Martinez won’t coddle Barkley

first_imgEverton manager Roberto Martinez sees no reason to protect rising star Ross Barkley despite the teenager’s heavy involvement already this season. The 19-year-old, who has been one of the key figures in the Toffees’ unbeaten start to the Premier League, has been named in Roy Hodgson’s England squad for World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland next week. Prior to that he will be expected to play a major role against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday having missed just three minutes of Premier League action so far this season. He also had a full England debut a month ago, playing half an hour against Moldova, and his only significant rest was the 90 minutes spent on the bench in last week’s Capital One Cup defeat at Fulham. “Ross is upset even when he can’t win in training never mind when he can’t be involved in games,” said the Spaniard, who has described the academy graduate as an “English diamond”. “He is a young man who has been waiting for this opportunity for a long time and is desperate to enjoy every single second. “When you are young you don’t feel tired. He has a terrific energy and it is just the start of what is going to be a very special season for him.” Previous manager David Moyes was cautious in his handling of the albeit younger teenager, probably mindful of the horrific triple leg break suffered on England Under-19 duty which interrupted his career in 2010. After playing six matches following his Toffees debut aged 17 on the opening day of the 2011-2012 season, Barkley featured just twice between December and May. After loan spells at Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds last season he was used primarily as a substitute on his return to Goodison Park. But after Martinez’s arrival in the summer the midfielder has now found himself in the thick of things and that has brought recognition from England’s senior set-up. Press Association Not that the Toffees’ boss is particularly looking forward to next week’s internationals. “It is going to be a situation where we lose 13 or 14 players for international duty,” he said. “We need to accept it and take the best from the situation but I don’t think any manager at club level welcomes the international break.” Martinez has been impressed with the way Barkley has quickly developed a partnership with on-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, which was evident during Monday’s 3-2 win at home to Newcastle. “That understanding and relationship with Ross Barkley was magic at times,” he told Press Association Sport. “You see good players always understand each other. I thought Ross and Romelu clicked in the second half of the West Ham game and have developed in training a bit of a natural understanding of each other’s game. “You are talking about 20-year-old players who excite you for the future. “Their potential is terrific and we have to keep working and developing them because they are an important part of our team now. “You can always work on certain aspects of the player but normally it is a natural relationship that is allowed to develop. “Good players always get to know each other well in the way they enjoy their football. “It is something which they can grow and improve in the future.” Lukaku is reportedly attracting interest from Serie A giants Juventus. The Belgium striker has scored three goals in one-and-a-half league appearances for the Toffees. “That’s the first time I’ve heard that (Juventus link),” said Martinez. “It doesn’t surprise me. What matters is that he is enjoying his football. “I thought his away debut (45 minutes and a goal against West Ham) was impressive, I think the home debut (90 minutes and two goals against Newcastle) was exciting to watch. “It is only the start and he is still only a young man and we are looking forward to seeing him go from strength to strength.” last_img read more