Sheffield Wednesday: ‘We were lucky to have Barkley’

Ross Barkley celebrates his goal in a 2-1 win for Wednesday against Peterborough last season
Ross Barkley celebrates his goal in a 2-1 win for Wednesday against Peterborough last season

Dave Jones believes that Ross Barkley’s rise to the England squad shows what a coup it was for the Owls to land him on loan last season.

The young midfield player spent two months at Hillsborough from last September but was recalled by Everton and has since broken into their first team.

“I said when we signed him that he was going to be a top player, and it wouldn’t have taken a genius to work that out,” says Jones.

“He’s a young lad and he was going to make mistakes. On his performances this season, he probably deserved to be in the (England) squad. The next stage is for him to continue doing that. I’m sure his manager will be on at him to do that. He will get better as he matures as a player.”

The 19-year-old who made 13 appearances for Wednesday is in the England squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine.

Jones added: “Our fans saw he’s a quality player. I wish Ross all the best. He’s going to be an absolutely superb player.

“He lives and breathes football. He was always first here and last away, when he was with us. He wants to work and he wants to do well; he was always working on something.

“He’s a young player; He’s already had a bad injury and got over that.

“From talking to Mr. Kenwright (Everton chairman Bill) and David (Moyes), his manager at the time, I think that if he hadn’t broken his leg he’d be even closer to it than he is now. Everybody there knew they had a star on their hands.

“We were fortunate to get him for the short time that we had him.”

Wednesday could do with someone of Barkley’s calibre now as they bid to strengthen their midfield and forward line.

Seyi Olfinjana is still training with the club and could be earmarked as a signing once someone has departed.

Jones did not confirm that Jose Semedo has attracted interest from South African club Kaiser Chiefs but did not deny it either. He was similarly non-committal about Stoke keeper Jack Butland: “I don’t talk about players at other clubs.”

In reply to a question about Semedo, he said: “I get inquiries for a lot of players and I make a lot of inquiries.

It’s only right that I don’t talk about players that we’re trying to move on or bring in. If you’re trying to move a player out and all of a sudden he’s got to play on Saturday, his head has to be in the right place. Why do I want to alert somebody that I’m trying to sign somebody?