Date: 4th February 2014 at 11:00am
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Ross BarkleyWhilst there are still aspects of his game that he needs to develop, there’s no doubting Ross Barkley’s natural ability or his potential to develop into a world-class footballer.

Indeed, he’s one of the most exciting young talents currently playing his football in the Premier League. He’s certainly giving England fans plenty of hope for the future.

Jack Wilshere’s flame seems to wax and wane, Tom Cleverley disappoints on a regular basis and Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain’s career has been hit by injury. Ross Barkley, on the other hand, continues to go from strength-to-strength.

Just look at the way that the 20-year-old has improved this season. Having cast aside his injury issues, he’s been able to put a string of games together, demonstrating a depth of character and quality.

He’s remarkably strong on the ball, seeming to shrug off all challengers and carry the charge forward with speed. His quick feet mean he’s capable of beating his man and creating disarray in the final third.

In that sense, he’s your typical all action midfielder. Many British players can lay claim to this title, but few share Barkley’s technical ability or his willingness to take risks.

Having positioned him an important player for the Three Lions (in the future, at least), we also need to remember that most of his development will happen at club level, with Everton.

Indeed, if the Toffees are to improve as a club and start challenging for a place in the Champions League, they’ll need to keep Barkley and they’ll need to make sure he’s firing on all cylinders.

But this may not be an easy task. The 20-year-old attracted a fair amount of attention during the January transfer window and may fancy a move to a bigger club in the near future.

That’s why it’s important that Roberto Martinez ties him down with a long-term deal (he’s got two years left on his current contract). That way, if they are forced to sell, they’ll get a decent amount of cash from the sale.

Luckily, The Mirror suggest that Barkley’s ready to put pen to paper on a new deal. They claim that the new terms will see him pick up a significant pay-rise, whilst tying him down until 2018.

That sounds like a fair trade to me! If it’s true, it would represent a big step forward for Everton.

It would also give England fans reason to be cheerful, as they can now rest assured that Barkley will have regular football at a decent club for a while yet.

That sounds like a win-win to me.

What’s your take? Is this the best news Everton fans could have hoped for?

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