Ross Barkley: Tottenham 29-year-old is my toughest opponent
By Matt Farr
Everton star Ross Barkley has named Tottenham midfielder enforcer Mousa Dembele as his toughest opponent
Tottenham and Everton went head-to-head at White Hart Lane on Sunday, pitting Barkley and Dembele against one another, as Spurs emerged narrow winners.
But speaking to the club’s official YouTube channel, Barkley was full of praise for the 29-year-old, admitting that the Belgium international was the toughest player he has faced throughout his career.
He said: “Mousa Dembele in midfield. I played against him when I was 18 or 19 and I thought it was very tough.
“He’s probably the hardest player I’ve played against. He’s a strong player, he get his foot in well and dictates play.”
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Dembele has been a crucial player for Tottenham this season, establishing a formidable central midfield partnership with Victor Wanyama.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is also a big admirer of Dembele, labelling him a ‘genius’ for his performances earlier in the campaign.
He has made 27 appearances in all competitions this season, helping Tottenham establish themselves as one of the most consistent sides in the Premier League this term.
They currently sit second in the league with 11 games remaining, equalling leaders Chelsea with an impressive record of just three defeats since the start of the season.
Barkley and Everton, meanwhile, are seventh. The defeat to Tottenham ended their unbeaten streak, but they are still within eight points of fourth-placed Liverpool.
In other Everton news, Gerry Francis has delivered his verdict on goalscorer Romelu Lukaku.