Everton Club Focus – Cahill backs Barkley to make the step from young standout to first team regular

As David Moyes continues to scour the transfer market for additions to his Everton squad that fall within the tight financial constraints he is forced to operate under, the likelihood of the manager turning to the crop of promising youngsters already on the Toffees’ books increases. One such highly-rated prospect, midfielder Ross Barkley, has been recommended by Tim Cahill as a star in the making.

Quoted in the Liverpool Echo, Cahill said: “Ross Barkley is a special talent. He is an immense player with a great attitude to football. I have played with some great players in my career but I do not think I have ever seen a talent like Ross.” Such high praise from the club’s talismanic midfielder – and one of the longest serving players at the club – is the latest batch of positivity to come Barkley’s way, after Moyes admitted that if not for the 17-year-old’s horrific triple broken leg suffered in October he would have made his first team bow last season. A versatile player capable of playing defensive or attacking roles, Barkley has made one appearance on the Everton substitutes’ bench shortly before the injury suffered on England youth duty that ended his season in the autumn. With a well-stocked midfield already Everton are unlikely to add a central player in the summer transfer window, although a left-winger remains a target, but Barkley’s ability and the esteem in which he is held at Goodison Park could mean more competition for Marouane Fellaini and company next season.

The youth academy has been a prolific production line for Everton, from 1990s graduates Michael Ball, Richard Dunne and Francis Jeffers, who each left for a substantial fee, to current first team regulars Tony Hibbert, Jack Rodwell, Leon Osman and Victor Anichebe, as well as the most celebrated scholar, Wayne Rooney. Barkley, forward Jose Baxter, defender Shane Duffy – who joined Everton at 16 – and a handful of other teenagers on the fringes of the first team could save the cash-strapped club a small fortune in future transfer fees. They are joined by rough diamonds sourced from across Europe, including Irishman Seamus Coleman, French winger Magaye Gueye and Greek striker Apostolos Vellios, with the former a first XI regular and crowd favourite and the latter pair making their debuts towards the end of the campaign. An emphasis on youth at the time when UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations are coming into force has the added benefit of compliance with the new rules laid down from the European game’s governing body, while the support guaranteed to be given to young debutants from the crowd should ease their passage from promising talents to young first teamers.

The extensive scouting that brought Coleman, Gueye and Vellios, amongst others, to Merseyside is a result of the same budgetary restrictions that may force Moyes to turn to Barkley and his ilk before they are truly ready, but if Cahill is to be believed, Barkley for one may be ready sooner rather than later.

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