Everton starlet Ross Barkley made a sparkling return in his first game of the season as the Toffees romped to a 3-0 victory over Aston Villa at Goodison Park.
The 20-year-old England midfielder returned to action after suffering knee ligament damage just before Everton’s opening game at Leicester City and inspired the home side to their most impressive Premier League win of the season.
Fellow England international Leighton Baines was also influential as he provided the cross for Phil Jagielka to head in from six yards out for central defender’s second goal in three games.
Barkley created Everton’s second as he showed his creativity with a neat pass into Romelu Lukaku, who shot powerfully towards goal and his attempt squirmed under Villa keeper Brad Guzan.
Youngster Barkley was substituted on 65 minutes, to be replaced by Steven Pienaar, and was given a standing ovation from the Goodison faithful as he left the field.
The Toffees sealed the victory when left-back Baines crossed for right-back Seamus Coleman to turn in from close range.
After the game, Roberto Martinez praised Barkley and the effect he had on his side. He said: “You watch and just wonder if he was born to play football.
“As humans you are not born to kick a ball but he looks more natural with a ball at his feet than without it. When you looked at some of his movement on the ball, especially early in the game, it just looks like he was born to play football.
“Everybody knows about his outstanding technical ability but then you look at his exceptional physical ability and he has got both.”