Everton midfielder Gareth Barry believes team-mate Ross Barkley can be as good as former England internationals Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.
After an inconsistent season last term, Barkley has showcased his potential on a regular basis in 2015-16 with three goals in all competitions.
Barkley scored in Everton’s League Cup victory over Reading on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old’s performances this season have caught the eye of Barry, who feels the midfielder can emulate Gerrard and Lampard.
“Ross has got all the ability to go on and be a really top player,” Barry said. “He has got all the potential to become as good as them.
“He’s got everything that they had, to match their ability, but the one thing he’s going to need is consistency: performing, scoring goals, assisting on a regular basis, and those two players [Lampard and Gerrard] did that for 10, 12 years in the Premier League, so that’s the target for Ross.”
Barkley was rotated in a number of positions in midfield last season and Barry added: “I think he’s a lot better coming from deeper, Ross. Probably not in the hole at the moment – it’s a tough position and he’s probably still young to be going in there, so the role he’s playing at the moment with James [McCarthy] and myself has certainly been suiting him this season.
“He’s obviously still young so he’s still learning certain parts of the game. He’s got the manager here that’s really trying to find the right position for him to flourish.
“He showed in his first season how good he is, and how consistent he can be; last season was a bit up and down. It was a massive learning curve for him, so I’m not surprised this year he’s really kicked off again.”