World Cup 2014: Ross Barkley cameo shows potential of England's young guns in Brazil

‘He’s fantastic. To have people like him on the bench will be good,’ says Phil Jagielka of his England team-mate

England will fly to Miami tonight for the final leg of their World Cup build-up, more optimistic about their chances in Brazil than seemed feasible when stumbling to a stultifying goalless draw in Ukraine at the start of the season. Much of the new confidence is down to the attacking young guns who again showed signs of their potential in Friday’s 3-0 defeat of Peru.

Daniel Sturridge’s goal took the headlines, but it was encouraging to see Roy Hodgson try both Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley in the second striker role originally filled at Wembley by Wayne Rooney. Against admittedly tiring opposition Barkley looked very sharp, not that his more seasoned club team-mate, Phil Jagielka, was surprised.

“He’s fantastic,” said Jagielka. “You forget how young he is. Has his progress surprised me this season? Yes and no. At that age you can come on in leaps and bounds. You have to give a lot of credit to [Everton’s] manager and coaching staff for nursing that talent through the season, and a lot of credit to Roy for taking the plunge of picking them [young players] and putting them in the [England] squad. It’s nice to go forward. The team that finished the game was as young as I’ve seen it and that can only be good for English football.”

However, Jagielka cautioned: “As a nation we’re desperate for success and for people to do things as quick as possible, but you don’t want to put too much pressure on those sort of players too early. I think the way Roy manages him and the way [Everton manager] Roberto [Martinez] is at club level is absolutely perfect for Ross.

“He’ll play quite a lot of games really well and if he doesn’t it’s sometimes best to rest him for a bit. Tonight he was on the bench and to have people like him and Raheem to come on gives us another dimension and hopefully that will be good for the squad.”

Barkley was 12, said Jagielka, when the senior players at Goodison Park became aware of him. “You notice the bigger kids, and he was bigger than everyone else. There was a lot of talk. You always hear about the kids who are coming through. We had Jose Baxter, who was 16, but we also heard there was another young lad as well – Ross. He had a couple of injuries that put him back but because he was so mature in his physique he was hanging around the first team and probably not getting enough game time himself. He knew he had to go and play a bit of football.

“Lads of his age that hadn’t been injured had probably played 30 or 40 games in the last couple of seasons. He’d probably played five or 10. So he went on loan a couple of times, found his feet and when the new manager [Martinez] came in he put a lot of faith in him. Ross enjoyed that and took it on from the first game of the season, when he scored.”

There will be much tougher tests to come than a young, experimental Peruvian side, but the squad’s mood was summed up by Adam Lallana who said: “I have tried to play without fear. I think that’s the way for England to play.”

Read more: Rooney may be lagging
Hart regaining form as defence starts to gel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Life and Style
tech
News
The Commonwealth flag flies outside Westminster Abbey in central London
news
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
theatre
Extras
indybest
News
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
Arts and Entertainment
tvWebsite will allow you to watch all 522 shows on-demand
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor