Roberto Martinez says Ross Barkley’s time with England’s youth sides has helped him mature on and off the pitch.
The Everton youngster scored his first goal for the Merseyside club during their 2-2 opening day draw with Norwich, and his new boss said he should be delighted with his contribution.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Martinez said: “I think he is a lot older in terms of football experiences and I think his time with England has really helped him in terms of opening his mind.
“The goal that he scored was a wonderful piece of skill and a wonderful piece of quality but I was really happy with his contribution, the responsibility he took and his performance.”
Barkley has represented England at U16, U17, U19, U20 and Under-21s level – and made his professional debut for Everton in 2010 aged just 16.
After receiving widespread praise during his ascension through the ranks of youth football – and impressing on his Everton bow - his progress was halted in October 2010 when he broke his leg in three places after a collision with Liverpool’s Andre Wisdom during an England U19s match.
Since his recovery from injury he has enjoyed loan spells at Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds – and his new boss says that all these experiences, combined with tournament football at international level, stands him in good stead for a successful campaign this term.
“It's not about him wanting to perform like that consistently - I think that's where he is now,” he added.
“His loan periods have helped as well and going through a serious injury at a young age too.
“So I would say he is a lot 'older' than his age reflects. All I am guided by is his work and what he has done in pre-season and, for me, he's a player in a very, very good moment of form but physically and mentally he's in a very good moment as well.”
Barkley’s Everton have two home fixtures in four days – with West Bromwich Albion visiting in the Premier League on Saturday 24 August and The Toffees then welcoming Stevenage Borough in the League Cup second round.
Everton boss Roberto Martinez says Ross Barkley is progressing well