Barkley plays but England beaten by Spain

by | 13/11/2015  99 Comments  [Jump to last]
Ireland draw Euro 2016 playoff with Bosnia
Ross Barkley was given another chance to impress manager Roy Hodgson when England took on Spain in this evening's friendly in Alicante but there was no place in the starting XI for John Stones.

After the final Euro2016 qualifiers last month, Hodgson indicated that there were no guarantees Barkley would start against the Spanish or the French in these two friendlies but injuries have ensured Barkley got his opportunity.

With top scorer Wayne Rooney not starting and in-form Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy doubtful, Barkley started in an attacking midfield role behind Tottenham's Harry Kane and went close with a typical run and shot but the scores were goalless at half time.

Spain won it in the final 20 minutes, though, when Mario Gaspar scored a stunning overhead kick and Santi Cazorla added q second to ensure the home side ran out 2-0 winners.

Meanwhile, Muhamed Besic's Bosnia-Herzegovina took on Everton's Irish contingent in the first leg of their Euro2016 playoff in Zenica.

Besic has been out of action for weeks now thanks to injury and suspension and didn't start this evening but James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman played for the Irish. No goals there either at the break but a goal apiece in the second half left things in the balance heading into the second leg in Dublin.

Elsewhere, Kevin Mirallas enjoyed a brief return to international action as a substitute alongside his Everton teammate Romelu Lukaku as Belgium beat Italy 3-1 in a friendly.

Ramiro Funes Mori played the full 90 minutes for Argentina in their 1-1 draw with Brazil while Tim Howard was an unused substitute in the USA's 6-1 World Cup qualifying win over St Vincent and the Grenadines.  

Reader Comments (99)

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Harold Matthews
1 Posted 13/11/2015 at 15:43:26
These games are never "friendlies" but we'll probably be chasing shadows for 90 minutes anyway. Pity Rooney is missing but younger legs might be quicker on the counter-attack.
Helen Mallon
2 Posted 13/11/2015 at 16:00:10
I just wish he was not playing in any of these games.
Shane Corcoran
3 Posted 13/11/2015 at 16:06:16
Helen, let's not start the anti-international stuff again.

If Ross wants to play for his country, then he should be allowed as it will make him happy and a happy Ross is good for Everton.

James Marshall
4 Posted 13/11/2015 at 16:24:55
Of course he should play. Friendlies against the top teams are brilliant for a player like Barkley. Exactly what he needs.
Brent Stephens
6 Posted 13/11/2015 at 16:33:00
Glad Ross is playing, and apparently pretty much alongside Kane. Just where he should be with Everton in my view.
Paul Avery
7 Posted 13/11/2015 at 17:10:47
Helen, according to you, he was a Championship player at best last week; this week, he starts for England against Spain... do you still think that's the case? Also, why do you think he shouldn't play?
Craig Fletcher
8 Posted 13/11/2015 at 18:17:49
Good luck to all our lads playing international footie this weekend – in particular our Irish blues (sorry Mo Besic!)
Andy Crooks
9 Posted 13/11/2015 at 18:23:39
I've got a knot in my stomach about the Ireland game. It will be okay, won't it?
Bill Gall
10 Posted 13/11/2015 at 21:45:04
Poorest England display for quite a while. Looking at some of the subs that come on it seems you only have to have a couple of good games for your club to make the international team. Doubtful if any of the England players, apart from Hart, would get in the Spanish squad never mind the team.
Dave Abrahams
11 Posted 13/11/2015 at 21:47:02
Andy (8) yes of course it will, they'll do it in Dublin next week.
Peter McHugh
12 Posted 13/11/2015 at 21:55:38
Why doesn't Stones start? Is he injured?
Trevor Peers
13 Posted 13/11/2015 at 21:59:50
Reality check on Ross, he looks distinctly ordinary, I'm afraid, is he the most over hyped player ever?

Hope I'm wrong.

Patrick Murphy
14 Posted 13/11/2015 at 22:10:40
Peter (#11),

Stones will play on Tuesday to give the better, more 'important' players a breather as they switch their focus to their club teams.

As for Ross, how can you have three luxury players in the same midfield? It's nonsense! I don't think Hodgson fancies the lad and I can't see Ross being involved in France next summer, whether he plays well or not.

Pretty mixed night for all of our players: Coleman did well defensively, but McCarthy was anonymous for the Irish, McGeady only got a brief run-out, but the fact that O'Neill fancies that numbskull McClean in front of McGeady speaks volumes.

Rom was subbed after about an hour and Mirallas got a brief run-out for Belgium in their 3-1 victory over Italy. Hopefully they can all return to Goodison free from injury and put all their energy into playing for Everton at least until the madness of the January window disrupts everything again.

Brian Williams
15 Posted 13/11/2015 at 22:29:49
England are basically... shite. It would be difficult for anyone to shine in that team tonight. Is anyone surprised that we're shite?

Being unbeaten in the qualifiers means nothing when you're only beating third-rate teams. England are second-rate behind the top teams, and always will be. Football has moved on... we haven't.

I still believe as well that there's a "clique" in the England setup where some players consider themselves a cut above others and basically ignore the runs of certain players and either take the ball on themselves or look for other members of the clique... and as for Hodgson!!!!!

Harold Matthews
16 Posted 13/11/2015 at 22:30:14
Lallana, Delph and especially Ali were way below the required standard. Barkley needed better class team-mates to work with but was pretty static without the ball. He may keep his place but I wouldn't bank on it.
Ian Bennett
17 Posted 13/11/2015 at 22:36:31
I thought Ross looked the brightest. His turn and run before a shanked shot looked classy to me. If that goes in the media would have gone mental.

Sterling was the one that provided poor service, and let his man go for the goal.

