Osman: Barkley not big-headed
Leon Osman claims there is no chance of Everton team-mate Ross Barkley allowing the hype surrounding his potential to go to his head.
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The 20-year-old hit the headlines again on Tuesday night with a stunning individual effort in a 3-0 victory over Newcastle United.
Barkley continues to be billed as the next big thing in English football, with comparisons being drawn with former playmaking enigma Paul Gascoigne.
Osman is among those backing the youngster to go far and is confident that he will remain grounded, with there no chance of those at Goodison Park allowing the England international to get ideas above his station.
He said in the Daily Star: "It's our job to keep his feet on the ground. He got a pat on the back and then it was a case of let's get on with it.
"The character of the lad is such that he doesn't really buy into the hype.
"He just keeps his head down and works hard. He's heading in the right direction.
"Of course, when you see him do things like that (against Newcastle), it is hard not to get carried away but we should let him keep developing and not put too much pressure on him."
The spotlight is set to remain firmly fixed on Barkley, though, with it expected that he will make Roy Hodgson's 23-man England squad for this summer's World Cup.
Pressed on how the midfielder might fare in Brazil, Osman added: "I'm absolutely convinced he will do very well because he's such a level-headed young man.
"In the last few weeks, he has shown what he is capable of producing and with his self-belief, who knows what could happen on the bigger stage?"