Roberto Martinez says this Everton youngster will step up to first team

The Toffees boss has given a glowing reference of teenager Kieran Dowell and insists he has a role to play in the senior squad sooner rather than later.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has revealed to the club's website that gifted academy talent Kieran Dowell may get have a role to play in the senior squad before the season is out.

The 18-year-old midfielder has already made one appearance for the Toffees first team, coming on as a substitute in an academic Europa League tie against Kuban Krasnodar in December 2014.

He has continued to shine for the club's Under-21s team, and scored with a 40-yard lob against Southampton in an academy game last week in front of the senior manager.

Martinez highlighted the skill set that the England Under-18s international boasts at such a young age and said that the teenager is bound to have a bright future at Goodison Park.

The Spaniard told the club's website: "The chip had to be perfect and - forget about his age - I don’t think there are many players in the game who could execute the action the way he did.

"You don’t get players like Kieran in the British game. He’s a player who appreciates space, enjoys playing in between lines and the technical ability he has is a natural gift. We need to allow him to develop but clearly he has got a role with the first team after that.

“He is a really humble person and strong mentally. It was a shame that he had an injury earlier in the season but he’s starting to get good rhythm and good match fitness, so I think we are going to see a lot more from him."

Martinez has allowed a number of talented youth prospects at the club the chance to step up to his first team during his two-and-a-half-year tenure on Merseyside.

Players such as England internationals Ross Barkley and John Stones, and ex-MK Dons youngster Brendan Galloway have become important members of the senior squad under the former Wigan Athletic boss.

Martinez has clearly earmarked Dowell as the next future star, and the youngster's progress will be worth monitoring over the next few months.

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