Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Everton not just banking on Barkley

Ross Barkley

Everton may have unearthed another young talent from their academy in Ross Barkley, but captain Phil Neville knows the teenager will need help from his more experienced team-mates.

The 17-year-old made his Barclays Premier League debut and was the Toffees' best player as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat at home to newcomers QPR. He put many of his more senior team-mates to shame with his endeavour and enthusiasm and Neville said the youngster should have got more help on his maiden appearance.

"Ross was outstanding without going too much overboard," said the 34-year-old defender. "People say bravery is going around kicking and fighting people, but it is taking the ball when you are 1-0 down and showing you can play football and he did that. I think everyone is quietly confident we have got something really special."

Neville added: "This club produce not only good footballers but really good down-to-earth lads and he wants to learn and if he keeps his feet on the ground he has a really good chance.

"Ross is lucky in that he is going to get his chance because that is what the manager does, he gives youth a chance.

"It is up to us to support him because sometimes young players come on and do take the fight for the team - I have been there myself - and it is something you enjoy.

"At the moment you just say let him play and be free and there will be dips but we have to make sure as experienced players we are there supporting him. But he can be well pleased with his debut."

QPR winger Tommy Smith scored the game's solitary goal, converting his side's only clear chance in the 31st minute. He took one touch to get Akos Buzsaky's pass out from under his feet with his second coolly dispatching the ball past Tim Howard and into the far corner of the net.

"I was just delighted to see it go in to be honest. We knew the first goal would be vital," said Smith, who felt it was important to get their first points of the season after losing 4-0 to Bolton on the opening day.

"I think confidence was knocked by the Bolton result so it was important to put that to bed. Once we scored we played like a very good side. It was a great team performance."