Koeman: Barkley can and needs to improve

, 15 September, 104comments  |  Jump to most recent

Ronald Koeman says that he has spoken with Ross Barkley this week to discuss the reasons for his early substitution against Sunderland, reiterating that it was a decision made just for that game and that the 22-year-old is still learning.

Barkley was withdrawn at half-time at the Stadium of Light with the scores goalless after a poor first 45 minutes from the team as a whole but the midfielder himself personally, a decision that came in the wake of his surprise omission from the England squad during the last international break.

Barkley enjoyed arguably his best spell as an Everton player in the first half of last season but has struggled for form since the team's fortunes nose-dived earlier this year under Roberto Martinez.

The Catalan's successor has shown himself so far to be a more exacting and demanding manager who is not afraid to make tough personnel decisions to change matches and, just as was the case at West Brom where he withdrew James McCarthy after just 38 minutes, he elected to hook Barkley against Sunderland and was vindicated by a better performance from the side after half time.

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The manager was quizzed about Barkley's situation during his pre-match press conference at Finch Farm today ahead of the match against Middlesbrough this weekend and he remained pragmatic about the situation, again highlighting the fact that it was just one game.

“There was a reason to change Ross at half time because he didn't play well,” Koeman explained again. “He lost many balls and players of that quality can't lose those kinds of balls.

“But we always analyse the game and I had interval talks with Ross and I told him that he needs to improve and we'll see at the weekend.

“In my opinion [his omission from the England squad] is in the past, what counts is what happens now. I've said before that you get game time for your national team when you play at a good level at your club.

“What happened last Monday was one game. I spoke to him and he understands because we showed the clips and then there's no escape.”

Koeman was asked whether he felt Barkley's troubled stemmed from him perhaps trying too hard but the Dutchman suggested that it was more likely a case of him still making the transition from the former regime under Martinez where he fewer defensive responsibilities.

“I think it's more the way we (Everton) used to play because the player himself is strong enough to do better pressing, although that's not only for Ross in particular because it's also the case for some of the other players up front.

“You look to his qualities and he needs to be be the key player between the midfielder and the strikers. It's that position in the midfield to create but also, defensively, you need to be part of the team. He can and needs to improve in all aspects but he's still a young player.”


Reader Comments (104)

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Richard Reeves
1 Posted 15/09/2016 at 16:40:38
I like the comments from where he referred to Barkley's best position being in midfield, even as one of the holding midfielders. If Barkley could become a long term replacement for Barry by learning how to close down and tackle better, it would leave the No 10 position for a more prolific goalscorer and him being alongside Gueye would add more pace when the team attacks.

Not that I'm writing Barry off as he's been excellent for us but because of his age I'm sure Koeman will be looking at his long-term replacement and Barkley has always said he feels his best position is as a box-to-box midfielder.
Jay Wood
2 Posted 15/09/2016 at 17:14:15
I have yet to see an interview with Koeman since he joined Everton that has disappointed, caused me to raise a concerned eyebrow or made my eyes roll for the sheer tedium and excess of hyperbole.

This is another totally honest and very direct interview, touching on many interesting issues, which again reassures me we are in very fine hands with RK.


Jimmy Salt
3 Posted 15/09/2016 at 17:18:06
Brutally honest
Mark Stone
4 Posted 15/09/2016 at 17:20:27
Barkley said his best position was box-to-box midfielder? I remember him saying it was behind the striker where he is 'free to roam and take people on'.
Matt Williams
7 Posted 15/09/2016 at 17:30:07
I think Barkley getting this sort of advice is long over due. Martinez constantly blowing smoke up his arse was doing him no favours. If somebody is constantly telling you you're great, sooner or later, you're going to start believing it.

I think Barkley believes he's the finished article and doesn't need to work that hard. He should take a look at players like Ronaldo or Messi and see just how much work they put in, week-in & week-out, and they pretty much are the finished article.
Gary Reeves
8 Posted 15/09/2016 at 17:32:47
Uncle Richard #1, how can he play in midfield if he has absolutely no defensive aspect to his game? He'll NEVER be a midfield player, the evidence is overwhelming.

