'What is wrong with Ross Barkley?'

Sunday 16 October 2016  34 Comments  [Jump to last]
BBC Match of the Day discuss the midfielder's omission from Everton's 1-1 draw with Manchester City on Saturday and question whether he is too "too much of a maverick" for the modern game.

» Read the full article at BBC MOTD

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Stan Schofield
1 Posted 17/10/2016 at 19:39:02
He's having a bad patch of lost form, plus his fitness has been lacking. The panel are right about that. However, the comments about him being a 'maverick' and that presenting problems are a wide of the mark.

He is a maverick in that he has unusual skills and can do the unexpected. But this is an asset when he's on form and fit. So the basic problem is form and fitness.

The loss of form may be a temporary hangover from the management problems of last season, or maybe more significant. We don't know, but IMO it's likely the former. So hopefully Koeman can help him back to good form. Certainly to proper fitness.

Tony Hill
2 Posted 17/10/2016 at 19:45:51
Ross Barkley is what's wrong with Ross Barkley. Critical moment this for him. I recently saw some footage from a couple of years ago and he was a different player altogether, leaner, faster, brimming with confidence. He needs a break and I still think we have a fine player. Time running out, though, with us.

The theory that he may have to leave to release his talent again may be right, sadly.

Michael Polley
3 Posted 17/10/2016 at 19:48:20
Hopefully Koeman will get him sorted out. There is talent in there somewhere.
Stan Schofield
4 Posted 17/10/2016 at 20:03:13
Tony, that would be sad if he left us. I can't see that time is running out. He's only 22. We buy players aged 26 and over. Given what happened last season, and with Koeman now in charge, we should persevere to get him back to peak fitness and good form.

In other words, we should, for the moment, bias judgement on the basis that it's a temporary problem that we can solve rather than a longer-term problem that we cannot.

Peter Roberts
5 Posted 17/10/2016 at 20:14:52
He has a fragile confidence, a desperation to do well and a load of fans who are far too quick to slate him.

Other than that, he's a very talented player who needs a real mentor.

Paul Hewitt
6 Posted 17/10/2016 at 20:15:23
He's just spent the last 2 seasons being coached by the worst manager EVER. No wonder he's gone backwards.
Tony Hill
7 Posted 17/10/2016 at 20:51:15
I'd love to see him come good with us, Stan, but I think he has difficulties which may go beyond a loss of form.
Anthony Dwyer
8 Posted 17/10/2016 at 21:10:43
"Ffs, what's wrong with Ross?" people ask.

Maybe he's got the weight of Goodison on his shoulders. Maybe he's listening to the grumbles around his HOME ground from his OWN fans almost every time he touches a ball.

Maybe he's being doubted by two gobshite managers who are apparently the best English coaches about. (Pathetic, I know.)

Now Koeman is doubting him!

Hopefully he's taking Ross out of the limelight, allowing him to regain a bit of form and fitness.

But can I advise that Ross creates a chance more often than ANY other English player. This is not a silly statement, this is a fact.

Before being dropped recently by Southgate, Ross had created 20 chances in 533 minutes of Premier League football, that's one every 28.3 minutes. Henderson has created one every 61.40 minutes, just 10 in 614 minutes. Jack Wilshire, one every 94 minutes, Raheem Sterling, who is apparently on fire creates one every 99 minutes, just 6 in 597 minutes.

Ross has a bit of an assist problem atm, but if OPTA claim his 'chances created' stats are as above, then maybe it's other members of our team letting him down a little.

One criticism I do have with Ross is that he should put a few more crunching tackles in, and I do appreciate it's not his game, but it would buy him some muc-needed extra support from blue-blooded scousers who want to see the big scouse lad show some heart.

Anyways, I feel Ross is a really good player, not a world class player, who needs some support from our supporters. Maybe if we gave him the support players like Mo Besic and Deulofeu are given, then he may feel a little bit more loved

Just a thought.

Peter Murray
9 Posted 17/10/2016 at 21:15:25
I watched that clip. What kind of panel was that? Dean Saunders (!!) as snidey a "pundit" as he was a player, getting a few cheap laughs at Ross's expense.

