At St.James’ Park on Tuesday night, there was a new ‘Gazza’ on the pitch but unfortunately he wasn’t wearing black and white stripes.
In a dominant midfield performance, Everton’s Ross Barkley was head and shoulders above any of the home players and capped it off with a powerful run and finish with a starting point inside his own half.
The combination of skill, power and purpose brought comparisons with our very own Paul Gascoigne after the match, with Everton boss Roberto Martinez saying;
“To be fair he’s got such a variety of strengths and he can do things that only top players can do.
“I don’t think he’s got a like for like as a footballer though sometimes I look at him and he reminds me of Michael Ballack – at others it is Paul Gascoigne.
“He’s got a uniqueness about his play and technically he’s as gifted as you are going to see, right and left, you won’t see a difference.
“What shocks you though is his physicality that goes with it, on top of that is the character and nothing distracts him from his role.”
Following Martinez’ comments, United’s John Carver was asked about the Gazza comparison;
“I think that is a lot of pressure to put on the lad but I do think he is a class act.
“He has got a bright future and we have just got to be careful that we do not build him up too soon.
“He is a Ross Barkley, not a Paul Gascoigne, but as long as they manage him right and we as a country manager him, then I think he has got a bright future.”
Whether Barkley is the new Gazza or just the original Ross Barkley, his contribution outlined the embarrassing lack of imagination in the United team with Cabaye sold, Remy injured & soon to be off and Hatem Ben Arfa marginalised.