After a rather timid last season, Ross Barkley has begun the new season on a different level. The English midfielder has been the key to Everton’s strong start to the season. The Toffees are just a point off the fourth spot and face a disheartened and troubled Liverpool side on the coming weekend. A win over their fiercest rival will do more good than just 3 points and Barkley will be critical to their outing.
So how well has Barkley actually begun this season?
Barkley has been outstanding in attack, running the show in the middle of the park. His passing has been tidy as he currently averages a passing accuracy close to 90% and has shown an ability to find the right man time and again. At just 21 years of age, Barkley has already shown a very good passing range, something very basic to the game yet very few possess. His ability to mix up the short and long passes make him a constant menace to the opposition. He has been dispossessed more than 1.5 times every game and the midfielder will need to better these numbers to uphold his reputation as one of the few players in the league with strong possession abilities.
The attacking midfielder has been Everton’s creator in chief so far, having created 14 chances, 3 of which resulted in an assist. With 2 goals to his name apart from the assists, Barkley has had a hand in 5 of the Toffees’ 11 goals. The youngster likes to have a go at the goal often and has had close to 3 shots on target every two games. Having shown his capability, he will need to be consistent in his role as the attacker-in-chief of this Everton side.
He has always been hailed for his ability to drive his team forward with his imposing runs down the middle of the park and Barkley has been unafraid to take on his man this season. He has completed 16 take-ons, a number that speaks volumes of his ability to run with the ball. His pace makes him a constant threat and the defenders are often left with no choice but to make harmless tackles to stop the marauding midfielder. His tackling frequency as well as efficiency has not seen any substantial improvement and Barkley will need to develop those areas of his game to become one of the complete midfielders of the league.
He has shown maturity in the past few weeks dictating the tempo of the game on numerous occasions and a player of his calibre at the engine would help Everton launch themselves into something larger than mid-table obscurity. We believe Barkley has already made himself the number 1 name on manager Martinez’s teamsheets and should he continue with his early season performances, he will definitely be a large feature of the current England set-up.
With the retirement of the likes of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, England needs the likes of Barkley and Shelvey to continue their current development to build the foundations for a strong English side that travels to France for European Championships in 2016. The man has the skill, we all know it. Consistency is what divides the good from the great and for Barkley to descend into the echelons of English football, he will need to give us more than just some glimpses of his abilities.