Martinez: England must make room for Barkley

Date published: Thursday 15th October 2015 4:09

Ross Barkley: Good season for Everton and England so far

Ross Barkley: Good season for Everton and England so far

England boss Roy Hodgson needs to make room for Ross Barkley in his starting XI, according to Everton manager Roberto Martinez.

The 21-year-old playmaker was the stand-out performer during Euro 2016 qualifying wins against Estonia and Lithuania over the past week.

But Hodgson must make a big decision if he is to fit Barkley into his team either in midfield or the number 10 role ahead of next summer’s tournament in France.

Barkley’s performances for England were a continuation of his Everton form this season and Martinez feels the buzz around his displays does him something of a disservice.

The Toffees manager said: “I think his best position is on the pitch.

“When you’ve got that outstanding talent, you just need to fit it in a team. There’s no right answer, depending on what role you want him to do and what you want the team to do.

“What is clear is he’s a sensational prospect, as we all know. He’s still a very young man.

“I’m a bit surprised about the hype that has developed just because of the two performances with England. We’ve been seeing Ross hitting that level since the first day of the season.

“He’s someone that has been through so much and it’s not just a sign of a potential player any more, he’s a very strong footballer with incredible quality.”

It was a landmark international break for Everton, with Phil Jagielka becoming the first Toffees player to captain England.

With qualification already assured, Hodgson used the opportunity to rotate his squad, and it was 33-year-old defender Jagielka who led out the team against Lithuania.

Martinez said: “It’s one of those moments you keep saying that if you work hard and you set real standards, football will pay you back.

“And I think Phil Jagielka is the clear example that we have in house. Any youngster who wants to look up to somebody that’s a leader and a captain, that’s Phil Jagielka, and in my eyes he’s been the most consistent and the best English centre-half in the last 12 months.

“Then to have the opportunity to lead the England team. He’s the first Everton player to lead the team out for England and I think that’s a fitting reward. And the way he performed was magnificent.”

Everton return to Premier League action on Saturday with a home match against Manchester United.

It is their first outing since a 1-1 derby draw with Liverpool two weeks ago that spelled the end for Reds boss Brendan Rodgers.

Rodgers has been swiftly replaced by former Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp, and Martinez expects the popular German to be a big hit in the Premier League.

“It’s for everyone to see how impressive he was during his time in Germany,” said Martinez.

“Not just the way that his teams play, I think the way he brings that contagious approach of being brave and creating really difficult teams to play against.

“I think his quality as a coach and a manager was one of the biggest strengths of the Bundesliga and I’m sure he’s going to be a really good fit for the Premier League.”

Martinez could have John Stones, Seamus Coleman, Tom Cleverley and Steven Pienaar all back after injury for the United clash, while he expects full-back Leighton Baines to be in contention in a fortnight.

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