With the injuries and suspensions beginning to mount, and with Everton looking for a mid-season spark, it is in my opinion time for David Moyes to turn to Ross Barkley.
For just over 15 months Ross Barkley has been held back by the manager, as David Moyes has looked to continue his footballing education away from the Goodison limelight. Substitute appearances have been sporadic during this time, despite at times other players, with far less ability and potential, continually getting the nod ahead of the Wavertree born youngster.
Barkley has bided his time and has appeared satisfied to spend time making up for his enforced year-long absence (a horrific broken leg) in the reserves and out on loan at Sheffield Wednesday. With Kevin Mirallas out for at least 2 more weeks and Marouane Fellaini set to serve a significant ban, Moyes options are limited in the forward positions. Moyes is determined to integrate Naismith into the team and I would be surprised to see the Scotland international left out, however I would hope that Barkley is next in line for a starting spot.
Playing in the floating role behind Jelavic, would remove some of the defence responsibilities from Barkley and would allow him to flourish. He fulfilled this role expertly for Wednesday earlier in the season and although it would force the Blues to be less direct at times, I certainly don’t see this as a negative.
Alternatives for Moyes are to look for a more solid solution in Hitzlsperger, play the often disappointing Gueye, the more naturally defensive Oviedo or go with two up top and bring in Greek under 21 international Vellios to play alongside Jelavic.
Christmas is all about the kids, let’s put out trust in Barkley to return the spark and panache that was evident in the Blues early season form.