Martinez: Ross Barkley coping with blossoming reputation

Saturday 10 Jan 2015
Ross Barkley has made 17 appearances so far this season

Ross Barkley's development is on track, according to Roberto Martinez.

The Everton boss says the England international is adapting well to what many young players often discover to be the 'difficult second season'.

“Last season he was a young player enjoying his football, this year he’s ‘Ross Barkley’," said Martinez.

“That means it’s harder to find space, harder to get into positions where you can effect the game and that’s something that when you overcome it, it becomes an advantage."

Ross Barkley celebrates his strike against QPR in December

Barkley, who turned 21 in December, has made 17 appearances so far this season. 

His only goal came in the club's 3-1 victory against Queens Park Rangers in December.

During his first full season for the Toffees he netted on seven occasions, but his manager insists his form so far this term has been just as good.

“I don’t see it as being as clear cut as him being less effective this season. He is evolving, he’s becoming stronger and his tactical awareness is growing all the time," added Martinez.

"Remember, when he is on the pitch, normally the opposition uses two players against him and someone else will be free elsewhere. 

"That’s something you need to use as a team.”

Ross Barkley lines up for England against Costa Rica

Ross Barkley at the 2014 FIFA World Cup

Barkley's form earned him a place in Roy Hodgson's England squad for the World Cup, where he appeared in all three games in Brazil.

And since being thrown into the limelight at a young age, Martinez assured fans that the youngster has the mental strength to cope with the pressures that a blossoming reputation brings.

“As a young player you keep developing and you keep growing," he added. 

"I think the thing I always admire with Ross is he will never shy away from getting on the ball.

"When you have that character, you will get to appoint where your talent will shine.

“Ross Barkley is a phenomenal talent but he’s still a young man”

Roberto Martinez 

“Ross Barkley is a phenomenal talent but he’s still a young man, still learning and he needs to get through certain periods where he can make decisions in a better way.

"But he’s a reliable character and someone who will always be positive in the squad.”

Next up for Barkley and Everton is a home Premier League game against champions Manchester City.

The next time he is likely to be in an England shirt will be on 27 March in the Three Lions' home Euro 2015 qualifier against Lithuania.

Tickets for England v Lithuania can be purchased here.

By Jamie Reid Senior Writer