Ross is playing without confidence. He needs support. He still counts as a young player and, if he goes under, very serious questions will have to be asked about the current regime.

Stan Schofield
10 Posted 17/10/2016 at 22:02:33
Anthony, spot on, I couldn't agree more.
Tony Abrahams
11 Posted 17/10/2016 at 22:46:34
Anthony, you talk about wanting to see Ross show more heart? I can't disagree and, although you could possibly argue that they could be the same thing, I would prefer Barkley to have a lot more belief in himself. Especially when you read the stats that you have just presented to us, mate.

That's why I was made up with Koeman when he shot Ross down for criticising Hodgson not giving him a proper go. Say nothing, and let your football, and other people, do the talking, Ross. Talk's cheap but, if you want to succeed, you can start by really believing in yourself, kid!

Colin Glassar
12 Posted 17/10/2016 at 22:54:09
Ross's problems are in his head. The lads got everything to be a top, top player but doesn't have the self-belief top, top players have.

I saw Pogba stroll around (as usual) tonight and he's considered world class. Ross is better than him IMO but Pogba believes in himself and this sets them apart.

Bobby Thomas
13 Posted 17/10/2016 at 23:32:41
The fact that he is virtually the only ball-playing attacking midfielder doesn't help. He really could do with a bit of help.

I was actually pleased he was dropped on the weekend. For him. He's started virtually every game for over 2 seasons. I think he has flaws but it's on him to get on the ball and create, every week.

Arsenal have Ramsey, Ozil, Carzorla, others. At our place there's just Barkley. We need a ball playing attacking midfielder who has a goal in them in to inspire him & also help him out. Sigurdsson, something like that.

He really could do with a break, mentally as well as physically, from being the person who is always brave enough to get on it and take responsibility for making us tick. Pienaar in his prime, for example, another player brave enough to get it & hold it, would have been great for Ross. He would have been good for combination play and actually created more space for him.

He needs that kind of help. Combined with playing for your hometown club and the fans are getting on you, it's a lot of pressure. His head must be burnt out sometimes.

Danny Broderick
14 Posted 17/10/2016 at 23:37:17
Ross's problems are not with the ball. That might sound strange, because we can all see that he doesn't always pick the right final ball, or he will choose the wrong option. This will improve naturally with time, and we are all aware of the talent and potential he has.

What lets him down is the easy side of the game – the basics. There's no intensity to what he does. He trots around the pitch in 3rd gear. There is a lack of effort to win the ball at times. He will never be a tackler, but surely he could just compete for headers sometimes, or close people down properly. Sprint back into position if he loses the ball – that kind of thing.

He could cut himself a lot more slack if he did just some of this. Let's face it, this is why he wasn't picked on Saturday, because you can't trust him to be disciplined and do a job for the team. And with the talent he has got, that is really sad. Any manager worth his salt will always play someone like Cleverley away from home in a big game instead of Ross because you just can't trust him.

The way Ross plays currently, he is a luxury. If he is not playing well, he doesn't contribute. We haven't seen him in 2016. I think he needs to go out on loan and rediscover himself. It would do him the world of good to get away from everything he knows so that he can develop away from the pressure he is currently under.

If he could get a loan move to a top Championship club, score some goals out of the spotlight and get them promotion, he might come back on cloud 9. He might also realise that you have to put it in every week, because that is a tough league.

Peter Jansson
15 Posted 17/10/2016 at 23:47:18
Seriously – if you take all technical aspects of Ross and his physique, the guy is absolutely great.

What he misses is football understanding and maybe some hard-core attitude. He plays the game too slow. When I say 'slow', I mean that he is holding the ball far too long all the time. He needs to let the ball go faster. If he varies his game, he would be more unpredictable for the opponents and more effective for Everton.

Now he slows the counter-attacks down, and that is a very inefficient way of playing football in my mind. He is holding the ball so long that all the opponents get back into their positions. The easiest football players to defend against are the football players that never pass, or pass too little.

