Barkley admits confidence was an issue last season

, 19 July, 59comments  |  Jump to most recent
Young star says Asia Trophy goal will lift him

“I’m pretty pleased with the strike. It was a great effort with my weaker foot. When it went in, I felt more confident in myself immediately.
Ross Barkley admits that he struggled for confidence last season but he s now looking to push on to better things in 2015-16.

The talented young midfielder's form echoed that of Roberto Martinez's team as a whole as they collectively fell below the standards they had established in 2013-14 in the Spaniard's first season in charge.

Barkley's performances that season represented his explosion onto the national consciousness thanks in part to some world-class goals against Newcastle and Manchester City and earned him a place in Roy Hodgson's squad at the World Cup in Brazil.

A medial knee ligament injury robbed him of the first two months of last season in the Premier League, however, and he was never able to hit his stride, not helped by the pressure and expectation heaped on him by many Everton fans who were frustrated by what became a frustrating season for all concerned.

The 21-year-old is hoping to use another top-drawer strike in the Asia Trophy against Arsenal as a platform on which to build towards 2015-16 where he hopes to get back to his best form with renewed self-confidence.

Last season I felt I didnt have that much confidence but I kept trying and pushing on to get better," Barkley says in the Liverpool Echo. "That goal will give me a lift going into the season now hopefully.

I had a good break and then a tough first week of pre-season. We came out here and it was a tough schedule and I think it will help us for when we get back.

Im pretty pleased with the strike. It was a great effort with my weaker foot and I felt I played pretty well when I came on. When it went in I felt more confident in myself immediately."

His excellent left-footed strike that flew past Petr Cech ended up being a mere consolation for the Blues as the Gunners ran out 3-1 winners in Singapore but Barkley says that the team's preparations are going well and that the two new additions to the team are fitting in well.

With Geri [Deulofeu] you always know what hes going to give you," he continued. "He can flick the switch and change the game in an instant. With Tom hell always try and get you on the ball which I like.

Hell get his head up and look forward like Gareth Barry and Jamesy [McCarthy]. Theyre both good additions to the squad. All the lads have been buzzing with the new lads.

"I think we had a few chances. Cech made a great save from Naisys header and Im not sure it was offside. Were getting rid of the cobwebs now and trying to get our sharpness back.

For me its helped a lot. Now we head for Scotland and weve got two testing games. We really need to get our sharpness early doors and then ensure we can kick on at the start of the season against Watford.

Quotes sourced from Liverpool Echo

Reader Comments (59)

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Conor Skelly
1 Posted 19/07/2015 at 17:02:52
Ross, your biggest enemy is yourself. I think it’s a problem of over-thinking, which plagues people’s performance in all aspects of life. Most of us have experienced it with a woman only to end up explaining that it doesn’t usually happen. Learn to be in the moment and it will pour out of you.

Roberto should have him practice mindfulness techniques. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle is an international best seller that I would recommend he reads.

Kevin Molloy
2 Posted 19/07/2015 at 17:07:22
I hope Ross is starting to mature as a person and can bring that on to the pitch. If we can keep hold of everyone, our young lads can start to blossom this season as we phase out the old guard.
Danny O'Neill
3 Posted 19/07/2015 at 17:23:31
Tries too hard and always looking to do something spectacular. I don’t know if it’s the expectation we / the Eng-er-land press has put upon him but sometimes just do the simple things well and the rest will follow.

First thing he did from the kick-off last night....tried to take on Arsenal single handed. He’s always looking to repeat "that" Newcastle goal but invariably gives the ball away.

Bill Farmer
4 Posted 19/07/2015 at 17:36:02
Ridiculously over-lauded by manager, press and Everton fans -- including me -- Ross had more 'nothing' games than good ones last season. Was the problem in his head, his muscular build or just his feet, I wonder?

I don't think either Moyes or Martinez have quite known what to do with him and England's manager seems just as bemused. Answers on a postcard, as they used to say!

