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Barry hails Everton youngsters as league's best

Gareth Barry has labelled Everton quartet Ross Barkley, Romelu Lukaku, John Stones and Gerard Deulofeu as Merseyside's new "fab four".

Experienced defensive midfielder Barry senses the young stars, all 22 or under, are playing without fear after reaching the League Cup semi-finals.

Everton eased past Middlesbrough 2-0 to increase their unbeaten run to six games and the former England international is impressed with his team-mates' form.

"Fab four? That’s it!" Barry enthused.

"They have got the confidence. They are scoring goals, making assists and you can tell with the aura that they have got going out on to the pitch how much they are enjoying it.

"They need to keep learning along the way but it is important they don’t lose the swagger they have got. They can go on and be special players.”

Barry has more outfield appearances in the Premier League than any other active player.

The 34-year-old hailed Roberto Martinez's four young talents, stating no rival team has a crop that can compare.

"Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any, no," Barry said. "When you are talking about four regular starters who are getting a run of games, they are consistently producing.

"Like any young players, if they are going to make it to the next level then consistency is the key. That is their next target.

"All the players who have been here during my time at Everton, they have all matured. They have not let anything go to their heads. They don’t let success affect them. If they keep going that way, they can reach good things.

"They will be special players. Then they have to do it year in, year out like the real special players."