It seems like he has some kind of understanding that he needs to do fantastic things every time he has got the ball. LIke dribble 3-5 players and make a fantastic goal. I hope Ronald has some patience here. Ross needs some coaching from him.

Patrick Murphy
16 Posted 17/10/2016 at 23:57:44
If Ross's poor form is solely down to the barracking of the crowd – by the way, I haven't heard it where I sit so it must be elsewhere in the ground – he has no chance of becoming a successful Premier League footballer at Goodison Park or elsewhere.

I suspect he has stopped doing things naturally and is over-thinking every aspect of his game. Would Ronald Koeman have purchased Ross if he were playing for another club? Probably not, but that doesn't mean that Ron won't try and coach the lad in the aspects of the game he expects from his midfield players.

Personally I would have Ross in the current Everton team way before the likes of Deulofeu and Mirallas, but that would mean that Ross would have to be played out wide and he probably wouldn't like that. If it is a psychological problem that Ross has, that is very difficult to address either by his peers or his bosses, it is up to him to find solutions if he can. Hopefully, we'll see him excel in a blue shirt in the not too distant future, because Ross firing on all cylinders is what we all want to see.

If Ross was plying his trade at one of the chosen clubs, they would be telling all and sundry what a player he is and that it is an expected blip in a young player's career. Compare and contrast to the press that Wilshere has had since he left Arsenal to go on loan to Bournemouth.

Alan J Thompson
17 Posted 18/10/2016 at 07:04:01
I've thought that Barkley's problems stem from him having the build and skill to do almost anything – and a lot expect him to; I'm almost certainly in that camp.

Perhaps if he was given a more defined role in the team, and used his abilities within that role, we may, sometime later, see his full range in all situations.

Trevor Peers
18 Posted 18/10/2016 at 08:52:11
The range of excuses given for Barkley's very poor form is ridiculous. It's quite simple – he either does the job required, creative midfielder, or we find someone who can.

Hopefully in January we can find that player. Maybe Ross could then learn his trade off a quality addition?

Stan Schofield
19 Posted 18/10/2016 at 09:56:29
Question: What is wrong with Ross Barkley?

My Answer: Probably nothing.

The modern game, indeed modern sport, is full of too much scrutiny. Every mistake is analysed ad nauseum. Programmes like MotD have more talk than action, they have become chat shows full of football small-talk. Blogs sites like TW are often similar, full of analysis whose detail is not commensurate with available facts. The big money in football means that players are expected to perform at the highest level so consistently that many, if not most, are not able to meet the modern expectations. The expectations of what is an entertainment industry, dominated by media giants like Sky, where pundits with 10% of the talent of a Ross Barkley have free reign to deconstruct his game. Laughable.

It's not Ross Barkley that's the problem, it's the modern game. In my humble opinion.

John Daley
20 Posted 18/10/2016 at 10:09:33
"...he is holding the ball far too long all the time. He needs to let the ball go faster"

I believe the reason for that is often because there is barely any movement into space from Everton players when he (or anyone else) brings the ball forward through the middle.

It's been like that for quite a while now and was evident once more at the weekend, with the stark contrast between the constant darting into space of City players looking to receive the ball and the 'tethered to an area about the size of that big plate Alan Partridge used to stash in his room and smuggle down to dinner with him in the travel tavern' style trotting on the spot of their Everton counterparts.

What is often chalked off as simple indecision on Barkley's part, or him having the 'football brain' of a fucking Care Bear, could alternatively (and only sometimes, not every time) be viewed as him stalling in the hope that one of his limited, static, options might make a sudden dart or actually try to slip their man and move into space. The only one who does seem to do this with any regularity is Seamus Coleman. More often than not, the choices are play it into Lukaku stood dead central with a defender clinging to his back like a double strapped school satchel, someone out wide on either side waiting but stood dead still, try and go himself in a tightly packed area of the pitch, or simply play it straight back to where it just came from.

As Bobby mentions above (@13), this team no longer possesses the clever, perpetual motion, left side combo of Pienaar and Baines in their prime; both capable of pass and move, spinning off their man, coming inside or out. There's no alternative such as Arteta to help Ross prompt or give and go, and certainly nobody like Cahill constantly looking to creep away from his marker, make runs from deep and ghost into the box unnoticed. Even Osman, for all his knockers over the years, was an intelligent player who was always looking to be on the move as soon as he released the ball and make himself available as an option again..