Trevor Lynes
18 Posted 13/11/2015 at 22:58:42
Taking off Barkley, Delph and Lallana totally opened up the midfield. Up until the wonder goal we were closing down and spoiling the Spaniards but class told in the end and deservedly so IMO. If we had got away with a draw it would have been robbery as Spain really outclassed us.

Barkley does not have the confidence to run with the ball and mainly just played easy short passes. He is not exciting and has not improved IMO.

Keith Monaghan
19 Posted 13/11/2015 at 23:05:17
Yes, totally outclassed as expected, England are second rate – is it any surprise with the no. of foreign players in the PL and academies? The FA stands idly by and has been watching this for years, simply bothered about branding and money. No chance of an England team winning a major tournament in the foreseeable future. Don't blame Woy or any other England manager – they can only chose from what's available

As for Ross, another typical performance from him; 2 decent passes, 2 decent runs with poor shots – rubbish and lazy other wise. He watches opponents stroll by effortlessly – just like so many games he appears in for us. Way over-hyped – so I want him to prove me wrong, but I know he won't.

Don Alexander
20 Posted 13/11/2015 at 23:46:22
Watched Spain stuff England without breaking sweat but was totally fed up with our display. Not one player in our team showed belief in themselves or each other, and I'm not surprised. Their fitness may, repeat, may, be on a par with other teams but skill-wise we're miles away, and they seem to know it.

What I can't get my head round is that these muppets play every week on mega wages but never seem to meet the basics in terms of ball retention/ movement, passing or, dream on, scoring. They are the personification of lazy complacency. It permeates Everton too, courtesy of Martinez and his staff. What the hell do the coaches actually do? Why don't the players practice to eliminate their obvious deficiencies?

Ian @ 16 sums up Ross Barkley, "If, if, if....." but so very rarely is the lad anything better than average, at best. He has a fantastic physique, has very occasionally shown obvious talent, but most opponents must think all their birthdays have come at once when he's so often no threat at all and just doesn't seem to mind. Needs rocket up arse or what?

The name of the game is to do things the opposition least want you to do Ross, not what your moronic coaches tell you. If you had "a football brain" you'd know that though.
Richard Reeves
21 Posted 13/11/2015 at 23:50:36
England just love playing hot potato.
Eddie Dunn
22 Posted 13/11/2015 at 23:56:35
England are second-rate – nothing new there. I agree with Bill and Brian above, we seem short of options and the lack of opportunity in the premier league for home-grown players, due to the volume of ready-made imports results in this malaise.

In England only 36% of players are English, compared to Holland 64% home-grown, Spain 62%, France 58%, Germany 50%, and Italy 48%.

Tony Hill
23 Posted 14/11/2015 at 00:31:39
Hodgson is the latest in a long line of dimwit England managers (I except Hoddle from that in a footballing sense, his dimwittery being of a different type). For so long as this godawful, burbling mediocrity is in charge, England are doomed.

I think we have some excellent players, including Ross, but they are shackled and suffocated by an idiot.

Michael Williams
24 Posted 14/11/2015 at 01:03:14
Right now I am watching USA vs St. Vincent and the Grenadines (half-time: USA up 3-1). USA is going to win because it's St.Vincent, but we really do not have many difference makers nor an incredible way of play that makes our team great.

Same for England. For all the talk of EPL – and I watch almost every televised game – there are not many great English players. We have more in common in terms of football than we think.

James Stewart
25 Posted 14/11/2015 at 01:21:23
Embarrassing having a dinosaur like Red Roy as the national manager.

Phil Jones starts ahead of Stones....


Brian Porter
26 Posted 14/11/2015 at 06:13:12
England's style of play hasn't changed in over 20 years, regardless of managers.

Hodgson is definitely a 'favourites' man. Why else pick Delph, with about an hour's football all season, or Jones ahead of Stones? The centre backs both seemed unable to clear their lines effectively, and Marshall was crap at right back.

The midfield was effectively static and did little to support Kane and Barkley. Until we have a manager who is prepared to inject some pace and urgency into the team, England will continue to remain a second rate international team. Claudio Ranieri, anyone?

Gordon Crawford
27 Posted 14/11/2015 at 07:08:20
England are crap and have been for decades. Unless they change youth development and put a cap on foreigners, then nothing will ever change. Red Roy also doesn't know what he is doing, Phil Jones is a joke of a footballer and shouldn't be in that team.

As for Ross, the boy has talent, but he lacks the arrogance and confidence to fulfill his huge potential; I'm just not sure a kick up the ass would do him any good. I actually see him going the way of Rodwell. Really hope I'm wrong.

Sam Hoare
28 Posted 14/11/2015 at 07:57:35
I didn't think England were all that bad. Up until their fairly late goal, we had more shots on goal than them and had not looked all that bothered by their possession. Considering they were a first-choice team and we were quite a mix, I was not so depressed as others on here.

Barkley was his usual Everton self: one or two moments of brilliance with inconsistent end product and little defensive grit. He looked better than Sterling and Lallana at any rate.

Hodgson should be settling on his team now. At the very least, he should play Stones and Smalling in every game as they are clearly our best CB combination and need time together.

Colin Glassar
29 Posted 14/11/2015 at 08:54:12
Tippy-Tappy Football 2 - Pre-historic Football 0.

One thing we learnt last night is that Roy, and most of his players, are totally out of their depth at this level.

Ian Bennett
30 Posted 14/11/2015 at 09:02:28
Don, he has the ability to do things that the other players and coaches can't even consider.

He looked bright to me. Consistency for a young players is the name of the game, and being creative is a harder ask. Lukaku, Deulofeu and Stones are getting it, let's hope Barkley is next on the uptake.

He is a luxury player that needs to be played right up the pitch where he can do damage to the other team, rather than his defence. His idea of playing striker doesn't look so crazy to me.

Phil Sammon
31 Posted 14/11/2015 at 09:31:11
England are always one step behind. We will follow the 'Spanish model' or the 'German model'... whoever wins the latest tournament. It will always be half-arsed.

