Lukaku and Barkley scored the two goals that beat West Ham on Sunday afternoon — the pair also combined superbly for the second where the latter converted the former's chipped cross from the byline — but it was only Barkley's second Premier League goal of the season.
The 22-year-old midfielder has struggled for consistency this season, with manger Ronald Koeman not reticent about the reasons why he has been pulled from the starting line-up at times but, by Barkley's own admission, his performance against the Hammers provided a platform from which he can now "kick on" and improve.
Key to that, in Lukaku's mind, is goals from midfield, something Barkley was producing this time last year before his overall form tailed off badly in tandem with that of the Everton team in general.
“I think the manager has been hard on him because he knows Ross has the quality — he just needs to be more productive,” Lukaku says in The Guardian. “When we do finishing or have small games in training, I tell him to keep his eyes open and play with his head up.
"He can see much more then, he can see where the space is and he can play the pass or shoot himself. The decision-making has to be better. When he gets that, you are talking about a fantastic player.
“At the minute the players who play in his position for England — like Dele Alli and Wayne Rooney — have goals in them. I think Ross has to get more goals and more assists than he has been doing. If he does that he is going to play. To me, if Ross fulfils his potential you are talking about the best player in English football. He has got everything.
“He has got power, technique, he can shoot with both feet, he is fast and he can pick a pass. The manager has been working with him so he makes the right decisions on the pitch. Who is going to stop him?”
Reader Comments (31)
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1 Posted 01/11/2016 at 14:54:41
Edit: Just read the rest of the interview and once again it has a player praising Koeman for his straight-talking, no-nonsense approach. There's none of Martinez's "just enjoy your football" bollocks, Koeman has a clear vision and he's getting that across to the players.
3 Posted 01/11/2016 at 14:59:38
I think he's dead right. Barkley needs to play with his head up.
4 Posted 01/11/2016 at 15:11:11
IMO there's been far too much talk on TW about 'shipping out' players who haven't been performing as well as expectations might demand. I'd rather Koeman was given a chance to really get this squad gelling together, which I believe he can do, because we have some cracking players, especially ball players like Barkley.
5 Posted 01/11/2016 at 16:43:23
However, what I will say is that, for Ross to be able to pick the pass, the man in front of him needs to be smarter with his runs. Yes, Rom you.
Far too often, the lad has the ball and there is no-one moving for him in an intelligent manner.
6 Posted 01/11/2016 at 17:13:25
Barkley frequently turns well with the ball at his feet and then comes to a standstill because there is no movement in front of him.
7 Posted 01/11/2016 at 17:38:15
It is refreshing to see the manager willing to rest even the Captain (to preserve him), and give Robles his chance (Stekelenburg supposedly with a swollen foot), after Stekelenburg's awful dive at Turf Moor.
If Jags and Ross can be dropped, then even Lukaku must get the message.
8 Posted 01/11/2016 at 17:49:58
The great Everton team of the mid to late 1960s had a great midfield of Kendall, Ball and Harvey. So the great late Alan Ball was able to score about 1 goal in 3 games.
That is the target Barkley should set.
10 Posted 01/11/2016 at 19:27:37
Is this piece to The Guardian required under Lukaku's contract? If not, why is he going public like this?
11 Posted 01/11/2016 at 19:37:25
12 Posted 01/11/2016 at 19:50:11
I really do hope Koeman can show him were he has been going wrong, the penny drops, and he becomes the top class player he is well capable of being!
No better feeling than seeing one of your own doing the business for your team!
13 Posted 01/11/2016 at 20:14:50
Fortunately for us, Ross has a very unusual range of football talents, including, in my opinion, a good footballing brain that shows itself when he's on song.
14 Posted 01/11/2016 at 20:55:34
We can't "ship" them out. There are contracts, employment laws... which, whether we like it or not, apply to rich young footballers.
15 Posted 01/11/2016 at 21:14:53
If I was a defender or a 'keeper, I'd start to panic if he receives the ball near the box with a yard or two of space! Either foot, equally dangerous!
16 Posted 01/11/2016 at 21:15:57
If our players were cold and didn't do interviews, and thus not helping the media nor the journalists in their job, then the media would give the same treatment: lack of highlights, less live games, less coverage which could in turn mean less money and the continuation of Everton being a small team.
The role of the media in changing our image is greatly important, and for a long time we on here have complained at our poor PR department.
So basically, the fact that Barkley and Lukaku are getting talked about at a national level, adding to the previous in-depth article on our Dutch keeper and the attention being given to Koeman's reign. I take it as something positive considering the way football is today.
Yes, 'we want our players doing their talking on the pitch'. But we also want people to be talking about our club; the tide is turning and Everton is finally becoming a 'big' club again.
