Koeman's challenge for Barkley

, 13 August, 40comments  |  Jump to most recent

Ronald Koeman has tasked Ross Barkley with showing Roy Hodgson the error in his decision not to use him at all at Euro2016 by proving his quality for Everton this season.

Together with former team-mate John Stones, Barkley was one of only two outfield players not to play a single minute of England's latest disaster at a major tournament with Hodgson again demonstrating his lack of faith in the 22-year-old.

Barkley had begun last season in his best form yet at club level, registering his best ever goals tally in the Premier League along the way, but like most of Roberto Martinez's squad, his performances suffered as that of the team as a whole nose-dived in the second half of the campaign.

Now the midfielder has the opportunity of a fresh start with a new manager at the helm, one who clearly has the same admiration of Barkley's natural ability as his predecessor but who has the makings of a much more demanding boss.

"The way he is training, the way he is playing is not a lack of confidence," Koeman said. "Of course he was disappointed not to play at the Euros. But he has to react in a good way.

"Show your quality for Everton and show the national coach he made a big mistake not to give you any minutes. Show your quality on the pitch. That is the only answer I expect.

"He needs to be creating chances, scoring goals. But he also needs to show more responsibility in terms of the defending part of the team. That is one of the aspects in football where he can improve."

Barkley will get a first chance to respond to Koeman's challenge when Everton face Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park this afternoon.


Reader Comments (40)

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Liam Reilly
1 Posted 13/08/2016 at 07:59:56
This is his zeason; his seat on the potential boat is now gone and its time to prove that he can be an allrounder.

Interesting that RK wants to improve him defensively; something RM apparently ignored.

He's got all the tools; let hope we see them consistently.

James Byrne
2 Posted 13/08/2016 at 08:01:15
Like most of the talented players we have, they all need a serious kick up the arse and it all starts with getting fitness levels to the max.

The last few seasons were the worst I've ever seen from a fitness perspective for some of our players.

Fitness levels are everything to these lads and it will help reduce the stupid injuries, raise confidence and a winning mentality over time.

Alec Smith
3 Posted 13/08/2016 at 08:02:30
I hope the coach in Koeman can bring out the full potential of Barkley. What a player we would have then eh!
Ian Hawkins
4 Posted 13/08/2016 at 08:06:25
Personally hope Ross has shown Koeman enough to save us buying Mata or similar. Think he's got all the talent in the world but if Koeman can get him to up his work rate and sort his positional sense without the ball then I can't think of many players I'd rather have.
Tony Draper
5 Posted 13/08/2016 at 08:10:01
Haal je spullen bij elkaar zoon !
Shaun Wilson
6 Posted 13/08/2016 at 08:22:01
Time to shit, Ross, or get off the pot! We've been waiting long enough for all this potential to come out – now's the time, son. Koeman has called you out so it's time you showed the world what you can do, and on a consistent basis.

If you don't, Koeman won't give a shit, he'll get someone else to do it and, to be honest, right now Mata is easily twice the player you are. Nobody on this Everton side should feel safe after last season's displays.

Ian Burns
7 Posted 13/08/2016 at 08:38:17
Koeman - Barkley - nail - head. Oh why did we have suffer these past three years? I would be absolutely delighted to see Ross blossom under RK - nothing would give me greater pleasure (apart from winning the damned league of course!)
Tony Abrahams
8 Posted 13/08/2016 at 08:41:14
Wasn't sure if I wanted Ronald Koeman, but when you hear him talking, so frankly and honestly about Ross Barkley, it does sound very refreshing.

Never understood any footballer, that didn't want to work hard for the team, especially considering, that the more you are involved, the less time you have, to dwell on any mistakes you might have made.

Barkley spends too much time thinking, but he never really anticipates. maybe someone who has really played the game, can finally put him on the right path, to fulfilling his true potential?

