Former England central defender Jamie Carragher has opined that Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley possesses more ability than his fellow Three Lions midfielders Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard.
As Chelsea continued their blistering run of form with a 4-0 demolition of Burnley that saw Maurizio Sarri become the first Blues manager to go unbeaten in his first ten league matches in charge, Barkley put in yet another stellar performance, providing assists for Alvaro Morata and Willian while also netting a goal himself in between his two teammates’ strikes.
Another masterful performance from the former Everton midfielder underlined his magnificent run of form recently. He now has three goals and three assists in his last three games for the Blues and Carragher, who now works as a pundit on television, was the latest to express his delight at Barkley’s upsurge in form. The former Liverpool hardman particularly praised Barkley’s improved decision-making with the ball at his feet.
“The stats show a difference,” said Carragher. “The big one is dribbles. We all love to see players dribble but football is a passing game and maybe two or three times a game you have the chance to go on a dribble. It can’t be five times a game, and I think that was where he was losing the ball at Everton. Now he is making better decisions.
“Also look at the distance covered, I think he’s fitter, stronger and maybe that is something to do with what we are seeing now at Chelsea.”
“He was really good for Everton but towards the end of his time there his decision-making wasn’t great. He dribbled when he should have passed, he passed when he should have dribbled, and the crowd got on his back and he found it difficult at times. Maybe it was the pressure of being the main man at Everton to create something.”
The 40-year-old television pundit added that the likes of Alli and Lingard are no better than Barkley when it comes to natural ability and if the 24-capped Three Lions midfielder improved on the mental side of things, he would become a must for Gareth Southgate’s squad.
“This lad has got to become mentally stronger, but in terms of ability, you think of the players who played in that position in the World Cup – Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard – and maybe you could argue they are better mentally but they are not better ability wise.
“If he becomes better mentally – as you would expect playing for a big team and achieving big things – I think he could become a must for the England team.”