Ross Edwards
6 Posted 19/07/2015 at 17:48:56
I blame Martinez for vastly over hyping him saying he could be the greatest midfielder England have ever produced or whatever he said. I can’t remember now.

Just too much pressure and expectation put on the shoulders of a young player. He’s only 21, remember. Plus Martinez was playing him in one position one week and then, the next week, he was in another.

I blame him solely for his confidence issues. If he’d have kept his mouth shut instead of the endless hyperbole and positivity rubbish, the press wouldn’t have hyped him up and raised the expectations through the roof and the fans wouldn’t either.

James Marshall
7 Posted 19/07/2015 at 17:52:12
Stick him up top with Lukaku where he can't do any damage giving the ball away in silly areas and is less pressured to tackle. The two things he struggles with as far as I see it.

The kid is built like a tank and should be able to bully players around him like Zidane used to. He actually reminds me a bit of Zidane at times the way he plays.

He needs confidence, and should be played further forward where he can express himself and not have to worry so much about the dirty work that he's not cut out for.

He can't tackle or head the ball so just let him play.

Steve Smith
8 Posted 19/07/2015 at 18:33:59
Ross lad, Just turn your TV off off and don't read the newspapers!

Wasn't it them who hyped him up pre World Cup and put the pressure on him?

John Malone
10 Posted 19/07/2015 at 18:47:01
Liam talent is worthless without hard work and dedication!

I can’t get my head round the fact even with Barkley’s natural physique and all the sports science at the club he can’t perform at a high level for 90 mins?

That to me shows a problem upstairs, either in his attitude to work or his levels of focus. I worry what he’s getting up to at the weekend or in his spare time... more so after Baines commenting on how professional and dedicated Stones was, almost having a dig at Barkley to take note!

Don’t be the next Billy Kenny, Ross!

Tony Draper
11 Posted 19/07/2015 at 19:12:27
Don’t listen to detractors Ross, ’cos after all they are so astute that they earn the money and pay to watch "ALL of your mistakes" from outside of football........

We got a diamond called Ross Barkley.....

Tony Dove
12 Posted 19/07/2015 at 19:15:59
With you 100%, Liam. I just don’t believe Martinez and the coaches have any clue as to how the get the best out of him.
Colin Glassar
13 Posted 19/07/2015 at 19:16:25
I am hoping and praying that Ross fulfills his potential, which is scary. This lad can go all the way and if, in fact, he’s being over coached and over instructed he needs to tell his coaches to piss off and do his own thing on the pitch.

Bobby Robson always said he’d talked to Gazza before every game and tell him what he wanted to do. Gazza would reply, "Aye boss, aye. Okay mon, aye." and then go out and do whatever he felt like. Ross needs a bit of the devil in him, a bit of cheek and arrogance then he’ll be unstoppable.

Tony Draper
14 Posted 19/07/2015 at 19:27:55
Colin, superb, absolutely superb analogy.

Our Ross needs that "Innocent Arrogance" that Gazza had, and that definately would require for him to do 'zackly as Liam @9 wisely counsels.

Ray Said
15 Posted 19/07/2015 at 19:47:03
The lad has skill and I am with James Marshall (7) in that we should play him forward so he can use his positives attributes -- dribbling at pace, great shot and good strength -- and his negative ones are less likely to damage the team.

I think a good manager would make use of his best talents in their best positions and have lesser players to make up for their deficiencies. I do not subscribe to the ’every player in the team is equal’ theory so, if Barkley needs someone to do is running and tackling back, then set the team up that way.

Pete Edwards
16 Posted 19/07/2015 at 19:50:14
James, Kone gave the ball away up front yesterday and we conceded from it, so I can’t agree with you there.
Danny O'Neill
17 Posted 19/07/2015 at 19:51:56
Colin & Tony (Draper), I don’t think anyone doubts Ross’s talent and if we’re coming across as detractors then I for one certainly don’t mean to.

In my own humble opinion, the Gazza example is a bad one. Think about the talent he had and then think about what he became and achieved compared to what he could have done.

