Roberto Martinez: Ross Barkley is back to his best and there's more to come
Published 26/09/2015 | 13:15
Midfielder Ross Barkley rediscovering his best form is welcome news for Everton, but manager Roberto Martinez believes he is a long way from fulfilling his potential.
All the evidence from the England international's eight appearances so far this season, in which he has already scored three times, point to a return to the scintillating form he showed 18 months ago.
Barkley scored just twice last season and Martinez believes a knee injury on the eve of that campaign left the 21-year-old playing catch-up and trying too hard to reproduce his magic.
But a summer of rest and proper preparation has rejuvenated the player, who has just racked up his 100th appearance for the club.
"Ross is in a very good moment of form," said Martinez.
"He has a real good mindset and it is incredible he has already reached that landmark - 100 games is an incredible figure.
"I see Ross as a very enthusiastic footballer who wants to get better and he hasn't fulfilled his potential yet.
"But he is focused on the next game and he is narrowing his aims and objectives into achievable goals so in that respect I have no worries about Ross.
"His mindset is perfect to carry on having big impacts in games and being important for the team, as he has been so far.
"He came back after a very good summer in which he was able to switch off from football and I think all the lessons we had as a team in Europe (last season) in particular Ross, as an individual, made him a better player.
"We all know the quality he has. When you add good decision-making on that package of physical presence and technical ability is when Ross is at his very best.
"Good decision-making depends on many things. It is how good the team is playing, how easy it is to play with players around him and that natural approach of being able to be yourself.
"All those aspects have come together and Ross is enjoying his football and when he is enjoying his football he can show the level he has."
Barkley was brilliant in Martinez's first season playing just behind the striker but he struggled the following year as he was deployed in a number of positions.
But having started to flourish again his manager is now looking for him to push on.
"The next step is being able to be consistent and I have been impressed how consistent he has been," added Martinez, who takes his side to West Brom on Monday evening.
"With young players you get real highs and then you drop your levels and need to find your form again.
"With Ross he has been very consistent from the first game.
"His overall personality has been very strong. It is not normal for a young man to have that responsibility and bravery in every action he has for the team.
"He needs to be allowed to get on with his performances and carry on growing."