By Tony Hughes
Ross Barkley won praise from manager Ronald Koeman after his goal-scoring display against West Ham on Sunday but TV pundits on Match of the Day said he needs to grow up and questioned his development under former manager Roberto Martinez.
Talking on Match of the Day 3 after the game, Kevin Kilbane said that Barkley still makes “fundamental mistakes”.
“We know what Ross Barkley gives you from an attacking point of view when he’s on his game,” Kilbane said.
“One thing that has been criticised by Ronald Koeman in recent weeks is his lack of work rate for the team, lack of positional sense, lack of awareness with the side.”
Ruud Gullit agreed saying, “Sometimes he chases the ball and gets out of position. When he’s out of position… you get in trouble.”
Kilbane went on to say that at 23 he should have game knowhow and blamed Martinez for his lack of development.
“Over the past few seasons working under Roberto Martinez, you know from speaking to Martinez he let him go out and express himself, but I think that maybe took away from his development.
“I think he might have needed to be shown on video, look that’s where you’re going wrong.”
After it was suggested by presenter Mark Chapman that it wasn’t Barkley’s fault if he hasn’t been coached the “right way”, Gullit said that you learn from the older players on the pitch first.
“The most things you learn from the older players who are close to you because they are on the pitch. If you don’t understand that you need to see the video and be told this is where you’re doing things right, this is where you’re doing things wrong.
“He’s 23, he has to develop himself as a grown up. He has now four years to play and then he gets into a routine. The best years are 27-31 where you have all the experience. Now he has to show it week in, week out, he has to be at least a six and then maybe excel to an eight or a nine.”