Pitchside Europe

Why Ross Barkley is the best young talent in the Premier League

With the Premier League season fast approaching the halfway stage, we thought we'd cast our eye over the young tyros tearing up the league and pick out the most impressive...

One of the best sides so far this season have been Everton, perhaps surprisingly. Roberto Martinez has developed a vibrant side and brought in some attacking talents such as Romelu Lukaku and Gerard Deulofeu. Martinez has the likes of Kevin Mirallas and Seamus Coleman playing excellently but it is Ross Barkley who is standing out.

The young talent has been superb this season, even drawing comparisons to Paul Gascoigne. He's the creative, attacking fulcrum at Everton and is thriving under Martinez's coaching. Barkley has a free role and is dominating matches around the country. Arguably his best performance was away at Arsenal when Everton controlled the pace of the game at the Emirates - and Barkley was a key component.

Barkley has unbounded confidence; he picks the ball up and drives forward at the opposition goal. Players like that are difficult to control and restrict, especially when they move with the pace and power that Barkley does.

The best thing, though, is his age: Barkley is only 20 and the highest-scoring player in the Premier League aged 21 and under in Squawka's Young Player Performance Score. He's amassed 361 points, which puts him well clear of second-placed Jonjo Shelvey, who has scored 318 points.

Barkley has shown his dribbling ability with the number of successful take ons he's completed. From an attempted 64, he has completed 40 which gives him a success of 63%. Again, he tops the young player charts in that department. West Ham's Ravel Morrison comes closest with 31 successful take ons.

This screenshot was taken from the Squawka Football App - Download it here

In terms of take-ons in the league as a whole, Barkley comes joint third behind Andros Townsend and Eden Hazard. Impressive.

This screenshot was taken from the Squawka Football App - Download it here

For a young player in his first full Premier League season, you wouldn't expect to see such numbers from Barkley. However, his performances so far warrant the hype surrounding him. If Barkley continues in this form he will be linked with big moves next summer and the bids submitted to Everton could tempt their hand.

Due to his stunning performances, Ross Barkley is Squawka's young player of the season so far. There's every chance he will become the young player of the year in May, too. He's a fantastic talent who will only get better.