
I've never begrudged the player his full England caps but to me he has never looked quite ready for the honour and I can think of no International he has played in which he has made a real impact.
For me, the appetite for action of Harry Kane Â– who has left Ross for dead in the development stakes Â– is the one to be admired but if his manager says he should skip the U21s then that is what he will have to do.
Of all the youngsters I have seen in 50 years, Ross has received most acclaim. Perhaps next season he will realise it. Perhaps.
41 Posted 25/03/2015 at 09:54:44
42 Posted 25/03/2015 at 09:57:44
43 Posted 25/03/2015 at 10:03:09
44 Posted 25/03/2015 at 10:11:15
I guess it says all about how insignificant Â– outside our hearts Â– this great club has become.
45 Posted 25/03/2015 at 10:28:13
Slightly off topic: I think that the poor pre-season was some of the cause of the poor Barry... at his age he needs to give it heaps in the pre-season and just keep limber and ticking over. The games will give him all the hard work he needs Â– or can take
46 Posted 25/03/2015 at 11:06:59
47 Posted 25/03/2015 at 12:03:13
48 Posted 25/03/2015 at 11:13:05
One thing we should have all learnt this season, is simply Ross at 21 is not fit enough to have laced the boots of a 16-year-old Rooney. Rooney had more skill, desire, and arrogance, shame it was not the other way around. Because we needed a player of Rooney's appetite this season.
49 Posted 25/03/2015 at 16:20:31
One chance I’d give him now is centre forward especially wth Luk out for a couple of weeks. Let’s stop wrapping him in cotton wool. In my early twenties I played Saturdays, Sundays, trained twice a week with both teams and 5 a side league midweek while in full time work. I don’t see how a young man needs to rest or have any other reason not to go on the pitch and give his all in every game. Oh, yes and there are the unbelievable wages he is on.
50 Posted 26/03/2015 at 02:41:50
Maybe a bit OTT admittedly but we'll see how the history books get written.
With Barkley, he's such an enigma it's tough to say what is right. My feeling as a former athlete is to give him a mental recharge. None of us know the pressure he's under so I can only assume it must be immense beyond most measure. Let the lad live for a summer and come back stronger.
52 Posted 28/03/2015 at 19:31:43
Don't we all!!
53 Posted 28/03/2015 at 19:33:06
You're probably right there mate, the pressure of having all that wealth at such a young age without any financial nous and with the inner knowledge that he is taking us all for a ride and will sooner or later be found wanting Â– must be very worrying.
I know that sort of pressure would worry me shitless!! There's an old saying: If you can't stand the heat (pressure) get out of the kitchen!! Time for him to grow up and start delivering.
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