Everton boss Roberto Martinez believes Ross Barkley has what it takes to be the greatest player to ever represent England.
Martinez made the claim just after Wayne Rooney earned his 100th cap for the Three Lions last evening in a 3-1 win over Slovenia at Wembley. Barkley was an unused substitute in that game, but his club manager believes it's only a matter of time before the talented youngster is on his way to greatness.
Speaking at a fan gala in Liverpool last evening, the Toffees boss said: "There is no doubt in my mind that he will be the best player England has ever had.
"Ross has everything. Normally a player has the pace and power to get around the pitch or they have the vision to pick a pass. Ross can do both of those things - not only that he is in love with the game.
"All he wants to do is play football and he will also be the biggest asset Everton have ever had. Players are big assets and I think you have to be able to cope with that."
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Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City have all been linked with a move for the 20-year-old in recent weeks. It has been reported that if any one of those clubs want to snatch Everton's brightest young star then they would have to cough up a British record £60 million.
"All he wants to do is play football and he will also be the biggest asset Everton have ever had. Players are big assets and I think you have to be able to cope with that." - Roberto Martinez
Martinez is aware that as Barkley's reputation grows he is likely to attract more interest, but will do everything he can to keep him at Goodison Park. "We have got a lot of interest in our players because that's a sign that we're playing well and we have attracted a lot of attention," the former Wigan boss said.
"The trick is, and the key to this situation, is that we don't have to sell. As a club, it's not at the end of a window that we have to sell a player to balance the books."
Should Barkley make the move to one of Manchester City or Chelsea then the fee will easily surpass the £25.4 million Manchester United paid out to take Wayne Rooney from Everton in 2004.
Of course Manchester United have a history of snapping up the best young British players having paid £30 million for Rio Ferdinand back in 2002, as well as £16 million for Phil Jones and £17 million for Wilfried Zaha.
However both Chelsea and Manchester City have the financial clout to match the Red Devils if a tussle for Barkley ensues.
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