‘Barkley is one of the best I have seen’

Arsène Wenger

Arsene Wenger has hailed Everton midfielder Ross Barkley as one of the best young players he has seen.

The 20-year-old has had an outstanding breakthrough season for Roberto Martinez’s side and could be included in England’s World Cup squad.

While Wenger is a confirmed admirer of Barkley, he does not believe he is certain of place at this summer’s tournament in Brazil.

“He’s made a big step forward; from a young hope he has suddenly convinced everybody he has huge potential and talent,” the Arsenal manager said.

"From a young hope he has suddenly convinced everybody he has huge potential and talent"

Arsene Wenger

“He can have a huge impact in big games, with a combination of technical qualities and power, which are very difficult to combine in midfield and what is demanded from a modern midfielder. For me, he has had a big impact this season. He’s one of the best I have been.

“It’s good that he’s not guaranteed a World Cup place, because at the World Cup experience of big games is important in terms of the number of games you have behind you.

“You can’t travel to a World Cup with too many players of that [youth]. When you go into a game you need to know that you get at least a certain quality, and a certain quality is guaranteed by the experience of the player of big games.

“You can take one or two and take a gamble. You cannot take five or six like that.”

Everton made good use of the loan system this season in signing Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry, but Wenger feels it needs to be looked at again.

“I believe if you want to continue the loan system, we have to make the [players] available against the teams that loan them out, or the system is not defendable,” he said.

“It’s just a protection of the clubs who loan the players out to hurt their opponents and they have no risk at all.

“For a while, you could decide when you loan the player out whether he plays against you or not, and I always decided that he could play against us. But I must say I didn’t get any protection from the media because when the player I loaned out scored against us, it’s ‘aaahhh, look at him, stupid...’

“I think the best [situation] would be that the players are only loaned to lower divisions or abroad, and even abroad I’m not completely convinced it is right.”

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