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Barkley lets fly with Rio ticket on his mind

World Cup hopeful Ross Barkley scored one of the goals of the season as Everton continued their pursuit of the Barclays Premier League's top four and a coveted Champions League qualification spot.

The England international stated his case for inclusion in Hodgson's squad for Brazil eloquently in a 3-0 victory over Newcastle at St James' Park with a superb solo effort to remind the England manager of his blossoming talent.

Barkley's contribution was little short of stunning as he produced a 22nd-minute run and finish worthy of winning any game in front of a largely stunned crowd of 47,266.

The 20-year-old picked up possession inside his own half and powered his way through the mesmerised home defence before blasting an unstoppable shot past goalkeeper Tim Krul.

Team-mate Romelu Lukaku was just as clinical when he was presented with a chance to effectively kill the game off.

Gerard Deulofeu, who was a size­able handful throughout, tested Krul with a skidding 52nd-minute effort from a tight angle and then served the ball up on a plate for the Belgian to fire into the roof of the net for his 13th goal of the season.

Newcastle fought hard to get back into the match as Cheick Tiote tested goalkeeper Tim Howard with a 57th-minute piledriver and Yoan Gouffran sent a volley screaming just off target.

However, Lukaku might have doubled his tally 16 minutes from time but for a good reaction save by Krul, before Leon Osman cemented the victory with a third goal three minutes from time.

Roberto Martinez's side were deserved winners on a night when absent Newcastle manager Alan Pardew received confirmation, if he needed it, of just how far his squad have to go to compete on a regular basis with the top six.

The home side's night was pretty much summed up 12 minutes from time when Vurnon Anita looked certain to score from substitute Hatem Ben Arfa's cross, but missed the target from point-blank range.

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