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Barkley reminds me of Ballack, says Martinez

28 August 2013 11:43

Roberto Martinez has compared Ross Barkley to Michael Ballack after the Everton midfielder was called into the England squad.

Barkley, 19, was selected by England manager Roy Hodgson for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine in September after an impressive start to the new Premier League season.

Martinez has already shown faith in the teenager - who spent time on loan at Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United last term - so far this campaign, starting him in both of their opening games.

Barkley has been quick to repay Martinez's belief, scoring in the 2-2 draw against Norwich City earlier this month.

A broken leg at the age of 16 threatened to derail Barkley's career at Goodison Park, but Martinez - who left Wigan Athletic to take over from David Moyes in June - feels the midfielder has all the tools to become a huge success.

"I look at Ross and you tell me what weakness he has? He hasn't got one," Martinez said.

"Ross is as good with his left foot as he is with his right. He takes in information, which for a young lad is incredible.

"He can use both feet, he can switch the play, he has a range of passing and can receive the ball in any area, he has a great shot and has incredible energy.

"He reminds me of Michael Ballack. When Ballack was younger, nobody knew what his best position was, could he be a sitting midfielder, an attacking midfielder or play up front? Ross is that impressive."

Still despite his rapid rise to the national team, Martinez was quick to stress that Barkley still needs to improve his game.

"He's started our last three games," Martinez added.

"Against (Real) Betis (in a pre-season friendly) he gave the ball away twice in a dangerous area. Against Norwich once. And against West Brom, he didn't.

"It's incredible how he takes things in and can develop, but he's not the finished article."

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