Naismith: Ross Keeping Us Young
Squad feeding off teenager's youthful exuberance, says Scot.
Steven Naismith has described how Everton's senior players are hungry to feed off the youthful exuberance of starlets Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku.
The fledgling duo have played significant roles so far this term and have accounted for exactly half of the Blues' 14 Premier League goals between them.
And Naismith, a 25-cap Scotland international, believes their infectious enthusiasm for the game is having a positive effect on the entire squad.
Asked if he gets a boost playing alongside someone like Barkley, the 27-year-old said: "You definitely do. He's an unknown quantity to a lot of teams, so when they come up against him they maybe think he's a young boy who can let games pass him by and stuff like that.
"But he doesn't, he grabs them with both hands and any time you watch him in the opponents' half, he's driving at players, trying to take players on and trying to create opportunities, which is a great skill for him to have and definitely feeds off into the rest of the squad.
"I'm getting to that stage where, as the years go by, you realise you're not as young as you were, and guys like Ross coming into the team - Rom's another one, John Stones is another one - they're young guys. I can remember when I was that age and it feels like yesterday. Unfortunately, it wasn't!"
Naismith revealed last week how Martinez has been aiding his own quest to rediscover the kind of form that saw him contribute towards six major honours, including three league titles, during his time north of the border with Rangers.
The forward believes the Spaniard has also been instrumental in getting the best out of 19-year-old Barkley, having given every player at Everton a greater licence to enjoy their football.
He explained: "That's one thing the manager tries to do and has brought to the Club - that everybody is really confident.
"You look at guys like Ross, who's a young boy coming in and could be daunted by playing first-team football week in and week out, but he's not.
"He wants to go and play and show what he has been, and in this short period at the start of the season he's probably maximised everything he could - he's in the England squad now, he's playing every week for Everton and he's the top talent around Everton at the moment."
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