Everton midfielder Ross Barkley seemingly has the world at his feet right now. As speculation regarding his long term future continues to intensify, he's been compared with the likes of Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney.
That's some compliment for the 20-year-old, who has in fact suggested that his feet are firmly on the ground. He has, though, insisted that it's great to be compared with the duo, but has targeted further improvement over the coming years.
Rooney and Scholes
“I’ve always had my feet on the ground and I’ve never forgotten where I come from,” he said.
“It’s great be compared to Paul Scholes and the Wayne Rooney's of this world. But I’m just focused on being myself and playing my own game and hopefully getting better.”
The comparisons with Rooney aren't exactly surprising. After all, Barkley is starring at Goodison Park - the same place that the now Manchester United striker made his name in the world of football.
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But, it's the links with Paul Scholes that should make many stand up and take notice of the youngster. Barkley appears to be one of the most naturally gifted young players starring in England's elite division right now as he continues to impress anyone and everyone around him.
Scholes, of course, was recognised for his passing ability in the latter stages of his career, but he had a little bit of everything in his earlier Manchester United years. Scholes was a goalscorer as well as a creator. Barkley, without question, falls into that category.
Upon the player's return to the England setup, his international team-mate Gary Cahill could only praise the Everton youngster:
“For me, as a player, Ross has everything that you would want. He is strong, has a good right and left foot, he can pass, he is quick, he can shoot and pass. He ticks all the boxes to be a top player at the highest level."
Cahill is right - Barkley will play at the highest level, and that's why Manchester United must attempt to bring him to Old Trafford. After all, United still haven't been able to replace the legend that is Paul Scholes...they even had to bring him out of retirement a couple of years back.
Barkley's no Scholes just yet, but he has the ability to become a special player, and is a player who would flourish at the Theatre of Dreams. He has an aura about him; an aura that only the special players have.
He could develop into a natural leader in the red of United, and could finally solve the club's midfield crisis. Except for Michael Carrick, there hasn't been many players in the middle of the park at Old Trafford that have really proved themselves since the times of Roy Keane and Scholes.
Recent reports linking with Barkley to Manchester have in fact suggested that the club would have to pay a British record £60 million for his services. That, without question, is ridiculous, and it's extremely unlikely that anyone would pay such an astronomical fee.
Don't get me wrong, though, it will no doubt take something pretty special to prise Barkley away from Merseyside, but United, under the Van Gaal regime, clearly have the funds to test Everton's resolve. It's a deal that Van Gaal and Co. must look to get done over the next couple of transfer windows.