Everton manager Roberto Martinez believes Ross Barkley has the capacity to establish himself as a world-class footballer.
Barkley will make his 100th senior appearance for Everton if he is selected for Tuesday’s League Cup third-round tie at Reading.
A product of Everton’s youth system, the midfielder’s eagerly anticipated first-team debut was delayed when he suffered a serious leg break on England Under-19 duty in October 2010.
The 21-year-old has since gone on to international honours and turned in another impressive performance as Everton left Swansea City with a goalless draw on Saturday
“When you realise that landmark it’s quite impressive at his age – to play 100 games for Everton is a remarkable achievement,” Martinez told a pre-match press conference on Monday.
“Remember as a young player he had a serious injury.
“Over the last 20 games for Everton you have seen incredible development in Ross’ potential. His performances this season have been very impressive.
“He knows how to be world class in certain aspects of his game.
“The exciting thing is we have a young player who has a world-class future.”
Everton last reached round four of the League Cup in 2011 and Martinez is wary of the trip to face Championship Reading.
The Merseyside club came from 2-0 down in the previous round and required extra-time to see off Barnsley of League One 5-3.
“I don’t think we’ve been fortunate in this completion – we haven’t been blessed with easy ties,” Martinez added.
“Most of our games have been away and those games are never easy – you saw in the last round, where Barnsley were outstanding and we had to be at our very best
“We want to do well in this competition. We don’t want to lose what we had at Barnsley. It was a great reaction and a great celebration with our fans.”