sport

Barkley gets Martinez backing

Roberto Martinez believes Ross Barkley is ready to fulfil his potential at the highest level and should be in the England squad.

Everton midfielder Barkley earned rave reviews for his performances earlier in the season but has been less influential in recent weeks since returning from a toe injury he sustained in January.

He was an unused substitute in England's recent friendly win over Denmark and he faces a fight to make Roy Hodgson's squad for the World Cup.

However, Martinez feels that the 20-year-old possesses such a special talent that his inexperience should not be a barrier to selection, insisting that Barkley would bring a different dimension to the Three Lions.

"I always feel that Ross brings something so different to the England camp because of the uniqueness of his talent," said Martinez.

"If you ask me about him being a young player and he has only been in the Premier League for a short time, that would never concern me.

"He can play the occasion and is ready to play at the highest level.

"Is he ready to give something back to the England squad? The answer is yes.

"My answer is that Ross is ready to fulfil his potential. He is quite unique in what he brings to the game."