Everton's rising star Barkley: England's big hope

Everton's rising star Barkley: England's big hope
Everton's Ross Barkley

Some see shades of Paul Gascoigne and Michael Ballack in him.

And on his young 20-year-old shoulders may rest England's 2014 World Cup hopes.

Ross Barkley woke up yesterday to find himself being hailed as England's next big thing.

Everton's renaissance under Roberto Martinez has been nothing short of outstanding, and Barkley has been central to their rise.

The attacking midfielder is everything Martinez could have asked for.

For the Liverpool-born midfielder, tenacity and technique come in a pair, but it was his dash that set him apart from the rest at the Liberty Stadium yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Martinez's men put up a superb display to overrun a tired Swansea, but none proved as instrumental as Barkley in their 2-1 away victory.

His goal, a brilliant free-kick winner that went in off the underside of the bar six minutes from time, betrayed the composure behind a youthful front.

But the audacity was something else.

A Chris Waddle-sque moment in the 24th minute showed his promise in its full glory.

With defender Ashley Williams an arm's length away in the penalty box, Barkley stopped the ball, and left it untouched for a full six seconds to lure the Swansea man to make a move.

Williams never did, perhaps not daring to, until Barkley dropped a shoulder to zip towards the byeline, before being brought down clumsily.

No penalty was given, but the humiliation was complete, and a clear message sent.

Such confidence can only be found among a handful in today's game, and is even rarer in England's dwindling pool of talent.

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