Personally, I wish we'd persist and get thoroughly fucking good at the 'English model'. Two flying wingers delivering crosses to an aerial beast and a top quality poacher. I know it's unfashionable... but it's effective and exciting. And we're shit at everything else so let's at least give it a shot.

Steve Cotton
32 Posted 14/11/2015 at 09:35:02
By the way, I thought Nolito looked a great player. Imagine him and Yarmolenko in the Blues midfield...
Jon Withey
33 Posted 14/11/2015 at 10:07:16
Barkley was hardly the worst player in that team – Carrick and Lallana really struggled. Perhaps he'll only ever be a decent Premier League midfielder – is that so bad ?

Barkley doesn't close down or tackle which does make him look lazy... but that's clearly not his game. It's not like we paid £38 million for him and he is one of us – he'll get enough abuse from Ingerlund supporters without us putting the boot in, so let'sgive him some support.

Toward the end of the first half, England didn't look too atrocious. I actually quite like Jones; along with Dier, he is the only one that provides any bite in what is otherwise a pretty lightweight team.

Keith Monaghan
34 Posted 14/11/2015 at 10:10:03
I agree with most of what you say Sam @27... but I can't see where Ross was any better than the other midfield players – they were all very poor; not one of them anywhere near good enough to replace any of those in Spain's team.

We had more shots as you say, but only one, late on by Kane, was any threat to the goal. Based on the rest, we could have had a 100 shots and Casillas could still have been able to have a night off.

Charles Harland
35 Posted 14/11/2015 at 10:17:05
Talk about hitting the nail on the head, Phil. Why do we try & play keep ball, when we all know, most English players don't have the skill to do it.

Yes, our more technically gifted players were missing, so it was up to Hodgson to choose a system to play to our strengths. Yes, Phil, I'm with you.

Barry McNally
36 Posted 14/11/2015 at 10:21:12
Anyone see how Funes Mori got on last night in the Argentina v Brazil game? It finished 1-1.
Dave Roberts
37 Posted 14/11/2015 at 10:42:18
To be fair to Ross, I remember watching Portugal getting tonked in a World Cup qualifier a couple of years ago. Ronaldo did absolutely nothing because the team generally were shite.

It's the same with England and has been for years. Very good players (by our standards) get called up and are drawn into the morass of absolute crap. Ronaldo would struggle in this England team as well and for a young lad like Ross, with a lot of promise, playing for England could and probably will be a wholly negative experience.

It's far too simplistic too to blame the number of foreigners in the EPL. That's not the problem. The problem starts much earlier than that with dinosaur coaches and antiquated ideas of how the game should be played and how players should play it. It's obvious even when watching kids playing from the Sunday Leagues to the Academies. They're discouraged from trying things, urged to get shut of the ball quickly, scolded if they lose the ball, told to hoof out of danger areas and they end up playing the game in fear rather than enjoying it.

There are no genetic or congenital reasons why British human beings can't play the game as effectively and skillfully as German, French or Spanish human beings. There is nothing that makes it impossible for an English 8-year-old to play the game to the same standard as a Spanish 8-year-old when they grow up. So what is it that prevents them from doing so?

The way they are coached and managed is the answer and it is this that the FA needs to confront, not the number of 'foreigners' in the English game.

Paul Kennedy
38 Posted 14/11/2015 at 11:01:34
Dave (#34), you make some good comments but the plain simple facts are our home sides are being ruined by limiting the pool of players with ability to contest being genuine international players and not just number make-uppers!!

The richest league in the world is occupied by players from all over the world and, not being xenophobic, it has got to impact on the players turning out for the home teams if they are not getting starts in the Premier League.

As an aside, how could anyone pay the kind of money for Sterling!!! He really is poor.

Trevor Lynes
39 Posted 14/11/2015 at 11:38:46
Spain were show boating at the end and that is the only reason that we got into the game. We actually got physical and man for man all over the pitch we were inferior as far as skill. Spain will lose matches due to arrogance and loss on interest. We will lose matches due to lack of ability.I do not understand why Hodgson made so many changes as it totally messed up our midfield. We missed the boat by not selling young Ross a season or two ago when he would have brought big money.We could have bought Yarmolenko plus Nolito for the inflated price he would have brought. Hart was awful and should be replaced by Butland.
Jon Withey
40 Posted 14/11/2015 at 11:43:38
Talking of our youngsters, battering the confidence out of anyone who doesn't play like Zidane every single game can't help.
Colin Glassar
41 Posted 14/11/2015 at 12:32:59
The defence was okay, it took two worldies to beat Hart. The midfield of Lallana, Delph, Carrick and Sterling was absolute rubbish (well Delph wasn't too bad) so Ross and Kane were basically treading water all night.

I thought it was funny that the commentators were yearning for Milner and Henderson to return; we never learn, do we? We need more players like Barkley and Wilshere who can do the unexpected, not dogs of war like Henderson and Milner who offer sod all in midfield apart from blood, sweat and tears.

Get Hoddle back as manager and dump the triers; football has moved on, England hasn't.

Jay Wood
43 Posted 14/11/2015 at 13:01:29
Barry @33,

I watched the whole 90 minutes live with some very partisan Brazilians and, of course, kept a particular eye on our man.

It's a solid endorsement from his national manager that he was selected for the Argentina - Brazil World Cup Qualifier because, make no mistake about it, this game has an edge and importance to it equal to any rivalry in world football.

Now Ramiro Funes Mori has impressed me in his short Everton career to date and, if anything, he played better last night in a red-hot international game than I have seen him play for the Blues.

