Ross Barkley 'Could Have Been The Next Steven Gerrard' According To Former Everton Defender
Now 26, Barkley hasn't quite lived up to his sky-high potential after a slew of match-winning displays playing for Everton a few years back.
Barcelona legend Xavi was an immediate admirer and said Barkley had the skill-set required to play for the mighty Blaugrana, but things haven't quite gone to plan in the six years since then.
He's featured more prominently under Frank Lampard than he did under the likes of Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri after making a £15 million move to Chelsea, while he's yet to really get going on the international stage.
And Hughes, who featured three times for the Toffees, believes Barkley could have emulated fellow scouser Gerrard but has suffered from having his natural flair coached out of him.
He told Tribalfootball: "If Wayne Rooney was playing at that age now, I'm not saying it would get taken out of him, but I look at someone like Ross Barkley when he was at Everton, and he came in a bit of a street footballer, but I think managers and even fans they sort of take that out of them.
"I love when a young lad comes through, and he was the one who I thought could be the next Steven Gerrard for Everton.
"You could have built a team around him. I thought he could've been the best midfielder England had since Steven Gerrard.
"But because the way he played, he used to run with the ball and sometimes he'd get it taken off him. That's the hardest part of football - taking people on.
"Then the fans would get on his back because he'd given it away. He just started passing it."
Barkley has made 20 appearances for Chelsea this season but has recently been linked with a move to Newcastle alongside former Everton teammate John Stones.
It's believed Rafa Benitez is keen on signing the pair if he returns to St James' Park for a second spell.