Ross Barkley admits Steven Gerrard has advised him to stay with Everton despite Merseyside rivalry

19-year-old made his debut for England earlier this month and hopes to push on with his club to earn a place in Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad

Everton midfielder Ross Barkley might be at the start of his England career but is setting his sights on securing a place in England's World Cup squad.

The 19-year-old made his debut from the bench against Moldova in the World Cup qualifier at Wembley two weeks ago and has explained how England manager Roy Hodgson has given him the incentive of a place in the squad if he continues his form.

"I have set my sights on the World Cup," Barkley said in his first interview with national newspapers.

"It's a goal for me. It will be hard, but through hard work hopefully I can get on the flight there.

"He (Hodgson) told me to keep working hard and keep doing what I have been doing since the start of the season and if there comes a time that, because I am young, I'm on the bench, don't let your head go down.

"He believes in me. He has high hopes for me. He sees me being able to go to Brazil if I keep progressing as I have done since the start of the season."

However, Barkley, who joined Everton aged 11, has been advised to stay at Goodison Park for the development of his career by the captain of the club's biggest rivals - Steven Gerrard.

Barkley was sent out on loan to Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds while David Moyes was in charge at Everton, but he is now back in the fold and has secured a regular starting spot under new Toffees manager Roberto Martinez.

Barkley said: "He (Gerrard) told me I'm from Liverpool, a local lad playing for the team I support, and there is nothing better.

"He's done that throughout his career. He said playing is the main thing, going to another team and not playing would be no good for my development.

"I was a bit star-struck when I first joined up but Steven was good to me when I was away. I sat next to him on the coach and he gave me loads of advice.

"He said the big hitters are going to be looking at me but the main thing for me is to stay with the club I'm at, the team I support and love, which is Everton."

PA

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