Ross Barkley has incredibly been compared to Argentina legend Diego Maradona amid his top-class performances for Luton Town this season.
Barkley left the Premier League in August last year, when he reached a mutual agreement with Chelsea to become a free agent. The central midfielder raised eyebrows when he signed for Nice in Ligue 1.
Barkley played 28 times for Nice, chipping in with four goals and two assists during his only season there. He did not manage to establish himself as a regular starter at the Allianz Riviera and this saw the French outfit release him.
It was unclear where the Liverpool-born ace would head next, with his career seemingly coming to a halt. But in August, newly-promoted Luton announced his signing, and the move has proven to be a masterstroke.
So far, Barkley has made 12 appearances for Luton, with his first goal coming in the recent 4-3 home defeat to Arsenal.
The 30-year-old has put in some brilliant performances recently, setting up Luton attacks through either his great vision or penetrative dribbling.
And Barkley once again showed his class against Manchester City at the weekend, pulling off a Maradona-esque turn in the build up to Luton’s goal.
Goals from Bernardo Silva and Jack Grealish saw City overcome the Hatters and pick up a 2-1 win, but Rob Edwards’ side put up a great account of themselves nevertheless.
Ross Barkley receives colossal praise
During an appearance on talkSPORT, Barkley’s Luton team-mate Andros Townsend has heaped praise on him, making a huge comparison with World Cup winner Maradona.
“Honestly, they’ve been some of the best midfield performances I’ve seen in my career,” he said.
“It’s just unbelievable – the calmness, the ability to get the ball off the back four and knock it past some of the world’s best midfielders without a care in the world.
“We saw yesterday against Man City, Maradona was in the midfield to set up our goal – honestly, it’s been a joy to watch.
“In a way he’s given confidence to the rest of the players around him, including myself. Just that calmness to take the ball under pressure, it’s such an underrated skill.
“He’s been absolutely incredible and he’s been an absolute joy to play with, but a joy to watch as well.”
It is brilliant to see Barkley re-establish himself as a top performer in the Premier League. He has always had a brilliant ability to breeze past opposition midfielders, but he has not always been able to do this on a regular basis.
At Luton, the pressure seems to be off him, and this has seen Barkley thrive. If he continues to put up performances of this quality, then he could incredibly put himself back in contention to add to his 33 England caps.