ROSS BARKLEY has become even better since his initial appearances in the Premier League and is ready to step-up again next season, according to Everton coach Jimmy Lumsden.
The 18-year-old made his senior debut in the opening game of last season, and went on to make nine appearances for the first team before David Moyes decided give him more playing opportunities away from the limelight.
Lumsden, who celebrated 10 years at Goodison this season alongside his long-term colleague and friend Moyes, admits Barkley has the potential to be the best midfielder he has coached during his time on Merseyside.
He said: “He’s as good as anyone I’ve seen in the middle of the park, and could be anything he wants. He is quiet but the moment he steps on the field he has got the confidence in his ability for all to see.
“He’s got the touch, the awareness on the ball and the flair. Currently he’s filling out to be a big lad as well which will help him play in the Premier League.”
Lumsden insists Barkley’s development was helped by Moyes’ decision to bring him out of first team duties last term, after he figured in the early part of the campaign.
“It’s a good thing that he wasn’t rushed, he said. “The boy had a couple of injuries which held him back but the boy has no worries now. He looks the business.
“The Premier League is a very hard league to introduce young players to. If you are just below half way in the table you are perhaps looking with one eye at the bottom end and potentially getting sucked into that so it’s tough on young boys to bring them in then.
“You tend to go for the tried and trusted older heads. The experienced guys.
“Then when you get above the half-way point you are glancing at the European places and thinking and figuring out what might happen if you can win every game and wondering if you can get there.
“Fair play to people who will play young kids then because every place in the table is worth a lot of money. That’s why it can be difficult to give the young boys a run of games, but we’ve tried to do it when we can at Everton and it could work out that we use Ross next season. He has got better.”