Round - Baxter is ready
Everton assistant Steve Round says there will be no qualms about unleashing Jose Baxter on the Premier League.
Last Updated: 12/08/08 2:59pm
Everton assistant Steve Round insists there will be no qualms about unleashing starlet Jose Baxter on the Premier League this season.
The 16-year-old forward has performed well in pre-season and is set to be involved from the start of the new campaign.
Liverpool-born Baxter has been tipped for the top and inevitable comparisons with Wayne Rooney have been made.
But Round insists Baxter can stand up to first-team football and any hype surrounding him.
"Baxter has a talent to define the game, which is important," said Round.
"He can make the moment that matters that wins you a game, whether it be a through pass, a goal, a dribble. Whatever it may be.
"He has that talent in him. That is something you cannot give a player, it is just inside them. You have to nurture it and bring it out of him, so he can perform at the highest level.
"It might be a little earlier for him at the moment. It is wrong to compare him with Wayne Rooney. Wayne was a man, physically, when he was 16, he was strong and very advanced."
Manager David Moyes seems a little more reticent about what he will do with Baxter.
"He's done an awful lot of good things," Moyes said. "We need to make sure we are careful with him.
"Jose is a young boy who has been doing all the training the older lads have been doing. We have got to make sure we look after him just now but he could quite easily be in the side on merit.
"The youngsters have started to grow into things. Maybe now they are starting to limit the amount of mistakes they have been tending to make."
Moyes also knows that Baxter's youth colleague Jack Rodwell will be pressed into duty this term.
"As the season goes on, we are going to have to use these boys as we don't really have big numbers," said Moyes.
"There are bits of his game that he needs to improve on but that is more to do with age and experience.
"What you can't fault him on is his passing. He is comfortable in possession, he's got a style about him and the way he does things. What he needs is the experience of getting roughed up a little bit.
"That will happen when the 'big ball' comes out. He has always been in my thoughts and is doing well. But there will be times when it will help his development to go back down into the reserves and come through the way most young players do."