Ross Barkley is a player who has excelled this season. And with the England squad so desperately in need of some creativity and flair, it’s hard to see why he wouldn’t be in the 23-man World Cup squad. But with so much competition, you never know just who is going to be on the plane to Brazil.
Since making his debut for Everton in August 2011, Barkley has transformed himself into an outstanding attacking midfielder. His early performances were highly praised, with Martin Keown predicting that “Barkley will be one of the best players we’ll ever see in this country.” The Liverpudlian has scored 5 goals in 27 league appearances this season, including a phenomenal solo effort in Everton’s 3-0 win vs Newcastle on Tuesday night. This form was rewarded in early September with his first England cap in a 4-0 win vs Moldova, and he now has 3 caps for his country.
As early as 2011, former Everton teammate Tim Cahill said about the youngster, “I have played with some great players in my career but I do not think I have ever seen a talent like Ross.” That talent and technical ability is definitely coming into his game now and has shone throughout this season. What separates Barkley from other talented players his age is his combination of impressive technical ability and standout physicality. His ability to sprint past players as if they aren’t there could be a huge bonus for England at the World Cup.
The midfielder, who has recently been likened to Paul Gascoigne and Michael Ballack by his manager, seems like he is improving every game. The only thing he needs to do now is keep his head down, keep working, and impress Roy Hodgson enough to make his way into an England squad in need of a player like him to improve the creativity of the team. Having a player of Barkley’s talent and ability will help England compete with the likes of Spain and Germany — teams with plenty of players that will have the same attacking and direct playing style as the youngster.
In my opinion, Barkley is a much better choice for a midfielder spot than Tom Cleverley or James Milner, players who I believe have been getting in the squad through big-club bias or reputation. Barkley would work perfectly in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Gerrard and Carrick behind him and Rooney ahead of him, with the two holding midfielders allowing him to bomb on past Rooney and try to get at goal. Hodgson has a lot of talent to choose from and a lot of decisions to make, but including Barkley in his squad could turn out to be one of his best decisions yet.