Sunday 23 October 2016

Martinez: Quality of kids bodes well

Everton's Ross Barkley. Photo Carl Recine/Reuters
Everton's Ross Barkley. Photo Carl Recine/Reuters

Everton boss Roberto Martinez feels his side’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham on Sunday was a game that boded well for England ahead of Euro 2016.

Toffees duo Ross Barkley and John Stones and Spurs’ Harry Kane each made notable contributions to an absorbing Premier League encounter at Goodison Park, while the latter’s team-mate Dele Alli was widely seen as the man of the match.

That youthful foursome - along with several others who were involved, including Tottenham’s 21-year-old Eric Dier - are aiming to be part of England’s squad for the Euros in France this summer. And Martinez said: “It was a joy to see so many English players on both sides with young ages but big roles in the game.

“You could see players that probably wouldn’t get opportunities in other teams in this league. It is the best league in world football, but sometimes you need to be a bit patient. What you are seeing now is such a variety of good young English players.

“You don’t get many opportunities of having generations with players like Ross Barkley, John Stones, Harry Kane and Dele Alli - a large pool of players with something to offer, but very, very different. The options are huge. It is important they play in games like this, that they develop and that they can then bring experience, because at the end of the day, the psychological aspect of a player in big tournaments is important.”

An England man with plenty of experience who was an unused substitute on Sunday is Toffees defender Phil Jagielka.

The 33-year-old Everton captain was back as part of a matchday squad for the first time since sustaining a knee injury in October.

He is close to a return to action, but Martinez stressed tomorrow’s League Cup semi-final first leg against Manchester City at home will not see Jagielka feature in the first XI.

“It was just important for us to have the figure of a captain and that feeling of comfort in the dressing room,” Martinez said.

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