Barkley deal on hold

Chris Brunskill

Everton boss Roberto Martinez says talks over a new contract for Ross Barkley will not take place until the end of the season.

Reports in January suggested that Barkley was set to be rewarded for his fine form so far this season that has seen him emerge as a first-team regular and break into the England squad.

Martinez has confirmed that he wants to reward the 20-year-old for his efforts, stating he deserves a contract that reflects his increased status among the squad.

However, he has played down rumours of an imminent deal, stating all talks will only take place at the end of the season.

The same was said about Barcelona loanee Gerard Deulofeu, who was also the subject of rumour and conjecture this week.

Barcelona are reportedly keen on Deulofeu to stay at Goodison next season in order to continue his development.

When asked about both players Martinez was predictably coy, saying:

Everything is still the same behind the scenes [with Barkley's contract]. As we mentioned it's always the case.

We'll always reward the players that deserve it and obviously Ross is one of those.

This is not the time [for talks about a new Deulofeu deal]. Now we are starting the most exciting moment of the season. We are going into the final third. I think the team has been developing really quickly and really well.

All the players, whichever the situation they have in their contracts, all they are looking at is to be at their best. To be ready to help the team and to make sure as a group we finish as strong as we can.

In the summer we'll look at every situation. That doesn't mean only the players that are in short-term contracts. All the players need to be reviewed, their position, and looking at their performances and where they are and making sure from season-to-season we get as strong as we can be."

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