sport

Barkley targets silverware

Everton midfielder Ross Barkley says he wants his new four-year deal at Goodison Park to send out a positive message to fans that the club are serious about winning trophies.

The 20-year-old midfielder signed a new improved contract on Tuesday and the deal gives Barkley, who is a key player in manager Roberto Martinez's plans, and the club a degree of security as they build for the future.

Barkley says he remembers the pain he felt when Wayne Rooney left the club for Manchester United and admits it was a tough day for him and fellow Evertonians.

"It is sending out the message that we want to do well and win silverware," he said.

"I knew what it meant to me when Rooney left. He was one of the better players and I thought Everton could have pushed on at the time.

"When he left we were all down and I know how the fans felt so I wanted to sign (a new contract) and push on with Everton.

"We have to keep good players at the club and we've done that with Bainesy (Leighton Baines) signing a new contract, Seamus (Coleman) and a few others.

"It is stability and it shows we want to push on and don't want to stand still.

"I've played for Everton most of my life. I see it as my home. This is a big thing for me. This is the club that I love."

Barkley maintains he does not think about his long-term future but he does harbour an ambition to join the ranks of Everton greats and he can only do that with a lengthy spell at Goodison Park.

"I've got a long way to go to be an Everton legend," he added. "Hopefully one day I am but I am just hoping to do everything right on the pitch and see how things go.

"I've only had one full season in the Premier League so I've still got a lot to do."

The England youngster was deployed as an attacking midfielder by Everton manager Martinez to allow him freedom without too much responsibility but Barkley now wants to test himself in a slightly deeper role.

"I am thinking about developing all-round my game and hopefully playing a few games in central midfield and being a leader on the pitch," he added.

"I am a young lad at the early stages of my career and I am confident in my own ability but I know there are a lot of things to improve on."

Despite his young age Martinez hopes Barkley can now play an influential role for other aspiring teenagers hoping for a first-team break.

"Sometimes you don't realise what a big model he is for the youngsters that we have at the club," said the Toffees boss.

"I want Ross to be a big example on and off the pitch. The way the new deal has come along is a true reflection of things to come in the future.

"The youngsters at Finch Farm can understand they can be the new Ross Barkley."