17 Posted 01/11/2016 at 21:56:30
18 Posted 02/11/2016 at 00:23:53
19 Posted 02/11/2016 at 12:29:46
Being left out at Man City was a kick up the arse. Fair play to the lad though, he's never gone to the press complaining and just wants to play his football for Everton. Time to support him and hopefully we will see him grow into the player that many think he is.
You don't have his scoring and assists stats by accident. He will divide opinion even if we win 5-0... but that's Evertonians hey?!
20 Posted 02/11/2016 at 12:50:29
He has got something but it was lost in the last two seasons when Bobby must have basically told him to do what he wanted and started to find the key to the Pukka Pie cabinet.
He now looks thinner and fitter but he is still trying to score the perfect goal instead of sometime putting his laces through it (even Arteta learned this).
I want to see him become what we all hope he can, but one swallow does not make a summer (pfnarr, pfnarr),
21 Posted 02/11/2016 at 12:52:44
22 Posted 02/11/2016 at 14:42:02
Rooney, an ageing superhero whose skill can't mask his inability these days to beat and leave a marker behind...
Lallana, nice feet, no brain, but a great cross-country athlete...
I don't honestly see a better player than Ross Barkley for the attacking mid-field role (Number 10), in the England team.
I'm amazed that more true Everton fans weren't eulogising about a very good display of attacking midfield play that Ross delivered on Sunday. But then again, when we want someone to blame, it's usually Barkley and Lukaku who get the stick on TW. They were easily our two best players on Sunday.
23 Posted 02/11/2016 at 14:54:10
Ross has been poor for quite a while. He had a much improved performance on Sunday. He has a chance over the next while to show us that he's up to a place in the team. He has very little competition for his place with Mirallas and Deulofeu playing so poorly so he should at least be able to cement that.
Is it ok for me to criticise Mirallas and Deulofeu or is this just a back slapping thread?
24 Posted 02/11/2016 at 15:50:10
Rick's last paragraph (#22) is a disgraceful misrepresentation of the positive posts that Barkley and Lukaku received after the game. Count them yourself on the matchday thread.
I'm fine with people having different opinions of the players but let's not twist things to play up your own particular agenda at the expense of the true assessments that most posters are providing, please.
25 Posted 02/11/2016 at 16:20:30
26 Posted 02/11/2016 at 16:37:00
If he develops more of a footballing brain, combined with goals, then we have finally got a player. The jury is still out, but things look more promising after the West Ham game.
28 Posted 02/11/2016 at 16:39:00
Twisted logic, maybe? But as long as Barkley works as hard as he did on Sunday, I'm sure there will be a lot more cheers than groans, and I feel that this is something Koeman is trying to preach to all the squad.
As an afterthought, I am going with more twisted logic, and was thinking that rather than complain about Barkley getting his head up, I would sooner see the kid just become a lot more direct. Drive, and play little one-twos, like in a five-a-side game, and just get busier all round.
His ability is all natural and it seems to be when he oversimplifies things that he starts to create problems in his own head?
29 Posted 02/11/2016 at 17:30:12
However, I am not interested in his England career and would rather see his best appearances for Everton. Last weekend, his form was greatly improved but there are more formidable teams than the Hammers and against those teams is where I want to see the real Ross Barkley.
30 Posted 02/11/2016 at 21:51:43
He just needs to put 100% into his game, and we'll have a top-class player. It's all up to him, and strolling around the pitch after scoring, thinking "That's it, I've done my bit" will never endear him to the fans. If the rumours were true about drinking, then I hope that's been knocked in the head and he can get back to his best.
31 Posted 03/11/2016 at 05:37:56
And yes, I know Lukaku's primary job is to score, and he's got a great scoring record this is not a "Lukaku is crap" rant. It just seems a bit disingenuous for Lukaku to be criticizing Barkley for not playing "with his head up" and for his decision-making, when those are still decided weaknesses in Lukaku's game as well.
32 Posted 03/11/2016 at 10:22:03
If Ross was to respond in the same way, he could say: "It's tough to pick out a striker with a pass when he keeps strolling into an offside position or doesn't bend his runs. Lukaku is a brilliant finisher but its frustrating when we as a midfield unit can't commit forward as he doesn't always hold up the ball and it leaves us prone to the counter-attack."
Then he could pad it out and say: "When Rom learns the art of holding the ball up, pressing from the front, and intelligent movement, he will be unstoppable."
To me, the talk about Barkley needs to stop it doesn't do him any favours. Let the manager and coaches work with him.
33 Posted 03/11/2016 at 11:57:40
Both are relatively young and not the finished article yet with much to learn and refine.
34 Posted 03/11/2016 at 16:44:10
What Lukaku has said seems fair enough, and yes, Barkley could similarly give his opinions about other players, but he seems quite a shy lad, not given to expressing opinions openly. A good thing here is that they seem to be working off each other, gelling more, and quite open about areas for improvement.
I thought there were signs on Sunday of things starting to come together, and it doesn't matter if that's slow, so long as it's happening.