Barkley defines Everton style, says Royle

The former Toffees manager beleives that the up-and-coming England midfielder will have a significant impact on the way in which Roberto Martinez's side play in future
By Nicholas McGee

Former Everton manager Joe Royle believes that the potential selection Ross Barkley will have a major impact on their approach in Saturday's Merseyside derby.

Barkley made a superb start to the season for Roberto Martinez's men, scoring in their opening-day draw with Norwich City and September's 3-2 win over Newcastle.

The 19-year-old has broken into the England setup as a result been touted as a possible candidate for Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad, but has been limited to substitute appearances in recent goalless draws with Tottenham and Crystal Palace.

14/1 Ross Barkley is 14/1 with Bet365 to score the first goal in Everton v Liverpool
Still, Royle, who managed Everton between 1994 and 1997, believes that Barkley's potential inclusion would be a sign of how the Toffees intend to deal with fierce rivals Liverpool at Goodison Park.

"You can tell how [Martinez is] thinking about the game when he announces the side," he told Perform.

"If he's playing Barkley, I think he'll be starting with a slightly more offensive attitude; if he's playing Pienaar and Osman, I'm sure it will be a slightly more steady approach to the game."

Royle does not doubt Barkley's potential but feels that the midfielder needs to "define his role" if he is to fulfil his promise.

"Barkley started the season on fire then took a little dip, as kids do, and only Martinez will know how he's feeling about bringing him back," he added. "He's got to define his role. Is he a midfielder or is he sort of a loose forward?

"If he's a loose forward, he's got to score goals; if he's a midfielder, he's got to combine and get forward as well. It depends on how well he does for Everton, it's as simple as that.

"He needs to recover his early-season sparkle but I don't think it's a lapse in form so much as a young kid finding his way in the game and he shows great promise."