Midweek Sport - - SPORT -

EVER­TON manager Roberto Martinez has called for Ross Barkley to be left out of Eng­land’s as­sault on the U21 Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships in the sum­mer, claim­ing his mid­fielder needs a “proper break”.

De­spite play­ing for the se­niors at last sum­mer’s World Cup and now be­ing a per­ma­nent fix­ture in Roy Hodg­son’s squad, hav­ing been se­lected for the games against Lithua­nia and Italy, there is still talk about Barkley pos­si­bly re­join­ing the Un­der-21s for the June tour­na­ment in the Czech Repub­lic.

Martinez has reg­u­larly ex­pressed the opin­ion that Barkley has out­grown the ju­nior side, mainly be­cause he has al­ready played at a World Cup. “What was pleas­ing last Thurs­day night was to see the old Ross get­ting away from peo­ple, be­ing so threat­en­ing with his for­ward pass and get­ting his shot away with ei­ther foot.

“He hit the post with his left and with his right. I loved see­ing the signs of the old Ross ap­pear­ing.

“But we need to look af­ter him and make sure he has that sort of stan­dard for the rest of the sea­son – and gets a proper break in the sum­mer.

“If we do that, we’ll have a player com­pletely fresh and ready for next sea­son.”

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