Barkley not ready to carry England
Everton manager Roberto Martinez has warned England fans against expecting Ross Barkley to carry the nation to World Cup success this summer.
But Martinez believes that the midfielder is the most promising English talent he has ever seen, and has the potential to become world class.
"Will we expect to win the World Cup because of Ross Barkley? No," said Martinez. "But we will need to be clear because he is young and he has the potential to be one of the best midfielders in world football at the age of 25 or 26 or 27. Not now. If his role in the World Cup is to carry England, that's not Ross Barkley."
Barkley, a graduate of the Everton's youth set-up, has established himself as an Everton regular this season. The 20-year-old, who scored his seventh goal of the campaign during Saturday's 3-2 defeat at home to Manchester City, has also won his first three England caps, and is a strong contender to go to the World Cup finals in Brazil.
Martinez feels that Barkley offers a "unique" set of skills, but has warned against expecting too much from him. The manager told the Liverpool Echo: "England will have 23 players to choose from and Ross is quite unique. There's no other English player who can do what Ross Barkley can do.
"He's got that character and if he's needed he'll be 100 percent behind the team," said Martinez. "But if we say, 'Is Ross Barkley the man to win the World Cup for England?' the answer is 'No'.
"We need to be a bit more sensible and protect a young man who for me is the best English talent I have seen, and I've seen a few. I hope we can fulfil his potential and give him what he needs over the next few years."