Martinez says that you have outstanding talent like Barkley, he has to be in the team (Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Everton's 21-year-old star has made an impressive start to the new season for both club and country, eclipsing his tally of goals and assists for all of last season by mid-October for the Blues and scoring twice for England in Euro2016 qualifying.
Those match-winning contributions have been in stark contrast to a difficult 2014-15 in which Barkley's form mirrored that of Everton as he struggled to live up to the promise of his breakthrough campaign under Roberto Martinez the season before.
They have also re-ignited the national debate over where is his best position and whether he should be in the starting line-up for England's two high-profile friendlies against Spain and France next month and then Euro2016 beyond that next summer.
Roy Hodgson has said it is up to the player to maintain his club form over the next month and keep himself at the forefront of his international manager's thinking but the feeling is that he will opt for a more predictable and defensively-minded midfield line-up.
Warnock made waves this week when he weighed in on the debate with talkSPORT, saying that he "fears the worst" for Barkley because the midfielder "can't be given any responsibility" when it comes to the defensive side of his game.
Warnock managed the Wavertree-born star during his brief loan spell at Elland Road in 2012-13 and famously sent Barkley back to Goodison because he couldn't find a place for him in his Leeds team. Martinez, of course, blooded him in his first match in charge of Everton the following August where he scored his first goal and began his initial rise to prominence in the Premier League.
“I had him on loan and the problems I had then, Roy is going to have,” Warnock said. “He has got super talent, but he can’t defend, he can’t take responsibility in his own half.
“If you play Ross, you have got to let him have his way, you have got to let him have that free role behind a striker, the third midfield man if you have to with two good anchor-men. But you can’t give him any responsibility and, if Roy is in doubt, he will go for the defensive type of player. I fear the worst for Ross."
Warnock, who is out of managerial work at the moment after an unsuccessful stint in charge of Crystal Palace, acknowledged Barkley's star qualities but voiced his doubts that Hodgson will be as bold as Martinez has been in making him a focal point of the team.
“If you play to his strengths and let him have that freedom, he could win you games," the 66-year-old continued. "But will Roy let him have that freedom?"
Not surprisingly, Martinez disagreed with the sentiment when probed on the topic and Barkley's best position at his Finch Farm press conference this afternoon ahead of the visit of Manchester United on Saturday.
"I think the best position [for Ross] is on the pitch," Martinez smiled. I think when you've got outstanding talent, you just need to fit it into the team. There is no right answer; it depends on what role you want him to do, what role you want the team to have on the day.
"What is clear is that he's a sensational prospect who is still a very young man. I'm a bit surprised at the hype that has developed just because of the two performances with England [as] we have been seeing Ross hitting those levels since the start of the season... We see it week in, week out from someone who has been so much and it's not so much the sign of a potential player anymore. He's a very strong footballer with incredible quality and as with any player of that class, it depends on who you put around him and how you play the game. Nothing else."
Reader Comments (55)
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1 Posted 15/10/2015 at 18:42:22
England has never really learnt to use its really talented players to their full capacity e.g. Hoddle, Bowles, Currie, Hudson, Worthington, Scholes and now Ross. Gazza was an exception as Sir Bobby was more than happy to play Gazza, Waddle, Beardsley, Lineker etc....in the same team and we almost won a World Cup.
Ross can't defend, he can't tackle and he's not a great header of the ball but he's almost unstoppable when in full flight so play to his strength and don't try and make him a jack of all trades like they've done with Rooney.
2 Posted 15/10/2015 at 18:50:21
3 Posted 15/10/2015 at 18:53:05
Talented players seem to make English managers feel inferior, generally because they are, and they want to be 'in control'. Quality, confident managers know to send the players out there and let them play. Brian Clough took Forest to the European Cup twice on this simple idea.
5 Posted 15/10/2015 at 18:57:52
6 Posted 15/10/2015 at 19:03:38
We Evertonians appreciate that in a game of skill, skill is the most important attribute a player can posses. So give Roberto his due for letting Ross play his game.
7 Posted 15/10/2015 at 19:06:25
All Evertonians know the lad still has a long way to go to make it big in the game despite the ability he has. His decision making is poor at times, he tends to over elaborate and hesitate when shooting opportunities arise and tends to hit the deck too easily when tackled.
No doubt about it Ross CAN and will come good it's just a matter of time.
8 Posted 15/10/2015 at 19:12:28
I'm surprised there is even a debate around this. Surely if you have a potential game-changer in your side – Stokes, Botham, Gascoigne, Ross Barkley – why would you think twice about playing them?
None of the above ever did it in every game, but they also have the ability to single-handedly win a match when it matters. That is what gets the fans excited. Hence we still remember Botham in 81, or Gascoigne in 86.