He's a supporting forward, or he helps out around Finch Farm – one or the other (because he wouldn't affect games as a sub either).

"Now, Ros,s this is YOUR mop – we use this on the tiled floors!"

Martin Mason
9 Posted 15/09/2016 at 17:43:02
Such clarity after Martinez. The key thing though is to define where Ross is most effective and to make sure what is expected from him.

The forward position is bad for him at the moment because he will give goals away against the good counter attacking sides. He'll never be a defensive midfielder because his tackling and closing down are weak and I can't see him as a wide midfielder so his options are limited.

Barry is going to be a real problem to replace.

Bob Skelton
10 Posted 15/09/2016 at 17:48:04
He's only saying what we've all seen since Ross made his debut. Martinez put up with it, as he did with defending set pieces, Ron acts as he sees and Ross's inadequacies won't be tolerated. Shame really as I suspect Ross is blessed with a lot of talent but not much nouse.
Paul Burns
11 Posted 15/09/2016 at 17:50:51
Barkley's never a holding midfield player in a million years, can't believe anyone would even think he is. He should be an attacking midfielder in the vein of Paul Gascoigne... and if he can't do that, then he's finished because we need another holding player like a hole in the head.
Ste Wallace
12 Posted 15/09/2016 at 17:52:21
Ross can either listen to Koeman and flourish or go into his shell and regress. Make-or-break season for him, possibly.
Richard Dodd
13 Posted 15/09/2016 at 17:54:40
At least he didn't mention the grass!
Mike Mulhall
14 Posted 15/09/2016 at 17:57:29
I can see Barkley really failing to make good his potential. I really hope the lad proves me wrong but he is incredibly wasteful with his passing.
Don Alexander
15 Posted 15/09/2016 at 18:08:04
There are two points of interest, one being Ross Barkley, the other Ronald Koeman.

Koeman has the credentials as a player and manager to brook no argument regarding what's required in any position on the field. The sooner impressionable young players realise that they should prosper, if they have innate talent.

Ross in my opinion is impressionable, to put it mildly. Martinez, and maybe others, blowing smoke up his arse for three crucial years of so-called development did him no favours at all but the man, cos that's what he now is, needs to get on with it, tackle like he means it in addition to his creative input, or watch his career get overtaken by others in the club and the country. Right now he's way off being good, never mind great, and that's sad.

James Hughes
16 Posted 15/09/2016 at 18:15:59
Again people on here rush to judge a player and offer their tuppence worth of opinion. Yeah Ross is shite and lazy just like player x,y,z.

if you read the manager's comments

What happened last Monday was one game

I think it's more the way we (Everton) used to play because the player himself is strong enough to do better pressing, although that's not only for Ross in particular because it's also the case for some of the other players up front.

And for balance -
because we showed the clips and then there's no

But hey lets just beat him round the head, after all we support them (don't we?)

Peter Morris
17 Posted 15/09/2016 at 18:22:42
Martinez let Barkley down badly by not taking a firm grip on him and demanding that he addresses his regular shortcomings with work and practice – losing possession, misplaced distribution in compromising areas, lack of 'muscle', and failure to play as a team player.

I genuinely think Ross will blossom given the right leadership. He's not really an 'intelligent' player. You could see how he reacted coming off the pitch at Wembley in the semi-final. He is paranoid, like a frightened rabbit; and he's only 22 years of age. He plays intuitively and to get the best out of him he needs to be coached with a firm hand. Basically, to be told what to do, by someone he respects, or is frightened of, or both!

Enter Mr Koeman. He'll bring Ross around, and after all, Ross is one of the family, not some mercenary passing through, and we need to stick by our own.

Come on Ross, you can do it.

Tony Rio
18 Posted 15/09/2016 at 18:40:17
Spot on Jay (2). I said to my lad at half time that Koeman needs to take Barkley off cos he's losing the ball too much but I bet he won't. My eye was well wiped! Took him off and declared after the game precisely why – he lost the ball too much!

Football in its purist form is simple; don't give the ball away; when you've got it, attack; when you haven't, organise defensively and fight for it back! With all due respect to footballers, do what Clough did, make it simple for them, give instructions in as few words as possible and the same when explaining decisions. Big Ron (not from the Swan) is looking very promising indeed.

