Martinez heaps praise on Barkley

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Everton manager Roberto Martinez believes comparisons with the likes of Paul Gascoigne are inevitable following Ross Barkley's performance in the recent 1-1 draw with Arsenal.

Barkley showed why he is touted as a future star with a dominant display at the Emirates, and Martinez feels the player has a "gift."

He said: "It's always good when you see people who love the game giving their opinion on how they see Ross Barkley.

"It is an interesting topic. I've seen Ross at times and I've seen a bits of Gazza and bits of Michael Ballack.

"That's for us to make those comparisons because I can guarantee you Ross Barkley is quite unique."

He added: "Technically he is someone you could compare to a young Brazilian, young Dutch or even Spanish players. He has that gift and talent."

Barkley is battling with the likes of Tom Cleverley and Adam Lallana for a seat on the plane to Brazil for the World Cup next year, and if he continues to perform as he did against Arsenal, few would bet against him making Roy Hodgson's squad.

However, his club boss believes there are still improvements he can make and he said: "I've had the privilege to work with many youngsters who have been very successful and Ross is quite unique in that department.

"He has incredible potential. He is not ready yet and we need to accept it is going to take time but he has absolutely everything to mark a real era in our football."

Martinez also stressed the need to protect England's top youngsters, adding: "The manager of England needs to decide what role he has for Ross and as a country we need to be a little bit more protective of our youngsters.

"If we look after him properly he could give us something unique into the English game."

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