Neville was working as a pundit during Everton’s 4-2 win over Leicester City yesterday, in which Barkley was named the Man of the Match after setting up two goals.
During the broadcast, Neville compared the Englishman to Manchester City’s £50 million Belgian playmaker, insisting Barkley has all of the tools required to match De Bruyne.
Speaking alongside fellow pundit Jamie Redknapp, Neville said at the time, via Football Insider:
“Ross Barkley is equally as good as Kevin De Bruyne, and he is a £50million player.
“He whips the ball in like he does despite going away from the goal [for Lukaku’s first goal].
“He is capable of producing that. You’ve got to look at the ability of the boy, I hate those that criticise him. Support him and he could be great for both club and country.”
Obviously, as you’d imagine, Manchester City fans didn’t agree with Neville’s assertion:
Has Phil Neville just said Barkley is as good as De Bruyne or am I tripping balls
— Cal (@MacRitchieCalum) April 9, 2017
Phil Neville reckons Ross Barkley is on the same level as Kevin De Bruyne. That's enough for today.
— Matt (@matt_kindon) April 9, 2017
Phil Neville just compared Ross Barkley to Kevin De Bruyne, and said the Everton man is a £50m player. Give it a rest Phil #EVELEI
— David Smith (@Smith15D) April 9, 2017
Phil Neville – "De Bruyne is a £50m pound player. I think Ross Barkley is one in the same!" pic.twitter.com/p5Jo731Mga
— Adam (@a_stann) April 9, 2017
Phill Neville actually thinks Ross Barkley is as good as Kevin De Bruyne pic.twitter.com/HJIdNtkTTV
— We Love Man City FC (@WeLoveManCityFC) April 9, 2017
Not only has a club parted with £50 million for De Bruyne’s services, but he’s also been player of the season in the Bundesliga, as well as becoming a regular for his country – all by the age of 25.
He’s also proved he can cut it in the Champions League, and at major international tournaments – so is Ross Barkley really as good as Kevin De Bruyne?
What do you think?