Coming back to Euro '16, there are enough "safe" players in the English midfield already (Henderson, Milner, Carrick). Surely those dinosaurs that Colin referred to can see they need something extra if they're really bothered to try to win that tournament? Otherwise, if they go with the "predictable" lineup next year, Euro 2016 will likely join the football, cricket and rugby World Cup in English sporting failures.
10 Posted 15/10/2015 at 19:22:56
11 Posted 15/10/2015 at 19:24:10
12 Posted 15/10/2015 at 19:29:22
England rugby has just found out that 15 players who will run through a brick wall is not going to win you anything.
Anyhow, what do people like Warnock or big Sam at Sunderland ever win?
13 Posted 15/10/2015 at 19:30:15
I would add Beardsley to the names already mentioned as a player who Howard Kendall stated "didn't score enough goals to be a forward and didn't tackle enough to be a midfielder"
We've always been suspicious of 'luxury' players (whatever that means), so my advice to Ross if he wants 100 caps... Get Shut! Track back! Work! Work!! Work!!!
14 Posted 15/10/2015 at 19:41:04
None of those fancy Dans for us Ã¢â‚¬â€œ just get your head down and run yourself into the ground. That's the reason we're years behind even emerging countries in technical ability and individual skill... pisses me right off!
15 Posted 15/10/2015 at 19:48:14
16 Posted 15/10/2015 at 19:50:50
He highlights Ross's defensive limitations. Can't argue with that, he's right. He wouldn't pick him. We would. All that needs to be said.
17 Posted 15/10/2015 at 19:59:44
18 Posted 15/10/2015 at 20:00:07
If you took his teeth out and put seats in, then he'd be a great coach.
19 Posted 15/10/2015 at 20:01:18
20 Posted 15/10/2015 at 20:04:21
21 Posted 15/10/2015 at 20:06:23
Ross isn't a player you can trust (or need) when parking the bus. I disagree with him though, I think Roy has shown from his first game in charge that he was willing to pick young players like Sterling and Barkley, throw them into big games and attack teams.
22 Posted 15/10/2015 at 20:43:02
25 Posted 15/10/2015 at 21:05:03
The better response would be to say that he's moved on and up, certainly since his time at Leeds and in his play this season.
26 Posted 15/10/2015 at 21:08:01
27 Posted 15/10/2015 at 21:28:38
28 Posted 15/10/2015 at 21:31:13
Thick Yorkshire Twat.
29 Posted 15/10/2015 at 21:36:47
30 Posted 15/10/2015 at 21:37:28
England have got some very good footballers, but they are never going to move,many levels above average, if they continue to pick good honest players, over raw ability.
31 Posted 15/10/2015 at 22:14:09
Indeed, Scholes couldn't tackle, and we winced when he tried to. For all his work rate Beckham couldn't tackle either. Gascoigne got sent off for at least one horrendously badly timed challenge. Both had long England careers, and Scholes' probably should have been longer.
I think Ross gets stick for not diving around like a Jags or a Stones, or running around like a headless Rooney, but that's not his job. I wish he'd defend more, but not at risk of injury or getting so tired he can't win us a game (slide tackles and up and down off the pitch is very tiring and hard on the body - look at Rooney now ... ).
32 Posted 15/10/2015 at 22:31:00
It was a poor decision by all to send Ross to that team at that time. He'd have fared better in a team like the old Crewe of Dario Gradi.... A team with no expectations that plays nice football so no one gets mad if you mess up but people love you if you do well.
With England, Warnock is merely saying that history suggests Roy would rather field a team of work horses rather than worry about fitting in real talents.
33 Posted 15/10/2015 at 22:37:34
He prefers grafters like Milner, Townsend et al. Quarters at best then... who gives a fuck as long as he produces for us.
36 Posted 15/10/2015 at 23:25:41
On the one hand, he could be a superstar. On YouTube there must be some amazing clips of him. If you watch his highlights, again, he looks fantastic. He has the physique, and maybe an unrivalled talent in the Premier League.
However, he also has a tendency to trot around the pitch. I see some similarities with maybe Le Tissier, Kinkladze, Bilyaletdinov... players like that. On a bad day, having him in the team is like being down to 10 men.
I just hope he has more good days than bad days. If he becomes a Le Tissier, scoring his fair share of goals, I can more than live with that. If he becomes a Bilyaletdinov – playing shite but popping up with a screamer every 10 games or so – then I'm sure we'll all get frustrated that he's not nailing down the number 10 position.
I guess it's all down to Ross. But he's got to be getting into double figures for goals and assists playing as a Number 10. If he can do it – brilliant. I've just got a nagging doubt that he is lacking a bit of drive sometimes.
I have a similar doubt about Lukaku. Can we really afford to have 2 players trotting about on an off day?
