A huge blow hit Roberto Martinez and Everton when midfielder Ross Barkley suffered a serious knee ligament injury two months ago.
While the youngster appears well on schedule to return in the near future, Martinez isn’t excited about the prospect of the 20-year-old playing for England’s U-21 squad in the 2015 Euro Championship this summer.
“Ross is coming back from an injury so he hasn’t played much football,” he said. “If the tournament was now it would be a good opportunity for Ross to get some playing time but if it is at the end of a season where he has played consistently for 10 months then he needs to have a break.”
That’s not the view England u-21 manager Gareth Southgate took, as he expressed the possibility of adding Barkley and Liverpool man Raheem Sterling to his roster. Southgate believes that manager’s respect the international process, even if the senior side isn’t involved.
“I certainly haven’t had a club pull out a player and thought ‘that’s a bit off’, he said, via the Daily Mail. “Managers and coaches at clubs have been really supportive – and I don’ t think that will change.”
Having Barkley on the U-21 side will certainly bolster their chances against competition like Germany, but the Everton boss makes a decent point against established players accepting a U-21 offers.
“What would be the under-21s’ objective – [is it] to get players into the senior side? If players are already in the senior side what would be the motivation for a player to go into the under-21s?”
In the end, though, it comes down to the footballer’s devotion to his country.