Barkley to ignore big hitters
Ross Barkley plans to heed the advice of Steven Gerrard, ignore any 'big hitters' that come calling and remain at Everton.
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The 19-year-old has quickly become one the hottest prospects in English football, having worked carefully on his game to become a Premier League regular and senior England international.
Barkley, a product of the Goodison Park academy system, has benefited from loan spells at Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United and a helping hand from Toffees bosses such as David Moyes and Roberto Martinez.
He has burst onto the top flight stage this season, earning him recognition from Roy Hodgson and a first cap for his country, but there is no chance of the hype going to his head.
Barkley is keen to follow the lead of Three Lions colleague and fellow Merseyside native Gerrard by sticking with his home-town club and ignoring the reported interest which looks set to build from afar.
He said in the Daily Mail on a discussion with Gerrard held during his recent involvement in a World Cup qualifying double-header: "He told me I'm from Liverpool, a local lad playing for the team I support, and there is nothing better.
"He's done that throughout his career. He said playing is the main thing, going to another team and not playing would be no good for my development.
"I was a bit star-struck when I first joined up but Steven was good to me when I was away. I sat next to him on the coach and he gave me loads of advice.
"He said the big hitters are going to be looking at me but the main thing for me is to stay with the club I'm at, the team I support and love, which is Everton."
Keeping his feet on the ground and impressing domestically is the priority for Barkley at present but, having made his England bow in a 4-0 victory over Moldova, he admits he has allowed himself to dream of gracing the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
He added: "I've set my sights on the World Cup.
"It's a goal for me to get myself in the World Cup squad. It'll be hard but through hard work hopefully I can get on the flight there."