Martinez: Barkley is a terrific listener with incredible potential

    Roberto Martinez was delighted with the way two players at opposing ends of the international experience spectrum acquitted themselves during the recent World Cup qualifiers.

    Ross Barkley made his senior England bow in the 4-0 win over Moldova last week, while Phil Jagielka was a rock in the centre of defence during a gritty 0-0 draw in Ukraine on Tuesday.

    Martinez insisted he wasn’t surprised that teenage sensation Barkley again took the weight of expectation in his stride.

    He said: “You can imagine he is really satisfied and excited. The good thing about Ross is he never gets carried away and nothing fazes him. In the same way that he was excited to go away and join England, he is excited about the weekend and to keep growing and learning as a footballer.

    “He is a terrific listener, which you don’t get too often in the modern game with young players. We saw what he is capable of doing in the future for England, but he is a young man with incredible potential and we need to keep working at that potential to ensure he has a terrific career.”

    And in Jagielka, Martinez believes the Three Lions have a defender who is now both comfortable and commanding in the international arena.

    The centre-back has not had a goal scored against his side in his last four games – two for his country and two for Everton.

    Martinez continued: “His performances don’t surprise me. Phil has been at that level for a long time now. At Everton we have seen it for a few seasons; what is great is that for the last few games we have seen Phil enjoying his role for England.

    “He has been himself and he has a massive influence. You can’t take for granted the four clean sheets he has been involved in in the last four games he has played. At any level, that is a remarkable reward.

    “Phil now is at the stage of his career where he enjoys that role at club level and at senior international level. He plays with a real swagger and responsibility and I do feel he is at the peak of his career now.”

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