You say let him go out and do what he wants; there’s a balance. No one wants to stifle the raw talent in Ross but my only very slight criticism at the moment is that he is almost playing like a 10-year-old who wants to win the game from kick off on his own by trying to beat everyone when sometimes the easy ball is on.

Just a view... I’m actually a huge Ross believer by the way.

Peter Jones
18 Posted 19/07/2015 at 19:48:10
I’m with Liam and Colin. And I completely disagree with whoever said he cannot tackle. His display against QPR last season was an object lesson to any other midfielder at our club in the art of tackling without diving in or going off his feet. I would place him as equal to Barry at his best which he is sadly beyond.

He should start in the middle next to Cleverley, Osman or Gibson and the opposition would struggle to get a look in. This talk of playing him in the ’No 10’ role (inside left?) is just modern gobble-de-gook. If we need to take a negative approach against the top teams (3 or less) then pair him with McCarthy or Besic - preferably the latter. We should be building the team around him with the assistance of the old heads of Osman and Pienaar.

It is Martinez’s refusal to even try this which makes me believe him to be a defence-oriented manager with little positive to contribute.

James Flynn
19 Posted 19/07/2015 at 20:09:19
Remembering an interview with Barkley, that Lyndon put up here last season. Ross said his best position was behind the striker.

Why not put him there and see? Can't do any worse.

Tony Abrahams
20 Posted 19/07/2015 at 20:08:16
Let’s hope the goal has done him the power of good, because if this kid can come good, then Everton will become a much better team because of it.
Jim Bennings
21 Posted 19/07/2015 at 20:26:45
Can’t believe it’s already 4 years since Barkley broke through and made his debut at home to QPR.

He is 22 in December and you feel like this is a massive season for the lad in terms of which way he is heading.

We got the same impression of Jack Rodwell’s career and we have been given our answer as he has done nothing and if anything he has gone even further backwards since leaving Everton.

I do think Ross needs to get his head right but I go back to the same thing I always do, for me its all about the hunger: is he going to be hungry enough? Does he have the fire in his belly to want to succeed?

Wayne Rooney had it, Jack Rodwell did not (Leon Osman's words from his autobiography).

What category will Ross Barkley end up falling into?

Harold Matthews
22 Posted 19/07/2015 at 20:29:34
I've seldom seen such a natural striker.
Barry Jones
23 Posted 19/07/2015 at 20:46:38
James, that position just behind the striker is basically the #10. I concur that it is his best position. The problem is that at the moment he hasn’t matured/developed enough to control the game in that position. I feel that he can do, in time, with good coaching and a big shot of self-confidence. We need to be patient with Ross but of course we cannot wait forever either.

In the meantime, I do not see any #10s out there that would be an improvement over Ross at a decent price. This type of player does not "grow on trees". I think the answer is to be patient with Ross, have faith in him, play him regularly in this position, build up his confidence and let him develop into the player that he can be, one who can boss a game in the opponent's half.

Conor Skelly
24 Posted 19/07/2015 at 20:47:09
He lacks killer instinct, Harold. Thinks too much & would be poor in one-v-one situations. I see him as a powerhouse box to box midfielder that scores most of his goals from 25 yards.
Dave Abrahams
25 Posted 19/07/2015 at 20:48:35
I’m with Danny @17, Gaza was a natural footballer, he didn’t have to think, or didn’t know how to think.

Ross has it in him to be a great player but seems to think too much; as someone else said, just do the simple things and the rest will all come together.

The ability to do what he did yesterday, shoot on target, he can do that naturally, doesn’t do it often enough. If he gets it all together he will be one terrific player; if he doesn’t, he is wasting an awful lot of talent. That’s why so many of us get on to him; we can all see the abundance of talent he possesses.

John Malone
27 Posted 19/07/2015 at 21:13:30
I’m not saying by any means I don’t rate Barkley's natural ability, to be honest I actually think he has a look of Zidane with the ball at his feet. Like Conor said above, I think he will make a fine marauding centre-mid rather than a Number 10 but at the minute there just seems to be something missing from his game.