Colin Williams
9 Posted 13/08/2016 at 08:44:54
Maybe the same advice to the Belgium boys would be a massive help towards team performance!!
Les Martin
10 Posted 13/08/2016 at 08:55:50
James 2#. Spot on.
I was amazed to see Ross puffing like a steam train after 70 mins last season, obviously he was struggling fitness wise. It also looked as though he had spent too much time in the gym building short duration muscle rather than endurance.
It will be interesting to see him go head to head with Dele Ali as the latter seams to be the darling at the moment.
Under Ronalds tenureship we will see if Ross becomes the player we hoped for or just another player orginally hyped beyond his abilities.
Eddie Dunn
11 Posted 13/08/2016 at 08:57:14
Perhaps we will see whether Barkley has got what it takes to be a really good player. Koeman has identified his weaknesses and now we will hopefully see Ross improve his all round game.
If Ross fails to impress, I fear that this manager will not indulge him the way Martinez did.
If we play with more tempo all over the park, then Ross should benefit. He has shone on quick counter attacking moves but laboured in our ponderous build-ups.
I still think that we need a "Mata" type to unpick those banked defences that are happy to sit back a la West Brom.
Eugene Ruane
12 Posted 13/08/2016 at 09:03:35
Something about Ross I like.

Well..besides the obvious (he's a blue, plays for Everton, local lad etc).

Can't exactly put my finger on it (fnaar!) but I just.. like him.

As a player, when he's on blob, he can look immense and when he properly puts his foot through a ball, hard for a keeper to get near it.

But he gets distracted and dispirited - easily - and too often becomes a spectator on the pitch.

There are too many games that seem to go on around him, games where he seems to be stuck in a kind of no-man's-land and looks like the victim of some cruel piggy-in-the-middle game.

For me, he needs 'telling' and hopefully Koeman will sit him down and simply tell him exactly what is required (what is expected in each game, what his 'tasks' are in each game).

Personally, I would actually give him a shots-per-game target (3/4/whatever).

I would also tell him 'you're built like a fucking big grock, don't let anyone even think of shouldering you off the ball.'

(some players need telling, some can figure it out).

It's funny, when you ask a lot of Evertonians what Barkley's position is, there is often a pause first (that you wouldn't get if you asked, for instance, Baines position) and that makes me think if we're not sure, he probably isn't.

Anyway, for us and for himself, he needs a good season.

Possible he could benefit from playing in the same side as Williams - to have a leader to watch close up, a leader to scream at him "he's your man, fucking get on him!"

I'm really hoping so, good luck to him and..

Up the Toffees!

Tony McNulty
13 Posted 13/08/2016 at 09:05:36
There may be a number of reasons why Ross hasn't quite lived up to his billing yet (his reluctance to tackle at times could be because of his history of breaking his leg so badly, for example).

However the main reason is his brain got scrambled by his previous manager.

Jeff Armstrong
14 Posted 13/08/2016 at 09:22:45
Let's give the lad some time, it's going to take at least until Christmas before we see Koeman's influence throughout the team.

I really do believe Barkley was confused as to what was expected of him, position to play, tackling, etc. I think this is a massive season for him as Evertonians have given him enough time and he can no longer be making the same mistakes as he was making when he was 17, which in my opinion he was still making at 22.

He has got to learn quickly about when to release the ball, when to shoot, tackle, chase back – even jockeying and harrying would be a big improvement on his defensive work.

John Malone
15 Posted 13/08/2016 at 09:40:03
My message to Barkley would beat your man look up then release the pass or the pull the trigger! Simple!
Damian Wilde
16 Posted 13/08/2016 at 09:55:19
He has to play better; otherwise, another Rodwell.
Phil Sammon
17 Posted 13/08/2016 at 09:57:27
Koeman really couldn't be more different from Martinez. Talks absolute sense that everyone who watches Barkley can agree with.
Ray Roche
18 Posted 13/08/2016 at 10:00:23
Yes, John, he over complicates things by taking on the extra man, running into a cul de sac of opposition players, and not taking the shot when it's there to be hit. He could be some player but he needs to find some direction in his game.
Kim Vivian
19 Posted 13/08/2016 at 10:08:00
Lets all hope he does, Tony (#5)
Drew Shortis
20 Posted 13/08/2016 at 10:20:02
Koeman says what most of us are thinking and that has to be a good think. He clearly sees Ross's talent and has a plan to help him fulfil it. Perhaps the Euro's were a blessing in disguise, though the lack of games did not put Citeh off Stones.
Alan J Thompson
21 Posted 13/08/2016 at 10:25:05
By all means tell the player what you want from him but is it really necessary to tell the world?
William Cartwright
22 Posted 13/08/2016 at 10:34:43
Strange how when Martinez joined all his hyper-positivity, and sunny demeanor fooled me. What a breath of fresh air after the dour Scot. It wasn't long before the positivity wore thin and the capuccino fueled smiling banter of the press conferences degenerated into unintelligible ramblings and twitchy eye movements. . . . . .

