Gerard Deulofeu
Gerard DeulofeuGetty

On-loan Everton starlet Gerard Deulofeu has granted an exclusive interview to IBTimes UK to talk about his current situation – and lavished praise on his manager on Merseyside Roberto Martinez.

Deulofeu, who moved to Goodison Park on loan in July 2013, said Martinez has handled him astutely during his nine months in England, even though he was hoping for more playing time than he has enjoyed thus far.

"When I go to the pitch I try to do my best and things were going well. To be honest, I wish I had more minutes than I have had. But I think Roberto has managed it well," Deulofeu told us.

Martinez has managed Deulofeu's assimilitation into the squad with caution, allowing the youngster to find his feet in the first couple of months in the season before gradually increasing his time on the pitch.

Deulofeu is grateful for this steady, measured approach, saying: "Roberto is the one who has given to me the opportunity to play in the first division. So, thus far, he is the coach who has given me most confidence [in my career].

"The truth is that he has supported me from the beginning. I think he has handled it very well, the slow approach has worked. When I came here I also knew it would be complicated because there are very good players who have spent many years at Everton. Roberto has managed me patiently."

Asked about whether he would like to link up with Martinez, a fellow Catalan, at Barcelona, Deulofeu said: "That would be great, really! But I think it is complicated. Tata Martino has one year more contract still. So we will see.

"Anyway, I believe Roberto would be up to be Barcelona's coach as he has shown that in the teams he has been, it has done it well."

Barcelona have reportedly earmarked Roberto Martinez as a potential successor to Tata Martino if the Argentinian leaves the Camp Nou at the end of the season. With Martino's exit a real possibility, Barça's board of directors are already writing up a list of potential candidates to take over the reigns at the Catalan club.

Meanwhile Everton fans will be desperate for Deulofeu to extend his stay on Merseyside. The young attacking star is considered the best talent to emerge from Barça's academy since Lionel Messi but, having left the club following Neymar's arrival last summer, he has thrilled fans at Goodison Park, scoring a fantastic goal at Arsenal and turning in several thrilling performances.