By Lee Molton
Ross Barkley is an Evertonian and local lad, but is this enough to keep him? His contract expires at the end of next season so should we offer him a new contract or cash in and sell him in the summer?
Barkley made his competitive debut for Everton in August 2011 when David Moyes was the Everton manager. He did not start too many games in his first season but was a much-used substitute. When Roberto Martinez came to the club in the summer of 2013, he made Ross a first team regular and The midfielder made his England debut in August of the same year. Martinez gave Ross the confidence and freedom to roam and he scored many good goals and started to dictate games and created a lot of assists for the team.
Over the next few seasons, he has struggled to put in good performances consistently in a blue shirt. This season though, Ross has created 48 chances, this is more than any other English player in the Premier League.
What is Ross Barkley’s best position though? Is it sitting deep in midfield and bringing the ball forward? Or just behind the striker in the number 10 position? This is where the problem lies, we still do not know where Ross is best suited. He can score great goals and create chances for the team but he quite often chooses the wrong option as his decision-making is not the best at times.
I personally think he should be played behind the striker and given freedom to roam around the park to create chances for Lukaku or whoever the striker is. He needs to learn though when to play a pass and when to shoot. If Ross can consistently perform at 8 or 9 out of 10 then we can build a team around him and we won’t need to go out and buy a Number 10.
The introduction of Tom Davies in the team will help Ross a great deal as a lot of the pressure will be taken off him. He will no longer be the young player of the midfield; Tom Davies will be. What a great combination this is and they are both local lads too! Ross is a confidence player and when he does something good, other good performances follow. We are building a young and dynamic midfield with Idrissa Gueye and Morgan Schneiderlin, the future looks good in the middle of the park.
Ronald Koeman has publicly criticised Ross this season and I feel this has been fair. Koeman has not been trying to belittle Ross or put him down, he has simply been answering questions on Ross’ performances. Ross is starting to learn and recently his performances have been better and more solid. If Ross can continue to learn from such a great manager as Ronald Koeman, then he can become a great player for Everton.
With regards to his future, I would offer Ross a new contract now as he is a good young player and we need young players in our squad to lower the average age. If we were to sell him then we would probably only get £20 – 25 million for him and he could flourish at another team. This would hurt seeing one of our own local lads playing well at another club. We need to keep as many good players as possible like Ross, Lukaku and Tom Davies to help us reach the top 6 and get European football back at Goodison Park. I think Ross would sign a new contract straight away as he seems to love playing for his boyhood Everton. We don’t want him to leave and flourish like another boyhood fan – Rooney did.