Everton skipper praises young midfielder.
Everton captain Phil Jagielka has heaped praise on his team-mate for club and country, Ross Barkley, after the youngster made his England debut on Friday night.
The midfielder came on as a late substitute to earn his first senior cap in the Three Lions’ 4-0 win over Moldova at Wembley, having earned a somewhat surprise call-up to the squad from manager Roy Hodgson after an impressive start to the season with Everton in the Premier League.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, the Toffees skipper explained that Barkley will take his rapid recent rise in his stride, as he is a mature player who doesn’t get carried away.
In fact, Jagielka, who has 20 caps for the national side, says he thinks the 19-year-old doesn’t even know how good he is.
“He’s quite a quiet lad and doesn’t talk that much but on the pitch he just enjoys playing,” he said. “Ross just takes it in his stride and loves playing football. He gets on the training ground and does his thing.
“I don’t think he realises how good he is half the time. It is so natural and refreshing to watch.
“He’s really enjoyed being with the squad and that’s what you love to see, especially with a young lad.”
Barkley has been part of the Everton first-team since the 2011/12 season, though a series of injuries have hampered his progress, which saw him shipped out on loan to Championship sides Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday last season.
However, this year he seems to be earning his place in the team under new manager Roberto Martinez, who has been suitably impressed by his displays, even comparing him to former Bayern Munich and Germany star Michael Ballack.