Saturday, April 21, 2018

What has happened to Ross Barkley?

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 1 Oct 2016

Ross Barkley's career at Everton is at a crossroads

Ross Barkley’s career at Everton is at a crossroads

I have to admit when Ross Barkley broke into the Everton first team I was excited. Even in his mid-teens people were talking him up, only for a bad injury to curtail his progression into the first team.

He is now 22 and supposedly a key figure for the Toffees. However, once again the youngster produced a poor display in Everton’s 1-1 home draw with Crystal Palace.

Fans getting on his back

As I said I like most Evertonian’s was excited when Barkley got into the Everton first team. It is always great to see a local lad in the first team. As Tottenham fans say about Harry Kane ‘one of our own’.

However, that adds pressure to a player. Evertonian’s are just so desperate to see Barkley succeed as a local player that he gets more stick than any other Everton player. When Ronald Koeman’s side do not perform the first question is always about the youngster.

There is a thin line between love and hate, Barkley is treading that line amongst the Evertonian’s at the moment. We love him, but the only comparison I can think of is with a parent and a child.

You obviously love your kids, but sometimes they do stuff that infuriate you, so you get mad at them you could pull your hair out. You still love them though. That is what Ross is at the moment.

Criticising him is probably actually contributing to his poor performances and thus leading to more criticism. It’s making him nervous and scared to play his natural game.

Some Everton fans are close to giving up on the lad and if he was from anywhere else I think that ship would have sailed by now.

Making poor decisions

Barkley does have talent, but his talent is instinctive. If he has to stop and think about a decision, he tends to take the wrong one. His feet are definitely quicker than his footballing brain at the moment. Hopefully that will improve with maturity.

The number of times he makes the wrong decisions must infuriate his manager and his teammates. It annoys the hell out of the fans that’s for sure. Everton fans would not mind if he was a poor player making these decisions.

We all know he has talent and that is what is the most infuriating aspect of Ross Barkley. If he was a plodder and had no talent whatsoever Everton fans would probably accept his limitations slightly more easily.

Barkley needs to get back to basics and surely Koeman and his coaching staff must play a part in that. Ross is lacking confidence at the moment because of his recent performances and criticism. Maybe he needs an arm around the shoulder.

Looking at Koeman he does not look like the sort that enjoys cuddling, so maybe one of his coaching staff can get into Barkley’s head and help him find form.

Everton still a work in progress

Everton are still a work in progress. The Toffees good start to the season has now hit a brick wall and reality has set in slightly on the blue half of Merseyside. Most Blues know that it will take time for Koeman to rebuild the squad. Hopefully Barkley will be part of that.

The media have talked fanciful about the Toffees being title challengers, which the average Toffees fan took with a pinch of salt. Everton are now odds of 2/1 to finish in the top-six and that is probably far more realistic than the top-four or even a title challenge.

If Everton are to succeed under Koeman, Barkley needs to step-up and start making the right decisions. I may have called him a youngster earlier. However, in terms of Premier League footballers he is not a kid anymore.

It is sink or swim time to the attacking midfielder. He may have been overhyped by the media, but he does have talent. He is still young and maybe with time he will start making the right decisions. However, at the moment I can understand the fans frustrations.

Unfortunately, the fans are not helping Ross Barkley and the player is not helping the fans by his displays. I really do hope that in the near future Barkley starts to improve, as he now seems to be at a career crossroads.

Is Ross Barkley overrated?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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