Scholes compares Barkley to a young Gazza
Former England midfielder Paul Scholes has compared Everton youngster Ross Barkley to Paul Gascoigne and has backed him to become a star for club and country over the next decade.
Writing in his Independent newspaper column, Scholes has poured praise on the 21-year-old who has struggled to make his mark in a faltering Everton team this season.
“Barkley reminds me of a footballer I played alongside18 years ago," said Scholes. "That was Paul Gascoigne. I think there is a bit of (Wayne) Rooney in Barkley, too.
“I rate him highly. He has the kind of pace and physique that few footballers his age can boast and technically he is an accomplished player.
“He can go past an opponent on either side. He can score goals. This lad has a lot to offer, but that alone will not be enough. He is still young, not 22 until December, but as ever in football there is no time like the present.
“There are times in the career of every young English footballer when they simply need to take their chance to establish themselves. Having burst on to the scene last season, that moment is now for the bright young talent that is Ross Barkley.
“England need that touch of quality at the tip of the diamond behind the two strikers. Raheem Sterling has played there in the past and Wayne Rooney was asked to do it against Italy, but to my mind those two are strikers.
"It is that creative position, the No 10, that Barkley can make his own, but he has to force the issue.
“That difficult moment when you have to move from being a kid with potential to a consistent first-team regular who is one of the mainstays of the team is hard for young players. Many don’t get the opportunity in the first place, or if they do they get only a brief one. Rooney did that at a very young age, and Harry Kane has done the same at Tottenham."
Scholes also suggested Raheem Sterling should sign a new contract with Liverpool, as he not yet ready to join what he called "one of the biggest clubs" in world football.
“When it comes to his future, my view is that Raheem Sterling should stay at Liverpool,” added Scholes. “You have to be careful when you time a move to one of the biggest clubs.
"Occasionally, these young players do not realise what a good thing they are on to when they know that they will be playing every week.
“The people I speak to about Barkley cannot talk highly enough of his professionalism and dedication. He is, apparently, a boy who trains as hard as anyone and you rarely, if ever, read anything about him that is not to do with football.”