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Martinez rubbishes Barkley to Manchester City link

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has shrugged off reports linking City with a move for Ross Barkley.

Clive Brunskill

Roberto Martinez has panned reports linking Premier League champions Manchester City with a move for the Toffees' England midfielder Ross Barkley.

The internet has been awash with rumours that City are lining up a move for the 20 year old next summer, after reportedly having an enquiry rebuffed by the club last year. The number £50 million has been casually mentioned as well, though nothing backing that has been seen.

According to Spaniard Martinez that is not the case however, and he has insisted that there been no contact from City, or Liverpool and Chelsea for that matter, in connection with the player. The Toffees boss said: "It's a rumour and we'll leave it there. We take it as a footballing compliment and we'll move on."

Barkley is of course injured right now having suffered a knee ligament injury in training just before Everton's first game of the season and is expected to be ruled out until November.

However, his recovery is ahead of schedule although the club are reluctant to put a date on the player's possible return to action. Martinez said; "He's starting to run, which is something we didn't expect until next week. Now the next bit will be introducing the ball."

"I do expect that he's going to be a few weeks still but he's well ahead of what we expected and it's all positive."

With Barkley out, Steven Naismith has found a rich vein of form as playmaker for the Blues and has underlined his importance to the squad.