It looks to me like he’s a bit immature and needs a role model or something to happen to make the penny drop; by the age of 22, that shouldn’t be the case.

Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, and Frank Lampard were established internationals at his age. Marouane Fellaini played in the Champions League and joined us by the age of 21. So, if Barkley has the talent, what is holding him up?

Steve Cotton
28 Posted 19/07/2015 at 21:55:09
He also had the ball taken off his toes on at least 3 occasions because he had no idea who was around him or what he was going to do with it.

He needs coaching by someone who knows what they are doing. His spatial awareness and decision making are atrocious at the moment.

The goal was great but he was on a 2 v 1 situation but he showed his finishing is top drawer when he isn't under pressure.

Sam Hoare
29 Posted 19/07/2015 at 22:17:19
Here’s a crazy thought. Send him on loan to Derby or one of the other top clubs in the Championship for first half of the season.

He would start every match in an easier environment, get the ball an awful lot in a team used to dominating their rivals and hopefully score a bucket full of goals and return to us revitalised, full of confidence and ready to do it in blue.

Crazy I know but just fear it will only take a few sub-standards displays to get an edgy Goodison Park on his back and before long he will be at last season's woeful standards.

The lad is a confidence player if ever there was one.

Keith Monaghan
30 Posted 19/07/2015 at 22:27:18
It wasn’t our fans who hype him up - TV etc did it late the season before last in the build-up to Brazil; for example, idiots like Michael Owen saying Hogson should build the England team around him.

I agree with Steve Cotton above -- I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t believe he’s going to live up to expectations; his first task is to earn a place in our team, which he certainly didn’t do last season.

Steve Hogan
31 Posted 19/07/2015 at 22:25:33
Martinez must shoulder most of the blame for his poor performances last season.

At one stage, it was clear to everyone he needed to be pulled out of the firing line and rested for a few weeks; instead, the manager insisted on playing him each week and his confidence ebbed away.

The situation wasn’t helped by our own supporters at Goodison giving him a torrid time with some vile personal abuse every time he misplaced a pass. The two morons sitting behind me in the Park End couldn’t wait to give him hell as soon as the first mistake occurred.

That particular incident has made me question Martinez’s judgement on the development of young players.

Peter Mills
32 Posted 19/07/2015 at 22:29:25
With the talent he has got, he ought to be exactly the player we need, but cannot afford.

I suspect he has been coached to death, and does not quite know what to do for the best. The manager should talk with him, agree what the his true strengths are, then play to them. Just let him play, and let the opposition worry rather than Ross doing the worrying.

Brian Keenan
33 Posted 19/07/2015 at 22:32:16
I do not like Arsenal. I thought Everton should have won the game. I feel the goal in which was canceled out was indeed a goal (Naismith, please head the ball down the next time).

I read about Garbutt today and he was saying let's indeed score more goals (well, tell that to Kevin Mirallas when he ran in and stopped the through-ball from getting to Mirallas when he was heading in to score).

What about Kone? I could've scored that with my left foot. I have an evil parent and a police monitor working together. I turned it off after 70 minutes and my dog took over and we where Roy and the Rovers, this was until I got up and took some tea?

Sorry about the last minutes...

Paul Hewitt
34 Posted 19/07/2015 at 22:42:47
People who doubt Barkley's ability amaze me. The lad WILL be a top player in 2-3 years and hopefully here.

Charles Cook
35 Posted 19/07/2015 at 22:49:30
Sam - ’the lad is a confidence player’ so demote him? In what setting do those things usually go together well? I think your best bit on that post was ’crazy thought’.

My own thoughts are that he was nowhere near as bad as being suggested on here, but nowhere near as good as he he could/ should be. Time will tell us how much learnt during a challenging season that will benefit him in the long run.

If we’re going for crazy thoughts though, mine would be that he should leave Everton. He’ll earn more, assuming that is important to him, win more, play with better players and, hey ho, be appreciated more.

The added benefit is the money that the club will gain dough from wealthy suitors who don’t realise what much of the Everton public, and some on ToffeeWeb have cottoned on to. That he is rubbish. No?