Patrick Murphy
19 Posted 15/09/2016 at 18:41:59
Koeman obviously believes that Ross can be a good asset to Everton FC, else he would just drop him and forget about him, but he's also aware that he can't afford to have any passengers in his team if he wants to be successful.

It's really a question of getting Ross to do everything naturally and not having to pause and think about what he should be doing and thus wasting the ball or not reacting quickly enough to the situation around him.

Perhaps, coming through the ranks Ross has found it all too easy in his early years and he hasn't been tested outside of the heat of the Premier League. Perhaps he is expecting too much from himself and he feels like a failure and therefore his confidence is shot.

Ross should take a leaf out of Gueye's or Davies's book and just keep doing the simple things in a game, pass it to a colleague and move in to a position to receive the ball back and then if there is a killer pass to be made, just go for it.

Some players just can't tackle and Ross is one such player, but he can chase and harry his opponents which will buy time for others in the team to win the ball back. I still think that there is a very good player to be seen with Ross, but not quite the stand out player we all thought he might be, but if he can turn his fortunes round out on the pitch, in the next few months, he will make a fine Everton FC player for years to come.

Steven Jones
20 Posted 15/09/2016 at 18:42:55
Agree wholeheartedly - in fact, after the game on Monday RK said that it could have been anyone of the front players and next time it will be someone else.

With a number of players competing for the front four positions RK will use that to pull the one or two that are not at it in particular games. RK is still not happy with the fitness levels and group pressing which he wants to be more aggressive. Ross will benefit greatly from this...

I expect him to be back in Saturday and Mirallas sitting in the bench – obviously depending what RK sees in training this week.

Brian Williams
21 Posted 15/09/2016 at 18:45:11
Peter (#17).

"He's not really an intelligent player."

You're dead right, Peter, he plays instinctively, and sometimes that results in amazing shows of skill.

Unfortunately the ability to play a certain pass at a certain time requires a certain level of intelligence which I fear Ross doesn't seem to have in abundance. That fact was highlighted by one of his former coaches, who mentioned that he feared what Ross lacked couldn't be coached. I hope he was wrong coz I love the lad and want him to be a worldbeater.

Eddie Dunn
22 Posted 15/09/2016 at 18:52:24
We will see if Koeman is prepared to give him another go in a starting role this weekend. At least Ross knows where he stands and has the chance to put things right.
Kunal Desai
23 Posted 15/09/2016 at 18:53:17
I know Ross is a local lad and everyone is eager for him to do well, but this is a results business, we cannot afford to carry passengers, we need our best eleven out there performing consistently at the highest level.

We needed a quality playmaker in the summer which never materialised, hopefully we can get one in over the next window if not then the summer. Ross would not only have competition for his position but also someone he could learn from.

The progression of Everton being a successful side is most important, I dearly want Ross to be a part of it but if success means bringing even better quality in and Ross being sacrificed for big money just like Stones then so be it. Eventually the club has to draw a line on his development if there is no progress over the two seasons.

Richard Reeves
24 Posted 15/09/2016 at 18:56:50
You've only got to look at the stat's on MNF to see Barkley is up there with Gerrard and Lampard in assists and goals at the same age. He has unbelievable talent and just needs the right manager to iron out the things he doesn't do well and become more consistent with his better performances. I think Koeman will do that and he'll have a very good season.

With regard to the holding midfielder role, if Koeman thinks he can play there, why rule it out? Martinez wasn't exactly an expert in the arts of defending. Maybe his best position is as a No 10 and his goalscoring record in that position isn't bad but I've always thought if we played a 4-4-2 formation, he would be a good central midfielder.

Seeing as we normally play two holding midfielders, that's where I think he could play and give the team more creativity allowing more of a lethal attack up-front. We might have a few holding midfielders but I would like to see more creativity from that position than what we've got in Cleverley or McCarthy. Besic and Gueye can provide that but, as good as they are, Barry and Gibson are getting on.

