Is Ross Barkley set to be in the middle of a club v country row?

Ross Barkley

Everton manager Roberto Martinez would prefer it if Ross Barkley was not called up for England Under-21 duty next summer.

England have a large pool of experienced club-level athletes who are legible for England Under-21 duty in the tournament next summer, including players like Liverpool attacker Raheem Sterling, emerging Arsenal star Calum Chambers and even Everton favourite Ross Barkley.

However, the latter may not end up in the finals squad next year as Everton manager Roberto Martinez believes he will need rest following his recuperation from injury and ten months of consistent top tier football at Goodison Park.

"If the tournament was now it would be a good opportunity for him to get some playing time," Martinez is quoted by the BBC to have said.

"But if it is at the end of a season where he has played consistently for ten months then he needs to have a break."

BBC pundit Gary Lineker believes if managers had the opposite mentality then it could only benefit the future health of English football at all international levels.

"All our star Under-21 players should go to the finals next summer if fit. Wonderful tournament experience," said Lineker, himself a former Evertonian. "Other countries insist on it."

He continued: "I get managers' me, me, me attitude, but wouldn't it be refreshing if, for once, they thought about the good of the national game?"

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