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Southampton (A) Sat 20 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Boss Keen To Reward Youngsters

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Roberto Martinez says there is work going on to ensure Everton's best young players are rewarded for their development.

A newspaper report on Thursday suggested Ross Barkley, 20, was in line for a new contract after an eye-catching start to the campaign under the Spaniard.

And Martinez explained that while it was his belief that young players who step up should be rewarded, there is nothing to report as yet.

At his weekly press conference, he revealed: "You can imagine we're always working behind the scenes to try to reward youngsters that do really well at the Club. Ross is clearly that.
 
"But there's nothing to announce. The moment that we do have something to announce, the fans will be the first ones to know. Even when you don't speak about issues, we work really hard behind the scenes to make sure the youngsters get rewarded and Ross deserves that.

"I think he's becoming a better player on a weekly basis. You've got a big strength when you are such a good listener and he's got all the attributes to be a terrific footballer. It's a pleasure to work with him."
 
The Everton boss was also asked whether the form of Sylvain Distin was likely to earn him a new contract. The Frenchman's current deal expires in the summer.

And Martinez replied: "It's one of those where football makes the decisions.

"Sylvain's been a terrific performer so far this season and we couldn't be happier with his role at the football club.

"As you can imagine, all these issues are vital for us and we're going to look after them straight after this Christmas period. All that matters now is getting everyone focused on being ready to help the team and Sylvain has been an example of doing that."

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