He did not look out of place at all on such a big stage. 'Out of place' is an apt phrase, in fact, because positionally he was sound throughout the game. Playing on the left as he does, he didn't have to deal so much with Neymar, but rather two Santos players, Ricardo and Lucas Lima, who got no change from him. Lima scored the Brazilian equaliser in their best move of the match, but Ramiro was in no way culpable.

He also dealt with Brazil's best player on the night who raided down his flank from midfield, Chelsea's Willian. His decision-making was spot-on on nearly every occasion. Playing the ball short through midfield when appropriate, or back to the keeper, or simply wellying it away when under pressure. He didn't back down when players wanted to mix it with him.

He put in a couple of fine blocks within his own penalty area and was a threat at corners and free kicks. His possible highlight of the game was when he rapidly advanced to nick a through ball off the attacker's toe just inside his own half and made quick inroads into the Brazilian half. He played a sharp one-two with the player on the left flank then almost instantly put in another player further forward on the left flank whilst charging forward himself into the Brazilian penalty area. Alas, the delivery didn't arrive but, in the '4 seconds transition' Roberto mentioned in relation to Ross earlier this week, Ramiro caused momentary chaos at the heart of the Brazilian defence, single-handedly turning defence into attack.

As for the two teams, Argentina were way better than Brazil in the 1st half, but Brazil had the better of the 2nd half and deserved their draw. It's been a stuttering campaign for both sides so far. Argentina lost their first two qualifiers and this draw represents their first point in the campaign thus far. Brazil also lost their first game, won the second and now will be content with this draw in Buenos Aires.

Oh! And by way of comparison, the world's most expensive defender David Luiz was woefully out of position for the Argie's goal, then went flying in with reckless tackles to earn two yellow cards and a red in the 87th and 88th minute.

Ramiro cost a tenth of David Luiz's accumulated transfer fees. At the age and development he is, I would happily have Ramiro over the flamboyant Luiz any day...

Andrew Presly
44 Posted 14/11/2015 at 13:09:06
A predictable yet still embarrassing gulf in basic technique and skill.

Meanwhile this dinosaur continues to neglect the best ball-playing centre-half in a generation for oafs like Phil Jones! There are too many things wrong with the English international set up to list but that one leaps out.

Funes Mori was very solid in the Clasico, Neymar pretty much shackled. Which is impressive!

Andrew Presly
45 Posted 14/11/2015 at 13:12:24
I agree with all of that Jay. Brazil are a complete mess at the moment. Another dinosaur in charge there too.
Harold Matthews
46 Posted 14/11/2015 at 13:17:05
Great report Jay. Thanks.
Michael Williams
47 Posted 14/11/2015 at 13:30:00
Jay @ 38. Thanks for the update on Funes Mori.

It gives me a good feeling to know Everton got the jump on everyone else in Europe. With the way Funes Mori is playing for Argentina, Everton would probably not be able to get him next summer. Kudos!

Michael Winstanley
48 Posted 14/11/2015 at 13:34:59
Nice one, Jay.
Tony Abrahams
49 Posted 14/11/2015 at 13:46:08
Phil 30, totally agree with you, but it's a very long time since England have had an identity.

Two foreign coaches, and a man from the dark ages have given us nothing, but it starts when we are kids. If the football is not cancelled tomorrow, go to any park in the country and watch kids aged six onwards trying to play football in the mud.

We now have academies for the elite, but too many of them seem more about today, rather than a long term development plan.

Barkley, worries me though, because he has got to believe in himself like Martinez does, otherwise he will never make it right to the top.

Barry McNally
50 Posted 14/11/2015 at 14:12:52
Thanks Jay, I think Argentina drew their second game after a defeat in Ecuador.

Equator top of the group after beating Uruguay the other night, they are hard to beat at home up in the mountains!

Helen Mallon
51 Posted 14/11/2015 at 14:13:14
Shane Corcoran (#3), my post was not anti-international, for god's sake, I don't want him playing because he will be the fall guy if anything goes wrong and I don't want him injured – what's up with that?

Roy Hodgson is totally to blame for last night's dross along with his backroom staff. Why oh why did we play into Spain's hands defending from the halfway line, giving them too much time on the ball? It was bloody disgraceful, the amount of time we let them have; no pressing – and all that comes from a rubbish manager. I bloody despair!

Helen Mallon
52 Posted 14/11/2015 at 14:21:49
Paul Avery (#6),

I think I could get a game for England at this present time. I have stated above why I don't want him playing... oh, and on last week's performance (and I was not the only one), I thought he looked like a Championship player.

Dave Abrahams
53 Posted 14/11/2015 at 14:26:02
Jay (#40), thanks for that report on Funes Mori, he's quickly become a favourite of mine and I think a good proportion of Everton fans. He looks a very good player and relatively cheap. Get some more, Bobby, and do yourself and Everton a lot of good.
Harold Matthews
54 Posted 14/11/2015 at 14:26:42
I actually thought Barkley looked pretty sharp last night. Swift and neat on the ball and passed well with both feet. Certainly moved a lot better than in recent outings for Everton where he tends to stop and put his foot on the ball.

Many of his team-mates were woeful. Delph looked rusty and a bit lost, Sterling kept giving the ball away. Lallana was out of his depth and Ali was so bad I found it hard to believe he was wearing an England shirt. A lad so highly rated by pundits that they were calling for him to start in the next game. Spurs fans no doubt. On last night's showing he would fare better back at the MK Dons.

One thing was very noticeable. Spain's front 5 worked a whole lot harder than our front 5. They gave our defence no time to settle right from the kickoff. The pressed and harried like hungry ferrets, preventing any chance of an England buildup from the back. Mourinho, Klopp, Wenger, Van Gaal and one or two other Premier League managers urge their players to defend high like this but Martinez would be fighting a losing battle with our lads. It's just not their game.

10 qualifying games plus friendlies and Hodgson doesn't even know his best XI. Neither do I.

