Ross Barkley ready to lead England's next generation

Wednesday 25 Jun 2014
Ross Barkley featured in all three of England's World Cup games

Ross Barkley says he is ready, willing and able to lead the next generation of England youngsters into the 2016 European Championships and beyond.

The Everton youngster featured in all three of England's games during the disappointing World Cup campaign – but said the bitter feeling of failure is one that will resonate with all the young players, and drive them on in the future. 

Asked if he believes himself to be able to step up and lead the next generation of England midfielders, the youngster was in bullish mood. 

“I believe I can,” he said. “I believe in myself and I’m confident. It’s a big disappointment being in a tournament, going out early and I’ll learn from it.

Barkley started his first game at a World Cup in the 0-0 with Costa Rica

Barkley started his first game at a World Cup in the 0-0 with Costa Rica

“But you’ve got to have these types of things to learn from them.”

Barkley was one of a number of young players among Roy Hodgson’s 23-man squad to travel to Brazil, and although their campaign ended without a win, he said it was important to focus on the next cycle of international players coming through.

“We’ve got good young players. Jack [Wislhere], Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Raheem Sterling – we’ve got other young lads coming through that are showing what they can do in the Premier League week in week out. 

"We have to be able to do that at international level as we get older and hopefully in two years’ time at the Euros we’ll be ready for that.

“I’ve got to be positive and in two years’ time we have to be thinking that we can do well in that tournament."

Ross Barkley lines up for England against Costa Rica

Ross Barkley lines up for England before the Costa Rica clash

The Everton youngster said veteran pair Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard were hugely supportive to him and the other young players during the World Cup. But Barkley admitted that if the two centurions do call time on their international careers, then the onus will be on him to step up as England prepare for Euro 2016.

“They [Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard] have passed on lots of advice to us,” he added. “Hearing from them throughout this tournament has helped me and it will help me and the other young lads, and will help in the future too.

Barkley flies back to England with the rest of the team on Wednesday, and he said it will take him some time to get over the disappointment of the premature return.

“In a few days we’ll be seeing teams playing in the World Cup and we won’t be there. We want to be in these big tournaments because we’ve got the players to be in them – but unfortunately we weren’t able to do that.

“For me personally, I’ve got to go back and do well for my club and make sure I cement my place in the England squad. The experienced players aren’t getting any younger so the young lads have got to step in and be counted for and do well for my country.”

By Jamie Reid Senior Writer