Has Martinez made an error in his handling of Ross Barkley?

Everton's Ross Barkley was thrown straight into the deep end by Roberto Martinez after he returned from injury.

Ross Barkley's rise to prominence last season was one of the key features of Everton's campaign, but his form this year has been a source of frustration.

The England international midfielder is a prodigious talent. Blessed with wonderful skill and power, his natural instincts to drive the side forward have earned him a number of plaudits, but an injury this season has rather stunted his progress.

Barkley missed much of pre-season with a knee injury and it seems to have negatively impacted his performance levels.

The attacking midfielder has looked off the pace so far this campaign. Barkley, at his best, was central to everything good Everton did, but he has been on the periphery of matches since coming back into the team. 

This, though, may not be his own fault. At 21, Barkley remains of tender years and yet he has been thrown straight back into first-team life by Roberto Martinez.

The Spanish boss has done a brilliant job nurturing Barkley into the star that he has become today, and has shown great faith in him, but he may have asked him to take on too much too soon this season. 

Barkley was barely back in training before being brought back into the starting line-up in the middle of October and he has not been taken out of the team since. 

Martinez insists that this was the best way to get the creative star back to full match-sharpness, but it may actually have an adverse effect. 

Barkley is starting to come under pressure from Everton fans because of the lack of impact he is making in matches and giving him a more rotational role, to ease him back to full speed, may have been the better option for Martinez to have taken in hindsight. 

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