Jay Wood
55 Posted 14/11/2015 at 14:34:57
Barry @47 – you're right. My bad. I had it in my head the Argies lost 1-0 in their second game in Paraguay, but they drew 0-0.

Worryingly, they suffered a 2-0 home defeat to Ecuador in their opening game, so not the best of starts by the World Cup finalists. No doubt they'll secure one of the qualifying spots, but they have work to do.

Brazil, as Andrew mentioned @42, don't look a cohesive unit at all and other than Neymar (and Willian, who I like a lot) there is a surprising dearth of real skill and talent in the side.

Like Andrew, I'm not sure giving Dunga a second stab as the coach is the best solution. But then, if you haven't got the talent to play with...

Helen Mallon
56 Posted 14/11/2015 at 14:39:33
It's not about there being too many foreigners in the academies – it's all about the coaching.

What are people trying to say here? That, when we had over 50% of English players, we were good??? RUBBISH!!! We have been bad as a nation because coaching in this country has not moved on.

I can't have the "too many foreigners" thing because, if Everton only had Ross in the team who was English, he would still get trained the same way as all the other players; that goes for Arsenal, Man Utd and all the other teams. Coach better and we will play better as a national team.

By the way, most of that Spanish team play for Chelsea: Pedro, Costa, Fabregas, Azpilicueta... and they are playing shit in the Premier League – it's all about the coaching and being brave.

Bill Gall
57 Posted 14/11/2015 at 14:53:25
I have to agree with the people who quite rightly place the blame of England's performance last night on the people responsible and that is the manager and his tactics... or non-tactics. We do have talented players in England, but consistently they are asked to play in a system or style that they are not used to, that is thought up by managers and coaches from watching the more successful international teams.

Like Everton, the England manager has players who will not be dropped, regardless of form, and there is a clique who decide who they will try to make look good, and those who they will ignore.

England's problems start at the top, by picking people like Hodgson to manage a national side who is unable to suit the style he wants to the players at his disposal.

Jim Bennings
58 Posted 14/11/2015 at 15:37:37
One thing we are quickly learning is the answer to the question which was posed back in August 2011: Can Ross Barkley become Everton's very own Steven Gerrard?

So far, the answer has to be a very resounding No!

Last night was very typical Ross Barkley: some lovely neat touches and turns but too often bugger all at the end of it, half-hearted in pressing opponents, and basically (as he does a lot in the blue of Everton) he drifts through a game threatening but failing to take the game by the scruff.

He's not alone in this current England team: contrast this bunch of non-entity characters with even the crop of Terry Venables's squad of Euro 96, packed with big leaders and quality players. This current England squad is one of the meekest and poorest I've seen.

Patrick Murphy
59 Posted 14/11/2015 at 15:47:11
Jim (55) Comparing the former LFC captain with Ross Barkley is pointless, I would argue that our lad has more skill and doesn't have to run around like a man possessed to be effective. However, attitude-wise he could do worse than to follow the other man's example. Barkley must have something to offer his managers... otherwise, why would they continue to pick him in their starting elevens?

I happen to think that Roberto may do the lad a bigger service by 'resting' him on occasion; a guaranteed place in the first team, even when not producing regularly, is not going to help him work on his game.

The problem with Barkley is nobody seems to know what he offers on a regular basis and which system would suit him best; not a good position to be in for any player, especially so for a player trying to make his way in the game. It would be a real shame if the pressure of playing at this level is too much for the lad and if it is more down to his nature rather than his ability.

If I had any advice for him, it would be keep things simple and try and enjoy playing the game; the ability will flow from there.

Tom Bowers
60 Posted 14/11/2015 at 15:51:30
Quite a few England players look good when they receive the ball... then screw things up with a poor pass, cross or shot, if they don't easily lose possession first. Sterling is the main culprit, closely followed by Barkley and Lallana.

Okay, they will impress against the lesser countries but always they are exposed against the top teams.

It therefore is safe to say that England today are some way behind quite a few top international sides and Hodgson is not the man capable of making things better. Changes are needed soon in order to prepare properly for next year.
Frank Crewe
61 Posted 14/11/2015 at 17:45:15
Look at the quality of the subs Spain could put on. Pedro, Azpilicueta etc while England put on the likes of Alli & Shelvey. Speaks for itself.

Could Barkley make a through-ball pass like the ones Geri did? I don't think so. He has his moments but they a few and far between.

I also think our young players are promoted to England's first team far too fast. Sterling is rubbish but he gets away with it in a Man City side full of top players that can carry him. Barkley simply doesn't do enough.

Why was Alli even on the bench? Another pundit flavour of the month. It will be Villa's Jack Grealish next or Leicester's Jamie Vardy. Have a purple patch and you're good enough for England.

The fact is that not one of the current England side would make it into the current Spain side but all the Spain players would make it into England's side, including the manager. Half of the Spain squad plays in this country for our top clubs but none of our players are in Spain playing for their top clubs because they are not interested in them.

Can anyone ever see Barkley playing for Real Madrid or Barcelona? Not while his backside points at the ground. Yet if Deulofeu carries on like he has this season he certainly will, worse luck!

The EPL might be the richest league in the world but, in terms of producing quality England internationals, it's far from the best.

Jim Bennings
62 Posted 14/11/2015 at 18:19:35

As much as I don't like admitting it, Gerrard had skill, he could hit pinpoint passes and free-kicks on a sixpence, that alone takes a certain skill. If your talking about Barkley being skillful because he does the odd step-over or drag-back then to me, unless there's something at the end of it or your Lionel Messi, then you just look pretty much like a fanny merchant!

James McFadden had skill, he scored goals that Pele would have been proud of, but nobody was talking him up to be some 50 million-pound saviour because we knew his limitations.

Many players look skilful, but those who make it have far more strings to their bow than just quick feet, it takes a certain attitude, personality to get to the highest level, this is one of the other reasons, along with injury, why Jack Rodwell totally disappeared from the scene.

