Ross Barkley: Player Profile




Everton’s Promising Young Star

Personal information
Full name: Ross Barkley
Date of birth: 5 December 1993 (age 19)
Place of birth: Wavertree, Liverpool, England
Height: 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position: Attacking Midfielder

Club information
Current club: Everton
Number: 20

Youth career
2005–2010 Everton

Senior career
2010– Everton 31 Appearances, 2 Goals
2012 Sheffield Wednesday (loan) 13 Appearances, 4 Goals
2013 Leeds United (loan) 4 Appearances, 0 Goals

National team
2008–2009 England U16 7 Appearances, 2 Goals
2009–2010 England U17 7 Appearances, 2 Goals
2010–2012 England U19 12 Appearances, 0 Goals
2013– England U20 4 Appearances, 0 Goals
2011– England U21 5 Appearances, 1 Goals
2013– England 3 Appearances, 0 Goals

Ross Barkley is a teenager clearly loving his sensational breakthrough season for Everton.

Comparisons have already been made with Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Paul Gascoigne.

There is no question the 19-year-old has become crucial to the Toffees’ fortunes as his role in every Premier League game to date testifies.

Roberto Martinez told talkSPORT: “Ross is a really talented footballer. As a British player he is as talented as anyone you see. The balance he has with both feet is brilliant, and technically he’s really gifted. You would see that technical ability with any Brazilian or Dutch player.”

Former England defender Martin Keown in 2011: “He's young, but he'll be one of the best players of the game we'll ever see in this country.”

talkSPORT Drivetime presenter Adrian Durham: “Saw Ross Barkley day one of the season and compared him to Vieira. He could well go on to be even better than Gerrard, couldn't he?”

Attributes:

Shooting

You need look no further than the opening day of the season when Barkley rocketed home a 20-yard beauty in the 2-2 draw with Norwich. If new Toffees boss Roberto Martinez was unsure of his charge’s qualities, that day proved he was right to put his trust in the youngster. His ability to strike the ball is similar to Gerrard's and further thunderbolt goals will follow from the attacking midfielder. But what's more the Evertonian is confident with both feet, a skill that has not gone unnoticed on the international front with Roy Hodgson already handing him three substitute appearances.

Control

Perhaps Barkley’s most thrilling quality is his skill for plucking the ball out of the air and effortlessly distributing it to a team-mate. The Toffees man is at his most damaging at close quarters. A combination of pace, trickery and a cool head means the teenager can burst through, link up play and control proceedings.

Tackling

His touch has been likened to Gazza’s, his passion to Wayne Rooney’s, so surely with such excellent attacking qualities his overall game is let down by a lack of defensive soundness? Well, you would be wrong. Instead, the Evertonian’s tenaciousness in the tackle has again drawn parallels with Gerrard. Blessed with a battling attitude, Barkley is reluctant to be outmuscled and unlike many players his age he is already well built for the rigours of the Premier League.

Mentality

Many youngsters when they first come on to the scene are lauded for playing what’s in front of them and caring little for reputations. However, this can be prone to tailing off. While this could happen with Barkley, a look at his past indicates his mental toughness. He has already done his time in the lower leagues on loan but what’s more he has shown the strength of character to recover from horrifically breaking his leg in three places when he was just 16 to become a regular for his beloved club and a decent bet for an England World Cup spot.

Improvements

Like any youngster Barkley needs to improve his reading of the game and his decision-making. For instance, in the 1-0 defeat to Germany after coming off the bench he dallied on the ball too long when he was perfectly placed to play in a team-mate or have an effort himself. Experience will better him in these areas, though, and that is precisely what he is getting with Everton and the national side.

Liverpool-born Ross is a versatile midfielder who has progressed through Everton's academy.

A box-to-box player, he has been with Everton since the age of 11 and was playing for the Under-18 team at 15.

Ross represented England at Under-16 level seven times and scored twice, before moving up to the Under-17 age group early in the 2009/10 season.

He made his first appearance for the Three Lions’ Under-17s side against Kazakhstan in October 2009, and was also a part of England's victorious 2010 European Championship side in Liechtenstein in May 2010.

Barkley scored the only goal in a group stage victory over Greece in the tournament, and played a full 90-minutes in their 2-1 victory over Spain in the final to clinch England's first ever European Under-17 title.

The youngster sees his heading ability, tackling and his passing as his strengths, and admitted players like Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill helped him during his development.

In 2010/11, as a first year academy player, he played the first game of the season for the Blues' reserves, netting in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

He was named on the subs' bench for the home Premier League game against Newcastle in mid-September but soon a horrific triple leg-break whilst on England Under-19 duty ended his season prematurely.

One bright point was the professional contract he signed upon turning 17 in December.

After appearing regularly for the first team in Everton's pre-season campaign in 2011, Barkley made his first professional start in the 1-0 defeat to QPR at Goodison Park in August - earning positive reviews for an energetic display.

His next boost was an England Under-21 debut in September 2011 in the 4-1 win over Israel.

A month later Barkley made his first competitive start against Norway coming into the side in place of Blues colleague Jack Rodwell in a 2-1 victory.

In December 2011, shortly after turning 18, he penned a new long-term deal at Everton, tying him to the Club until 2016.

Barkley made a number of substitute appearances for Everton in the second half of the campaign, whilst continuing his development and impressing regularly in the reserve side.

The summer saw the midfielder play a key role as England Under-19’s reached the final four of the European Championships in Estonia.

Joining back up with the Blues' first team for pre-season shortly after, Barkley scored the only goal of the game against Dundee United.

He joined Sheffield Wednesday on a month's loan in September 2012, before it was extended for a similar duration in October.

Barkley featured 13 times for the Owls, once as a substitute, and netted four goals - including his first senior goal in a 2-1 defeat to Bolton and an impressive brace in the 3-0 win at Ipswich.

Ross returned to Everton on 19 November 2012. Before joining Leeds on loan and making a further four appearances, returning to Everton in mid February.

Barkley started an away fixture against Arsenal in April 2013 and put in one of his best displays yet.

He nearly won the match for Everton with a dipping, curling shot which just missed the top corner and the game finished 0-0.

He was called up to the England Under-20’s squad for the World Cup in June 2013 and his
performances in the tournament led manager Peter Taylor to label him as ‘world class’.

Taking that form into the 2013/14 season, Barkley netted his first competitive club goal in the 2-2 draw at Norwich on the opening day, days after getting on the scoresheet for England Under-21s in the 6-0 thrashing of Scotland.

Three Lions manager Roy Hodgson subsequently handed the 19-year-old his first senior call-up to the national side on 27 August 2013 ahead of World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine.