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Barkley and Stones are inspirations – Martinez

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has described young stars Ross Barkley and John Stones as “inspirations” and also praised the progress of Gerard Deulofeu and Romelu Lukaku.

The four players – who are all aged 22 or under – have enjoyed impressive starts to the season and the former Wigan Athletic boss has hailed their progress ahead of Monday’s home Premier League game against Crystal Palace.

Martinez told Sky Sports: “Barkley, Lukaku, Deulofeu, Stones – they are not just young players who have appeared on the scene and had a good game here or there, they have been very consistent for the last two seasons.

“Those are important players. They are effective and give you reliable performances in your team.

“John Stones has been a source of inspiration for other players of a young age. Barkley is the same.

“Lukaku played 31 games in the league last season and has played 97 per cent of all the minutes in the league this season.

“You are talking about young players who know their role and are ready to cope with anything which comes their way.”

Despite being impressed at their progress, Martinez is still reluctant to overhype his young quartet and pointed to the balance provided by the more senior players in his squad.

He continued: “Anyone can get carried away and we have done that over the last few years in the British game with young players – we see a young player in a good moment and we make them superstars. 

“In our case we have been very cautious and we have just made young players with important roles in our team.

“We don’t treat them by age, we treat them by what they do and they have always been at the front of our thoughts as it is a way you can reach a level that probably you cannot achieve with money.

“The balance in the dressing room is fantastic – we have experienced players who maybe don’t grab the headlines but who allow these young players to have important roles.”

Everton are unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions.

Sun 6 Dec, 2015
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