Martinez keen to keep Barry at Toffees

Roberto Martinez has told Gareth Barry he wants him to remain at Everton beyond the end of the season.

Gareth Barry of Everton

Barry's maturity and experience came in handy on Saturday as Everton came away from League One Stevenage with a comfortable 4-0 win in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Barry has only missed two Barclays Premier League matches for the Toffees since he signed on loan from Manchester City in September.

City's squad is awash with midfielders so they are highly unlikely to renew Barry's contract when it expires at the end of the season.

Martinez previously stated he would only decide whether to offer Barry a permanent contract at the end of the season, but he now appears to have made up his mind regarding the 32-year-old's future.

"Gareth knows that he can stay at Everton as long as he wants to," the Everton manager said.

"He is a unique footballer.

"When he came here, I wanted him to be very important for Everton, to enjoy his football.

"He is enjoying his football. He is an incredible leader. All I want is for him to keep doing this until the end of the season and then, in my eyes, he should be helping England in the World Cup."

Barry was one of the first players to rush to help Bryan Oviedo after he broke his left leg in two places at the Lamex Stadium following a clash with Stevenage midfielder Simon Heslop.

Oviedo looked set to play a key role in Everton's push for Champions League football, but instead he is likely to miss the rest of the season and the World Cup, much to the dismay of striker Steven Naismith, who scored twice for Everton on Saturday.

"We came to win and we went ahead but then that horrible thing happened to Bryan and he is the main concern for us," the Scot told Everton TV.

"This was probably the first time in his Everton career where he has had a run of games and he has shown his potential.

"Everyone has been able to see what he has got and everyone in the team will be looking out for him now."

Oviedo attempted to hook the ball away from under Heslop's feet as the Stevenage midfielder was about to shoot.

But when Heslop swung his right boot at the ball he made contact with Oviedo's outstretched leg instead and it was clear from the player's reaction that a break had occurred.

Lucas Akins said Heslop was "upset" at causing the injury to Oviedo, but the Stevenage striker believes his team-mate should not take any blame.

"There was nothing malicious in it. It was just a freak accident," Akins said.

"He pulled his leg back to shoot and Oviedo has come in to try to block it and he has just kicked his foot.

"It wasn't a nice thing to see. It is horrible when you look at the leg and you see it's just dangling off. It was absolutely horrendous, definitely the worst thing I have seen in my career.

"We all wish him a speedy recovery.

"Simon obviously was a bit upset by it, but he is not coping too bad and obviously the lads are supporting him."

Given that he was already without several players through injury, losing Oviedo is a big blow for Martinez - especially with Everton's next game being against Liverpool on Tuesday night.

Martinez said he hopes to have "one or two" players back from the treatment room, but the former Wigan manager confirmed defender Seamus Coleman will not recover from soft tissue damage he suffered against West Brom in time.

Still, Martinez hopes his team can secure morale boosting win against their Champions League rivals.

"A win in the Merseyside derby can give you the kick you need until the end of the season,"

he said.

"A win can get you a lot of points."



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