Arsenal forward Theo Walcott had plenty of praise for Everton’s Ross Barkley after England’s 2-0 defeat of Estonia on Friday night.

Walcott opened the scoring at Wembley but Barkley earned man of the match with his performance, which included the assist for Walcott’s goal.

By now we are all used to an angled run and sharp acceleration from Theo, who was smartly found by Barkley. The midfielder slotted the ball through an opponent’s legs and straight to Walcott, who added the finish.

“It was the perfect ball,” Walcott said in the mixed zone at Wembley after the game. “If he just held onto it a tad later I would’ve been offside, Ross spots things like that.”

Last season was a disappointing one for Barkley, but it was for everyone at Everton. The 21-year-old already has two goals and three assists in the Premier League this season, more than in the whole of the last campaign, and looks more confident as a result.

With 16 England caps to his name already, we’ll be seeing a lot more of him.

“He’s earned his opportunity and he took it with both hands tonight,” Walcott added. “The way he has the ball and he keeps hold of it, he spots a pass.

“Defensively as well, he gets into position and he’s a strong lad, a big lad. He’s very young, very hungry, everything seemed to click tonight.”

It’s only two weeks until Arsenal welcome Everton to the Emirates Stadium. Walcott will be hoping that, for Barkley, nothing clicks that night. Before then they could play together once more against Lithuania on Monday evening.

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