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Ross Barkley extends Everton contract

Ross Barkley has signed a four-year contract extension with Everton which will keep him at the club until 2018.

- O'Farrell: Barkley will continue to thrive

Barkley, 20, broke into the Everton team under Roberto Martinez last season, making 34 Premier League appearances and scoring six goals.

The midfielder's form saw him included in the England squad for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Barkley told Everton's official website that the chance to extend his stay at the club was a "dream" for him.

He said: "Signing a new contract is a dream. I've played for Everton most of my life. This is a big thing for me.

"It didn't take any persuading. As soon as I got told about it I wanted to sign."

Manager Roberto Martinez believes tying down the England midfielder's long-term future is a significant achievement.

"Ross has signed a new contract to reflect his new role and development,'' said the Everton boss. "When you talk about assembling squads and getting ready for the new seasons for us it is as big news as you can get.

"Ross is still a young man and there is a long way to go in his development but as it stands he is a massive part of our squad. It is a big moment as every Evertonian will tell you Ross Barkley is the sort of player everyone would love to pay to watch him play.

"He brings back memories of the big legends we've had at the club. But saying that he is a young man and his best years are yet to come.''

Chairman Bill Kenwright added: "Everton and Ross have always been the perfect fit -- Roberto has made it even more special.

"This was an important agreement and, I have to say, was conducted in a way that showed clearly the devotion to Everton Football Club of everyone involved."

That speculation continued in the moments right up to Everton confirming Barkley's contract, with someone cheekily amending the midfielder's Wikipedia page on Tuesday to suggest that he had joined Manchester United.

Born in Liverpool, Barkley joined Everton's youth setup as an 11-year-old. But his progress was held up when he broke his leg in three places as a 16-year-old after an accidental collision with teammate Andre Wisdom -- currently on loan at West Brom from Liverpool -- while playing in an England under-19 match in October 2010.

David Moyes, then Everton's manager, gave Barkley a senior debut in a 1-0 Premier League defeat at home to QPR in August 2011. However, Moyes then sent him out on loan to Championship sides Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United during the 2012-13 season in order to allow him to gain more experience.

Barkley was given an extended run in the side last season after Martinez came in as manager to replace Moyes, who had taken charge at Manchester United. When United were linked with a 50 million-pound move for Barkley in January, Martinez insisted that Everton had no need to sell.

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