Gareth Barry one of England's best ever - Roberto Martinez

By Phil McNultyChief football writer
Everton midfielder Garerth Barry is pursued by Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero
Gareth Barry (left) joined Manchester City for £12m from Aston Villa in 2009

Everton manager Roberto Martinez described Gareth Barry as "one of the best English players ever" after a masterclass in the League Cup semi-final win over Manchester City.

Romelu Lukaku's 19th goal of the season - from a Barry cross - gave Everton a 2-1 first-leg victory at Goodison Park.

Jesus Navas had earlier cancelled out Ramiro Funes Mori's opener for Everton.

"I have never seen a player with such an incredible professionalism as Gareth Barry," said Martinez.

More on this story:
Read Phil McNulty's match report
Listen to the best of the action on BBC Radio 5 live
Football Daily podcast - analysis, manager interviews, fan reaction

"Gareth is one of those players who gets underrated.

"The reason we have so many developing young players is there are leaders in the mould of Gareth Barry. It is no coincidence when we have Gareth Barry around them."

Martinez said he could build a team around the 34-year-old midfielder, who made 53 appearances for England between 2000 and 2012.

He added: "For me, he is one of the best English players ever. He could reach 600 Premier League appearances this season."

Barry in brief
ClubsAston Villa, Manchester City, Everton
Premier League appearances582
HonoursIntertoto Cup (2001), FA Cup (2011), Premier League (2012)
England appearances53

Everton's manager was delighted with his side's win - but said it would be "foolish" to contemplate the prospect of an all-Merseyside final at Wembley, with Liverpool holding the advantage over Stoke City in the other semi-final.

He said: "We know we have a momentous, huge second leg and we will have 8,000 Evertonians with us at Etihad Stadium. We wanted to win the first leg and we have done that.

"I am very, very proud of our performance. We conceded a goal to a really good counter attack but showed a winning mentality to come right back. We showed great character."

Since Barry's PL debut for Everton (14 Sept 2013)
Most passesMost tackles
Yaya Toure - 5770Erik Pieters - 262
Gareth Barry - 5497Fernandinho - 253
Santiago Cazorla - 5307Cesar Azpilicueta - 251
Ashley Williams - 4763Nemanja Matic - 247
Jose Fonte - 4702Morgan Schneiderlin - 246
Garth Barry - 228

Martinez fears defender Seamus Coleman could be out for a month with a calf injury, while midfielder Tom Cleverley was also forced off with a similar problem.

Lukaku, who scored his 12th goal in 12 games, hurt an ankle - but the Everton boss hopes it is not serious.

However, the Belgium international may miss the FA Cup third-round match against Dagenham and Redbridge at Goodison Park on Saturday (kick-off 15:00 GMT).

"Romelu had a knock on his ankle," Martinez said. "We are going to assess him. I don't know if he will be available for the weekend.

"Tom and Seamus are very similar, Seamus with his calf is probably the most serious. Those things are between three to four weeks."

Top Stories