When Leeds United snapped up Ross Barkley on loan for an initial one-month stint at the start of January they were acquiring a brilliant talent. The Everton teenager had just enjoyed an excellent spell on loan at fellow Yorkshire side Sheffield Wednesday and was hoping to help Leeds push for a promotion place.
His first game came against Barnsley where he performed well despite the poor team performance in that fixture and in his second game he provided an assist for Ross McCormack for the only goal of a 1-0 victory against Bristol City.
After that Leeds faced Cardiff in a tough game and Barkley struggled however it is also key to note that Warnock was using him out wide for that game; not his favoured position.
On the 8th of February everything seemed OK. Warnock stated about the potential to take Barkley in for the rest of the season in positive terms perhaps suggesting he had done enough to deserve a longer stint at the club:
"You just don't know with loan situations but we'll see what develops. He's still in my thoughts, very much so."
When the game with Wolves rolled around the next day however he had dropped Barkley from the starting line-up and brought him on for an amount of time only calculable in nano-seconds. Just a few days later and now Warnock has discarded him altogether:
"I'm going to talk to Ross himself and David Moyes, he wasn't in the starting line-up on Saturday so I'm going to have a chat with them. I'm sure we'll decide over the next 24 hours. He has done well, he is a good young lad and he is going to be a top player one day. We'll have to wait and see, not just on Ross but on our targets as well that we are trying to bring in. We are still trying to get a wide player. That's why I had the conversation with David when I knew that he wouldn't be starting against Wolves and we agreed to talk on Tuesday morning."
While many will disagree with the decision it is clear that the style of play Barkley prefers is not suited to the way in which Neil Warnock would like his team to play the game; and for some reason in between the 8th and 9th of February the former QPR and Sheffield United boss realised this.
For Barkley it is a bitter pill to swallow. He returns to Everton likely to remain on the fringes once again when it is clear both he and Moyes want to give him as much first-team football as possible.
The emergency loan window is currently open so Barkley may be able to secure a move back to the Championship before the 28th March with a manager who may utilise his talents in a more suitable way than Neil Warnock did at Leeds United; it would be a real shame if not because he truly is a special talent who just needs to be given the chance to shine.
Do you think Ross Barkley should go back out on loan?
image: © zachleat