Ross Barkley (born 5 December 1993) is a professional English footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for Premier League club Everton and the England national team. He has played for Everton for most of his career, which included loan spells for Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United.
Barkley made his full international debut in 2013. He played for England at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and was selected in Roy Hodgson's 23-man squad for UEFA Euro 2016 but did not appear in any of England's matches. Managers and teammates have compared his style of play to those of Michael Ballack, Paul Gascoigne and Wayne Rooney.
Barkley was born in Liverpool, Merseyside. He joined Everton as an 11-year-old and played for the club's youth teams. He was named as a substitute in a first team league match in early 2010–11, and was expected to make his Premier League debut before his leg was broken in one place after a collision with Liverpool's Andre Wisdom during an England under-19 match in October 2010.
He recovered from his injury in time to join the first team for pre-season training before the beginning of 2011–12. During pre-season, Tim Cahill heralded Barkley as the most talented footballer he had worked with. He made his debut in Everton's first home match of the season, a 1–0 defeat to Queens Park Rangers, and was named man of the match by Radio City Sport. His early performances were highly praised, with Martin Keown predicting that "[Barkley will] be one of the best players we'll ever see in this country." He signed a new four-and-a-half-year contract in December 2011.
On 14 September 2012, Barkley joined Sheffield Wednesday on a one-month loan deal making his debut the same day in an away defeat against Brighton & Hove Albion. He scored his first goal for the club, a penalty, against Bolton Wanderers the following week. His loan was extended before he was recalled by Everton after playing 13 matches for Wednesday. He again went out on loan, this time to Leeds United for an "initial one-month stint", in January 2013 and made his debut for Leeds in a derby match against Barnsley.
Barkley re-joined the Everton first team for the 2013–14 season. He scored his first goal for the club on the opening day in a 2–2 draw against Norwich City, and was later named man of the match. During the first half of the season, Barkley put in several man-of-the-match performances, notably against Arsenal and Swansea City – the latter whom he scored the winner against. He received praise from many pundits including Alan Hansen who said Barkley has absolutely everything and Gary Lineker who claimed he is a star in the making and a prodigious talent.
Barkley's first FA Cup goal came on 4 January 2014, opening a 4–0 win over Queens Park Rangers in the third round. In March, Barkley scored a superb solo goal against Newcastle United in which he ran from his own half to net the opener in a 3–0 victory. On 18 April 2014, he was named as one of the six players on the shortlist for the PFA Young Player of the Year award. He scored a total of 6 goals in 34 Premier League matches throughout the season, including a goal against Manchester City on 3 May which BBC Sport described as "spectacular" and was awarded goal of the season at Everton's end of year awards.
On 29 July 2014, Barkley signed a new contract with Everton, keeping him at the club until 2018. Before the start of the 2014–15 season he suffered an injury to his medial collateral ligament, and did not play until 18 October 2014, setting up Romelu Lukaku's goal in a 3–0 home league win over Aston Villa. He scored his first goal of the season in a 3–1 win over QPR on 15 December.
Barkley started the 2015–16 season with goals in Everton's first two league matches.
In May 2017, Everton manager Ronald Koeman issued an ultimatum to Barkley, stating that if he was not signing a new contract, despite being offered an extension by the club, he would be sold in the summer.
On 26 July 2017, Everton manager Ronald Koeman said that Barkley had told him that he was ready for a new challenge and that he would not be offered a new deal with the club.
Barkley was eligible to represent both England and Nigeria as he has a Nigerian grandfather. Barkley opted to represent his country of birth. He has represented England at under-16, under-17, under-19, under-20, under-21 and senior level.
He was first called up for the under-16 level in September 2008, aged 14. He was selected to play in the 2009 Montaigu Tournament and captained the team to success, beating Germany 2–1 on penalties in the final. He also helped England win the 2010 UEFA European Under-17 Championship with two goals en route to the final where England beat Spain 2–1. Barkley was called up to the England U-21 squad in August 2011. On 28 May 2013, he was named in manager Peter Taylor's 21-man squad for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup. He made his debut on 16 June, in a 3–0 win in a warm-up match against Uruguay. He scored his first goal for England under-21's on 13 August 2013, in a 6–0 win against Scotland.
Barkley was called up to the senior England squad in August 2013, and earned his first senior cap the following month, coming on as a substitute for Jack Wilshere in a 4–0 win in a World Cup qualifier against Moldova at Wembley. He was named in the England squad for the World Cup Finals in Brazil, and made his World Cup debut as a 61st-minute substitute for Danny Welbeck in England's 2–1 opening defeat to Italy in Manaus. He played the full match in England's final group match, a 0–0 draw with Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte. He scored his first goal for the senior team in a 6–0 win against San Marino in a UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying fixture in September 2015.
Style of play
Former Everton manager Roberto Martínez described Barkley as a mix of Paul Gascoigne and Michael Ballack. England manager Roy Hodgson has said that Barkley's "pace and power" as well as his "excellent technique" are reminiscent of Paul Gascoigne and Frank Lampard stated that Barkley reminds him of a young Wayne Rooney. Barcelona midfielder Xavi said in November 2014 that Barkley is good enough to play for the La Liga club, praising his physical and technical qualities.
- As of match played 21 May 2017
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Sheffield Wednesday (loan)||2012–13||Championship||13||4||—||—||—||13||4|
|Leeds United (loan)||2012–13||Championship||4||0||—||—||—||4||0|
- As of match played 27 May 2016
- As of match played 27 May 2016. England score listed first, score column indicates score after each Barkley goal.
|1||5 September 2015||San Marino Stadium, Serravalle, San Marino||14||San Marino||3–0||6–0||UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying|
|2||12 October 2015||LFF Stadium, Vilnius, Lithuania||17||Lithuania||1–0||3–0||UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying|
- UEFA European Under-17 Championship: 2010
- UEFA European Under-17 Championship Team of the Tournament: 2010
- Sheffield Wednesday Player of the Month: October 2012
- Everton F.C. Young Player of the Year: 2013, 2014
- Everton F.C. Goal of the Year: 2014