Barkley 'deserves World Cup berth'
Published 25/03/2014 | 07:32
Everton manager Roberto Martinez admits Ross Barkley is far from the finished article but believes after the most demanding season of his career the midfielder is ready for World Cup duty with England.
The 20-year-old has won three caps for the national team in the current campaign having become a key figure in Martinez's set-up.
It seems likely he will be in the squad heading to Brazil this summer and after a dip in form following a broken toe in January the Toffees boss said the youngster could do a job for Roy Hodgson.
"Ross has had such a demanding season, the most demanding in his professional career, and now he has come back really strongly for the final third of the season," said the Spaniard.
"What is important for us is to see Ross developing into an incredible footballer and the national team will have the opportunity to use his abilities.
"When that is going to happen is down to the England manager.
"He is ready to help if he is needed in the England set-up but we have real trust in the England manager to make the decisions he needs to make depending on what he needs in the squad.
"It will be something which wouldn't faze him that's for sure.
"Ross is enjoying every day's work and is developing into a fine footballer, potentially one of the best English talents we've seen for a long time but he is not the finished article.
"If he is going to be involved in the England set-up as he has been recently that will be a terrific experience and probably from the psychological point of view he will learn more than any other aspect.
"But if you ask Ross the only thing he has in his head is try to perform as well as he can for Everton and see the level of performance he can reproduce from now until the end of the season."
One Everton player certain to be in Hodgson's squad, injury notwithstanding, is left-back Leighton Baines.
The defender is the epitome of high-level consistency and that is highlighted none more so than in his penalty-taking, where he extended his 100 per cent Premier League record to 12 at the weekend in the win over Swansea.
Martinez did not want to jinx the 29-year-old ahead of their trip to Newcastle but admits he has a special talent from the spot.
"The truth is he is such a cool character in those situations, not just penalties but dead-ball situations as well," said the Everton manager.
"He is a master at putting the ball where he envisages it and he is a real strength and a real threat.
"Over the history of the game and there are only a few players who gave you that feeling of confidence: Eric Cantona, Matt Le Tissier, in Spain Ronald Koeman.
"There are only a few who bring that composure, assurance and quality in those moments and it is quite unique the strength he has in controlling the moment.
"Obviously the technicality of kicking the ball from a penalty spot shouldn't be that difficult, it is just being able to control the moment and the psychology that goes with it and Leighton is as good as you will see."