By Danny Wright

6th Feb, 2017 | 8:46am

Former Everton boss backs Ross Barkley over controversial celebration

By Danny Wright

Roberto Martinez has defended Ross Barkley for celebrating his goal against Bournemouth on Saturday before actually scoring.

The Everton midfielder raised his arms in the air in celebration at Goodison Park after rounding Cherries’ goalkeeper Artur Boruc to score his side’s sixth goal in the 6-3 win.

What followed was a question of whether Barkley was being disrespectful towards his opponents, but former Everton boss Roberto Martinez was quick to back the England international.

Speaking to Sky Sports’ Goals on Sunday, Martinez said: “It shows you what Ross is, he doesn’t do it in a disrespectful manner, he’s not trying to take the mickey out of the opponent.

“It’s just pure joy. You would see Ross playing in the back yard and that’s what he would do with his mates.

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“He’s effective on the pitch when he’s having fun. The quality he has, the physicality with the technical ability, makes him quite unique.”

Martinez was sacked by Everton at the end of last season having failed to secure a top-half finish with the Merseyside club. He was replaced by Ronald Koeman who has led his side to seventh in the league this term.

Barkley’s goal rounded off what was the joint-highest scoring game of the season as team mate Romelu Lukaku became the first player this season to score four goals in a game.

The 23-year-old’s goal was his fifth of the season in all competitions. He also bagged his fifth Premier League assist of the campaign in the nine-goal thriller.

In other Everton news, Shearer delivers verdict on Lukaku and how he must improve.

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