The song goes ‘We’ve got a diamond called Ross Barkley’, however upon its creation ‘We’ve got an uncut diamond called Ross Barkley’ may have been more sufficient.
Although, it doesn’t quite flow as nicely, let me explain the reasoning. Ross in previous years has shown glimpses of his class and undeniable ability. For example, it’s hard to forget his curling strike into the Street end against City, his individual wonder goal away at Newcastle or even his goal at City in last year’s league cup semi-final defeat.
However, most of us have always felt Ross has not quite fulfilled what we all thought he would of by this stage in his Everton career.
Whenever talking about Ross, I feel it’s essential to remember that he faced a potential career ending double leg break at the tender age of 16. This would have put most talented wonderkids on the road to a career in league one with Sheffield United. Ross didn’t sit and take that, he has powered back over the years to establish himself firmly among the starting XI. The way some fans react to his actions, more out of frustration because of wanting him to do so well as opposed to anger, and with him being a local lad may well increase the pressure he likely places on his own shoulders being the die-hard, boyhood blue he is.
We’ve all had doubts about him and likely it’s been the following game where he has reiterated just how incredibly talented he is forcing your opinion to revert to type.
I think it’s no coincidence that Ross is looking more and more consistent under the guidance of a true winner and someone who understands how natural talent must be harnessed, having possessed it himself and being alongside it for much of his career. This year Ross looks stronger, faster and more aggressive when closing opponents. The goals and assists so far (4 & 5) put him on the way towards exceeding last year’s 8 & 8 totals, which although statistically is great, the way he is carrying himself game by game is the most impressive aspect of his development under Koeman.
Equally, his scouse partner Tom Davies seems to elevate him another level again. As essentially when you strip back the money, the stadium and the fans it’s two scouse lads having a kick about and that’s all they’ve ever dreamed of.
Koeman is taking the role of diamond cutter and shaping Ross to be fitting to his song, now a symbol used by the street end to signify their appreciation of his in-game efforts. Martinez may have unearthed the diamond more than Moyes did. However, he left it unpolished, unshaped and ultimately as raw as it was upon discovery. The Spaniards approach to let him run wild did not quite have the effect he may have intended.
Koeman is working to tease the true ability out of one of the biggest talents on our books and despite their relationship being talked about in the media as confrontational, the results are playing out on the pitch and personally I think if anyone can turn Ross into the consistent match winner we desire, it’s Ronald. If only he was Belgian instead of Dutch, this piece could have ended with a funny diamond joke…