Everton boss comments on Ross Barkley playing for England Under-21s

Ross Barkley

Roberto Martinez has commented on the possibility of Ross Barkley playing for England’s Under-21s.

Barkley is one of a number of young stars who could play for England at this year’s European Under-21 Championship, and Martinez has told the Liverpool Echo that a decision will be made at the end of the season.

“I have never said that Ross wouldn’t benefit from going to that tournament,” the Toffees coach said. “I always said that it was something where you need to allow the season to finish and assess the need from England’s point of view and from where the player is.

“We are going to make it as simple as it should be which is allowing Ross to finish the season as strong as he can be, enjoying his football, and at the end of the campaign we will sit down with England and we will make the best decision for all parties.”

Along with Harry Kane, Luke Shaw and Raheem Sterling, Barkley is one of the high-profile England internationals who could still turn out at the Under-21 Championship in the summer.

However, their role in the senior team means that many may be unwilling to drop down an age level to appear with the Young Lions. They also all play key roles for their club teams, and it is possible that they will want a break in the summer to guarantee their players return next season fully refreshed.

Barkley is the prime example of a player who has suffered from appearing for the senior team, as he has failed to reach the heights of last season during this campaign. He has looked fatigued all too often, and the overexposure to competitive football could stunt his development.

Martinez is clearly keen to see the young attacking midfielder become the best he can be, and that may involve him missing the tournament. However, it is good to see that the Spanish boss will wait until the end of the season to assess the situation, rather than completely ruling him out now.

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