Alan Shearer delivers verdict on Ross Barkley following display v Liverpool
By Matt Farr
Pundit Alan Shearer admits he feels sorry for Everton midfielder Ross Barkley amid all the criticism he has been receiving this season.
Barkley, 23, has been slated for his inconsistent performances in the media and by his own manager, Ronald Koeman, but he has shown vast improvement in recent weeks.
His improved displays earned him a deserved recall to the England international setup last month, although he remained an unused substitute throughout their two matches.
But former Premier League goalscorer Shearer insists that it is not Barkley’s fault that he has suffered from excessive hype.
In his column for the Sun, he wrote that Barkley was not the one saying he was the next big English hope, but he admitted that the midfielder needed to turn up more often in big games – like against Liverpool.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
Barkley gave a poor performance during Everton’s Merseyside derby defeat to Liverpool on Saturday, which re-opened some of the wounds of his past criticism.
Shearer wrote: “I have to admit, I feel a bit sorry for Ross Barkley. He wasn’t the one saying he’s the next big English hope.
“I don’t see him building himself up or posing on the front pages of magazines. No, that is down to other people and it’s what we constantly do with young talent in this country.
“There is no doubt Ross was poor against Liverpool. And he has got to perform in the big games because that’s when all the attention is on him.”
His below-par performances earlier in the season saw him dropped by Everton boss Koeman, but since being reinstated to the starting eleven he has been ever-present in the side.
He drew blanks against Liverpool and Hull, but supplied assists against both West Brom and Tottenham previously.
Barkley has now contributed five goals and seven assists from 31 appearances in all competitions this season.
In other Everton news, Dejan Lovren has slammed Barkley following an incident during the Merseyside derby.