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05th Apr 2017

Ross Barkley’s former teammate delivers very honest assessment of him as a player

"That's a long time to have been playing in the Premier League and not kicked on"

Robert Redmond

Ross Barkley hasn’t “kicked on” in the past five years.

That’s the view of Barkley’s former teammate Leon Osman.

Barkley has been under the spotlight recently. Ronald Koeman was critical of the 23-year-old earlier this season, and he didn’t receive a minute of action when on international duty with England last month.

The Everton midfielder was particularly poor against Liverpool in the Merseyside derby last Saturday, and was very lucky not to be sent-off after a few late, reckless tackles.

His performance came in for heavy criticism from Graeme Souness following the game.

“If I was playing with him, I would be falling out with him,” Souness said on Sky Sports.

“He runs with it when he should pass it, he passes it when he should run with it. His decision making is poor in the extreme.”

Barkley is evidently talented, but some are doubtful that he can develop into a top class player capable of making a key difference in a game.

Souness can’t see it happening.

“He’s got all the equipment to be a player, but I just see his decision making not improving,” the former Liverpool captain and manager said.

“And if his decision making doesn’t improve, then he won’t improve as a player. I see him as the kid in the playground. That’s how he plays football to me.”

Souness is probably the most straight-talking football pundit on British television. The former Scotland midfielder calls it how he sees it and isn’t afraid to upset someone.

His analysis of Barkley isn’t a surprise, but we were surprised with Osman’s take on his former teammate.

It’s rare to see a pundit be this honest about a player he knows and, until last season, shared a dressing room with. However, Osman has effectively said Barkley hasn’t improved since he was a teenager.

According to the former Everton and England midfielder, it is also “worrying” that Barkley is still regarded as a player with potential.

“He’s been playing in the first-team since he was 17-18,” Osman said on BBC Radio 5 Live.

“That’s a long time to have been playing in the Premier League and not kicked on, and not made that next step. It’s worrying that he’s still being talked about as a young player and ‘give him time’.”

Catch up with this week’s episode of 888sport Football Friday Live