ROSS BARKLEY has been tipped to shine for Everton’s first team next season by manager David Moyes.
The England U-17 midfielder is on the mend after suffering a triple leg break in October and Moyes hopes to have him fit for pre-season.
Barkley, right, who had been on the Everton first-team bench three times before the horror injury on England youth duty, is set to follow in the steps of Wayne Rooney and Jack Rodwell by becoming another star name from the Finch Farm academy conveyor belt.
And although he insisted Barkley will not be thrust into the Premier League limelight, Moyes hopes he can make a positive impact.
Moyes said: “I think he would have played in the first team already this year if he hadn’t had his injury.
“If we’d have had Europa League football too, he would have been a certainty but with the injury he has missed most of the season.
“I wouldn’t say I’d count on him as a first team player. You can’t say that until they come through. But he will be in the group of young players with the hope that one or two of them will pop their heads through and join in.”
Barkley, from Wavertree, has been at the club since the age of 11 and in December signed a two-and-half year contract, the maximum possible at his age.
The energetic midfielder had starred in England’s victory in the European Under-17 Championship last May, before suffering the injury in an Under-19s European Championship qualifying defeat against Belgium.
“It was a big injury, but he’s doing really well now,” said Moyes. “He had a pin removed from his leg recently which has caused him a bit of discomfort.
“But we’re hopeful he may start a little bit of work with a ball before the end of the season. So by the time he’s had a rest in the summer, he may be ready to start pre-season with us.”
Said by many to be one of the best young prospects in the country, Barkley scored against Northern Ireland in the Under-16s Victory Shield game in October 2008 when he was just 14.
Meanwhile, Everton have announced a second pre-season friendly in America this summer.
The Blues will face Major League Soccer outfit Philadelphia Union on Wednesday, July 20. The game takes place three days before the clash with DC United in Washington.
The Union are currently in their second season in the MLS and have lost just one of their 10 games.
They play at the 18,500 capacity PPL Park in Chester, on the outskirts of Philadelphia.
Blues keeper Tim Howard was born an hour away. He said: “Philadelphia Union is a fantastic club and I’m really looking forward to playing against them.
“Nick Sakiewicz brought me through the ranks when I was younger, I’m friends with members of their coaching staff and one of my best friends, Danny Califf, plays for them.
“It’s a club whose results I look out for and hope they do well. It will be a tough game for us.
“They will be in the mould of their manager Piotr Novak. He’s a tough, hard-nosed former Polish international who doesn’t back down.
“I know for a fact from being very close to him that he expects nothing less from his team.”
Sakiewicz is a former goalkeeper who is now the Union’s CEO. He said: “We are very proud to host Everton in what will be a challenge for our club and a treat for our fans.”