MX23RW : Friday, February 26 10:27:59| >> :60:1655:1655:

Roberto Martinez: 'Ross Barkley a better prospect than Wayne Rooney was'

Everton boss Roberto Martinez believes that midfielder Ross Barkley has the potential to develop into a better player than former Toffees wonderkid Wayne Rooney.

Everton boss Roberto Martinez believes that midfielder Ross Barkley has the potential to develop into a better player than former Toffees wonderkid Wayne Rooney.

Rooney, now 28, scored his first goals for the Goodison Park club at the age of just 16, before moving to Manchester United for £30m and netting a hat-trick against Fenerbahce as an 18-year-old debutante.

Barkley's breakthrough has been less dramatic, but Martinez insists that the 20-year-old is the "best young England talent" that he has ever seen.

When then asked: "Better than Rooney?", the Spaniard responded: "For me, yes."

Barkley, who has been capped three times by England at senior international level, has made 34 first-team appearances for Everton this season, scoring six goals in the process.

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Ross Barkley of Everton celebrates scoring the pening goal with team mates during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Everton at St James' Park on March 25, 2014
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