Round: Barkley won't be unsettled

20 September 2011 05:05

Everton assistant manager Steve Round is confident Ross Barkley will not be affected by speculation linking the youngster with a big-money move away from the club.

Reports have suggested that Chelsea are ready to pay £20million for the 17-year-old England Under-21 international when the transfer window opens in January, but Round does not think such talk will distract Barkley.

Asked if he was worried the midfielder might be unsettled by rumours of interest from Stamford Bridge, Round said: "No, not at all. Ross is very level-headed. It's just speculation, he knows that."

Barkley started Everton's opening three fixtures this term, including a Carling Cup second round victory over Sheffield United, and could be set to return to the first XI for Wednesday night's third round clash with West Brom at Goodison Park - along with a vastly more experienced colleague in club captain Phil Neville.

The 34-year-old was an unused substitute for the Toffees' 3-1 Barclays Premier League home win against Wigan on Saturday for the second successive match.

There is no doubt in Round's mind that the challenge of battling his way back into the side is one Neville is embracing.

"Phil is a consummate professional - not only a terrific player, but an outstanding person," Round said.

"I can't speak highly enough of him and he is arguably the best professional I have ever worked with.

"If he is not in the team, he rolls his sleeves up and says 'how can I get in the team?' He goes out there and works and his attitude is first-rate.

"When he is on the bench he is cheering on the team, in the dressing room he is terrific - he is captain of the club and you can see it every day. There are never any problems and he will fight to try to get back in the team, that is his nature."

Source: PA