What we have now are a number of midfielders of a predominantly defensive make up, wide men who are all pace but no poise, and then Ross. That's it.

Stan Schofield
21 Posted 18/10/2016 at 10:18:13
John, good post, spot on. Players with the ability of Barkley prosper when playing with others of similar ability. They often struggle when surrounded by mediocrity.
Peter Barry
22 Posted 18/10/2016 at 12:07:50
Or, on the other hand, he's over hyped and just not good enough.
Stan Schofield
23 Posted 18/10/2016 at 12:54:14
Peter, it's possible but unlikely. That's because he's delivered the goods in the past, which is the very basis for his 'hype'.

Someone commented on this thread that he might benefit from a spell in the Championship. I disagree with this. On the contrary, he might benefit from a spell somewhere higher, surrounded by very good players, such as Man City or Barca where his talents might be appreciated.

Derek Thomas
24 Posted 18/10/2016 at 13:07:06
You could be right, Stan. Hopefully we'll get some of those better players before Koeman is tempted to move him on.
Stan Schofield
25 Posted 18/10/2016 at 15:34:59
Peter 9: What kind of panel? A waffle panel if you as me. They didn't seem to know much about Ross Barkley. It was more in the manner of chattering bullshitters on Radio 4 Woman's Hour.
Roger Helm
26 Posted 18/10/2016 at 16:18:18
It seems to me that his problems are psychological – he suffered under Moyes, Barkley and Hodgson who all undermined him in different ways.

He has all the skills – he can dribble, shoot and pick out a good forward pass better than most of our players. He has a strong physique and doesn't get knocked of the ball.

He maybe isn't very bright and I think he needs a lot of confidence boosting and mental coaching, as well as more fitness to get about the park quicker. I still think he can be a top player if he is handled right.

Stan Schofield
27 Posted 18/10/2016 at 16:56:35
Roger @26:

He seemed bright enough prior to last season's management debacle. The latter likely knocked his confidence and rhythm, and I agree that he seems to need some mental coaching to recover from it.

He's likely not the only one affected. A number of our flair players (ball players) are particularly inconsistent at present, no doubt in part a remnant of last season that hopefully Koeman can put right.

Jay Harris
28 Posted 18/10/2016 at 17:30:22
Ross is possibly the most talented, gifted player on our books and John Daley has made a very good point that has been evident for years.

Our movement is very poor unless it's from breakaways When the play is static or slow, so are our players.

Ross's passing is largely accurate so anyone making a run or in space he can easily pick out but such has been the criticism of him losing the ball, he is now reluctant to pass to a marked man.

I think a good talking to by Unsworth and Koeman will get him back on course.

Dave Williams
29 Posted 18/10/2016 at 17:53:16
Great post, John Daley, a very thoughtful and for me accurate appraisal of the situation. Man City dominated us by a quick pass-and-move game, nothing to do with beating 3 or 4 men at a time but players constantly moving into space and the man in possession moving the ball quickly to them.

Whether getting better support to him in midfield would sort him out remains to be seen but being surrounded by defensive midfielders or inconsistent wingers is most definitely not giving him the help he needs.

The sooner Walsh, Dowell or Davies are ready to go and help him, the better!

John Pierce
30 Posted 18/10/2016 at 18:39:03
So I can't have #6 saying he's gone backward 'cos of Bobby, and the rest have in the main shaken off the shackles of 'pass pass pass go nowhere'.

I can't have the view that others around him aren't making space for him to play the ball into, as he creates chances no doubt, as many have stated clearly the most talented youth product we've had in a while

The panel was discussing lines we've regurgitated from 12-18 months ago, so well worth a swerve, that lot... maverick?? Mavericks either waltz round 5 players and stick it top bin or punch someone in the face; that aint Ross.

The well documented issues were there even when he was playing well. He's always held onto the ball far too long, perilously so in his own half, often his strength bails him out.

