Seriously, what more does Ross Barkley have to do to get on the pitch for England? Since January 15th, Barkley has assisted five goals whilst scoring once in nine appearances – a solid effort to say the least. If you look past the statistics and focus primarily on his own individual performances, it is even more difficult to justify his exclusion. Sugar-coat it whichever way you want, it is time for Barkley to be given a chance in England’s starting line-up.
It wasn’t a huge surprise to see Barkley like a recent relevant tweet; most footballers would be frustrated if they were snubbed seven times in a row. At the end of the day, the Everton man is human and he is well within his rights to express frustration at a lack of game time. Southgate has taken charge of six England matches since his appointment but he is yet to give Barkley the chance to prove his worth on the international stage.
Tottenham’s Dele Alli is a top talent but Barkley is more than capable of doing his job just as well, if not more effectively. According to WhoScored, Barkley has completed 82.7% of his passes in 2190 minutes of top flight football this season; Alli has a 79.7% success rate in 2168 minutes. In addition, his physicality should give him an edge. On average, Barkley wins 1.3 aerial battles per game whilst Alli has just 0.3.
For Everton, Barkley has been a revelation this campaign after last season’s struggles. The 23-year-old has a lot to learn but Ronald Koeman has found a way to get the most out of his young star and Everton certainly wouldn’t be challenging for a top-six finish without his presence in midfield. It won’t be easy but the Toffees, priced at 5/1 in bet365’s Premier League betting odds to achieve the feat, could break the top flight monopoly this campaign.
Barkley was once labelled as England’s brightest talent but comparisons to Wayne Rooney have indirectly hindered his progress on the big stage. The added pressure to emulate Rooney affected his confidence but he appears to have regained his mojo and Barkley is back to his brilliant best. At club level, the Everton star is a beast and Koeman will do his utmost to tie the youngster down to a new deal before the end of the campaign.
At just 23 years old, Barkley has time on his side. He has been one of the best players in the top flight since the turn of the calendar year and Everton have lost just once in nine games since his resurgence back to form. WhoScored’s ratings show that Barkley has been given a score of less than 7.00 just once during the same spell and Southgate would do well to consider the Toffees man ahead of England’s next international fixture.
Getting into the squad hasn’t been a problem for Barkley but earning a spot in Southgate’s side has. The best way for the Everton man to change the national side manager’s view is by continuing to play at his best, assisting lots of goals whilst chipping in with the odd strike here and there. Then, and only then, will Southgate realise what England have been missing out on.