At a time when the future of the England national team appears in crisis with a lack of talent coming through; two promising English midfielders are starting to make their mark on the game. Ravel Morrison and Ross Barkley have nailed down starting positions at West Ham and Everton respectively. Both are attacking minded midfielders, which is shown in their goal tallies as they have each scored on two occasions already. As the likes of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard move towards the end of their international career, this duo is emerging at the perfect time for Roy Hodgson.
West Ham midfielder Morrison is known for his incredible ability to both run with the ball at pace and split defences with excellent through balls. The former was seen on Sunday at White Hart Lane where the young Englishmen ran through the Tottenham defence before scoring with a sublime chip over Hugo Lloris. Both his shooting accuracy and chance conversion stand at 40%. He has only created 4 chances which is something he will want to improve in the coming weeks. He can confidently move the ball around in the final third as his passing accuracy in that area is 66%. His overall pass completion is 78.4% which is impressive considering he plays in a team which is renowned for it’s direct style. The former Manchester United player has also shown he can be useful at both ends with a tackle success rate of 83.33%.
Meanwhile for Everton, Barkley has struck up a great rapport with on-loan Belgian striker Romulu Lukaku, a combination which tore Newcastle to shreds in the opening 45 minutes last week. The youngster has been compared to Wayne Rooney as he is strong on the ball and managed to bulldoze his way through challenges. His shooting accuracy (42%) is slightly better than Morrison but his chance conversion (17%) is far lower. The 19-year-old has created twice as many chances as his compatriot with 8 which may be due to the relationship he has with Lukaku, whereas Morrison is playing in a team without a striker of Premier League quality. Barkley is also more accurate with his final third pass completion (83%) and his overall pass completion rate (86.77%) which is no doubt down to playing in a team which values passing, possession football. Barkley also contributes defensively with a good tackle success rate (80%).
Their careers up to now mirror each other. Both have had to go through a huge change to get a first team place in the Premier League. Morrison had to leave Manchester United due to the personal problems that he went through in the city, whereas Barkley didn’t get a fair chance in the Everton team until Roberto Martinez came to the club. Moreover, both have been under huge pressure since early on in their career. With just under a year separating the two, it will be interesting to see how their careers progress from here – hopefully both will ply their trade at the top level for many years.
At the moment Barkley looks to be the brighter prospect when you look at both his general style of play and the stats that were mentioned earlier. However, Barkley is playing in a team that plays attractive attacking football, which allows the youngster to shine. While Morrison is playing in a side which promotes a more direct style of play, which may limit his natural ability. It is beyond doubt that if both keep up their exceptional form for the rest of the season, bigger clubs will become interested. In the coming years both should become regulars in the England national team and with their similar styles of play, could they become the new Gerrard and Lampard?