37 Posted 15/10/2015 at 23:46:33
The same goes for Lukaku. No matter how fit these guys are, they have to carefully pace themselves in order to last 90 minutes. They may have stamina issues but also have the instantaneous explosive power of match winners. Something the water carriers don't have.
I hope Ross doesn't try to change things to please Hodgson. His performances have helped us recover from last season's disaster and his team-mates understand and fit in with his game. Let's hope the upward trend continues.
38 Posted 15/10/2015 at 00:02:12
Martinez is saying and doing all the right things. Yes, this young man still frustrates and gets things wrong but he is a unique player, like no other I can recall seeing and when Derek Temple says he reminds him of Duncan Edwards (who he played against) then we have someone very special indeed on our hands.
39 Posted 16/10/2015 at 00:49:19
In my opinion he is not suited to the wide roll although he had been effective in certain games on the left. He is much better suited to the central rolls either behind the front man or in an out an out centre midfielder position.
He would probably have to oust Rooney to get his preferred roll as I'd guess Sturridge, Walcott or Kane will start as the main striker, but there is a place for both Rooney and Barkley in my opinion.
Sterling, Barkley and Rooney could be the three behind the one striker but again there will be lots of competition.
40 Posted 16/10/2015 at 00:53:51
ITV talking about him having the odd 'dive' out of a tackle? That's cos he had some horrific injuries, and learned to avoid a bad tackle.
No wonder I prefer watching with the sound off.
41 Posted 16/10/2015 at 03:22:13
Why the hell would you be worried about tracking back with those two pit bulls behind you?
That's one man who is tough as nails and tracks the opposition down like a gnat on cocaine (McCarthy), and another who defensively is as solid as they come, tackles hard, and distributes fantastically (albeit not too glamorously) to get us moving forward (Barry).
If I were Ross's manager, which I am not clearly, I'd tell him to never track back and get in position to receive the ball when we win possession and then run at the opposition and scare the living shit out of them. Especially with our 2 midfielders currently doing one hell of a job, in front of a very solid back four. That's six defenders taking care of the defensive responsibilities (seven with Howard / the keeper for those of you who detest Tim). Why the hell bitch at Ross to drop deep defensively??
As others have said, why (WHY!!!) coach a kid away from his natural attributes and talents? Let him do what he does well and help the team.
It all comes from what, I'd argue, Evertonians detest. A manager who plays defensive minded, defend first, boring fucking percentage football. Be that Hodgson or Warnock.
Ross off the leash is gold and exciting. Ross tracking back and defending, thereby losing the golden bullet in his arsenal?
Madness, stupidity, linear thinking... crap.
42 Posted 16/10/2015 at 03:43:49
Ross, when we're defending in our half, stand on the half-way line, hands on hips, and looks asleep until we get the ball...
43 Posted 16/10/2015 at 05:15:53
But your point is spot on. A player like Gascoigne is the difference between a team that can get to the quarter-finals of a World Cup and team that can win it. You have to play Barkley – if he is on form.
However, I care much less about the England team's fortunes than I used to... and I blame John Terry and Ashley Cole for that... just completely odious individuals.
44 Posted 16/10/2015 at 07:28:34
Ross does bottle big challenges, and it would be interesting if he has been advised to protect himself to protect a big pay day, whether he was always like that, or whether it's just a personal protective thing.
He's a top player, built like a tank and has great skill. Perhaps he will just be a play maker, rather than that all action Zidane/Gerrard type. Not the end of the world, but goals and assists will have to increase.
45 Posted 16/10/2015 at 07:35:38
Perhaps Roberto could have added 'Neil Warnock 'can't be given any responsibility when it comes to being a Manager' but that's not Roberto's way.
However, as many have said Neil Warnock does have a valid point or two about Ross.
46 Posted 16/10/2015 at 08:41:40
Colin was right in saying how many top class, skillful, players have been left to rot by English managers, because our game since Alf Ramsey's time has generally been automaton mode.
I differ slightly from his view though. I think it was Bobby Robson who was the difference, not Gazzer. He wasn't afraid of playing the skillful lads who "couldn't be handed defensive responsibility."
I think Barkley does have a lot to learn but the only way to learn it is out there on the pitch (well said Roberto.)
He can't tackle for toffee and runs up blind alleys at times. His decision-making as to when to pass or when to shoot can let him down at times and he does tend to fall to the floor too easily when he sees a tackle coming.
Well, I think if I'd had my leg broken in three places when I was 16 or 17, then I'd be wary of some of the horrible scissor tackles that fly in now, which are becoming more prevalent.
As for his decision making and running into blind alleys, that's part of his growing up. Another young player who does exactly the same was bought by Man City for 㿞 million. Only Ross is better than Sterling. He can send in rocket shots with either foot, give sublime passes, as per the England goal and he can bring the ball out of defence in the blink of an eye.
