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Arsenal (A) Sun 1 Mar 2015, 14:05, Barclays Premier League

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Gareth Barry says James McCarthy is already one of the best midfield partners he’s played alongside.

Seasoned performer Barry has enjoyed a lengthy career at the highest level, playing for Aston Villa and Manchester City as well as racking up over 50 England caps.

Those experiences have seen him play alongside some of the modern game’s most distinguished midfield performers.

But Barry told evertontv: “For me, from playing alongside him, (in terms of) influencing games, James is up there with the best already.

“Until you play with someone week in week out it’s hard to judge how good somebody is.

“I had obviously played against James before and knew he was a really good player, but to train and play alongside him for a whole season you realise that for someone so young he is so mature.”

And the good news is that Barry expects McCarthy - who is still only 23 - to get better and better as he gains more experience under the tutelage of Roberto Martinez.

Barry explained: “He is still young and has lots to learn, as he will find out along the way - I’m 33 and still learning the game. But in terms of maturing and affecting games, he’s up there with the best.

“He knows exactly what to do in every situation in a game. For me, the more he plays here and under this manager the better he will become too. It’s good for Everton that he is already at that level.”

The next chance to see Everton in action is the game against Crystal Palace on 16 April - click here to buy tickets. 

Season Tickets for 2014/15 are also on sale now, with the Early Bird window closing on 22 April. Click here to buy online.

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