LONDON: Highly regarded England midfielder Ross Barkley has signed a new four-year contract with Everton, the Premier League club announced yesterday.
“Ross Barkley has committed his long-term future to Everton by signing a new contract at Goodison Park,” Everton announced on their website.
“The 20-year-old midfielder has put pen to paper on a new four-year agreement, meaning he will remain with the club until at least the end of the 2017-18 season.”
Barkley, 20, exploded onto the scene in the Premier League last season and was nominated for the Professional Footballers’ Association Young Player of the Year award.
The skilful central midfielder was rewarded for his form with a place in Roy Hodgson’s England squad for the World Cup and appeared in all three of his side’s group-stage games in Brazil.
He came off the bench in the 2-1 defeats against Italy and Uruguay and started in the 0-0 draw with Costa Rica, leaving him with nine international caps to his name.
Barkley has been linked with clubs including Manchester United, but he said that he had had no second thoughts about tying himself to Goodison Park.
“Signing a new contract is a dream. I’ve played for Everton most of my life. This is a big thing for me,” he told the club website. “It didn’t take any persuading. As soon as I got told about it, I wanted to sign.”
Barkley made his debut against Queens Park Rangers during the 2011-12 season and has made 56 appearances for the club.
“Everton and Ross have always been the perfect fit — (manager) Roberto (Martinez) has made it even more special,” chairman Bill Kenwright told the Everton website.
“This was an important agreement and, I have to say, was conducted in a way that showed clearly the devotion to Everton Football Club of everyone involved.”
Barkley follows 25-year-old Irish right-back Seamus Coleman in signing a new contract during the close season.
Everton have also signed Bosnia-Hercegovina midfielder Muhamed Besic from Hungarian club Ferencvaros and turned Gareth Barry’s loan move from Manchester City into a permanent transfer.
Martinez’s side finished fifth in the Premier League last season, narrowly missing out on a place in the Champions League.
They open the 2014-15 campaign with an away game at promoted Leicester City on August 16. AFP