Everton manager David Moyes has backed England youth international Ross Barkley to make a name for himself in first team action next season.
Barkley who is recovering from breaking his leg earlier in the season hopes to start light training in the remaining weeks of the season as he continues his rehabilitation.
As the blues finish the season with a threadbare squad that has seen many young prospects blooded in recent weeks, Moyes has taken the unusual step of singling out Barkley while bemoaning the fact that injury robbed him of his chance of first team action this season.
´I think he would have played in the first team already this year if he hadn´t had his injury. If we had Europa League football too, he would have been a certainty but with the injury he has missed most of the season."
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"I wouldn´t say I´d count on him as a first team player. You can´t say that until they come through. He will be in the group of young players with the hope that one or two of them will pop their heads through and join in."
"It was a big injury, but he´s doing really well now. He had a pin removed from his leg recently which has caused him a bit of discomfort."
"But we´re hopeful he may start a little bit of work with a ball before the end of the season – that´s our plan."
"So by the time he´s had a rest in the summer, he may be ready to start pre-season with us."