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You can bank on Barkley fighting his way back.

Byline: GREG O'KEEFFE

NEWS of Ross Barkley's sickening double leg fracture will have cast a gloom over Everton's academy this week.

The highly-rated 16-year-old had done enough this season to reach the brink of David Moyes' first team, and everything augured well for him to follow Joe Royle, James Vaughan and Wayne Rooney in that illustrious line of teenagers to make their debut for the Blues before they were legally old enough to drive.

At 6ft 2in Barkley may not look remotely his age, but I am sure there were almost a few tears shed when he learned the extent of his predicament. The good news, if there can be any, is that he will have every ounce of support and encouragement possible from academy director Ray Hall and all the medical staff at Finch Farm.

In the short term, this horrendous setback will rob him of a chunk of his already impressive development.

In the long term, it could yet make him. Being forced to watch from the sidelines, swallow a large dose of perspective, and fight to come back stronger might give Barkley the mental strength necessary to reach the very top. There is no suggestion he would not have had that anyway, but learning the hard way could help.

Let's hope he heals just as quickly as he has rocketed onto the Goodison scene.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 16, 2010
Words:227
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