Jamie Carragher believes Ross Barkley doesn’t have the discipline to play central midfield for Everton – but admits neither did Steven Gerrard at 21.
The Liverpool legend chose to focus on Barkley in his Daily Mail column this week after the Toffees midfielder impressed for England in the international break.
He started both wins over Estonia and Lithuania, impressing in a central role in Roy Hodgson’s side.
But there has been talk since those performances about Barkley’s suitability for a role in centre midfield given he plays as a number 10 for his club.
Wayne Rooney will inevitably fill that position when fit and the 21-year-old youngster will probably have to fight it out for one of two deeper midfield spots if he’s to start at Euro 2016 next summer.
According to Carragher, he’s not built for that – but he’s used former team-mate Gerrard as an example of how a talented youngster can grow into a position and tipped Barkley to do just that in the future.
You have to accept there will be games where it doesn’t happen for him or he will have 20-minute spells, as he did against Watford on the opening day of this season, when he drifts out of the game or goes on runs that take him nowhere. But then he will come up with a goal from nothing. Luis Garcia was like that for Liverpool. He could drive you mad at times, he would give the ball away or try something impossible, but you knew sooner or later something would come off that would make it all worthwhile.
When Barkley matures and gets greater experience, his decision-making will improve, that is for sure. I met Ross a couple of weeks ago at Finch Farm, Everton’s training ground, and he told me that he sees himself as being a central midfielder in the future.
At this moment in time, I don’t think he has got the discipline to play that role but that was the same for Steven Gerrard when he was 21. There is so much more to come from Barkley and he clearly has such belief in himself, but what really struck me was how humble and shy he was.
Barkley has the rest of the season with Everton plus international friendly games with Spain, France and Germany to prove he’s worth a starting role in France.
And he’ll get the first opportunity to show his worth when his side take on Manchester United tomorrow in the English Premier League.