Ross Barkley has the potential to be as good as Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, according to his Everton team-mate Gareth Barry.
Barkley scored and again impressed in Everton’s 2-1 win over Reading in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, with Roberto Martinez saying the midfielder has “gone to a different level” this season.
Barry has echoed his manager’s thoughts and believes Barkley’s up-and-down form last season can at least partly be attributed to him being played in several different positions.
“He showed in his first season how good he is, and how consistent he can be,” Barry told the Liverpool Echo. “Last season was a bit up and down, a massive learning curve for him, so I’m not surprised this year he’s really kicked off again.
“It would have been a learning curve not just for Ross but the manager using him last season.
“He was stuck out wide sometimes, played in the hole, played deeper, so it’s tough for a young player to settle down and play to your strengths when you’re not getting a run in one position.
“For Ross mainly, last year was a big learning curve, and I think we’re reaping the rewards now.”
Asked how Barkley compares to Gerrard and Lampard, Barry added: “Ross has got all the potential to become as good as them.
“He’s got everything that they had to match their ability, but the one thing he’s gonna need is consistency – performing, scoring goals, assisting on a regular basis, and those two players did that for 10, 12 years in the Premier League, so that’s the target for Ross.
“He has got all the ability to go on and be a really top player. He’s obviously still young so he’s still learning certain parts of the game. He’s got the manager here that’s really trying to find the right position for him to flourish.”
Barkley has played out wide and in the No.10 role for Everton in the past, but Barry believes he is currently best suited to the deeper role he has been given by Martinez this season.
“I think Ross is a lot better coming from deeper,” Barry added.
“Probably not in the hole at the moment, it’s a tough position and he’s probably still young to be going in there, so the role he’s playing at the moment with James and myself has certainly been suiting him this season.”