Stan Schofield
25 Posted 15/09/2016 at 18:58:30
Koeman is technically expert, a natural leader, has consummate attention to detail, and is a bullshit-free zone. Just what a very highly talented young player like Ross needs. If Koeman believes Ross will improve significantly, then chances are Ross will indeed improve significantly.
Raymond Fox
26 Posted 15/09/2016 at 19:00:23
Peter 17, so you have inside knowledge on what Martinez did or didn't do with Ross?

He's been on a downward slide for the last 12 months, his game was decent to good for 2 years under Martinez, who knows why he has lost the form he showed earlier.

I'm afraid the lad gives the impression to me, to put it bluntly that he wasn't at the front of the queue when brains were being given out.

That's obviously only an opinion on my part, I like the lad and I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think he's going to be the top player we all hoped he'd be, at least not as a playmaker.

As Paul said earlier, he's more of a finisher than a link man.

Ben Dyke
27 Posted 15/09/2016 at 19:02:43
The fact he started with him shows he has something but he has to do the basics well to earn a right to play and do some magic in the last third.

These basics are retaining possession and doing defensive duties as required. The lad has time under Koeman to iron that out and become a first choice consistently.

Liam Reilly
28 Posted 15/09/2016 at 19:04:27
His confidence has taken a knock with the national team omission; so Monday's performance wasn't a surprise really.

Interesting that Koeman mentions pressing from the front; to do that, they need to be a lot fitter. Deulofeu was drinking water after 10 minutes on Monday. They are far from there yet.

Darren Hind
29 Posted 15/09/2016 at 19:06:09
"There was a reason to change Ross at half-time, because he didn't play well."

What, no Bullshit? None at all?

Much as I love Ross, his days of being told not to worry about mistakes are over The arm around the shoulder has been tried. Looks like the boss has decided to go for the boot up the arse.

Paul Smith
30 Posted 15/09/2016 at 19:18:44
I think Ross Barkley is in a very critical stage in his career. There are two ways in which this can go.

The first is he listens and learns quickly that he has to show more effort and desire with and without the ball. This will enable him to grow as a player and become the player we hoped he would be for us.

The second option is him not showing any improvement and his place will be gone and he will be transferred as an enigma type player. I feel it is all down to his attitude which is something I worry about as I don't feel he has the inner desire needed to be a top player.

I think Ross has until January to shape up to how the manager wants him to play; otherwise, I see a replacement brought in. I have to commend the manager as he is saying and doing all the right things at the moment.

Chris Leyland
31 Posted 15/09/2016 at 19:21:27
Raymond Fox - it is interesting that you feel that his game was good for the first two years under Martinez before declining.

In those first two seasons he played 74 games and scored 9 goals. In his third season, he played 48 games and scored 12 goals. This season it is 5 played and 2 scored.

Paul Conway
32 Posted 15/09/2016 at 19:24:11
James Hughes (#16),

Why can't we judge the player? Everybody judges. We judged Martinez, Niasse, McGeady and the majority of us thought they were shite. Barkley was shite the other night and his piss poor performance and ball presenting the opposition could have cost us victory... if he was still kept on.

Koeman has put it to him and is keeping us informed that if he doesn't improve, he is history. We can't win games with potential and as the boss said, he saw the clips and there is no escape.

Chris Leyland
33 Posted 15/09/2016 at 19:26:54
Oh and in his first two seasons under Martinez he got a grand total of 2 assists in the league, same per season. Last season he managed 8 and this season it is 1 already.
John Daley
34 Posted 15/09/2016 at 19:37:23
Some people try and make out he's got a malteser for a mind while others say his ultimate goal should be to be more like Gazza?

Julian Wait
35 Posted 15/09/2016 at 19:47:25
It's the Goldilocks theory of hiring managers:

- This one is too hard -- Moyes, who is renowned, rightly or wrongly, for being dour, negative, taking knives to gunfights, and for running strikers into the ground with defensive duties ...

+ This one is too soft -- Martinez, who is renowned, rightly or wrongly, for being overly optimistic and positive when unwarranted, and relieving all 11 players of defensive duties ...

= This one is just right -- Koeman, who is renowned, rightly or wrongly, for being realistic, pragmatic, attack minded but defensively responsible, and ensuring all 11 players share defensive duties appropriately and in an organized and effective way ...

