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Has Mauricio Pochettino ever actually seen Ross Barkley play?

Coach wants Ross playing a deeper role for Spurs

Hull City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

According to a report from the Times, Mauricio Pochettino wants Ross Barkley to eventually replace Mousa Dembele. As a page for Everton fans, we wholeheartedly support this idea, because Ross Barkley setting the pace of a midfield and carrying defensive responsibilities is the exact kind of problem we want our rivals to have.

On the left is Ross, on the right is Dembele — notice first of all the much higher pass percentage for the Spurs midfielder, despite the fact that they attempt a similar number of passes. The role that Dembele plays is largely about controlling the pace for Spurs when they are in possession, so precision in distribution is absolutely essential. This simply is not one of Ross’ strengths.

While both Dembele and Barkley are dispossessed at a rather high rate, notice the Spurs man is nonetheless a more successful dribbler. Now, look at the tackling contributions — Dembele is absolutely wonderful in this regard. If Ross was even average on this front we may be on to something, but as things stand his ability in tackling is basically non-existent.

Understand, this is not simply a matter of Ross playing further forward and therefore getting less tackles. Ross Barkley is bad at tackling. He completes 42% of his tackles, Dembele completes 76% of his. That’s a jarring difference. Dembele is also dribbled past less despite how many more defensive actions he takes part in.

If Tottenham wants to take all the steel out of their midfield, then be my guest and throw Ross in there as a CM. I’ll have my popcorn ready.