He spent lengthy loan spells at Carlisle United and Derby County before being given his chance at Wolverhampton Wanderers in May 2004, scoring within minutes and never looking back.
Barkley would be wise to take note of Osman’s route to international recognition.
The teenager has long been touted as the next big thing at Everton, the latest in a conveyor belt of talent that has churned out Jack Rodwell, Tony Hibbert, Victor Anichebe and, of course, Wayne Rooney in recent times.
Barkley, like Osman, has seen his development hampered by injury. And his lack of youth football means the 19-year-old is further behind than where Rodwell, Hibbert, Anichebe and Rooney were at his age in their respective careers.
That’s why loan spells are vital to Barkley.
It would be easy for the youngster to become disheartened at the fact that, despite the recent injury crisis that decimated Everton’s central midfield options, there still wasn’t space for a starting role.
Moyes doesn’t believe he is quite ready for that. And he’s right. Having started Everton’s first three games of last season, Barkley has subsequently started only one match for the Goodison outfit, and that was almost 16 months ago.
A successful two-month loan spell at npower Championship strugglers Sheffield Wednesday will have no doubt bolstered the youngster’s confidence.
His month-long stay at Leeds United, battling for a play-off place, is a further step forward for Barkley, a sojourn which could conceivably be extended should the midfielder fare as well as he did at Hillsborough.
Barkley remains more potential than finished article. But his time at Everton will come if he keeps his head down and keeps working at it.
After all, he doesn’t have to go far to find someone who is the proof of that proverbial pudding.