Leighton Baines backs Ross Barkley to return to form

Leighton Baines celebrates with Ross Barkley after scoring a penalty
Image: Leighton Baines: The full-back missed the Italy game due to injury

Leighton Baines has backed Ross Barkley to return to form after the youngster’s impressive cameo for England in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Italy.

The Everton defender said his team-mate needs to be given time to develop.

Barkley has admitted his form has dipped this season but was praised for his display after coming on in the second half against the Italians in Turin.

And Baines, who missed the friendly due to injury, said people should not be quick to criticise the 21-year-old.

Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ he said: “Unfortunately if you’re a good young talent in England the media will put you under a lot pressure, that’s happened to Ross.

“He’s going to have ups and downs. He’s still in development years to an extent and we just need to get him through that and not put him under too much pressure.”

Meanwhile, Baines is encouraged by England’s performances which have seen them remain unbeaten since last summer’s disappointing World Cup campaign.

He added: “It’s just the lads getting on with the job and trying to improve. The staff have been working really hard to get the messages and instructions across and for the players to take responsibility.

“I think you’ve seen some of that come across in the performances.”

Around Sky