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Martinez defends Everton young guns Barkley, Lukaku

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has urged critics to back off two of his star youngsters.

There has been some negative press surrounding midfielder Ross Barkley and striker Romelu Lukaku in the wake of the Toffees' disappointing 2-2 draw with bottom-placed Leicester City on the weekend.

The pair were pivotal in the 4-1 Europa League win over Young Boys of Bern last week and Martinez suggests it is fairly normal for players of the age of 21 to stutter in form and has backed his pair to continue delivering, albeit sporadically.

"I think there has been a lot of cheap talk from the outside - a lot of talk about Romelu Lukaku, about Ross Barkley and about our form," said the Spaniard ahead of the Round of 32 return leg against the Swiss club on Thursday night.

"We just accept that - all we need to do is focus on winning games and enjoying our football."

Of the pair, the Goodison Park boss added: "Ross is one of the best young European talents. You need to find a way to be consistent, because at times you will get opposition who will man-mark Ross and make it difficult. It is part of the learning curve for him and for us as a team.

"Rom is 21 and still learning, but to have that sort of impact is a big asset from our point of view."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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