It seems to be turning into Ross Barkley week in the media as another pundit has given his thoughts on our former 24-year-old Academy product following his January move out to Chelsea.
With Barkley only just beginning to find any form at all following his cut-price and pretty controversial switch given the way things panned out in terms of the transfer negotiations, he did, of course, score his first goal for his new side in their defeat of Southampton last weekend and England manager Gareth Southgate has instantly given him a fresh crack of the whip at international level.
Well, he’s in the squad at least, whether he plays is a different question.
All of the above is pretty irrelevant though in relation to Gary Neville’s recent eulogising of him, as he’s rather bizarrely compared him to now Juventus superstar Ronaldo.
“He loves his football, he’s a good lad, but has he been really serious like the really top professionals? If you think of Cristiano Ronaldo at the very top of in terms of ‘he looks after himself’. He’s getting to that level now, he looks a lot more serious about the game. I think he’s getting the rewards for it.”
Really? His full words are carried by the Express and Neville does qualify it by saying missing out on the World Cup looks to have made him refocus and redouble his efforts to improve and even his greatest fans at Goodison Park would admit he seemed to have largely stalled in his development.
But even on that level, Ronaldo is a stretch for me as whilst you can arguably say Barkley has shown some improvement again now as a result of his work, the bar wasn’t exactly high for his time at Stamford Bridge thus far. Plenty of players put the same or more effort in, they just aren’t as naturally talented – it’s called being professional and doing the basics to earn your wage.
What was it Chris Sutton said recently about overhyped expectations?