Roberto Martinez has defended his management of Ross Barkley, explaining that although he intends to build a team around the “phenomenal” Ross Barkley, he also needs to protect him at times.

Martinez told talkSPORT: “Ross, for me, is the most talented English footballer we have had for many, many years, but, in the same manner, he is a young man and we need to protect him at times.

“He he is allowed to have good moments of form and other moments that are a little harder. In the derby it was a fascinating tactical battle, two teams that work really, really well in very different shapes, and Ross was always a player important for us to change things around.

“We had a couple of worries on the pitch. When Steven Naismith had a knock on his neck, Ross was going to come on, but we had to be cautious with our substitutions because we had Bryan Oviedo coming back without playing 90 minutes for a long time, James McCarthy the same, and Mo Besic was also carrying a knock.

“We always knew Ross could give us that quality, that special moment, and it nearly was the case when he put Seamus Coleman through for the best chance of the game. But Ross Barkley is a phenomenal talent and he is a player we want to build the team around. But, at the weekend, it was a different approach to the game.”

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