The problem, his head, clearly not a naturally confident lad as it goes. Which is a big issue. Of all the good games Ross has had, never have I seen him get the ball, dictate and dominate, because he doesn't have the ego to.

So the solution for me is clear: if he is to play, it should be on the right wing, I hear the cries of derision come flooding across the Atlantic to New Jersey!

Ross can dribble, hold players off and score a goal. Playing out of the middle is helpful to him in that mistakes aren't as readily punished in that position and it removes him from the burden of winning the game single-handedly. It should give him space to build some much-needed confidence when his job is easily defined: beat your man, shoot or cross.

His inability to defend could be marginalised here too, allowing Koeman to play with his limited deck.

Let's face it Mirallas& Deulofeu haven't pulled up any trees? So why not? But, in the end, the sentiment is clear, albeit sad: if he cannot get it together – Everton's train cannot wait for him.


Peter Gorman
31 Posted 18/10/2016 at 18:59:57
Stan, your defence of Ross Barkley is admirable and I suspect based on the fact he has proven to be capable of some sublime patches of football genius.

But the lad is the sum of all his parts and some of those are clearly an issue. For all the value and truth in John's criticism of his team-mates, Ross himself has a tendency towards poor decision-making and passivity.

Perhaps he would benefit from exalted company but the true greats can self-motivate and self-improve. So I guess he is good but just not great then.

Brian Harrison
32 Posted 18/10/2016 at 19:07:59
Well the man who makes all the decisions that matter, quite rightly doesn't think Barkley is playing well enough to warrant his place in the team. The simple fact is that everybody can argue about his merits but Ross has been bang average for quite a while.

I also don't buy this line that the crowd is always on his back; from were I sit in Upper Bullens, most want him to succeed. I admit that he does frustrate fans and there are only so many times you can blame his youth for his mistakes.

When Ronald Koeman arrived, he said that people should stop talking about Barkley being a young player. Koeman said, "He is an England International and, as such, I expect International performances from him." I guess if we compare Ross with Deli Alli both about the same age, probably Ross has had more Premier League games than Alli. But when you compare their difference in desire and commitment, the gulf is massive.

As for some on here saying he is our most talented player, well at some point he has to prove that and, for me so far, he hasn't. Now Guardiola paid us 㿛½ million for our most talented player and the improvement in such a short space of time is staggering. I don't see any of the top teams offering us this sort of money for Ross yet, if he was as talented as some believe, surely offers should have been made. But seems like the top teams don't see what some of our supporters see.

I would love for Ross to turn out to be the player we all hoped he would, and I just hope that Koeman can make him into that player.

Oliver Molloy
33 Posted 18/10/2016 at 19:09:38

If Ross Barkley was that good, don't you think Man CIty, Barcelona, and the rest would be making an offer for him?

I don't know what's wrong with Barkley but, for me, he's not the world beater people think he is.

Great players do the business, no matter what team they are playing in; great players are consistent, and great players can be relied upon to be at the very least competitive. Unfortunately Ross is falling well short of all these right now.

We all know he is talented; we all know he can do some nice things with the ball. In all walks of life, we all know some very talented people who do all types of work, and we all know what happens when talented people fail to apply themselves properly.

I want Barkley to succeed and am hoping Koeman can be an influence to get the very best out of him, but I have never bought into the hype that surrounds him.

Stan Schofield
34 Posted 18/10/2016 at 20:17:10
Oliver, I can't disagree with anything you've said. Regarding no apparent interest from Man City, etc, well, he's been inconsistent, especially from the last third of last season, so I'm not surprised by any lack of interest.

Also, I tend to reserve the word 'great' for the likes of Ball and Zidane. Ross is very very good on his day, fantastic and unusual skills, but not (yet?) in the great category. Zidane didn't really become prominent (noticeably great) until his mid-to-late 20s.

It's the brilliant parts of Ross's play that can give hope he'll be even better, plus hopefully consistent, which surely is part of Koeman's job to address. Players like him are not plentiful, and not many would sign for Everton (yet), so I believe we need to persevere. I think that's what Koeman is doing, and there's no hype there.

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