Sometimes a player who has fallen out of favour will say anything to get back in the good graces of his employers.
Ross Barkley appears to be exactly one such player.
Having failed to truly establish himself at Everton and Chelsea under multiple managers, he’s now taken to brown-nosing Maurizio Sarri in a desperate last-ditch bid to be a part of ‘Sarriball’ (aka ‘Sarrismo’). After all, if he doesn’t nail down a regular spot this autumn, Chelsea are very likely to loan him out to a Championship club where the intelligence and decision-making skills required will be more to a level he can keep up with.
Sample his comments when asked if he’s been coached as much before in the past, via the Telegraph -
“Probably, I would say not really. Right now I would say Sarri’s philosophy has helped me a lot because over the years I haven’t been coached much.
“I am at an age now where I understand football a lot more and I know how important it is to take the different tactics from different managers on board, and I feel like right now I am ready to understand every aspect of the game.”
David Moyes had to send him to Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United in the 2012-13 season to toughen up. Roberto Martinez made him the centerpiece of his attacking style and Barkley wasn’t able to produce consistently enough. Ronald Koeman treated him with kid gloves because his fragile ego needed constant pampering. Antonio Conte didn’t even bother dealing with him considering he had bigger issues.
“I’ve thought about it and I believe that if I did have that type of approach from a coach when I was younger, then maybe I would have improved a lot more. But these things happen in football. Where I am right now is where I believe I should be, so I’m in the right place to show what I’m capable of.”
Evidently the salient point Barkley is missing here is that the fact he needs more coaching should worry him even more because it says that he’s got some major issues to work through. He is lucky though if Sarri is willing to spend that additional time with him, because at 24 the clock is ticking for him.
Blaming Everton coaching for his poor development is taking the easy way out when players around his age like Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane have achieved much more than he likely ever will. In fact, another peer of his Romelu Lukaku spent about the same amount of time as he did at Everton and was never a victim of ‘lack of coaching’.