Ant Dwyer
36 Posted 20/07/2015 at 00:49:11
Ross has immense talent, but he’s not professional enough.

Learn from the foreign lads and he will become a great great player.

Paul Ferry
37 Posted 20/07/2015 at 02:01:31
Ant - 36 - I think it’s important when saying/claiming that ’He’s out every week on the piss, he’s got the complete wrong mentality’ to provide hard and fast evidence of this. I’m not doubting your word but solid evidence is always necessary to back up a claim like this and as of now you have not provided it. Could I ask you to do so? If you cannot do this then it would be proper to withdraw this accusation.
Barry Jones
38 Posted 20/07/2015 at 02:01:18
Steve #28. I quote you: "His spatial awareness and decision-making are atrocious at the moment". I definitely agree with you but I am not sure if I would use the word 'atrocious'.

I am not advocating over coaching Ross, but he needs some work on his positional awareness and his decision-making. Players like Pirlo, Xavi, Iniesta and Riquelme have these qualities in abundance, that is why they appear to be "ball magnets" always at the hub of everything good.

I recall Arsene Wenger saying that most players at the top level are very similar in terms of technical and physical abilities. He said that what separated the great players from the rest was the great players always do the right thing at the right time. That does not describe Ross at this point in time.

Hopefully he will get there though. Ant, if what you say is true then I am sad to hear it. He has to have a better attitude than that to fulfill his potential.

Jamie Sweet
39 Posted 20/07/2015 at 03:10:29
Beat one of the best keepers in the world with the pure speed of that ball.

What a strike it was.

With his "weaker foot".

He's not just your average football is our Ross. I sincerely hope he gets the magic back this season, it's definitely in there somewhere.

James Hughes
40 Posted 20/07/2015 at 07:58:28
I think he is a great player and even though he has been through tough times will come back stronger.

I agree with the people saying he has been over coached and he could do worse than look at England’s record wicket taker, James Anderson. He was a rising star who lost direction but came back better.

The man himself said, too many people were giving him too much advice. So he stopped, thought about it, and went back to what made him good.

Nick Page
41 Posted 20/07/2015 at 09:12:51
Does Everton employ a sports psychologist or is that wishful thinking due to our cheapskate board? Confidence issues shouldn't be dealt with on the pitch with young players.
Victor Yu
42 Posted 20/07/2015 at 09:36:59
Fans put too much pressure / expectation on him.

Imagine if the Man Utd fans booed C7 when he dribbled without passing all the time when he first came to the EPL. It is okay to point out a young player's flaw but give him support at the same time if he makes mistakes.

Let him play and give him support!

Paul Thompson
43 Posted 20/07/2015 at 09:39:22
It was an honest admission by Ross about lack of confidence. This will be the most important season in his footballing life and fans need to give him a bit of breathing space.

At the moment, as others have noted, he lacks the spatial awareness and decision-making to be a successful No 10. Whether he can develop, I don't know, but I'm a little sceptical.

If we buy a new No 10, then it won't be his main role. I suspect we'll see him in both centre-mid and No 10 roles this season. Either way, he has to improve and develop, or a spiral of decline awaits.

Bill Farmer
45 Posted 20/07/2015 at 10:11:14
He can't be happy about his failure 'to kick on' last season and it seems no none has been able to diagnose the problem.

There is so much 'advice' available on here but it seems there is no common thread to this. Some say he's a natural 'No 10' (support striker?), others a central midfielder although whether this should be defensive with Besic/ McCarthy or attacking with 'whoever' is not clear.

There's a lobby for him to become the fulcrum of the team and a view that Roberto plays him too frequently. He needs specialist coaching (a head doctor?) or he's over-coached. He's a confused Gazza or just another Rodwell.

On all this advice, I somehow think the last place he should resort to is ToffeeWeb, don't you?

