Ross Barkley has the potential to become a vital part of Gareth Southgate’s England team, according to Jamie Carragher.
The Chelsea midfielder scored for a third consecutive appearance at the weekend, grabbing the second in a 4-0 rout of Burnley on Sunday , and Carragher believes that the former Evertonian can bring that form to the international stage.
Comparing Barkley this season to his time at Goodison Park, the ex-Liverpool man spoke highly of his improvement.
And he believes that in terms of raw talent he is superior to Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard, who were the key midfielders in Southgate's side during their run to the World Cup semi-finals.
“The stats show a difference. The big one is dribbles. We all love to see players dribble but football is a passing game and maybe two or three times a game you have the chance to go on a dribble," he said on Sky Sports .
"It can't be five times a game, and I think that was where he was losing the ball at Everton. Now he is making better decisions.
"Also look at the distance covered, I think he's fitter, stronger and maybe that is something to do with what we are seeing now at Chelsea.
"He was really good for Everton but towards the end of his time there his decision-making wasn't great. He dribbled when he should have passed, he passed when he should have dribbled, and the crowd got on his back and he found it difficult at times. Maybe it was the pressure of being the main man at Everton to create something.”
He added: “This lad has got to become mentally stronger, but in terms of ability, you think of the players who played in that position in the World Cup - Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard - and maybe you could argue they are better mentally but they are not better ability wise.
"If he becomes better mentally - as you would expect playing for a big team and achieving big things - I think he could become a must for the England team.”
Barkley was left out of the England squad that travelled to Russia for the World Cup in the summer having made just four domestic appearances last campaign, but did feature against both Croatia and Spain in the Three Lions’ recent UEFA Nations’ League outings.