Ross Barkley optimistic after return to England squad

Thursday 13 Nov 2014
20-year-old Ross Barkley has nine England caps

Ross Barkley is targeting international success after his return to the England squad for the games against Slovenia and Scotland.

Injury has meant the Everton midfielder has not figured for Roy Hodgson's men since the World Cup, where he made three of his nine appearances for the Three Lions.

After impressive performances in Brazil, Barkley received widespread plaudits, but said his growing reputation is not something that weighs on his mind.

England v Slovenia

European Qualifier
5pm, Saturday 15 November
Wembley Stadium connected by EE
Live on ITV

"I haven't really felt any expectation," said Barkley. "I just focus on getting better and doing things right on the pitch. Everything else takes care of itself. 

"It's not hard. I've always had my feet on the ground and I've never forgotten where I come from."

He continued: "I found the World Cup experience was really good for me. Ever since I was young I've wanted to play in a World Cup. 

"Obviously we didn't do the best, but for me and the other young lads it was good to get a game and hopefully in the future we'll get plenty more World Cups under our belt."

A knee injury early in the season while with the Toffees kept the 20-year-old out of action until October.

Ross Barkley and Luke Shaw chat at the World Cup

During that period he missed England's opening four games. The Three Lions won all four and did not concede a goal.

And after seeing the Three Lions in action on TV, Barkley is glad to be back at St. George's Park with an important European Qualifier coming up at Wembley on Saturday.

"I haven't had a chance to be in any of the squads yet, but being at home and watching the games, we've done really well and haven't conceded, the defence has been solid," he said. 

"We're top of the group and have a really tough game on Saturday, but we've got to be positive going into it.

"It's really exciting because we have a good mixture of young lads and the experienced lads, the likes of Bainesy, Wayne, Phil Jagileka, so hopefully we can do well.

"To lift a trophy for England, to win something, is what every player wants to do. It would be a dream come true if that happened." 

There are still a few tickets available for England's qualifier at home to Slovenia on Saturday. Click here to buy online.

By Jamie Bradbury FA Editor