Michael Winstanley
46 Posted 20/07/2015 at 10:41:53
I think the main problem for Ross is we're shit in the final third. Generally we/Ross stop about 5-10 yards from the opposition box because the option is Lukaku ahead of him, marked by 2 or 3, maybe a wide player with no angle to get the pass to. Basically he has no options ahead of him.

If you can, watch a re-run of the Arsenal game and watch their numbers and movement in and around our box compared to us, that's the difference. Barkley would shine at Arsenal.

Winston Williamson
48 Posted 20/07/2015 at 14:22:41
I'd like to see Ross as part of the following:

Howard (or a new keeper, Valdes if Utd are selling)




McCarthy would be the DM; two out-an-out wingers with full backs overlapping where appropriate.

Cleverley told to pass forward and to get in the box as appropriate.

Barkley and Lukaku alternatively dropping deep to pick up/hold up and play. Barkley told to get in the box as much as possible with Lukaku.

I'd also like to see a Number 10 bought to alternate with Barkley or Lukaku depending on the opposition, and a playmaking left winger to replace Pienaar...

I'm now going blue(er) holding my breath...

Charlie Burnett
50 Posted 20/07/2015 at 15:35:12
After watching the Arsenal game, the difference between us and them is they pass into space. We get to the final 3rd and stop the ball dead and think, what do we do? Arsenal hit the gaps and take more gambles that pay off.
James Stewart
51 Posted 20/07/2015 at 20:14:05
@46 you are absolutely spot on with our lack of movement. Width stretches defences and we simply don't have it under the current tactics. No overlaps and everyone is forced to cut inside. So predictable and utterly brain-dead.

Barkley probably would shine at Arsenal. My thoughts on him are his passing is atrocious and his shooting is incredible off both sides, play him up front where he can cause problems.

Tom Bowers
52 Posted 20/07/2015 at 20:24:25
The lad has bags of talent as everyone appreciates but certainly lacked confidence last season and his decision making suffered.

We all hope that this season will be different for him and some of the other players who laboured through last season.

Mirallas was another but with Delboy and Cleverley around the pressure for starting places will stronger.

Creative, quick midfield play is crucial to a successful team and Everton definitely lacked that last season.

If, however RM keeps with the slow build up strategy then it will be another season of boredom.

Jim Lloyd
53 Posted 20/07/2015 at 22:25:40
The lad has a brilliant talent, I just don't think he quite knows what to do with it yet. I think he played without fear in the first season but in some of the games, he lookeds merely ordinary.

When he just did what he's done probably since a kid. Take players on, leave them standing and rocket a shot intro the net, he was a natural. But he's being asked to do an awful lot more now and I think it's been a massive hill to climb, to become the all round fantastic player we all want/expect him to be

The weight of expectation on him last season, was too much for him, I think. He froze. His confidence in his own ability went for a burton and we saw a lad who couldn't really function in anything like the way he wanted to.

He is a professional footballer, getting paid a fine old salary and if he's got a five year contract, why should he worry.

The fact is though, He's and Evertonian, playing for the club he's supported since a kid.

This is where I think we have a part to play; a big part to play.

Some say, he's 22 , he should be mature, he should be able to just churn out match winning performances week after week.
Well, he wont!

And if the people who booed him last season, do the same this season, then my guess he'll freeze again for fear of doing wrong.

Yep, those who boo him, have paid their money and are entitled to do what the fuck they want. They're the customer.

Some miserable get behind me never encourages the team, booed Ross, and anyone else who got in his sights. I couldn't help it but I pulled the miserable sod and asked him diod he ever support the team. "I've paid my money" sayeth the happy chappie, as though that explained all. I'm sure that did Ross the world of good

Well, he did pay his money. What kind of support he thought (if indeed he does think) he'd given the team; I'm at a loss to understand.

The lad has to learn. So, I think has Gerry. If they get booed because of whatever, frustration, should do better, whatever the reason. I think that has such a negative, negative reaction from those lads, we are actively knocking the confidence right out of them.

But we've paid our money, haven't we?