Let's see how this one goes for Goldilocks. I for one am realistically hopeful and optimistically pragmatic and will take the negatives with the perspective they deserve ...

Peter Morris
36 Posted 15/09/2016 at 19:58:27
Raymond (#260),

No I have no inside knowledge of Martinez's one-on-one treatment of Ross. What I do have is the benefit of my own eyesight, which I trust implicitly, and having witnessed poor performance after poor performance (not only from Ross, it must be said) and then listened to the señor's comments about that performance, I conclude that this behaviour contributed to Ross's downward trajectory in output.

And yes, it is because I think he isn't very bright. Plenty of footballers aren't bright, they are just gifted, but surely players like Ross can't be expected to decode the spaced out choice of language used by our former manager?

I'm sure Ross will respond to plain English, delivered in a heavy Dutch accent!

Ian Bennett
37 Posted 15/09/2016 at 20:07:03
I am not sure about a holding midfielder, but I don't see a huge difference in physique and skill compared with Sissoko, who must have been ear marked for a central midfield role – £30m...

I do see Ross playing as a box to box midfielder long term. I don't think he's a striker nor a number 10. Can he play deeper? Yes, but he needs to defend better and cut out the brain farts.

I hope he kicks on, and the hard words from Koeman will make him grow up. He's going to benefit far better long term than the pile of old flannel from Bob.

Tom Magill
38 Posted 15/09/2016 at 20:07:09
Ha ha, Darren Hind (#29)

My thoughts exactly, hope the boot up the arse works!

Marcus Leigh
39 Posted 15/09/2016 at 20:20:26
Yet again RK shows himself to be a man who knows his own mind and will take whatever decisions are necessary to make the team successful. I truly hope that Ross responds positively to this and kicks on under Koeman's tutelage to be the player we have all hoped he could become.
Raymond Fox
40 Posted 15/09/2016 at 20:24:00
Chris (#31 and #33), well, let's just say my perception along with it seems plenty on here and the last two England managers is the his game has gone downhill in the last 12 months approx. measured against what he promised previously.

Stats are unreliable for all sorts of reasons.

Ian Riley
41 Posted 15/09/2016 at 20:26:38
Ross has been told the previous two seasons how fantastic, brilliant and world class he is by his manager. Sadly we could see his development wasn't happening. Ross has come down with a bang. Koeman must build his confidence first. Playing him every game won't help. Take him out of the lime light for a while.

Barkley has been given false impressions by the man who should have been honest with him. This is the biggest challenge of his Everton career. Koeman is the man to get the best out of Barkley because he will be honest with him.

Ciarán McGlone
42 Posted 15/09/2016 at 20:27:21
Sounds to me like he intends to start him this weekend..

Don't really understand that, if indeed that's his intention. This is not the Ross Barkley show.

Raymond Fox
43 Posted 15/09/2016 at 20:33:55
Peter (#36), you can conclude whatever you want, but it's only your opinion.

In post (#17), your first sentence is delivered like a fact when again it's just your opinion.

The thing is, Peter, we have no idea what Martinez said to him in private.

Bobby Thomas
44 Posted 15/09/2016 at 20:40:10
The de-Martinezification of the squad continues.

Thank God. I don't think anyone symbolised the failings of the previous regime more than Ross. He was the size of a house at the end of last season, for one.

But one thing has always worried me. Martinez tried Ross at a kind of left-half position. Not unreasonably I felt, as he is an attacking midfielder. Attacking mids need the flexibility to play all across mid, especially these days. Ross can't play deep, he's too poor off the ball. So, instead of being just a Number 10 type, I thought it was reasonable of Martinez, as much as I didn't rate him, to attempt to develop Barkley's game by doing some left-hand side.

Poor coaching may have played a role. Definitely I think. But he appeared to have little idea how to play the role. No natural sense of how to play it.

That means he can't play deep. He can't really play wide. It seems he's a 10 or nothing. To be an effective 10, exclusively a 10, you have to be European class, Zola, Bergkamp, if you want to be a top player in the top division. In that role you can't make the mistakes Ross makes.

