Barkley unfazed by transfer talk
Everton assistant boss Steve Round is confident Ross Barkley will not be affected by reports linking him to Chelsea.
Last Updated: 20/09/11 6:21pm
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.
Barkley, 17, put in an eye-catching performance on his senior debut in the Toffees' first game of the season against QPR and has continued to impress in the handful of appearances he has made since then.
Reports have suggested that Chelsea are ready to pay £20million for the 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 side for Wednesday night's third round clash with West Brom at Goodison Park.
He could partner vastly more experienced colleague and club captain Phil Neville, who was an unused substitute for the Toffees' 3-1 Premier League home win against Wigan on Saturday.
And 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."
A player whose chances of being involved against the Baggies are certainly unclear is Louis Saha.
The 33-year-old Frenchman, who has been working his way back to match fitness, came on in the tie against Sheffield United last month but has not featured since.
It is understood Saha was at Goodison Park ahead of the game with Wigan but left the ground soon after discovering he was not a part of the 18.
And Round revealed Everton boss David Moyes had discussed the matter with the striker.
"I think the manager has quietly spoken to him, and we get on with it," Round said.
"All those sorts of things are dealt with internally. We are keeping a very close eye on Louis' training and if he trains well and performs well, then I'm sure he will be in for selection in the future."