John Malone
54 Posted 20/07/2015 at 23:19:22
I agree Barkley and Deulofeu are talented but raw players but can we afford their mistakes and mis-passes in our period of transition with the new manager and squad? We are hardly a team full of proven quality attacking players to make up for there short comings while they develop!

The fact of the matter is the supply line to Lukaku wasn’t good enough last year, blame Martinez’s tactics or blame the attacking players lacking the quality to provide the ammo.

My opinion is Barkley should not be starting every week and should and should not be shouldering the burden of being Everton’s main creator, we still badly need an experienced quality attacking midfielder like a Yohan Cabaye to make the difference up top to give Barkley time and give him a role model to learn off!

Abhishek Saha
55 Posted 21/07/2015 at 07:40:59
Winston #48, I echo your first choice XI. That's the best first team we can field. I would have let Barkley play a proper centre forward role with no add-on instructions. With Rom's hold-up play, that will make a lethal striking pair.
Steven Jones
56 Posted 21/07/2015 at 10:31:35
We the supporters have our role to play in supporting and building the Barkley confidence and making sure he feels loved at Goodison. Making it his home to terrify the opposition... to try things, to learn and occasionally blow a team away. When he does things, it gets the other excited and the opposition fearful.

With Rom and Gerri more developed and hopefully stretching defences, he will have more chance to show off his power and skills in more space breaking from defence or from transition in the opposing half. I did notice that at Swindon (less in the heat of Singapore) we went with a high pressing approach which would help if executed well to get more opposition half transitions and space.

My actual belief (bow to other opinions too) is that his best position is right side of defensive midfield. He can control the ball with short passes and then get forward on occasion. He did this in one game last year (was it QPR) and it fitted him better.

We shall see in the Scottish friendlies how the team shapes more.

Charles Brewer
57 Posted 21/07/2015 at 11:16:30
I think Barkley's problem was that he went to the World Cup in a shitty team with Slippy. Despite the fact that Slippy managed to head the ball to his teammate and thus comprehensively end the game, Barkley and Jagielka got most of the blame (except when it was Baines's turn).

I think he took the unwarranted criticism to heart, having gone to the competition thinking he might be able to do something really spectacular, and then finding himself amongst a bunch of talentless, over-praised second- or third-raters whose main talents consist of: a) diving; b) waving imaginary cards in the air when one of their team mates has dived; c) rolling about on the ground energetically if someone comes within a few feet, and off the pitch; d) beating up women; and e) killing people by driving too fast while full of cocaine.

Martinez is right to support Ross, but needs to do so in the right way. He needs to convince him that his natural game and talent will never be enough to be the world-class player he can be, and he needs to work on his awareness of his own side and the other side, and to develop an understanding of the tactical play of opponents (that's why he's so easy to channel into dead ends). The likes of Messi actually exploit the attempts to smother him, and allow him to take whole squads of defenders out of the game with an intelligent pass.

That's the sort of learning Barkley needs.

Bill Farmer
58 Posted 21/07/2015 at 11:38:29
So it's all England's fault that Ross has failed to fulfill his potential, Charles! Well, at least that's a new theory although not one which will stand up to much examination, I'm afraid.

In all my years watching 'our lads', I don't think any player has ever attracted so many theories as to their lack of progress. Of course, it may be that he has already reached 'his ceiling' and we are all expecting to much from him.

Pleas to see him chosen to play each and every game, regardless of form, are totally unrealistic. Like every club, Everton is about more than one player – however talented he may be – and no manager can be expected to sacrifice all else on the altar of a player's potential.

Another problem, of course, is that his manager insists on TWO defensive mids (one of whom must be Barry) and only ever ONE winger. Perhaps he's hooked on a theory that brought him success elsewhere. But, however he lines them up, he seems unable to decide exactly the role he wants Ross to play – although the lad, himself, seems to favour that blessed 'No 10' slot for which he has to compete with Naismith, it appears.

And so the argument goes on!

Charles Brewer
59 Posted 21/07/2015 at 12:41:13
Bill, the following was in the Telegraph:

"Roy Hodgson brought Ross Barkley back down to earth with a bump after the Everton midfielder's first England start against Ecuador.

