Phil Jagielka is convinced Ross Barkley has the right temperament to contend with the extra attention that will fall in his direction now he has become a senior England international.
Barkley’s potential has been discussed on Merseyside for years but he has attracted national interest following his bright start to the Premier League season and subsequent call up to the England squad.
The 19-year-old made his international bow at Wembley on Friday, just days after new FA chief Greg Dyke outlined his ambitious plans to see England crowned World Champions by 2022.
Following these comments, emphasis has been placed upon the ‘next’ generation of talent by the media, with Barkley highlighted as a potential key player for England over the decade leading up to the tournament in Qatar.
With these international expectations placed upon his shoulders, along with those at club level, Jagielka is in no doubt Barkley will continue to flourish, referencing the setbacks that he has already overcome in his fledgling career as an indicator of his character.
“He takes it in his stride,” Jagielka said. “He’s really enjoyed being with the [England] squad and that’s what you love to see, especially with a young lad.
“He’s had so much expectation chucked on his shoulders and had to deal with a couple of bad injuries.
“So as well as the plus points, there has been a lot of negativity in his career but he seems to have come through that really well.
“He is playing well for Everton and that is the reason he got called up and on Friday when he came on he gave us a little lift.”
Jagielka also believes Barkley’s passion for the game will ensure he becomes a top Premier League talent.
The Blues skipper added: “He’s quite a quiet lad and doesn’t talk that much but on the pitch he just enjoys playing.
“But Ross just takes it in his stride and loves playing football. He gets on the training ground and does his thing.
“I don’t think he realises how good he is half the time. It is so natural and refreshing to watch.”