Midfielder Ross Barkley has revealed to the Guardian that he has been told to stay at Everton -- by Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.
• Lomas: The rise of Ross Barkley
Barkley, 19, has enjoyed a fine start to the season, impressing for his club and making his England debut in a 4-0 World Cup qualifying win over Moldova on September 6.
The teenager was used only sparingly by David Moyes, Everton’s previous manager, and was sent out on loan to Championship sides Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds last season to gain experience.
Moyes often voiced the view that Barkley still had some developing to do to reach the top -- having been held back by a broken leg on England Under-19 duty as a 16-year-old -- and needed to cut out a tendency to give the ball away in dangerous areas.
But Roberto Martinez, who replaced Manchester United-bound Moyes in June, has made clear he is happy to give Barkley his chance, and live with any mistakes the teenager might make.
The Liverpool-born midfielder’s sudden rise to prominence will inevitably attract interest from other clubs, but Gerrard gave him some advice when they met up on international duty earlier this month.
Barkley, who has been with Everton since the age of 11, told the Guardian: "He told me I’m from Liverpool, a local lad playing for the team I support, and there is nothing better.
"He’s done that throughout his career. He said playing is the main thing. Going to another team and not playing would be no good for my development.
"I was a bit star-struck when I first joined up but Steven was good to me when I was away. I sat next to him on the coach and he gave me loads of advice.
"He said the big hitters are going to be looking at me but the main thing for me is to stay with the club I’m at, the team I support and love, which is Everton."
Having broken into the England side, Barkley is hoping to help them qualify for the finals in Brazil next year, and then win a place in Roy Hodgson’s squad to go there.
He said: "I have set my sights on the World Cup. It’s a goal for me. It will be hard, but through hard work hopefully I can get on the flight there.
"He (Hodgson) told me to keep working hard and keep doing what I have been doing since the start of the season and if there comes a time that, because I am young, I’m on the bench, don’t let your head go down.
"He believes in me. He has high hopes for me. He sees me being able to go to Brazil if I keep progressing as I have done since the start of the season."