Jermaine Jenas: These factors are holding Everton 23-year-old back
By Harvey Byrne
Jermaine Jenas has claimed that there are still several factors holding Everton attacker Ross Barkley back.
The 23-year-old once bright prospect has had a troublesome season, resulting in him falling out of the England team alongside rotating in and out of the Toffees first team.
However, former Premier League midfielder Jenas believes that comments made from boss Ronald Koeman alongside groans from the Everton fan base are preventing Barkley from showing his true ability.
It is clear that the Match of the Day pundit is a big fan of the Toffees youth graduate, but he believes his club isn’t helping with his progression.
“With Ross Barkley, they have got a player with the same attributes as Alli too. The potential for a partnership like Kane and Alli is there,” told Jenas in his BBC Sport column.
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“Barkley did not have the same freedom of position as Alli did on Sunday but I still thought he played well, especially with the decisions he made when he was on the ball.
“When Everton did come forward with a purpose, he was always a threat.
“If there is an element of his game that I think Barkley could take from Alli, it is that he needs to keep the ball moving forwards when he picks it up in the opposition half. Too many times, his first touch seems to take him back into midfield instead.
“But that could be put down to his confidence, because he seems to be in a different situation to Alli right now.
“While Alli has emerged as a key figure for Spurs, Barkley will not have the same feeling that he is his team’s main man.
“He is close to it, but I feel that he is being held back from what he is capable of. That is partly as a result of some of the negative comments Koeman has made about him this season and also because he always seems to get moans and groans from the crowd if things do not go right for him.
“If he was playing with the same belief as Alli, he would be a different beast.”
Barkley made his debut for Everton in 2011 during a 1-0 home victory against QPR.
Many tipped him for greatness, but six years on and it is felt that he has become a victim of his early potential after being criticised while still playing an important role in the Toffees Premier League campaign.
The youngster has returned five goals and six assists from 28 appearances in all competitions this season and he will be keen to add to that total before the season’s end.
In other Everton news, Stan Collymore gave his verdict on the Toffees’ tactics against Tottenham.