REUTERS – Ross Barkley is not guaranteed a place in England’s starting line-up for next month’s friendlies, manager Roy Hodgson said of the Everton midfielder who impressed in their European Championship qualifier wins against Estonia and Lithuania.
Barkley scored his second goal in his 17th appearance for his country against Lithuania on Monday as England became the only team in this qualifying campaign to win all their games.
The 21-year-old had scored only twice in 40 appearances for his club and country last season, but has been in fine form this campaign scoring five times in 14 appearances so far.
Hodgson said the midfielder should earn the right to be one of the first names on England’s team-sheet.
“No, I don’t think so, he will play if I feel he is deserving of a place in what I consider to be our best team,” Hodgson told the British media.
“Ross will have to continue doing well for Everton and continue to show that this is a player that deserves to be one of the first names on the England team-sheet, like he has shown he is one of the first names on Everton team-sheet. So it’s entirely up to him.
“He has certainly not done his cause any harm. All you can do when you are given a chance to play for England is to go out against whoever that opponent may be and do it very well. And if you do that, you get yourself in the forefront of the manager’s mind,” the former Liverpool manager added.
Defender Phil Jagielka, who wore the armband for England against Lithuania, has urged Hodgson to pick his strongest side for their upcoming friendlies against Spain, France and Germany.
“If we don’t pick strong teams then the friendlies are pointless,” Jagielka said.
“If we pick strong teams then we probably put ourselves under a bit of pressure, but we need to see where we stand.
“Hopefully we play well in those games and it gives us a bit more confidence looking forward to boarding the plane to France.
“He (Hodgson) will probably play his strongest team, if not pretty close to it, in both games. That should give you a good idea of how he is looking at these friendlies and how we go about it,” the Everton captain added.
England play Spain in Alicante on Nov. 13 before hosting France at Wembley four days later.
(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)