Everton boss Martinez avoids setting Barkley personal targets

Roberto Martinez Press Conference Smiling

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has played down the significance of any personal targets for Ross Barkley this coming season.

The 20-year-old midfielder signed a four-year contract extension at Goodison Park on Tuesday, after establishing himself as one of the brightest young talents in English football last term.

The move was seen as a reward for Barkley's fine form last term in a season that saw him score 11 goals in 38 appearances en route to winning a spot in Roy Hodgson's 23-man squad for England's ill-fated World Cup campaign.

However, the new deal also preserves his value to the Toffees amid recurring reports of Chelsea interest, and although the Merseysiders have no intention of offloading their latest academy prodigy, the contract was a smart move from a business point of view.

Looking ahead to the new season, Martinez has claimed that he has not set his player any personal milestones after stating his belief that they can sometimes only serve to stifle a player's performance.

He told the Liverpool Echo: “We will get many questions now about what he has to achieve but we want so much competition in the squad that all Ross has to concentrate on is trying to be in the team - It’s as simple as that.

"For a young player that is all you need. When you start thinking ‘I need to score more than seven goals this season’ or ‘I need to do this’ or ‘I need to do that’ then you can lose focus.

“When you lose focus on what you have to do to be in the first-team then everything becomes very complicated. For Ross, it will be the same as every other player in the squad: you need to earn the right to be in the first 11.

“Do that and he will carry on developing and progressing to the player we all know he is going to be. We see Ross as being important for us next season and developing into the player we all know he can be."

With Martinez once again likely to have to forage around for loan deals and the lower end of the transfer market, the Barkley news will come as a welcome boost for him.

The youngster made his debut under David Moyes in 2010, before loan spells at Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United. But it was under Martinez last season that Barkley truly flourished as Everton narrowly missed out on a Champions League place.

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