Roberto Martinez excited by Everton youngster Ross Barkley
The England U21 player scored on the opening weekend
Friday 23 August 2013
Everton boss Roberto Martinez believes there is plenty more to come from teenager Ross Barkley - but has not cemented a place in the team yet.
Barkley, 19, underlined his potential by capping an excellent performance with a stunning long-range strike in last week's season-opening 2-2 draw at Norwich in the Barclays Premier League.
The midfielder, who has represented England at various under-age levels, has been tipped for big things for some time but Everton have carefully nurtured his progress.
He first appeared in a matchday squad three years ago but suffered a triple leg break soon after and has been eased back, via loan spells at Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds.
Martinez said: "When you have all the attributes he has as a player - he's a powerful boy with exquisite technical ability - he gets you excited.
"I think more importantly, in a young player, you need that mentality and that desire to learn and to want to listen. Ross has that.
"He had a very good performance against Norwich but he's still fighting for his place and he wants to make sure that he takes advantage of that opportunity that he had on Saturday.
"He's another member of the squad and we need to give him that freedom to enjoy his football.
"But I've been very impressed since day one. He's only 19 but the way he works day to day he looks a lot older, maybe because of the experience of coming through that bad injury, he's gone out on loan and has had many good experiences already.
"He's a lot older in football terms than in the age that he shows."
Martinez is now preparing for his first competitive home game in charge as West Brom visit Goodison Park.
The Spaniard is relishing what will be a special occasion for him but his prime concern is his team's performance.
Martinez felt they gave a good account of themselves at Carrow Road, where they came from behind to lead before being denied by a Ricky van Wolfswinkel equaliser.
He said: "It will be special but remember football is about players. It's not about managers.
"Always the first home game is a great memory but the memory will be around the result, the performance and the relationship that I can see between the fans and the players.
"I'd rather focus their energy and their support towards the players rather than to myself because football is about the players.
"I was really pleased in many aspects of our performance at Norwich - Carrow Road is a difficult place to go and try to impose yourself.
"But you need to win football games and obviously that's where we felt a little bit disappointed. That's where the work is."
Martinez's preparations this week were disrupted by Manchester United's bid to sign midfielder Marouane Fellaini and left-back Leighton Baines.
Everton dismissed the £28million joint bid as "derisory and insulting" while Martinez branded it a "waste of time".
The Toffees are keen to keep the much-coveted pair and Martinez wants to focus on games.
He said: "If you ask me as a manager I want to keep every player that has been a good performer and an effective performer for the club. That's always the case.
"I think it's fair to say that the transfer window is a must. You need to have a window period where you can recruit and get your squad.
"But for managers and staff you need the stability to work and prepare for games so it doesn't help anyone to have the transfer window (still open) when you've got official games. A manager shouldn't be thinking about that.
"Clearly we are preparing for a game against West Brom at the weekend."
West Brom finished a creditable eighth last season but were beaten by Southampton in their opening game.
Martinez said: "They are a real threat and their result at the weekend makes them even more dangerous. I expect West Brom to have a very strong season again."
West Brom's summer signing Nicolas Anelka will miss the game after being granted compassionate leave following the death of his agent.
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