If it was bad for the supporters, imagine how bad an experience it was for the players, when your Boss who holds absolute sway over your daily actions can influence you in such a negative way. Especially if you are young and impressionable.

Fast forward a couple of years after its all gone tits up and we see just how important the managerial change was. I think Koeman was / is probably the best, if not the only option to sort out the muddled psychological playing field he inherited. This is not intended as another anti -Martinez rant. We have all done those to death. It is an objective view of the real and lasting damage he did / could have done if allowed to continue further.

Almost to a man, the players were pushed and pulled around. Played out of position, played when out of form. Dropped when in form. Dropped and shut out if their face didn't fit, and played in key roles if it did - regardless of form. No authority on the pitch, and no stamina to deal with the physical challenge. Wrap all that up in the difficult task of organizing a team of socially dislocated young guys with the world at their feet literally, with none of the day to day grounding stuff that ' normal people' have to deal with and it is a psychoanalysts dream ticket!

What I like about RK is his pragmatism. I think he genuinely wanted Stones to stay, but accepted the personal and business logic of the situation. As I think he understands and accepts the Rom to Chelsea situation too.

I think it is this pragmatism which he showed at Southampton, twice, was why he was the only choice for Moshiri and all credit to him for the appointment.

Interesting that while Luvvy Bill was drooling after the Chelsea quarter final result, Moshiri looked somewhat embarrassed? perhaps that's just my impression. However there are 2 interesting events from that day; 1st Rom pulls out all the stops with a stellar performance against his old club, as if to show evryone exactly what he is capable of, and 2nd (I believe) that Moshiri did not ever discuss with Martinez, the teams performance or his future prospects or his dismissal. . . ?

So, with Moshiri's absolute trust and backing, I think RK is tasked with undoing as much of the psychological damage caused by Martinez and crew, as well as the fitness issues and the defensive shortcomings. It will take some time. I hope RK will be as patient with Ross as we need to be with him.

Terence Leong
23 Posted 13/08/2016 at 10:37:42
The defensive part of one's game is not always in the tackling.
It is also in the anticipating, to cut out a pass, to press the opposition.

Peter Reid excelled at the former, because he knows that he can't be giving full blooded tackles all the time, due to his knee. So what he and Bracewell did well was to press and harried and cut out passes.

Ian Rush was a master of the latter. He would press from the top i.e. giving defenders no time on the ball.

That way, the opposition is pressed into mistakes, giving the ball away, make poor passes etc.

These are the other critical aspects of defending, which is essential to make it difficult for your opponents to attack.

I believe that these things, Ross can do without having to nullify his attacking attributes.

Sajid Patel
24 Posted 13/08/2016 at 10:56:45
Koeman says it how it is and doesn't let players dictate the dressing room. The one thing he will make sure of is Everton won't be easy to beat and will stop leaking goals in injury time.

Martinez made Everton way too open and the players made so many mistakes that used to result in conceding goals. Under Moyes we were boring too defensive and rarely won the big teams.

I just want to see Everton beat Liverpool... it's really annoying me that we always struggle to beat them – it's been way too long!!!!!

Raymond Fox
25 Posted 13/08/2016 at 11:04:26
William 22, so that not an anti Martinez rant, same old story the players were blameless.

Koemans the blue eyed boy for now, I'm just wondering how long before he is shite.
He's making excuses already, lets see what happens after a couple of games!

