Sheffield Wednesday: Barkley ready for World Cup

Ross Barkley in action for Wednesday against Blackpool
Ross Barkley in action for Wednesday against Blackpool

Wednesday will take some pleasure in whatever Ross Barkley manages to achieve in the World Cup finals.

While he will be relatively new to the international viewing public, the Owls have known all about his qualities for almost two years.

Fans too will be rooting for him as he attempts to aid England’s cause in Brazil.

Barkley has gone from 18-year-old rookie to Premier League big name since Dave Jones landed him on loan and purred about him being an outstanding talent with a big future.

Roberto Martinez’s latest remarks about the jewel in his Everton squad echo those of the former Wednesday manager when Jones said that Barkley was also a down-to-earth character who appreciated the value of hard work.

While it would be a surprise if the 20-year-old is in Roy Hodgson’s starting line-up, Martinez believes that he can cope with World Cup football and the attention it brings. “He’s not someone who will lose sight of realism when he comes back,” says the Goodison Park chief, “For us he’s a star whatever happens in the World Cup. He is ready now to fulfil whatever role the England manager wants to give him.”

Comparisons have been drawn between Barkley and Wayne Rooney, who travelled to Euro 2004 with England as an Everton youngster but moved to Manchester United later that summer.

But Martinez has insisted that Barkley is going nowhere and that staying at Goodison Park will aid his development.

There was never any suggestion that Wednesday would be able to sign the midfielder other than on loan, at a time when Everton judged him to be not yet ready for their first team.

In the Championship with the Owls, his inexperience sometimes showed: “He’s young, he will make mistakes,” Jones once said.

But he showed enough skill, pace, strength and goalscoring ability to justify his billing as a young player with outstanding potential.

Barkley was signed in September, 2012, on a youth loan, initially for a month, with Jones saying: ““We have been chasing Ross for some time and I’m really pleased to have him on board.”

He made his a debut as a sub in a 3-0 defeat at Brighton. After that came 12 starts and four goals in a stay that was extended but ended after two months because Everton recalled him.

Two months later, the Toffees - managed in those days by David Moyes - sent him on loan to Leeds for a month, but he made only four appearances for them as Moyes needed him back.

Barkley has had 26 Premier League starts and 18 outings from the bench, and scored six Premier goals.

Owls fans will remember him for his penalty at home to Bolton, in a 2-1 defeat; for his double in a 3-0 win at Ipswich, and goal in a 2-1 home victory against Peterborough.