By Matt Bullin
Former Everton star Leon Osman has delivered a scathing assessment of Ross Barkley by claiming he has not improved as a player since he was 18.
Barkley, now 23, has come under much criticism recently for his mixed performances at Everton.
The England midfielder was in the side who drew 1-1 at Old Trafford last night but he was unable to have much impact on the game.
The point leaves Everton in seventh, level with Arsenal, although Arsene Wenger’s side do have three games in hand.
The Blues have an outside chance of making the Champions League places, but it is much more likely they will have to settle for a spot in the Europa League.
Osman made over 300 league appearances for the Toffees, scoring 43 goals, until he exit last summer and he has claimed that Barkley has made little progress since coming into the Everton team.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live Osman, Barkley’s former team mate, said: “He’s been playing in the first-team since he was 17-18.
“That’s a long time to have been playing in the Premier League and not kicked on, and not made that next step.
“It’s worrying that he’s still being talked about as a young player and ‘give him time’.”
The 23-year-old has also been left out of Gareth Southgate’s latest England team, despite the fact he already has 22 caps and two goals for his country.
Despite his recent critics, Barkley does have five goals and seven assists in 32 league and cup games for Everton this term – a decent return for a attacking midfielder.
There’s no doubt that Barkley will not appreciate Osman’s comments, especially coming from a former team mate, and going into such a crucial stage of the season.
In other Everton news, Everton fans react on Twitter to Tom Davies’ new five year deal.