Former Everton boss explains why Ross Barkley’s career in England fell apart
The former manager was speaking about the midfielder from their time working together.
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The former Everton manager struck up an incredible relationship with Barkley during their time at Goodison Park, as they finished fifth in the Premier League with the midfielder playing a starring role. He once called Barkley a ‘diamond of English football’ following a brilliant performance away at Swansea in that season, but his career failed to hit the heights it had once threatened to do so.
Martinez, who is currently in charge of the Portugal national team, spoke to TalkSport about the 29-year-old’s current career situation as he recalled their time working together, as well as claiming English football didn’t appreciate Barkley enough. He said: “I think if Ross was born in another culture, they would have appreciated more his incredible physicality for a technical player, he wasn’t a player who fitted in a specific role.
“When we saw Ross in our first season at Everton, you could see what he had: right and left foot, the way he scored so many goals from distance, the way he would go past players at pace, that individual quality that he had. It’s a shame that he’s been one of the players that has always been asked to do something that he couldn’t do, which is being restricted as part of a system and do things at an average level.”
Following a breakthrough season in 2013/14, he struggled to capture the same overall impact he had on that Everton side, and as the club struggled to find the right manager to take them forward, his form dipped before he was snapped up by Chelsea in the January window of 2018. Barkley has just rounded off a debut season in France at Nice with a brilliant final day performance against Montpellier, a team he joined on a free from Chelsea, but his deal is up this summer and a summer switch back to the Premier League wouldn’t be out of the question.