Alan Irvine says the whole of Finch Farm is over the moon with Ross Barkley’s ascension to a senior international.
The Everton midfielder made his full England bow in Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Moldova at Wembley, a moment which capped a fine individual start to the 2013/14 campaign.
It’s just the latest chapter in the 19-year-old’s emerging career, one which stems right back to signing on at Everton at a very young age.
And as the Blues’ Academy manager states, the Three Lions call-up can only spur Barkley on further in his continuing development.
“We’re absolutely delighted [for him],” Irvine exclusively told evertontv.
“The whole purpose of having an academy is to try and get players through to your first-team and clearly Ross has managed to do that.
“It’s still early days for him and nobody gets too carried away, but he’s had a fantastic start to the season and everybody is delighted for him.
“He has to maintain that start to the season and it’s not easy to do at that kind of level. He’s obviously in a great place at this particular moment.
“He’s got terrific ability and great potential. He’s still got a lot to learn but he’s a good lad, he’s well-grounded so I can’t see there being a problem in terms of the mental side of it.”
Barkley becomes the latest Academy graduate to pick up senior international honours and his name is sure to serve as extra motivation to aspiring Everton youngsters.
Having suffered a severe leg injury in 2010, the Liverpool-born scholar has come back stronger, starting all four of the Toffees’ games this term and netting his first competitive goal at Norwich on the opening day.
Irvine believes the teenager’s story is the ideal testimonial for Finch Farm for current and future prospects.
He added: “You’re always referring to the players who have made the journey right through.
“It’s a long journey for boys who come into the Academy and first sign for us as eight-year-olds. You’re continually wanting to give them examples of boys who have come in on that basis and made it all the way through.
“The biggest selling point for our Academy is opportunity – and Ross is the latest to prove that.”