Ross Barkley has admitted that he wants to emulate Wayne Rooney‘s impact as a youngster at Euro 2004 and follow in his footsteps by playing Champions League football.
The 20-year-old has burst onto the scene this year under Roberto Martinez and has now forced his way into Roy Hodgson’s England side ahead of the 2014 World Cup, where he hopes that he can play as well as Rooney did back in 2004.
“That’s the thing every young player would want to do and that’s what I want to do, play the way he played,” he said.
“He scored four [at Euro 2004] didn’t he? Knocked out against Portugal. That’s all everyone talked about all the time: Wayne Rooney. No fear, he just went out and played football. I’m focusing on doing well for Everton and the World Cup can be a bonus if I’m picked.
“I think we’ve got to be looking at the top four because we’ve got a great squad. We should be going for those Champions League places. That’s where I want to be playing.
“We have older heads and youthful players who aren’t afraid to try things. That’s the mix you want. Martinez’s style is paying off. We go into every game believing that we can win — and everyone plays possession football, even the goalkeeper. The team’s got no fear.”
Unsurprisingly, Barkley has since been strongly linked with a move to United since his rise to prominence this year under Martinez and he could become the new Rooney in many respects. So the question is – would Barkley want to move?
Skinhead aside, Barkley and Rooney share a few parallels least not their Evertonian roots and that didn’t stop Rooney from chasing the dream which he achieved over with United.
Barkley said that he owed his whole career to David Moyes for helping him come on as a player and when he broke his leg, so there wouldn’t be much bad blood between the two. Moyes did give him his debut aged 17 after all.
A main mystery around this potential transfer is why Moyes chose to spend £27.5 million on Marouane Fellaini when he knew the sort of talent that Barkley possessed?
So far, Everton have been affirmative in their belief that Barkley won’t leave and Martinez even told the Daily Mail that any figure for Barkley would be flatly rejected.
He said: “It is not the right time for the player or the club to consider anything. Even if we got a Gareth Bale-size valuation we would never even consider it in January.
“If we were facing a financial disaster, I would be telling you, “Look, we are in the lap of the gods”. But we are not in that situation at all.”
Who is Martinez trying to trick here? Barkley would go for far less than what Real Madrid paid for Bale and a fee more in the region of £30 million would likely suffice. He is only in his breakthrough season after all.
Of course, if Everton manage to finish inside the top four then thee is every chance that Barkley would be happy to remain there but both Merseyside clubs face a challenge to get into the top four if they are to keep hold of Luis Suarez and Ross Barkley.
Do you think David Moyes will sign Ross Barkley for Manchester United?