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Stoke City (H) Fri 26 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Ross Can Handle The Hype

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Roberto Martinez is certain Ross Barkley can handle the hype his performances are generating.

With the youngster attracting all sorts of media interest, especially with a World Cup to come this summer, some have questioned how Barkley will cope under the spotlight.

But Martinez has had no such concerns, insisting his young midfielder has the mental strength to handle the expectation levels now placed on his shoulders.

He said: "He was born to be on a football pitch and it is so natural for him. He enjoys the game. I think it goes down to his personality. As I have said before, Ross is ready for all of that."

Despite his age, Barkley has experienced enough set-backs in his short career to be able to appreciate when things go well, something Martinez believes will prove crucial in helping him maintain his form.

“The injury when he was young, and being away on loan has made him mature a lot,” he added. “He doesn’t take anything for granted. Anything that comes his way, he is embracing it, enjoying it and mastering it.

“So in terms of that personality that you want in a footballer, Ross is a perfect example at our football club. Any experience that comes his way is going to help him develop. He is a good listener and he always wants to learn - so I have no concerns at all.

“The bigger the challenge for Ross, the bigger his response – and that is a real strength to have as a footballer.”

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