Nobody knows what Martinez said behind the scenes to players, it was pretty evident that anybody rocking the squad boat was disciplined, so theres little doubt he wasn't all 'hail smiley morn' in private.

With regard to Barkley, I hope very much that he becomes a better player but to my eyes he lacks in the grey matter department, you need to think quickly in games and I'm afraid he aint got it.

Gary Reeves
27 Posted 13/08/2016 at 11:10:09
Blind optimism for me I'm afraid, unsupported by evidence. If someone needs to explain (to a Premier League international) that you need to get your body between the ball and our goal, you have a problem – I was taught that at 5!

And as for describing him as a "midfielder" don't even get me started. He's a supporting forward or he's nothing.

Dave Ganley
28 Posted 13/08/2016 at 11:26:59
The sooner Ross grows a backbone and shows a bit of heart the better for me. We can all see his talent (albeit very fleetingly) but his head drops so quickly when things (often) don't go according to plan. He needs to man up to be honest, believe in himself and start to throw his 6ft plus frame about the pitch a bit. He should be terrifying the opposition with his size not shrinking from them. His reaction at half time at Wembley when he apparently was distraught and had to be consoled by Jags just about sums him up. No heart for the fight and no determination to prove everybody wrong. As soon as he sorts out that side of his game the better he will become. If he doesn't then it will all be unfulfilled potential
William Cartwright
29 Posted 13/08/2016 at 11:32:49
Raymond 25, Apologies if it came across as another anti-Martinez rant. It wasn't intended as such but on re-reading it was! However I cannot but help wonder just how much damage a 'bad manager' can do, compared to the positive results of a good manager. To say the players are blameless or not responsible in some way is not correct. in fact there have been many cases where the players out-weigh the Manager.

What interests me is the depth of mind game playing that the team may have been subjected to. Also in Ross' case, this aspect of his character seems to be crucial to his game?

It seems that disagreeing "strong" characters of the team seemed to be dealt with very brusquely by Roberto behind the scenes:- Distin, E'to, Mirallas, even Baines, whilst our Captain, Gentleman Jags, (and I mean that as a compliment), seems to have been doing all sorts of good things behind the scenes but not imposing himself on the pitch? Don't forget how his treatment of Baines was absolute folly, and probably the final reason why he was dismissed.

Let's wait more than a couple of games to see the impact of RK. However I have a sneaking feeling (hope), his impact will be almost immediate, simply because of the skill in the squad at his disposal, their frustration at the last 2 seasons and the influx of some really good new and young players coming through. Ironically Martinez should get some credit for that.

Nigel Munford
30 Posted 13/08/2016 at 11:52:24
Alan @ 21, at least what he's saying isn't rubbish like the last manager. Honest, down to earth truths, that need saying. If RK is asked a question he feels he should answer, then he does with out embellishing it with crap and lies.
Dave Williams
31 Posted 13/08/2016 at 12:12:54
William # 22 I thought it was an excellent post- not abusive or slagging him off but analysing how things were and what RK has to do.

Roberto ( who I supported for the first 2 years) was guilty of the utmost neglect as regards fitness, set pieces, work rate etc and far from making excuses already I think RK is merely trying to manage our expectations . The problems can be fixed but not in six weeks- fitness can be built but the players have to be coached out of the stupid one yard passes which RM seemed to encourage and a different mindset is required.

I have heard ex players comment that Ross is not the quickest learner and perhaps RK can give him simple instructions as to how to play. It is after all a simple game and Ross is good enough and strong enough to dictate play especially with players around him who are pressing the opposition. We haven't pressed for three years which made us easy to play against as other teams had time to build play and we played so slowly that we were very vulnerable to a pressing game.

I think RK will sort this but it may take til FA Cup time to get us really competitive unless we suddenly land the right targets in the transfer market.

Simon Bates
32 Posted 13/08/2016 at 13:59:28
Apparently Mata credits Ronald Koeman as the coach who had a major influence in making him into the player he is today, whilst together at Valencia.

