Roy Hodgson has been urged by Ross Barkley’s club manager Roberto Martinez to take the 20-year-old to the Brazil World Cup because he delivers something no other English player is capable of.
Barkley’s sublime display for Everton against Manchester City on Saturday, in front of Hodgson, powerfully made the case at a time when the England manager – who announces his 30-name provisional squad next Monday – is thought to harbour uncertainties about the midfielder’s consistency through the season. Martinez himself substituted Barkley at half-time during Everton’s defeat at Southampton, 10 days ago.
But the Spaniard said that Barkley must be included because he was unique. He said: “I don’t think there is another English player that can do what Ross does. Will we expect to win the World Cup because of Ross Barkley? No. That is what we need to be clear on. He has the potential to be one of the best midfielders in world football at the age of 25, 26, 27 but not now.
“If the role in the World Cup is to carry England, that is not Ross Barkley. But if it is ‘Will he be ready to help the team? Will he be ready mentally and nothing will phase him?’ Yes. He has that character. It is needed and he will be 100 per cent behind the team.”
Martinez said the player’s inconsistency was understandable. “Remember that Ross is a young man and young men deserve to be able to drop their energy level from week to week,” he said. “He is not like a normal 25 or 26-year-old who needs to be consistent with his performances. Ross is a star already. It is how you use it. I have experimented with him in different positions and at times those have to be cut short and change and he accepts that and knows that.”
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