Ross Barkley probably entered the summer with his chest held high, having refused a new deal at Everton and seeing himself linked with the likes of Tottenham and Arsenal.
Fast forward a few months and the situation couldn’t be more different; interest in his services are waning due to Everton’s transfer demands and the Toffees have been incredibly active in the transfer market, with the addition of Davy Klaassen in particular handing the England international a battle to secure a first-team spot.
Barkley’s attempt to rise back to the top will now see his quest start even lower though, as the BBC has confirmed the 23-year-old is set to miss the start of the new Premier League season following surgery on a groin injury.
Midfielder Barkley, born and bred on Merseyside, is poised to miss around four weeks- meaning he won’t be able to train in pre-season, as his team-mates travel to Tanzania and Holland, and he’s also set to miss the Toffees’ Europa League play-off and their opening Premier League clash with Stoke City.
Barkley’s biggest problem though is the fact he’ll be playing catch up with his fitness due to his unavailability for pre-season and an incredibly difficult start for Ronald Koeman’s side, which seems them face back-to-back fixtures against Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United, means the Dutch boss is unlikely to risk handing the midfielder a chance.
In retrospect for Barkley, it’s probably the biggest evidence that the grass is always greener elsewhere and his approach to discussions on a new deal with Everton may have had bigger consequences than he initially believed- as he now faces a fight to get back into the side.
With the World Cup in Russia now a year away, Barkley will also face a fight to get a spot in Gareth Southgate’s spot- so it’s probably time for him to rebuild the bridges at Goodison Park and knuckle down for the forthcoming season.