Roberto Martinez says Ross Barkley is the “best in the business” on the counter attack – but not special if England play a slower game.
Barkley has been in superb form for Everton this season, contributing three goals and three assists in 12 Premier League games, while he has also scored twice and laid on two more in four appearances for England.
However, ahead of their friendly against Spain, Martinez has warned that Barkley will not have the same impact if their focus is on maintaining shape and keeping hold of the ball.
“It’s quite simple,” said Martinez. “People will look at what Ross does defensively, but I look at what he can do offensively against these sorts of teams.
“These international teams when they lose the ball, there is space, but you need pace and power to break into that space. Ross gives you that.
“Those four seconds as soon as you win the ball, who can affect the game then in transition? He is the best in the business.
“But if England don’t want to play like that, if they just want to wait and get set and have the ball, Ross is not special.
“We have got to that point where Ross Barkley knows how special he is and what he does. “Depending on how they want to use him, he will be influential or not for England.”
Martinez believes Roy Hodgson should worry less about possession against Spain and more about how his team can create chances against the European champions.
“If you look at Spain – and it is one of those teams you want to be tested against – you cannot play the same way as when you are the team that is going to have the ball a lot,” Martinez added.
“It is very different when you face a team who you know are going to have more of the ball.
“That doesn’t mean you haven’t got a strong performance or strong say in the game.
“It is different when you have a group of players to choose from like England – they can set the team up the way they want. You don’t need to have possession in order to be effective in the game, as long as you have the right players.”
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