It was well known, from extracts I've read, that Rodwell thought he had made it before he had.

I don't know if Barkley will really reach the heights that is expected of him but he's 22 next month, by the time he's 25 he's likely to not really get any better after that age, he may be more experienced but try and tell me that Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard were were or are more dynamic at the age of 30 plus than in their early-mid 20s?

The most productive years of these players and the best years were in their 20 and Ross Barkley will be the same, yes he has time, but we'll know before too long if he's really going to be that great, and you can't keep blaming managers forever.

Patrick Murphy
63 Posted 14/11/2015 at 18:35:39
Jim (60) Yeah you're right mate any home-grown LFC player of the last decade or more is obviously far superior to any of our own players, we have wasted our time supporting Everton FC as we only produce average to good players whereas our rivals produce superstar after superstar.

Is Ross any good? Will he be world-class? I don't know but is he any worse than his peers in the England team? Is he any poorer to other players of a similar age in other teams?

Is it fair to expect him to be Messi or Gerrard at the age of 22? Are there any other clubs apart from our neighbours who Everton should be compared to?

Andrew Presly
64 Posted 14/11/2015 at 18:57:23
Patrick (#57) I like the way you omit the ex-Liverpool captain's name at all times. I do that with our current keeper, sadly. There's something strangely therapeutic about it. As if they don't really exist.
Peter Cummings
65 Posted 14/11/2015 at 19:51:55
Looks like the message is starting to sink in about Barkley's impact on games both for EFC and England, to say he is overhyped and destined for big things is nonsense unless something truly remarkable happens.

It wasn't too long ago that the same, over the top, hysteria was applied to another future world wonder boy by the media by name,Jack Rodwell and where is he now?? In Spain, England were like cart horses against thoroughbreds, and only Jones and Hart stood out, and so it goes.

James Flynn
66 Posted 14/11/2015 at 19:55:55
Some chippy play in Brazil-Argentina apparently. Don't think Funes Mori started it, but he wasn't taking anything from anyone:


Mike Oates
67 Posted 14/11/2015 at 20:09:18
He can't play the No 10 role. He is useless with his back to goal. He needs to drive forward with the ball from the back, not receiving a slow ball 30 yards from goal, ending up with him knocking it back 20 yards.

Until Hodgson realises this and let's him get the ball in our own half, with all the accompanying risks that he takes, we are never going to see the best of Barkley.

Karl Jones
68 Posted 14/11/2015 at 20:15:21
Lars Jacobsen, former Everton right-back, playing for Denmark (vs Sweden) at 35 yrs of age if anyone's watching.

Played for us from 2008, coming on in the 2009 FA Cup Final for Tony Hibbert. Always looked pretty decent but had a lot of injuries at the time. Think he left for Blackburn after one season.

Michael Kenrick
69 Posted 14/11/2015 at 21:36:26
Here's a link to our Players Profile for Lars Jacobsen.
Dave Abrahams
70 Posted 14/11/2015 at 21:47:10
Michael (#67),

I've read Everton's profile on Jacobsen and I think the reason he played better in the second half of the Cup Final against Chelsea was because Cahill went wide right wing to give him better cover than Osman and he stopped the Chelsea left back from going forward too much.

Cole had his hands full from marking Tim as well.

Craig Fletcher
71 Posted 14/11/2015 at 21:51:21
Jacobsen actually had a pretty decent game today for the Danes too. He got up and down the right flank and put in a few good crosses. I agree with Karl, when he was with us in 2008-09 I remember thinking he was a useful player. Certainly gave us more attacking threat on the right than Hibbo back then in the pre-Coleman days.
Andrew Presly
72 Posted 14/11/2015 at 21:54:08
In Ossie's book he said something majorly depressing along the lines of "when I woke up that day I knew it was going to be too hot for me".

Then you had a tropically disease-ridden Hibbo in long sleeves looking like he was at death's door, flayed by Florent Malouda time after time.

Cheers Moyesie!

Tony Hill
73 Posted 14/11/2015 at 21:55:49
Good news about Funes Mori who, as Dave Abrahams says, has got something about him which most of us find appealing. I suspect that, apart from his talent, it's the natural way he goes about his business and the pleasure he takes in it which explain the fans' reaction.

As for Barkley, we've probably said it all before. I think he is potentially a remarkable player and I desperately want him to fulfil his gifts for England and our club. I agree, however, with those who worry about his mental strength. Let's all hope he can gather himself in a way that the very capable but much less talented Rodwell could not.

Si Cooper
74 Posted 14/11/2015 at 22:15:37
I thought last night's game was a friendly? If Ross had been hurtling about at top speed I would have been both surprised and annoyed. Instead, he came through unscathed and got another decent work out against top class opposition. Spain's class showed in their ability to close down our attackers and their precision in tight areas.

I know he needs a lot more consistency and a combative edge would be nice, but I can't believe people aren't thrilled at times by what the lad can do. That turn and run was something to get people off their seats and similar to stuff we have seen dozens of times before from him, whereas Rodwell must have produced a handful of moments at most in his whole career to date.

IMO, If he can stay injury free, then Phil Jones is a better all round centre-back than Cahill or Smalling. I think Stones and Jones would make an interesting and complementary partnership.

Brian Porter
75 Posted 15/11/2015 at 01:07:52
I also watched Argentina v Brazil and Ramiro Funes Mori was superb. He played a great through-ball in the build up to Argentina's goal that split the defence and led to the ultimate goal-making pass. He was assured and confident and is definitely too good to sit on our bench when Jags is fit again.

He's become a favourite of mine, too, and looks every inch an international defender, and looked really confident going forward. Selection headaches ahead for Roberto, I think...

