Roberto Martinez has warned England boss Roy Hodgson not to be too dependent on his midfield star when the Three Lions fly off to Brazil, but there’s no guarantee at the stage, that Barkley will even be in the squad.
Martinez is understandably protective of his player, and has spoken out about his late season form shouldn’t confuse anybody into thinking this is an established Premier Leagie star. At 20 years old, there’s still a lot of development left in Barkley, and he’s far from the final package that his talent suggests is waiting to be honed.
Quoted in The Guardian, Martinez said “Will we expect to win the World Cup because of Ross Barkley? No. That is what we need to be clear on. He has the potential to be one of the best midfielders in world football at the age of 25, 26, 27 – but not now. If the role in the World Cup is to carry England, that is not Ross Barkley. But if it is someone that ‘will he be ready to help the team? Will he be ready mentally and nothing will phase him?’ Yes, he has that character. But if we say is Ross Barkley the man to bring England to win the World Cup, no we need to be more sensible and protect a young man who, for me, is the best young English talent I’ve seen and worked with. I hope we can fulfil his potential and give him what he needs over the years.”
Hodgson was in the stands at Goodison Park over the weekend when Barkley netted a superb dipping shot, and turned in an exhilarating midfield display full of pace and power, displaying an ability to run with the ball and best defenders on either side that has been lacking from England players since the days of Paul Gascoigne in his pomp.
All that said though, Barkley’s seat on the ‘plane to Brazil is a long way from certain. Hodgson’s ‘long squad’ of 30 is due to be announced on Monday, and from that, the final 23 will be selected. Barkley’s chances of getting into that larger party are probably fairly good, but when the final 23 are named, the contest for a central midfield place will be fierce, and the young Everton player may just miss out.
Speaking further, Everton manager, Roberto Martinez added: “When you have 23 players to choose from I think Ross is quite unique. I don’t think there is another English player that can do what Ross does. “Whether Hodgson recognises that unique quality, will probably decide whether Barkley spends the summer in Brazil or on holiday.
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