Ross Barkley celebrates with Everton teammate Steven Naismith after scoring the winner against Swansea, December 22. Reuters
Ross Barkley continued to bulge his growing reputation with another brilliant performance, including the winner, in a 2-1 Everton win over Swansea in the English Premier League.
After a goalless first half, Seamus Coleman put Everton in the lead on 66 minutes, only for a Bryan Oviedo own goal to make it 1-1.
But with just six minutes remaining, Barkley, belying his 20 years, curled in a brilliant freekick to give the Toffees all three points, a victory which took them to fourth in the Premier League table, above Chelsea, and just two points adrift of Merseyside rivals Liverpool.
"The goal from Ross gave us something to be proud of and something I want to savour," Martinez said after the game.
"We have a few youngsters. Ross, John Stones, James McCarthy, Romelu Lukaku, Seamus Coleman... We have a real nice blend and what pleases me is that in the group, everyone is prepared to work hard for the team.
"Ross is growing game by game and is a diamond of English football. The freekick was an example of what he can do.
"The technique [for Barkley's goal] was as good as it gets. To have that sort of ability is extremely pleasing. To see him developing is a joy and he is a phenomenal ambassador for our football club."
Michael Laudrup, whose side have dropped down to 11th following the loss, believes Swansea deserved at least a point from the match at the Liberty Stadium.
"I think we deserved more," Laudrup said. "The first half was a tight game between two sides who are used to having a lot of the ball. We were aggressive every time we lost the ball, without having many chances.
"The second half was more or less the same, but then they went in front with a strike from distance. We bounced back and wanted something out of the game. Maybe the most disappointing thing was that I felt they were settling for the draw with the two late changes they made -- they took off two offensive players and replaced them with two midfielders.
"We tried to get the winner, but then they got it through a freekick. "I think we deserved at least a point, but we didn't get it, so we have to accept it, even though it's not easy. The players did really well. They showed a great attitude against a very good side, who are one of the most in-form teams at the moment.
"For me, it was an important game because of the philosophy of both teams, to see what we can do against a team who play the same way -- more or less. They are much more experienced, but it was interesting to see how we could compete with them. I think we did great. In more than one sense, it was a special game for us."
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