Everton boss Roberto Martinez has urged caution over midfielder Ross Barkley and says he should be given the summer off to rest rather than play for the England Under 21-side.
Barkley is eligible for Gareth Southgate’s Under-21s at the European Championships in the Czech Republic, but Martinez hopes he will not be selected – a potential club-versus-country row that Toffee skipper Phil Jagielka can appreciate from both sides.
“Ross didn’t get a massive break last year,” he told the Echo. “He came to Brazil [for the World Cup], didn’t get a tremendous amount of game time and sometimes it is difficult mentally to switch off.
“That is our manager’s opinion and I am sure that Gareth would like Ross in his squad if he could, so it is difficult.
“It is a conversation for those people to have, to decide what is best for the Under-21 set-up and Ross’ career. It is difficult for me to have a proper comment.”
Barkley is not the only young gun that Southgate wants to pick but whose manager would rather they stayed at home in the summer.
Liverpool are keen to protect Raheem Sterling from overuse and Tottenham have the same thoughts regarding Harry Kane, so Southgate could end up going into the competition without three stars who would undoubtedly give England a fighting chance of winning it.
Kane has been told he will have the ultimate say on whether he plays or not in the Czech Republic and Everton will hope that Barkley is afforded the same opportunity.