Barkley told to take more risks

Everton's Ross Barkley (left) in action with Chelsea's John Terry.
Everton's Ross Barkley (left) in action with Chelsea's John Terry.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Roberto Martinez has urged Ross Barkley to take more risks in the final third of the pitch, and believes Everton would benefit from greater adventure in the young midfielder's game.

The 22-year-old's efforts to improve his decision-making and passing have paid dividends this season, as he is enjoying a consistent run in the No. 10 role, with six goals and seven assists in the English Premier League.

With an 87.5 per cent success rate in passing, his improvement is a convincing response to past criticism from England manager Roy Hodgson over careless distribution.

Martinez, however, wants Barkley to attempt riskier passes in the final third, saying that is where he will tolerate the England player losing possession.

Said the Everton manager: "Ross is outstanding in the final third at scoring and getting into good scoring positions, but he needs to be a bit more adventurous in his play."

Barkley will once again be key today as Everton host Swansea, who climbed out of the relegation zone after a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Watford on Monday.

The visitors are without a win on their travels since a 2-1 win at bottom club Aston Villa in October, but Martinez found something to admire in each of Swansea's past three away matches - 2-1 defeats by both Manchester clubs coming either side of a goal-less draw at Crystal Palace.

"They lost with the last kick of the game at Man City, were unlucky at Man United, and played well at Palace," he said.

"They're technically gifted, so they don't get many things wrong away from home."

Martinez believes newcomer Francesco Guidolin, the former Udinese boss, has the pedigree to turn the club's fortunes around.

"His experience is second to none," the Spaniard said. "Maybe he wasn't a name that was mentioned around, but that's the way Swansea have been successful over the years - they know what they want and whom they want to fit into a certain level of playing."

THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 24, 2016, with the headline 'Barkley told to take more risks'. Print Edition | Subscribe