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A large part of Everton's outstanding campaign was the emergence of midfielder Ross Barkley. The 20-year-old was outstanding over the course of the season and capped it off with a call-up to Roy Hodgson's England squad for the World Cup in Brazil this summer. However, his fine displays have attracted interest from some of England's biggest sides, and Toffees manager Roberto Martinez says the midfielder should stay on Merseyside to continue his development.
"This is a vital period for him to fulfil his potential and the environment where he will be is everything. The only place is Everton," said Martinez. "We want him for the long term but these 12 months are crucial. It would be wrong for him [to move]. As manager you develop a relationship with players and you're always honest with that.
"Ross is a phenomenal talent, probably the best English talent I have ever seen, but he is not the finished article yet and you need to be very careful. It's our duty to protect him and I know Everton is the perfect place for him for the next 12 months. Ross is delighted at Everton and feels very much that he is in the right place at the right time of his career," added the Spaniard.
Another player who showed outstanding development over the course of the last year is defender Seamus Coleman, and whilst many have attributed his success to the influence of Martinez, the Irish international has praised midfielder and international team mate James McCarthy for covering for him when Coleman bombs forward.
"Obviously you learn the more you play - you never stop learning," Coleman told the Liverpool Echo. "I feel comfortable in the right-back position now and thankfully I have got James in midfield who, when I do bomb on, covers brilliantly for me.
"Without him I probably wouldn't have been doing as many forward runs in games as I have done because I can trust him to cover for me. He has been brilliant doing that all season," he added.
Meanwhile, Martinez will be spending his summer attempting to strengthen his squad in order to cope with the added rigours of Europa League football. Bringing in another striker has to be a priority with Romelu Lukaku heading back to Chelsea after the expiration of his loan deal, and QPR hitman Charlie Austin has been linked with a move today. Should Harry Redknapp's side fail to win promotion to the Premier League in this weekend's playoff final, they may be forced into selling the 19-goal striker.