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Martinez hints at new Barkley deal

Everton boss, Roberto Martinez, is keen to tie wonderkid, Ross Barkley, down to a new long-term contract at Goodison Park as he attempts to build on what he regards is one of the strongest midfields in the Premier League.

Barkley has also broken into the England team and featured in the recent friendly defeats to Germany and Chile.

The talented youngster signed a four-and-a-half-year deal in December 2011 but is likely to be offered new improved terms, with former Swansea City and Wigan Athletic boss Martinez saying: “You can imagine we are always working behind the scenes to try to reward youngsters who do well at the club, and Ross is clearly that.

The 20-year-old has earned rave reviews in the live football commentary this season for a string of excellent displays and was outstanding in the recent 1-1 draw at Arsenal, a result that extended the Toffees’ brilliant start to the campaign – they have been beaten only once in their first 15 league games.

“There is nothing to announce but, even when you don’t speak about issues, we work hard to make sure that the youngsters get rewarded and Ross clearly deserves that.”

Football betting fans have also been thrilled with the displays of Gareth Barry, who is on a season-long loan from Manchester City, and James McCarthy, who Martinez brought with him from Wigan in the summer.

The Spaniard believes the duo have combined brilliantly so far this season in their roles just in front of the back four and behind the attacking trio.

“You need that blend of experience and youth and that partnership reflects it perfectly,” he said. “You’ve got the know-how of Gareth and the legs, freshness and bravery of James. Their partnership is as good as it gets in that blend. Those two are at the centre of everything.”