England: Why Everton's Barkley Should Start Ahead Of Chelsea's Lampard...
This is not to say, as our title suggests, that Ross Barkley himself could single-handedly win England their crucial 2014 World Cup Qualifier this coming Friday. Yet, that the young Evertonian is in fact older than current constitution of Moldova, which was adopted on July 29, 1994.
Now, much has been made of Barkley’s call up to the England squad. Specifics aside, the court of public opinion has deemed the England set-up as not doing too great. Fans of Roy Hodgson will point to the fact that we remain unbeaten in qualification but with England sitting second in the group, the two coming fixtures at home to Moldova and away at Ukraine are must wins. The latter looking a lot tougher than former. For those who have forgotten, it took an 87th minute Frank Lampard penalty to salvage a draw for Roy in the reverse fixture last year.
Taking into consideration our current injury crisis, old Roy could potentially missing a trick by not giving Barkley at least a run-out when Moldova come to Wembley this Friday. All due respect to the Moldovan national team but this is a side that are ranked 123rd in the world and have only scored four times in seven games during this qualification period. If there was ever an opportunity for Hodgson to tinker with his team ahead of Tuesday’s showdown in Kiev, this is it.
Barkley started flirting with Premier League football back in the 2010-11 season. He was named on the Everton bench at the beginning of the season before a collision with Liverpool’s Belgian defender Andre Wisdom whilst on England Under-19 duty resulted in a double-leg break. On his return from injury during the 2011-12 season, Barkley started to raise some eyebrows in footballing circles. Tim Cahill labelled him the most talented footballer he had played alongside, whilst Martin Keown predicted that Barkley would be one of the best players England will ever see.
Away to Norwich on the first day of this season, Barkley, as far as the general public are concerned, began to live up to such accolades. He put in a man of the match performance, the crowning jewel a left footed strike from just outside the Norwich penalty area. The budding star also posted 100% tackle completion and completed 51 out of 54 passes (23 being in the final third) ending the game with 96% pass accuracy. He has since started every game for Everton this season.
Where Barkley would fit into the England starting XI remains to be seen. Looking at Roy’s line-up for the recent friendly win over Scotland, Gerrard and Wilshere started in centre midfield as England pushed the boat out in a typical 4-4-2 formation. It is rather unfortunate that Barkley would be looking to play in the same position as two of England’s star players. However, here at Qwerty Truths, we have our grand ideals for England line-ups, where our young Ross could sneak his first cap. Our justification for which is taken from Roberto Martinez’ recent comments:
“He has a great shot and has incredible energy. He reminds me of Michael Ballack. When Ballack was younger, nobody knew what his best position was; could he be a sitting midfielder, an attacking midfielder or play up front? Ross is that impressive.”
Thus, with Roberto’s backing, Barkley could be utilized as England’s number 10 in a (God forbid) 4-2-3-1 formation, with Wilshere and Gerrard in the two behind. We’ll leave the rest of the team selection to our main man Hodgson. Wouldn’t it be a lovely change, though, for some young blood to get a run out in a new formation in a game which is surely a foregone conclusion. For the atmosphere that awaits England on Tuesday in the Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex is no time for experimenting, in what will be Hodgson’s most important in his brief tenure as England coach.