Bark won’t bite on big move talk

Midweek Sport - - NEWS -

ROSS BARKLEY will not be af­fected by spec­u­la­tion link­ing the young­ster with a big­money move away from Ever­ton.

Barkley, 17, put in an eye-catch­ing per­for­mance on his se­nior de­but in the Tof­fees’ first game of the sea­son against QPR and has con­tin­ued to im­press in a hand­ful of ap­pear­ances since.

Re­ports sug­gest that Chelsea are ready to pay £20mil­lion for the Eng­land Un­der-21 in­ter­na­tional when the trans­fer win­dow opens in Jan­uary.

But Ever­ton as­sis­tant man­ager Steve Round does not think such talk will dis­tract Barkley.

Asked if he was wor­ried the mid­fielder might be un­set­tled by ru­mours of in­ter­est from Stam­ford Bridge, Round said: “No, not at all.

“Ross is very lev­el­headed. It’s just spec­u­la­tion, he knows that.”

Club Neville cap­tain Phil is bat­tling to win his place back in the side af­ter be­ing on the bench for the last two matches.

But Round is con­vinced the 34-yearold will rise to the chal­lenge.

“Phil is a con­sum­mate pro­fes­sional – not only a ter­rific player, but an out­stand­ing per­son,” said Round.

“I can’t speak highly enough of him and he is ar­guably the best pro­fes­sional I have ever worked with.

“He goes out there and works and his at­ti­tude is first-rate.”

CAP­TION: Barkley

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