Everton teenager tipped for World Cup place
Former Everton player Peter Reid has said that the Toffees’ young midfielder Ross Barkley could be a surprise name in England’s squad for the 2014 World Cup.
According to The Daily Post, Reid has compared the 19-year-old to Alan Ball, a midfielder who played at Goodison Park for five years, and gained 72 England caps during a 23-year career, which included being part of the World Cup winning England team of 1966.
Barkley has started the season in style, scoring a brilliant goal in Everton’s 2-2 draw with Norwich City on the opening day of the season.
He has started every competitive game under Roberto Martinez so far and has missed just two minutes of league football this campaign.
The former Wigan Athletic boss is clearly impressed with the youngster, saying after the match against Norwich, according to the paper: “We are very pleased with his overall contribution. Tactically he was outstanding.
“That was a very mature performance for a young man. I was very pleased with that because we’ve seen that in pre-season.”
His performances have earned him a first ever call-up to Roy Hodgson’s England side for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine.
Barkley has played for England sides from under-16 level upwards, but this is a new international adventure for the 19-year-old.
Hodgson coached the midfielder in his brief time in charge of the under-21 side, when the FA were looking for a new manager for the side.
And Barkley made an impression on the former Liverpool boss by scoring in his only actual game in charge of the team, in a 6-0 win over Scotland’s under-21s.
But despite not playing a game for the senior team, Reid is confident Barkley can be on the plane to Brazil next summer should England qualify.
“He has got all the attributes to be a top, top player and who knows if he keeps improving,” former Everton midfielder Reid, who won 13 caps for England between 1985 and 1988, was reported by the newspaper as saying.
“There is nothing wrong with sticking young players in England squads and World Cups if they can handle it. I think he has got the right character and ability to do that.
“One of the greatest players ever to play for Everton, Alan Ball, was 21 when he got into a World Cup squad. He ended up being a World Cup winner.
“It’s there for Ross but he has got to keep his head down. If he gets his club form right, then who knows?
“There’s definitely a gap in there. Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard are top-class players but they are in the more experienced mould.
“There is nothing wrong with young players breaking through.”