SCOUTING REPORT: Ross Barkley - Everton/ England

Everton began their premier league campaign this week against QPR due to their postponed fixture with Tottenham last week. It didn’t turn out all that well for the toffees who lost 1 - 0 at home against newly promoted side QPR, which marked the London club’s first away victory in the premier league since 1996.

Everton have had almost no investment this summer, a fact that everyone at the club knew at the start of the transfer window. In his 10th year as Everton manager, David Moyes has to work with what he’s got. What he’s got is Ross Barkley.

Fortunately for Everton, they’ve got one of the best youth systems in England, not to mention a strong heart of the team including Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Mikel Arteta, Johnny Heitenga, Phil Neville & another talented young player in Jack Rodwell. Ross Barkley is also a product of their youth system, who at 17 has been a part of the academy since he arrived in 2005 at the age of 11

What struck me about Barkley is his presence on the ball, a term so loosely thrown around these days a lot of people have seemed to forget what it really means. Barkley never seemed phased by having the ball at his feet, in fact he was always putting himself in good positions to receive the ball which, for me is always the mark of a good young player rather than the typical standing still and waving their arms about. Barkley also showed a natural poise, and patience that is something that can be rarely taught to players, especially so young. He isn’t afraid to wait, look at his options before choosing the right pass. His head moves as fast as his feet, which is always the mark of a good player. He looks focused. Completely, unaware of the occassion, Barkley looked like he belonged out there.  He picked his passes and barely put a step out of line. In some ways, I was reminded of Wayne Rooney, the only similarity was that of a player playing well beyond his years on a big stage, completely oblivious of the occassion which allowed his talent to seep through.

With Blackburn, Aston Villa, & Wigan on the schedule in coming weeks, Barkley will likely get the chance he needs to become a regular in the toffees squad, especially with depth such an issue at Goodison Park this season. It’s looking good for the young midfielder who is only 17 and already 6’2” (178cm). One thing is for sure, if he keeps playing like this, he wont be at Everton for long. Too bad he’ll never play for Liverpool, another loss to be rued by the Anfield outlet, another one of potential praise by Manchester United. Afterall, if you’re for Everton & you hate Liverpool enough, it’s only natural to go to United. Here’s to hoping he wont, and he loves Everton enough to see them through tough times. I know I’m excited to see what game Ross Barkley has to bring in the coming weeks and months, and to see how often he can make the Goodison faithful sing.