It's a position in which you're either good enough, or not. In that role you have to affect the play. Positively. Not negatively by slowing the game down and constantly giving the ball away.

If that's what you do then you rip up the next division down like a Robbie Blake type. I know which Ross is nearer between Zola and Robbie Blake. He is, as it stands, nowhere near effective enough. Forget England. He isn't good enough. He's got some serious flaws that need addressing.

Peter Morris
45 Posted 15/09/2016 at 20:57:24
Raymond, I can conclude whatever I want; it is only my opinion, because this is a forum, and it is one of its purposes.

And your point is?

Gerard Wood
46 Posted 15/09/2016 at 21:12:54
Some of the reviews of Ross's ability are unreal for a 22-year-old. I can understand if we paid top money for him to be ready-made... let's judge him when he reaches the peak of his career.
Paul Tran
47 Posted 15/09/2016 at 21:21:29
Darren, that boot's got to work, nothing else has. You can't be a promising young player with people making excuses for you for ever.

Forget about England, get some consistency and club level and the caps will come.

When Ross was sitting on the bench in the second half, I hope he was watching Gana, Barry and Rodwell closely.

Two I hope he aspires to be; one I hope he doesn't end up as... It's in his hands.

Patrick Carty
48 Posted 15/09/2016 at 21:22:06
Ronald Koeman is like a breath of fresh air in our club, I feel confident and very happy again. Long may it continue.
Danny Broderick
49 Posted 15/09/2016 at 21:22:35
Stats can be misleading sometimes. I saw Ross being compared to Scholes, Lampard and Gerrard the other night statistically. What the stats don't tell you is that the other 3 did everything that Ross does, but in addition, they ran all over the pitch and also put their foot in where required.

Ross has the talent – absolutely beyond doubt. But this has to act as a wake-up call. If he is going to succeed in midfield or as a Number 10, he needs to get his fitness right so he is much sharper. Even if you are not the quickest off the blocks, you can do well by thinking sharply and anticipating. Gareth Barry does this excellently, both in possession and when closing people down. Ross needs to get this if he is going to survive in midfield.

I personally would try to convert him into a Sheringham type player, playing with his back to goal and coming deep, because I don't believe he will ever have the mobility required to play in midfield.

I read Leon Osman's autobiography recently, and it was interesting what he said about Jack Rodwell. Basically, he had all the talent in the world, but he was an academy footballer, not a street footballer. As a consequence, he was lacking in nouse, the team ethic and the win-at-all-costs mentality. Remind you of anyone?

Winston Williamson
50 Posted 15/09/2016 at 21:31:39
Sorry if I'm duplicating as I've not fully read all posts.

It seems to me that Barkley has never been coached in a specialised position. He's played everywhere in midfield during his short career with the blues first team, but it seems successive managers have been unable to train him for a dedicated position.

We get varied opinions on here of his best position because he's either not nailed down a position himself or he's not been coached into a position properly.

He's played predominantly in the hole behind the striker, but is he naturally gifted for this role or is he forcing his abilities to fit the position, thus inconsistent displays?

Or are we just overthinking a simple game and placing too much pressure on a young lad coz he's a blue at heart?

Paul Smith
51 Posted 15/09/2016 at 21:36:57
I think people forget we as fans (and no slight on us intended, we all want a local hero) serenaded him with the diamond song for a couple of seasons, it wasn't just Martinez bigging him up.
Eric Owen
52 Posted 15/09/2016 at 21:52:39
Now we will see if he's a man or a mouse!

At last someone has told him. I really feel he will prove he's no mouse and will add depth and strength to our 2016 team.

Thanks RK and "Go man, Go, Ross!"

Gary Reeves
54 Posted 15/09/2016 at 22:31:29
Lots on here clinging to hopes of some miraculous improvement, despite overwhelming evidence stretching back a few years now...

C'mon boys, seriously!! Ross Barkley does not figure in our strongest 11 anymore, absolutely not. Did Monday's second half tell you nothing?

