Harry Redknapp says Ross Barkley needs a loving arm putting around him if England are to see the best from the Everton man.
Barkley was again overlooked by Gareth Southgate for England’s latest squad and Everton manager Ronald Koeman dropped the 22-year-old from his Everton side to act as a “wake-up call”.
But Redknapp, who has been touted as a serious England manager candidate in the past, believes criticising the player is not the way to get the best from the Everton man.
“Ross Barkley doesn’t need knocking down. He needs picking up,” Redknapp told the Daily Mail.
“It’s no good saying what he can’t do. What can he do? He can play. He can see a pass, he’s strong, he can run with the ball. He’s got great ability, so tell him.
“Go on Ross, go and play, run the game, they can’t live with you Ross, you’re different class. He’d feel 10ft tall.”
Rednkapp also dismissed the notion that the Everton playmaker should be asked to track back and up his workrate.
“Don’t keep telling him to get back in there when we haven’t got the ball, don’t do this, don’t do that… encourage him,” added Redknapp.
The midfielder lost his place in the senior England squad over the summer when he travelled to Euro 2016 but was not selected to play a single minute and that continued under Sam Allardyce’s brief reign.
“If I am not totally happy or it’s a tactical question then he doesn’t start. I still believe in his qualities but maybe its a good wake up call for him last weekend.
“He is already playing four years in the first team. You are not any more ‘a talent’, that means you need to show more and improve,” said Koeman.
Meanwhile, Redknapp also criticised England’s identity and labelled watching the Three Lions as boring.
“England are bland, no flair,” said Redknapp. “What is important is finding an identity. What is Gareth Southgate really about? How do his teams want to play? That’s what I want to know.
“If someone asked me how England have played under four or five managers since Glenn Hoddle, I couldn’t remember.
“One minute it’s 4-3-3, then it’s 4-4-2. How do England play? What do we do? Kick it long? Play from the back? I don’t know what we do.
“I don’t get excited about watching England play any more. I’m very patriotic but you look at other qualifiers and they’re not games. England versus Malta? Or San Marino? Or the Faroe Islands?
“Who’s interested, really? I can’t see any interest.”