Peter Reid says Ross Barkley has every chance of gatecrashing next summer’s World Cup – as long as he can maintain his impressive early-season form.
The 19-year-old was a surprise inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s England squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Moldova on Friday and Ukraine on Tuesday.
The Three Lions have work to do if they are to secure a place at next summer’s finals with four group games left to play.
But Reid believes that if England do progress and Barkley takes full advantage of any opportunity handed to him, he could find himself on a flight to Brazil in June.
“He [Barkley] has got all the attributes to be a top, top player and who knows if he keeps improving,” Reid told evertonfc.com.
“There is nothing wrong with sticking young players in England squads and World Cups if they can handle it. I think he has got the right character and ability to do that.
“One of the greatest players ever to play for Everton, Alan Ball, was 21 when he got into a World Cup squad. He ended up being a World Cup winner.
“It’s there for Ross but he has got to keep his head down. If he gets his club form right then who knows.
“There’s definitely a gap in there. Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard are top-class players but they are in the more experienced mould.
“There is nothing wrong with young players breaking through.”
Reid won 13 caps for his country and was part of the England side that reached the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
He is confident Barkley will have no problems adjusting to the demands and pressures of international football.
He continued: “To be fair, I was 29 when I got my first cap. I was an experienced player but I still went in there and tried to do my best. If you can control and pass a football and have got the desire, you can handle any level that you step up to.
“In international football you have got to be sharp because you are playing against top quality players. But because you have played well at club level, you have earned that opportunity.
“You have got to carry on doing the things that got you there.”