Everton manager Roberto Martinez commented on 21-year-old Ross Barkley's recent struggles in an interview with the Liverpool Echo. Though the young player has not produced the results on the pitch this season that some had expected of him, the boss thinks that his hard times are going to pay off in the long run.
Barkley has scored only one goal in 13 league matches, but his manager chalks that up to being double-teamed and more recognition after last year's breakout performance:
"Normally when Barkley is on the pitch the opposition use two players against him so someone else should be free elsewhere. Last year [he] was a young player enjoying his football, this year he is Ross Barkley, and that brings a completely different approach from the opposition." said Martinez.
The head man sees Barkley's current form as a learning experience, and that Barkley has what it takes to get better from it:
"Barkley is a phenomenal talent but is a young man and still learning and needs to get through certain periods where he can make decisions in a better way.He's a reliable character and is someone who will always be positive in the squad, having a good or bad game. When you have that character and personality you will get to a point where your talent will shine."
Many Evertonians have been frustrated when Barkley is positioned out wide as opposed to a more central role, where he is more comfortable and seems to thrive. Martinez insists that this is just a part of Barkley's development, but how long can he keep him there if struggles continue?