If he has seen enough in training to suggest Ross is willing to listen and learn from a master, then we really will have a player. If Koeman can get his defensive levels up, you've got your box-to-box complete midfielder.

Mark Morrissey
33 Posted 13/08/2016 at 15:17:10
Well done to Ross. Continue to let your feet do all your talking
Brian Wilkinson
34 Posted 13/08/2016 at 20:32:02
Dave@28 his head drops quickly because when he tries something and it doesn't come off, you can hear the groans from the crowd.

Apart from Osman, I cannot think of any other player that gets as much stick as Ross.

With Koeman's coaching, and a bit of patience from the fans, Ross will do it; if we support the lad, give him encouragement, he will do it.

I just hope the boo boys don't drive him away.

Paul Smith
36 Posted 13/08/2016 at 20:57:06
I think the world of Ross but I do worry he's not stepping up like we hoped.

Saying that he scored today.

Thing is, I don't think Koeman is the kind of manager to watch him making mistakes and keep playing him. I for one will be do my best to get behind him.

Timothy Blanshard
37 Posted 13/08/2016 at 22:17:43
I watched the Man City v Sunderland game after ours, with ten mins to go at 1-1 Moysie takes off Jermaine Defo and I thought this looks familiar, I wonder if he'll regret doing that, then City score. So we've gone from one extreme to the other to what now looks like a manager we'll be content with, happy days.
Shane Corcoran
38 Posted 13/08/2016 at 22:32:25
The manager sees what some of us saw last season; Ross's running on the spot when the opposition have the ball.
Tony Draper
39 Posted 13/08/2016 at 22:38:53
Ross has everything that a modern footballer requires.

The man is built like a tank, he has plenty of pace, his touch is sublime, however, I it seems that the one person entirely unaware of ALL of this is Ross Barkley!

I do seriously wonder if that terrible leg break has left him with a "mental block" and he has "issues" that he isn't getting past. I love having local lads in the side, lads who probably sleep in their kit (OK, it's just me that does that) and it's bloody clear to see he has talent to spare.

On the practical side, he is going to have to convert potential into performance. This really is his season to convince. C'mon Ross, do it lad!

Ernie Baywood
40 Posted 15/08/2016 at 01:56:55
I still believe that Ross was working to instruction under Martinez. Don't chase, don't harry, save yourself for short bursts when you're on the ball. I believe he was trained that way too - don't worry about stamina, just work on pace and power. The change in his body shape would indicate that to be true at least in part.

There were signs of a different Ross on Saturday. He's not in condition to chase all day but there was more effort.

If the above is true then we'll need patience. We'll also need to acknowledge that the club failed Ross terribly in terms of his development. Hopefully we see more signs from him and we can encourage him as he improves.

Jamie Sweet
41 Posted 15/08/2016 at 04:05:40
I believe Ross is one of the most technically gifted players in the game. He's got everything in his locker and I don't think I've seen a player hit a ball harder with either foot (I remember Tim Cahill saying this about him before he had even played for the 1st team).

There just seems to be something missing "upstairs". Whether it be psychological, as some have touched on above, or whether it is that he is just missing that "footballing brain", I'm not quite sure.

To me, this is the main thing that is holding back a good player, from become a truly great player.

The longer he has to make a decision, the worse that decision often becomes. Every time I see him running at the defence at pace, it's almost like you can see his brain ticking and he doesn't know the right ball to play, or when to just smack it.

His preseason goal v Barnsley was sensational. One incredible touch to turn his man, and bang. His goal at Goodison against Man City was a sublime first time strike. Even his assist to Rom in the 4-0 against Villa last season was one touch magic. This all goes to show what he can do when he is relying on instinct alone.

Can you coach decision making? If so, then we could still have the biggest diamond of them all.

Dave Abrahams
42 Posted 15/08/2016 at 08:50:23
Jamie (41), I can't fault that assessment Jamie, it seems to me if he doesn't come good under Koeman he will not be the player we all hope he can be. There were a few signs he is getting more involved on Saturday so we will have to be patient and maybe the improvement, however slight will continue in the next few months.

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