Brian Porter
76 Posted 15/11/2015 at 05:46:31
James. Flynn (#64), Funes Mori played the full 90 for Argentina.
Harold Matthews
77 Posted 15/11/2015 at 08:00:06
Not so simple for Hodgson when Martinez and other managers urge him to use their players in a certain manner.
Tony Abrahams
78 Posted 15/11/2015 at 09:19:51
Si (#72), how do you think Rodwell would have progressed if Martinez would have been manager of Everton when he broke through?
Trevor Peers
79 Posted 15/11/2015 at 09:32:40
Si (#72), This was an opportunity for Ross to show he had progressed to a better level and excel; he failed miserably.

To suggest he was somehow taking it easy and saving himself for the next blues game is a pretty poor excuse.

He has to be massively disappointed with his own performance. At 22 he's no longer just a kid but very near the finished product.

Ray Roche
80 Posted 15/11/2015 at 10:11:10
Brian (#73),

I've mentioned on here before that I wouldn't mind seeing Stones play just in front of Jags and Funes Mori as a sort of defensive midfielder instead of Barry or McCarthy. He has the ability and class to take the ball forward, something he does most games, and has the brain to hit a killer forward pass.

I think Lukaku would benefit from that as we've seen with Deulofeu making goals for him, and would allow Deulofeu to stay out wide without compromising our defensive set up, in fact it would probably strengthen it. Christ, it needs strengthening. Any other ToffeeWebbers have thoughts on that?

Colin Glassar
81 Posted 15/11/2015 at 11:05:21
Ross has been named (in a recent study) the 2nd best young midfielder in Europe ahead of the likes of Paul Pogba and Sergi Roberto.

I will keep on saying it until I am blue in the face, you don't know what you have until you lose it. Everyone ITK drools over Ross but a group of Evertonians feel like he doesn't match up to their incredibly high standards and think it might be better to take the money and run. The shortsightedness shown by some is breathtaking when it comes to spotting talent.

What were you saying about Lukaku not so long ago? Lazy? Useless? Some were having a go at Geri at the start of the season but now he's like the second coming almost. McCarthy is another one who's now considered rubbish and Coleman seems to be fast approaching this category as well. Stones was criticised for not coming back and performing at 1000% etc..... Get my drift? Take a step back, take a deep breath and think before writing.

Paul Commons
82 Posted 15/11/2015 at 11:06:08
Ray, I have to agree with you. I am convinced that Stones will follow Barry's journey to defensive midfield.

I suspect we shall still be asking the same questions about Ross in three years time although I think Woy will lose his patience with him before Martinez.

Stephen Brown
83 Posted 15/11/2015 at 11:17:31
I agree, Colin. I have been a bit guilty of it at times!

Ross is an Evertonian living out all our dreams! He has many more plus points than negatives, you don't really see him courting publicity and he seems like a decent young man.

He is also capable of very good performances that affect big matches! I for one will be supporting him and hoping he can find the level of consistency we all crave.

Stones, McCarthy, Lukaku and Barkley is a great spine to a team going forward!

Trevor Peers
84 Posted 15/11/2015 at 11:36:51
We'd all love to have a highly rated top European midfielder in our ranks, but there has to be a sense of perspective about Ross.

At best he occasionally provides an energetic presence with flashes of brilliance, those performances are very few and far between. Certainty not enough to hail him as one of Europe's elite.

The best players have an in-built mental savvy and good positional awareness plus leadership qualities that Ross just doesn't possess.

Paul Tran
85 Posted 15/11/2015 at 11:43:38
Same old, same old from an England team full of moderately to highly gifted nice young men without the ability/will to put their mark on a game and dictate it. They will be swatted away by the first half-decent team they play next summer.

Spain's 'tippy tappy' is effective because of their determination, workrate and organisation off the ball. That's the reason why Everton and England don't have the impact we'd like. Plenty of skill, not enough attitude.

Brian Harrison
86 Posted 15/11/2015 at 11:50:36
I think the next 12 months will be critical for Ross, and at 22 we should stop using his age to overlook some deficiencies. I would have hoped by now that Ross would be having a big impact on games, but he still seems to be very inconsistent. As Blues we all want him to succeed but at some point in the next 12 months, he will have to show that he is the real deal.

I can't accept that he never puts in a challenge, He always ducks out of having to make a challenge, and yes I know he had a triple leg-break when he was younger.

Steve Carse
87 Posted 15/11/2015 at 12:18:39
Brian, the triple leg-break has undoubtedly been a factor in his shirking tackles. But on the wider front I can't look beyond the lack of game time under Moyes. Starting with the disgraceful way in which Moyes hooked him at Blackburn with less than a third of the game gone because he had conceded a penalty. Appalling man management.

Compare his involvement in that game before he was subbed with what we often see from him now. In that game, though only 18, he was demanding possession, he was driving forward trying to create things, and he was making challenges.

Moyes then stopped selecting him to start games. He was even not giving him match time on the albeit odd occasions when we were winning games by handsome margins eg Scunthorpe away in the cup. In my mind, that sort of treatment greatly affected his confidence as well as his general footballing development.

Colin Glassar
88 Posted 15/11/2015 at 12:35:52
Excellent post, Steve. Going back to OFM, even he recognised that Ross had missed out on his most important developmental years due to his injury and would be playing catch-up for years to come. Thanks to medical advances, we have Ross playing today; a few years earlier and that would've been a career ending injury.

Going back to the game, the result and woeful performance were entirely down to Roy's cowardly tactics and strategy. The man is a fucking dinosaur who hasn't got a clue how to set up his teams against the best and doesn't know how to use his more skilful players, eg, Jack Wilshere playing as a defensive midfielder, ffs!! Get rid of him after the Euros and get someone in whom at least understands modern football and players – not this gormless twat!!

