- Premier League
Martinez: Barkley is one in a million
Everton manager Roberto Martinez has hailed Ross Barkley as "one in a million" and insists the midfielder is the best English talent he has ever seen.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Martinez suggested that, while the archetypal English talent is often tarnished with a "naughty boy" reputation, Barkley is quite the opposite.
Barkley has enjoyed a successful run in the Everton side since Martinez replaced David Moyes at Goodison Park last summer. The 20-year-old has established his status as a first-teamer and has also forced his way into the England fold - and Martinez hinted there is more to come.
"For some reason, the English talent is often the naughty boy. It's a short fuse, or he gets into some kind of trouble. Drinking, smoking," Martinez told the Daily Mail.
"Ross is the opposite. I think partly because he had a big injury at 17 [he broke his leg in three places]. All of a sudden something took it all away from him. He realised what he could lose. But home is good too. He's well-grounded. His mum is a great influence. He's one in a million.
"What impresses me is the mentality. You can talk about talent, about physicality. He has the physical elements of the British game. The intensity and the power. But Ross also has the touch of someone brought up in a different culture.
"You've got a cool character, such an emotionally stable character. And that is what sets him apart. Whether he is playing for England at Wembley, or the opening game of the season against Norwich, or a friendly behind closed doors, his approach will be the same.
"And it's the same after someone has kicked him or he has made a good pass. Only the top guys are like this"