Barkley's contributions lauded by manager

Everton's Ross Barkley (left) and Stoke's Marc Muniesa vie for the ball. Everton vs Stoke City, Barclays Asia Trophy match, National Stadium, on July 15, 2015.
Everton's Ross Barkley (left) and Stoke's Marc Muniesa vie for the ball. Everton vs Stoke City, Barclays Asia Trophy match, National Stadium, on July 15, 2015. ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

Everton manager Roberto Martinez was still smarting from last night's 1-3 loss to Everton in the Barclays Asia Trophy final but he had some positives to take away.

One was the form of key midfielder Ross Barkley. The England international was a constant menace to Arsenal's backline, and his efforts were duly rewarded when he belted a screamer past goalkeeper Petr Cech in the 76th minute.

His strike was not just the Blues' only goal in the biennial pre-season tournament, but arguably the pick of the lot over two days of competition at the National Stadium.

While Barkley, 21, had just two goals in 29 Premier League appearances last season, Martinez waxed lyrical about him and hoped that he can build on yesterday's performance for the upcoming season.

COMBINING TALENT AND HARD WORK

When you are looking at (him) in terms of the British players, we've got something quite unique.

ROBERTO MARTINEZ, on Ross Barkley

"Well, we all know how special Ross is," said Martinez.

"When you are looking at (him) in terms of the British players, we've got something quite unique.

"He's someone who wants to learn, to get new footballing concepts in terms of his tactical position. In terms of ability, you are not going to get a better technical player. It's a big season (for him). Two years ago, he was terrific. Last season on the back of the World Cup, it was challenging and he never looked away from the challenge. We are a strong football club with Barkley in the dressing room."

Added Barkley: "I like to take shots from distance, but I'm working on other sides of my game.

"I'm trying to get the goals from inside the box and am working on that in training."

Charles Ong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 19, 2015, with the headline 'Barkley's contributions lauded by manager'. Print Edition | Subscribe