The recent form of Everton’s Ross Barkley has left many impressed, including England manager Roy Hogdson, who gave the 19-year-old his first England cap, but how does the attacking-midfielder measure up to Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho?
After enjoying a successful start in a Liverpool jersey since he joined the club in January 2013, Coutinho has been less productive this season. The Brazilian is yet to score or assist a goal in the opening four games for his club, whilst Barkley has a goal to his name from his five games. The midfielders have similar passing statistics – both have created six chances but what is interesting is the English midfielder’s 87% pass accuracy. Coutinho is lagging behind on just 78%.
Barkley’s power and turn of pace helps him beat players and he is well ahead of Coutinho in this respect. With 22 take-ons, 6 tackles won and 4 successful headed duels, Barkley has impressive battling statistics in the midfield, his physical stature helping him win on average 69% of duels with Coutinho managing just 57%.
Barkley has committed three times as many fouls, a stat that further illustrates his heavier involvement in duels compared to Coutinho. Despite both being natural number 10 players, the stats highlight an obvious different in styles between the two. Barkley offers more as a physical presence and likes to go past players, while Coutinho enjoys the free role, he won’t get involved as much in the dirty work, but this allows him more time to execute his instinctive passes and intelligent off the ball movement.
Although Barkley has scored one goal and Coutinho has not managed a goal this term, their shooting accuracy is very similar. Barkley managed a shot accuracy of 38% from eight attempts, while Coutinho had nine shots, managing a 33% shot accuracy. This indicates that both players enjoy an effort on goal and perhaps they both need to work on their shot accuracy. 33% and 38% isn’t the most inspiring record, especially for number 10′s who often have to chip in with a number of goals over the course of the season.
Coutinho showed his potential in the latter stages of last season, but he is yet to reach those heights this campaign and his injury has not helped his cause either. However, he is certainly capable of getting to that level again; his career so far has come in successful bursts. It is now important for him to deliver consistent quality performances at the highest level. Barkley has had a head start on him in that sense; he doesn’t have to go through any adaptation period.
Overall Barkley has had the much stronger start to the 2013/14 season, and with Coutinho set to miss the next six weeks for Liverpool he will have plenty of work to do to match the Everton midfielder upon return. What makes Barkley’s stats more impressive is the fact he is a 19-year-old who has suffered numerous injuries keeping him out for well over a year as a teenager. Having already won an England cap so early in the season and in his career, both England and Everton will hope his impressive start continues.