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The 20-year-old had a breakthrough season for the Toffees and rightly deserves his call-up for Brazil where, although he probably will not start, his impact could be devastating

A late-season flourish following an impressive start to the campaign made England manager Roy Hodgson's decision for him: Ross Barkley would be joining his squad for the World Cup in Brazil.

The Everton youngster has impressed pundits and peers for his energetic displays and technical quality, breaking into the Three Lions setup just in time for the tournament. Goal takes a look at how he is shaping up ahead of this summer's finals.

SEASON 2013-14 ANALYSIS

On Merseyside Barkley has always been touted as a potential England international but chances under David Moyes were few and far between. Roberto Martinez changed that, though, giving the youngster a start in the first game of the season away at Norwich City. He duly repaid that faith with a stunning strike from outside of the box in a 2-2 draw and never looked back.

Technical prowess is a prominent theme in his game - rejecting popular opinion that England cannot produce skilled footballers - and Barkley has led the way in 2013-14, alongside the likes of international team-mates Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling.

Barkley returned seven goals over the campaign - six in the league - and, although he suffered spells out of the team, he finished superbly, stunning title-chasing Manchester City with one of the goals of the season past a helpless Joe Hart. Everton would not win that day but, with Roy Hodgson overlooking proceedings, he did his chances of making the World Cup squad no harm.

Indeed, his displays all season - though sporadic in their quality - have lifted English hopes. There is a hint of a young Wayne Rooney in this 20-year-old. The desire, technique and skill and a drive both on and off the ball mark him out as one to watch in Brazil.

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Barkley has not had much by way of international experience. He has won three caps for his country and is yet to feature in 2014 - making the squad for the losses to Chile and Germany but not being granted any minutes.

Away from senior teams, he has left a footprint in the ladder of international football, representing England at Under-16s (called up at the age of 14), Under-17s, Under-19s, Under-20s and Under-21s level.

Barkley has seen success at these levels, captaining the Under-16s to 2009 Montaigu tournament victory before moving up to the Under-17s the following year and helping John Peacock's side win the Under-17s European Championship in 2010.

His progress saw him selected for the 2013 Under-20s World Cup, despite having already debuted for the Under-21s, though this experience under Peter Taylor was far from happy as the team flopped, finishing bottom of their group and crashing out early.

LIKELY ROLE IN THE SQUAD

Will he start? No. But that does not mean that Barkley cannot improve England this summer. In much the same way that Roberto Martinez has utilised his explosive talent, Hodgson can use Barkley as an impact sub. 

The Spaniard deployed him off the bench nine times this season recognising his ability to hurt teams and trouble tired legs in the final 30 minutes of a game.

The role of a substitute is far harder than sometimes perceived yet, if Barkley can remain focused and prepare for a high-energy contribution in the humid and hot conditions of Brazil, Hodgson may have one of the tournament's deadliest secret weapons on his hands.



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