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VfL Wolfsburg (A) Thu 27 Nov 2014, 18:00, Europa League

Barkley Building His Game

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

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Alan Stubbs says he is working to help Ross Barkley improve the defensive side of his game as he continues to rebuild his fitness.

The midfielder made an impact for David Moyes' first-team in the fledgling stages of the current campaign but then missed three months due a knee problem.

Moyes admitted during a press interview in March he would be looking to get Barkley back involved before the season's end and earlier this month sent him to the Dallas Cup as part of an Everton Under-20s side in a bid to step up his match fitness.

The 18-year-old has also played a handful of reserve games in recent weeks and will feature again when the second string travel to Bolton on Tuesday.  

"I think we're all excited about Ross' ability but he needs to keep improving," former centre half Stubbs told evertonfc.com. "Both mentally and in terms of his game management - when to try things, what areas to try them in and so on.

"In the final third, as far as I'm concerned, he can do what he wants because that could be the difference in us winning games and I feel we must allow him to do that. In the middle third the risks are greater and he has to have a responsibility then for the team.

"We're working on those areas of his game, which will definitely help him.

"From an attacking point of view, we've got no problems whatsoever. We're just trying to work a little bit now on when he hasn't got the ball, which will be the difference between him being a top player and an okay player."

Barkley will start for Stubbs' side along with fellow reserve-team regulars Apostolos Vellios, Jose Baxter, Joao Silva and Shane Duffy.

The latter will be joined at the back by Davie Weir, Eric Dier and Tyias Browning, with Adam Davies retaining his place in goal following last week's 1-1 draw against Swansea.

Youngsters John Lundstram and Conor Grant complete the line-up having been handed a chance to impress alongside Barkley and Baxter in midfield.

Barkley wasn't involved when the reserves last faced Bolton at the end of February, though it was a stellar cast on show that day, with Leon Osman, Jack Rodwell, Magaye Gueye and James McFadden all in action.  

A goal apiece from Gueye and Osman gave the Blues a 2-0 half-time lead at Finch Farm but the visitors hit back to steal a point with two late goals either side of a red card for Silva.

Kick off at the County Ground is at 7pm. Look out for a match report on evertonfc.com on Tuesday evening.

Everton: Davies, Browning, Dier, Lundstram, Duffy, Weir, Grant, Barkley, Vellios, Silva, Baxter. Subs: Fitzgibbon, Orenuga, Hope, Long, Pennington


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