By Will Butcher
Wayne Rooney believes that Everton star Ross Barkley is one of the last of the great English street footballers.
The Manchester United and England captain described Barkley, 22, as a footballer that has developed his technical ability from growing up playing on the street, and believes he is one of only a few home-grown players that can entertain and excite England fans.
Talking to Everton’s official website, Liverpool-born Rooney said that he can see the similarities between himself and the Toffees’ playmaker, who also grew up on Merseyside.
“There are less and less of this style of English player coming through with that sort of game you have when playing on the street,” Rooney said.
“Ross has that and Dele Alli is another. These are players that excite the fans and players they can identify with – everyone has a story about a great young lad they played against on the street.
“When young lads see this it gives them belief they can go on to play at the highest level.”
Rooney, 30, grew up in Croxteth, while Barkley, eight years his junior, was raised just a couple of miles away in the Wavertree area.
Raised by Everton’s academy, the duo have hit Premier League stardom and Rooney, 30, believes that their stories act as an inspiration for those currently playing football at grass roots level.
““You could say that there are a few similarities,” Rooney said to the Everton website. “We get on well, he’s a good lad and he’s very down to earth.
“Ross has a great approach to the game, he always wants to win and is very determined. He has all the attributes to go far in the game.”
The former Everton star was talking before his testimonial against Ronald Koeman’s side, which celebrated his 12 years at Old Trafford in which he has scored 254 goals in 527 appearances.