The rise of Ross Barkley last season was something to behold. The midfielder, who struggled to get playing time under David Moyes, became the future of the team practically overnight. But this season, he has struggled to find his best form and has played in just about every midfield position under Roberto Martinez with varying levels of success. There are disagreements as to whether he should play the number 10, or the number 8 role. But how about striker?
When speaking to the media earlier this week, The Mirror quoted Barkley as saying
I’m a striker…I can have the greatest impact there. I’m free to roam around, take players on, have shots and create chances.
While Barkley’s comments may be surprising, his physical make-up certainly isn't that far off of a striker. He’s tall, reasonably fast and strong enough to shrug off opposing players. He also isn't what I would call the greatest facilitator. His passing skills need refinement and he isn't always the ideal playmaker or a typical number 10. But Martinez disagrees with the young Barkley and thinks his role is fine as it is.
His best position at the moment is probably that number 10 role, playing off the striker and having a little bit of freedom. He is a player that galvanizes the game when he has space in front of him…
Martinez also believes that Barkley was misquoted is saying that he wanted to play striker.
Ross is a very honest person and always answers how he feels. All he mentioned was that he prefers to play off the striker – that’s not playing as a striker.
Ignoring the fact that Barkley is literally quoted as saying "I am striker", I have to agree with Martinez that Barkley would probably find more success in the midfield. He isn't the best defensive presence, but he has the stamina and ability to win the ball in the midfield, and go on the attack. His passing needs some refinement and he needs to lose some of his selfish tendencies (I've seen him steal the ball from teammates on more than a few occasions), but he has the makings of a very good midfielder. He’s still young and has plenty of time to put it all together.