Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Martinez said that Barkley is not best used as a striker, but as a number 10, playing just off the front man.
The Spanish coach said: “His best position at the moment is probably that number 10 role, playing off the striker and having that little bit of freedom. He is a player that galvanises the game when he has space in front of him. You need to be able to have that kind of transition in his play.”
The view of the Toffees manager is different to that of the 21-year-old forward, who was quoted last week as saying he considers himself to be a striker.
“I’m a striker,” he told the Mirror. “I can have the greatest impact there. I’m free to roam around, take players on, have shots and create chances.”
Known for his playmaking abilities and his long-range shooting, it was a surprise to see Barkley believe his best position is as a striker. His close range finishing is far from the level required to be a top-level striker, and he has proved much more adept at creating chances than scoring them.
The youngster has also rarely played as an out-and-out forward for the Toffees, with the 21-year-old usually filling the number 10 role that Martinez believes favours him. The coach is obviously selecting him there as he believes he plays best there, and his ongoing development will benefit from playing in a position that his skill set is suited to.
Barkley may eventually move forward and become a striker in his later career, but right now his best role is as a creative playmaking number 10. He might not think so, but Martinez does, and the youngster should look to learn as much as he can from the cultured Spanish coach.