Baines excited by Barkley potential

Everton defender Leighton Baines believes Ross Barkley has shown he can cope with the big-game pressure and that is why he will become a key player in future.

Ross Barkley, Everton

The 19-year-old has started two of the last three matches, both away from home, and earned plaudits for his performances.

Loan spells at Championship clubs Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds have helped the academy graduate gain more pitch time this season but Baines has no doubts the youngster's future lies with the Toffees.

"He has an abundance of talent but the manager is trying to pick the moments when to play him," said the England left-back.

"Nothing fazes him. He is such a good player and does not get fazed by any occasion.

"That is why he has started a couple of big games away from home and that underlines that he is starting to get the trust.

"He has been around the first team for a long time. He has a hell of a lot of ability and is young. He will be a top player for the club."

A draw at Arsenal in midweek has not done irreparable damage to Everton's hopes of a top-four finish in the Barclays Premier League, although they dropped another point to four adrift of the pace after Chelsea's victory.

They head to Sunderland on Saturday for a match Baines knows they have to win if they are to stand any chance of remaining in the hunt by the time they head to fellow Champions League chasers Chelsea on the final day of the season.

"That is quite a few games away so it is hard to talk too much about it," he said.

"What we are taking about is keeping in touching distance. We need to keep winning and keep ourselves in the mix."

Baines is wary of the effect new manager Paolo Di Canio, and the derby win over Newcastle, has had on the Black Cats.

"It looks like he has given them a lift - they got a great result on the weekend," he added.

"It will be a tough game. They are not out of trouble. I have been down there myself you want to be safe with games to go, ease yourself of the pressure.

"They will match us for work-rate. We have to keep winning as well."

 



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