Steavey Buckley
89 Posted 15/11/2015 at 12:48:26
Because Harry Kane offered little or nothing upfront – who could not score even one goal in this year's Under-21 finals – there was no attacking focus, and the Spanish defense could have a night off. Unless England can find someone with pace, guile and craft with an eye for goal, next year’s Euro finals will be over before getting started.
Charles Barrow
90 Posted 15/11/2015 at 13:18:59
I agree with Colin; I can't believe how our young players are so persistently and unfairly criticised. Even Stones got it in the neck just after he came back from injury – someone even wanted us to sell him because he was crap!!

Some people behave like the press – world beater one day; useless the next week. For goodness sake, let's be sensible. The young players (Ross, Geri, Rom, Stones) all have real talent and should be encouraged and supported – let's cut out the groaning at Goodison.

Andy Walker
91 Posted 15/11/2015 at 14:21:07
The idea that the only reason England fail to perform decade after decade is due to the manager is ridiculous. The England manager can't retrain the players to suddenly become technically more gifted or play in a European or South American way. The England players are molded by the system they have been brought up in since they were kids.

England will never win a bean until this is recognised. The Germans understood this, changed their attitude and then subsequently won the World Cup? We (the nation) on the other hand are so obsessed (arrogant?) with the idea that we only need to find the right man to bring together all this talent (coughs under breath) that we keep deluding ourselves.

Colin Glassar
92 Posted 15/11/2015 at 15:00:19
Andy, apart from Venables, Robson and Hoddle (and even he was reluctant to use the spice boys initially) most English managers have been wary of using our most talented, and maverick, players. Great players like Bowles, Worthington, Hudson, Curry, Kendall, Hoddle, McKenzie etc... have been overlooked in favour of dependable carthorses like Channon, McDonald, Phil Neville, Dyer, Batty etc.....

We have had the talent, and still do, but we have also had cowardly (Sven, Capello, McClaren) and useless (Keegan, Turnip Head, Roy) managers who haven't got a clue how to get the best out of them!!

It was plain to see, on Friday, that there was no clear plan against Spain. The players didn't know whether to press or stay deep and so the midfield players looked completely lost. That's the manager's job and he failed miserably.

Colin Glassar
93 Posted 15/11/2015 at 15:03:14

That team would beat most teams in the world.

Trevor Peers
94 Posted 15/11/2015 at 15:54:11
Dream on, Colin, love your gushing optimism.
Andrew Clare
95 Posted 15/11/2015 at 16:30:23
Colin (#91),

You are probably right but that team wouldn't beat France, Germany, Spain, Holland, Portugal, Italy or most South American teams. In fact it wouldn't beat anyone who matters in World Football.

Andrew Clare
96 Posted 15/11/2015 at 16:32:52
English footballers are very overrated and most are technically inferior to foreign opposition.
Andy Walker
97 Posted 15/11/2015 at 16:40:37
Decent looking team, Colin, but I still don't think they would beat the very best regardless of whoever manages them.

Our players just lack that something which the best teams seem to have. I'm no expert but I reckon it must be at least partly down to how we make our youngsters compete in matches from a very early age.

Keith Monaghan
98 Posted 15/11/2015 at 16:47:36
Colin – with all due respect, you urgently need a reality check.

Forget that Woy managed the RS! I don't agree with all his ideas either. However, he isn't the one causing the so-limited pool of talent to chose from – it's the people at the FA and those in charge of the Premier League, standing idly by allowing the number of English players at clubs to diminish so drastically since 1992. One result is that, when an English player with good ability comes along (eg, Ross Barkley, Jack Rodwell before him) he gets wildly over-hyped.

Like every Evertonian, I want Ross to be a great player for Everton, but watching him week after week I just don't see anywhere near enough evidence to suggest he will.

Now we see another very young English player, Lingard, drafted into the squad! The last game ended with Ali and Dyer on the pitch – what experience and talent they have – but where were the proven alternatives?

Re your team of world-beaters, how do Wilshere & Walcott get in? They're hardly ever fit for a month!

Barry is well past his best, but reality is that he would have improved the England midfield against Spain! It all tells a sad story doesn't it about the wealth of English talent available.

Dave Abrahams
99 Posted 15/11/2015 at 17:22:08
Andy (95), that is a massive problem, the way young boys play in England, too many games too often.

From the ages of six and seven they play in leagues that are very intense in terms of winning cups; winning is everything. To me, winning is the least part of football at that age... learning to play, control, passing, tackling, dribbling and – most important – enjoying the game.

Football (playing) is brilliant if you are enjoying playing; listening to your parents, coaches and managers screaming at you incessantly throughout the game is not how young players should have to face every Saturday and Sunday and midweek at the start and end of every season.

Cups and too much competition to win is spoiling most young players.

Colin Glassar
100 Posted 15/11/2015 at 19:45:18
Keith, I put Walcott and Wilshere in there as they are the best players we have for those MF positions. That's a balanced team, imo, playing people in their correct positions. Roy wants to play Wilshere as a DMF player which I consider insane and a measure of his cluelessness.
Paul Cherrington
101 Posted 16/11/2015 at 14:10:30
Same Old England... and same old Roy managing them. Why does Sterling start every game when, literally everytime he gets the ball, he loses possession? I thought retaining possession was key or is that just for the other players who aren't favourites? Funny, you never see him ranting in the dugout like Mrs Doubtfire on a bad day when good ole Raheem fucks it up yet again.

Lallana was so poor it was untrue – all he did, especially in the first half, was lose the ball or misplace his pass, and yet he stays on and no-one commentating sees fit to point out the obvious. But then he does play for Liverpool, doesn't he?

Ali and Dier basically are getting in the England team cos of which club they play for. Do you think someone would have ten good games for West Brom and walk straight in?

Until you have a manager who picks a team based on form & talent rather than which club you play for, it will always be the same. In the same way, as long as you have a manager who just crowbars his favourite 11 into the team rather than picking a balanced side, we will always fail.

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