Everton manager Roberto Martinez described Ross Barkley as a “phenomenal person” after the attacking midfielder inspired his side to a 3-0 win over Newcastle United on Wednesday.
Barkley, making his 100th Premier League appearance, scored two late penalties and provided the Goodison Park crowd with arguably as good a performance as he has given in his career to date as Everton made light work of Steve McClaren’s Newcastle.
Martinez told BBC Sport: “100 games in the league at 22 is not easy to achieve and he is playing a big role in the team.
“Phenomenal footballer, phenomenal person. He took responsibility with both penalties and showed how he is an assured, technical footballer.”
Aaron Lennon opened the scoring for Everton, who ended a run of five games without a Premier League win, and Martinez praised his side’s maturity.
“It is fair to say we are learning from painful lessons,” he said. “We started the game well and were strong in all departments.
“There have been times where opponents score too easily when they come into a game but we were compact.
“The second goal was decisive. Scoring the second goal made it a different game and allowed us to control things.
“We showed a mature way of playing. Back-to-back clean sheets now and the team has the intent to please our fans and show what we can do.”
Martinez confirmed that Romelu Lukaku is a doubt for Everton’s match at Stoke on Saturday after picking up an injury in the first half of the game.
He said: “Rom found it painful to walk after a knee in the back. It’s not major but it’s difficult to tell if he can make Stoke.”