He may never want to get involved in the tackling side of the game and I wouldn't blame him.
As the Gwladys Street say "We've got a Diamond"
To some numpties, he's a lump of coal.
47 Posted 16/10/2015 at 10:00:39
In doing so he expressed reservations about the lad that have appeared here ever since the lad emerged as a peculiar talent.
The difference, of course, is that he is 'our' Ross and we can speak as we find. What 'outsiders' think about him is totally irrelevant.
48 Posted 16/10/2015 at 10:02:03
Name one player EVER who has consistently created chances for his team, NEVER had the ball taken away in the process and always made the right decision!!!!! THEY DON'T AND HAVE NEVER EXISTED!!!!!
Martinez is the perfect manager for Barkley , he's nurturing him, letting him express himself and he's correctly building a team around him. Anyone who can't see just what Barkley brings and how Martinez is developing the team around him suffers from Warnock vision IMHO.
The comments about Messi not being able to defend are 100% accurate, that lazy git Maradona never tracked back, nor that muppet Pele. But then again, Moyes had Marcus Bent running himself into the ground like a dog chasing a frisbee, trying to catch the ball off defenders when there were 4 defenders and 1 so called striker. The only problem was that when we won the ball and needed to attack, Bent was knackered and standing still trying to get his bloody breath back, desperately hoping Arteta would win a cheap free kick as soon as someone looked at him.
Do we want that for Ross??????? I fooking don't. Thank god we have someone like Martinez and not Moyes, Woy, Allardyce, Bruce or Warnock; if we did he'd quite rightly be looking to bugger off and play football the way he wants to, just like Rooney did.
We all need to accept the fact that with creativity comes frustration and sometimes failure, but when it works it's wonderful and it's those types of players and teams built around them that win rather than not get beat.
49 Posted 16/10/2015 at 10:21:43
50 Posted 16/10/2015 at 10:37:30
Also, I've said many times, when the ball is lost, all players will defend during this phase... Different players will defend in various ways in different areas – depending on the manager's game plan. Please don't expect Barkley, Lukaku, Kone, etc – offensive players – to defend like Jagielka, Stones..... and vice versa during the offensive phase of game. It won't happen.
51 Posted 16/10/2015 at 10:57:41
Talksport; why would they even have a dinosaur like Warnock on the show? Of course he didn't fit in to his Leeds side packed with watercarriers and very little talent. The guy wants 11 defenders - says it all really.
52 Posted 16/10/2015 at 10:58:41
56 Posted 16/10/2015 at 12:03:51
Also, I see a bit of improvement on the defensive side of the ball... Not a lot but I do see Ross taking more responsibility...
As far as I'm concerned it's all good!
57 Posted 16/10/2015 at 13:32:23
Ross should thank his lucky stars to have Martinez as manager, someone who will accept him for the player he is and not chastise him for an occasional mistake or unwillingness to defend. Apart from maybe Wenger or Guardiola I can't think of many who would allow him to play with flair, freedom and so little pressure.
58 Posted 16/10/2015 at 15:18:46
Anyway, Roberto's response was top drawer. No antagonism, no tension just a simple, humorous and straight to the point dismissive.
My respect for Roberto is increasing this season big time. If we get through the next 2 games with 2 or more points the we are quietly moving towards top 4 potential, under the radar. If we achieve it then holy shit, Roberto deserves a big, big bonus and a thank you from all of us. Let's believe that sometimes the nice guys do win...
59 Posted 16/10/2015 at 17:01:17
No way he would make the grade in England. I mean, he was shite at Man Utd, wasn't he? Ha Ha. Dickheads we have in our game.
60 Posted 16/10/2015 at 20:12:55
Every player should NOT be the same. Run and Run faster again is NOT the ethos for success. This is a Team game, build it so that it works as a team and allows the gifted to excel. As someone said just because they will all run through a brick wall doesn't give you success. You need craft, guile and skill to unlock highly effective defences not workrate...
61 Posted 16/10/2015 at 22:08:29
As for Warnock, well he obviously knows his stuff. I mean look at the way Palace have struggled since day he left. I bet their fans are kicking themselves.
62 Posted 17/10/2015 at 00:15:29
Old Woy picked Barkley for virtually every squad last season despite being in crap form.
And at Everton we actually DO play 2 defensive midfielders behind Ross to make up for his defensive deficiencies and allow him the freedom to be class in the offensive third.
Aren't we all being a tad defensive? But, aside from that, Ross has been Boss this season.
63 Posted 19/10/2015 at 09:27:00
The only other thing I would say is that, although he isn't in there to track back and defend, Ross should still make the best effort he can to mark space and try to get his foot in a bit when we lose it. Even Gazza would do what he could to help the team out in that regard (with variable results... but that's another story).
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