Ray Parlour urges Everton's Ross Barkley against high-profile switch

Former England international Ray Parlour believes Ross Barkley should ignore interest from the likes of Manchester City and focus on Everton.

Ross Barkley is making positive headlines again, with a spectacular strike against Queens Park Rangers seeing him draw widespread praise following a period in which he had faced criticism for going to ground too easily.

Such talk is now a thing of the past, with the Toffees starlet proving that he is a player blessed with match-altering ability.

He may not always scale those heights, and there will always be those looking to knock him down, but he is only 21 years of age and still learning his trade.

Everton believe they offer the best support network for Barkley at this stage of his career, with a home-grown talent having been carefully nurtured through their academy ranks.

There has been talk of big-money moves in the recent past, with Manchester City among those said to be keen, but Barkley need only look as far as former Goodison Park midfielder Jack Rodwell to discover that the grass is not always greener.

He moved to the Etihad Stadium after catching the eye on Merseyside, but struggled for form and fitness at City and is now rebuilding his reputation at Sunderland.

Barkley has expressed no interest in treading a similar path, and former England international Ray Parlour believes that is positive news for his current employers and national team coach Roy Hodgson.

He told Sky Sports News: “I’m sure that Ross Barkley will be a top talent for Everton.

“I’m pleased that he stayed at Everton because there was lots of talk of him moving to Man City at one stage. But he’s going to learn his trade there, he’s going to play lots of football, he’s going to be involved with a very good manager in (Roberto) Martinez, trying to make him a better player.

“Maybe in four or five years he will move on but, at the moment, he’s learning his trade at Everton.”

While Barkley is in no rush to take on a new challenge, Everton will need to prove over the coming years that they can match his ambition.

Regular outings in Europe will be required, while pushing towards the long-term goal of gracing the Champions League.

That is a stage Barkley deserves and one he will be expected to grace if he is to become the talismanic playmaker England supporters hope he will be.

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