• Premier League

Martinez: Barkley a cross between Gazza and Ballack

ESPN staff
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Barkley has been hailed by his Everton boss © PA Photos
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Everton manager Roberto Martinez has labelled Ross Barkley as a cross between Paul Gascoigne and Michael Ballack after the young midfielder's sizzling display against Arsenal.

The 20-year-old was the pick of the players as Everton earned a well-fought 1-1 draw at the Emirates.

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And the performance left Martinez gushing over his England starlet.

"I've never seen a young English player with his sort of mentality," he said.

"I can see some Ballack in him and some Gazza. It's fine for us to make comparisons but he is Ross Barkley. He has great balance, is good with both feet and is developing an incredible awareness.

"You can compare him against any of the best young Brazilians, Dutch or even Spanish.

"I have great admiration for Ross, he has incredible potential. We need to give him time and need to accept that it will take time but he has absolutely everything."

Speaking of Barkley's chances of making England's World Cup squad, Martinez added: "The manager of England has to decide what role there is for Ross, if any, but we need to make sure we give him 50 games to see his evolution.

"Any players with talent need to develop their understanding and the know-how to be effective. As a country we need to be more protective of our young players but if we look after him he can give the nation something unique.'

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