With Ross Barkley’s ninth assist against Villa on Tuesday and his 8 goals, he is the most successful English midfielder in the Premier League. Dele Alli follows closely on his heals with 7 Premier League goals and 8 assists.
A midfield of Barkley and Alli at the Euro’s would provide plenty of spark for England’s forwards. Barkley has excelled in a very offensive team at Goodison Park, Roberto Martinez has his critics because of his defensive frailties but he has brought the best out of Barkley. The midfield shield of Gareth Barry and James McCarthy has given Barkley license to roam and create chances. Compared to last season’s 2 goals and 4 assists and the season before that of 6 goals and 4 assists this has been his breakout season.
Barkley possesses spatial awareness and he has that burst of pace on the ball to break free of midfielders. Some Goodison regulars liken his attributes to Paul Gascoigne with his speed of thought and ability to wriggle free of a congested midfield to create chances on the break. Barkley’s record of 102 games and 14 goals is superior to both Jack Wilshere (100 games 6 goals) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (100 games 7 goals) (the main competitors to that England jersey).
Playing with a seasoned pro like Gareth Barry has helped Barkley and he has seized the chance Roberto Martinez has afforded him. Very rarely is Barkley anonymous in games, which is a criticism levelled at Theo Walcott in the recent United game at Old Trafford. Barkley seems to possess the mentality and the confidence in his abilities that will propel him further.
He possesses the physique at 6ft 2 to impose himself and his confidence has rocketed of late. Deulofeu, Lennon and Barkley have all benefitted in playing in a very offensive counter attacking set up, playing with an in form Romelu Lukaku.
With the new 49%, £85m investment by Mr Moshiri into Everton Football Club, Everton will have the resources to retain Barkley and let his talent develop. Previous Goodison stars such as Jack Rodwell have left too early to somewhat squander their careers on the bench at Manchester City and now not really fulfilling his potential at Sunderland. Ross Barkley has a real affinity for Everton and at 22 can really nurture his career with first team football at Everton, under a manager in Martinez who clearly believes in him and suits Barkley’s playing style.
The swashbuckling midfield player with a bit of swagger and not daunted by the occasion is what England have missed, and Ross Barkley can certainly give them that. His consistency is improving week on week, and his decision making has improved with greater end product.
England fans will want Roy Hodgson to pick a team on form and not on reputation and the Dele Alli, Ross Barkley pairing will be intriguing to watch. The energy craft and flair they can deliver to England could be the springboard to a very successful Euros. With Vardy and Kane in rude health their creativity should propel England to be contenders.