Roberto Martinez believes Ross Barkley has moved onto another level after starring in Everton’s 2-1 victory at Reading in the League Cup.
Barkley dominated the second half of the third-round win, volleying the Toffees’ equaliser, before Gerard Deulofeu secured the victory with a free-kick.
After a disappointing campaign last season, the 21-year-old midfielder has returned to form this year with four goals in all competitions.
“I think he has gone to a different level,” Martinez said. “It is fair to say that this season, for someone so young to already to have 100 games for our football club is an immense landmark. I think he is a completely different player from what we saw last season or a couple of seasons back.
“Maturity, always controlling the big moments, he had to be the one scoring the equalising goal, the important goal and I think his overall performance was of a player with a lot more age than he has.
“[I’m] extremely pleased. [It is a] remarkable landmark for someone so young. We are all excited to see him progressing and developing into a very, very special player.”
Barkley’s England team-mate John Stones was taken off minutes into the second half after suffering a knee injury, but Martinez played down any fears the defender may be set for a spell on the sidelines.
“It was more precaution than anything,” the Spaniard said.
“He had a little bit of a knock on his right knee and we couldn’t take any risks. He is going to be assessed over the next 48 hours but I don’t expect it to be anything too serious.”