Everton star Barkley was widely praised for his fearless approach to the game, as he set up Rickie Lambert's goal and frightened the Ecuador defenders.

But England manager Hodgson claimed Barkley will only fulfil his potential once his decision making improves and evaded questions on whether the 20-year-old could start against Italy."

And the sequence of events was:

  • Barkley has a very good season and is seen as a potential world-class talent.
  • He is selected for England and goes to the World Cup.
  • He has an excellent half against Ecuador, set up a goal and terrifies the opposition.
  • Boot-faced misery of an ex-RS manager publicly insults him and says he has major holes in his game.
  • Barkley loses confidence (foolishly believing said raw-meat faced loser manager whose team exited the World Cup ignominiously after barely trying and whose "talisman" was probably the worst player in the competition)
  • Barkley has rotten season and says he lacked confidence.
I'm trying to see where my theory is not in accord with the historical facts.

That said, I entirely agree About how the team is set up and the excessive use of fundamentally uncreative players.

Bill Farmer
60 Posted 21/07/2015 at 14:17:47
Much too simplistic an explanation for me, Charles, and I suspect Hodgson was by no means the first coach to suggest the lad's decision making was below par. And to infer that the incident was in some way influenced by the England manager's historical association with Liverpool is taking things a bit far.

I don't for one minute buy into the suggestion that Ross is such a sensitive soul as to be still fretting over a rollicking he got from the England manager, given that he had played much of his football under Moyes who was never afraid to tell players as he saw it.

I must admit that I always felt Hodgson's admonishment of our lad was made as a direct riposte to the nonsense Martinez had uttered about the boy's England future a few weeks before.

Ant Dwyer
61 Posted 21/07/2015 at 15:30:47
Paul Ferry (#37);

My comments on Ross were not meant to offend. I have friends who know Ross and he's not doing an awful lot wrong. He is allowed to have a drink and he's allowed to have friends but he has lofty ambitious to become a international football star. This clearly takes dedication as well as ability and imo Ross should up his commitment to his course.

He has to realise that his mates have a different life to him and he's well paid to lead this life. Unless I were to have a dossier of were and when, then it would be near impossible to prove my comments as a fact, but this is fact as I am knowing it.

Again, I'm not making statements that Ross is doing anything a lad of his age shouldn't be doing but can you imagine Mario Gozte, Neymar, Muller and other foreign players at top clubs leading this life.

I for one cannot and I'd just like to see Ross knuckle down for a few months an try hard to cement his place in both the Everton and England team instead of wasting his immense potential.

Again I'm a true blue and a massive Ross Barkley fan, I'm only putting my point across and I'm certainly not trying to disrespect Ross or upset fellow Evertonians.

Charles Brewer
62 Posted 21/07/2015 at 16:40:13
Bill, I wasnt suggesting that Hodgson's main motivation was being an ex-Liverpool manager, though I suspect he has a residual dislike of the city.

It is more that Barkley is a young lad who played well (even the BBC had him Manof the Match) and got publicly slated by his manager. In that match, Smalling, Jones and Milner were all terrible, and Sterling got sent off for violent play.

But Barkley got the public abuse from the manager. And certainly he has not played as well ever since.

Tommy Webber
63 Posted 21/07/2015 at 18:13:52
Dream Big, Ross, but start small! There are no short cuts in this game. Keep it simple and be mindful of your surroundings! That bit of advice goes for Deulofeu too.
Peter Fearon
64 Posted 21/07/2015 at 20:48:59
Conor, (1) WAY too much information!
Andy Walker
65 Posted 21/07/2015 at 21:06:26
If Ross is so brittle mentally that criticism from the England manager, whether justified or not, causes him to loose confidence for a year then that's Ross's real problem.

I don't put much to this theory though. I think he had a purple patch when he first came into the England team but has now reverted to the form he showed when on loan at Sheffield Weds. He has serious weaknesses in his game: positionally, weak tackler and too head-down at times. Let's hope he can improve.

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