Mike Gaynes
55 Posted 15/09/2016 at 22:49:15
I'm still a lone voice in the wilderness here, but I remain convinced that most of Barkley's problem is that he's in the wrong spot on the field – and no, I don't think he's a holding midfielder.

Think about his positives – strong, fast, skillful, instinctive, reactive, loves the ball, loves to drive at the defenders, finishes well.

Now look at his negatives – blind on the ball, unable to mesh in midfield, and generally dumb as a box of rocks strategically. And, occasionally, lazy.

The lad's a born forward.

I doubt Koeman will try it, but I'd love to see him as the supporting front man playing off Rom, 100% of the time. The transition might be awkward for a while, but I think in a few months we'd have a potent scorer to boast about.

John Raftery
56 Posted 15/09/2016 at 22:59:05
Martinez stuck with Ross last season and paid the price. His drop in form was one of the factors in our total collapse in the last couple of months of the season. Hopefully Koeman will simplify the game for him, unclutter his brain and get him doing the simple things quickly and well. In some ways, I think Ross tries too hard to be the world class player his last manager told him he was, when he would achieve more by just keeping to the basics.

His goal at Man City in the semi-final of the League Cup was one illustration of what he is capable of but he needs to produce more than the occasional brilliant goal to merit a place in a successful Premier League side. His career is at a crossroads but he will hardly have a better manager to put him on the right path.

Colin Glassar
57 Posted 15/09/2016 at 23:00:35
I haven't read all the comments but there seems to be an overriding desire that Ross succeeds. I firmly believe he has the manager who not only believes in him but will also iron out his deficiencies and we will see the real Ross Barkley blossom this season.
Garry Taylor
58 Posted 15/09/2016 at 23:12:15
One of the best games I recall Barkley playing was against QPR at home in 2014. We had injuries in midfield and Barkley played alongside Besic. I had reservations about Barkley playing deeper with his "can't tackle, won't tackle" approach but I was actually very surprised. He actually put a shift in and ran the show, sadly and for some bizarre reason he was never played in this position again.

Number 10 or central midfielder is the million dollar question.

I think he will ultimately end up as a central midfielder if he improves his fitness, work rate and positioning. It's easier to coach these attributes than the vision and skill required for a No 10 which I think you are either born with or not.

Someone said earlier that he could be a long term replacement for Barry, which isn't a bad shout.

I hope he gets his head down and works his bollocks off and the crowd don't treat him like shit because there is an outstanding player in there Hopefully Ron will bring it out of him.

Ernie Baywood
59 Posted 15/09/2016 at 23:14:46
John #56 I don't think Roberto just stuck with Ross, I think he actively encouraged him to become the player we were seeing. There's no way he was directed to press, track back, improve stamina.

Now we've got a manager asking him to do exactly that.

Whoever is right and whoever is wrong (obviously most will think Roberto's plan wrong, as I do), I actually feel for Ross. An important time in his development and he's being asked to do a complete 180 degrees on previous direction. Ross needs to take responsibility for his career but Everton, as a club, has let him down.

Trevor Peers
60 Posted 15/09/2016 at 23:24:34
Bobby (#44), Your last sentence sums Ross up; for a Premier League player, he has 'some serious flaws that need addressing'.

No amount of goodwill will overcome his failings, especially under the scrutiny of a world class football brain like Keoman's.

Oliver Molloy
61 Posted 15/09/2016 at 23:35:00
Well, for me (and I have said this for quite some time), I just don't see this fantastic player that lots and lots of people do, fans and pundits alike. Yes, he can be brilliant, but he's never consistent.

All this talk about positions... How do you coach a simple weighted pass – to look up and see what's round you? You either have it in your locker or you don't, and this side of Barkley's game lets him and the team down time and time again. And his decision-making is pretty awful at times.

I think what made Koeman's mind up to sub Barkley was just 2 or 3 minutes before half-time when there was a 50-50 challenge and Barkley pulled out. Had he even challenged for the ball and won it, we were on the attack.

I would be over the moon to see this Evertonian succeed and prove me wrong but Koeman looks like he's not up for any passengers in his side and, like some others have said, this could be a make or break season for young Ross; he needs to get going and quickly.

Dan Davies
62 Posted 15/09/2016 at 23:52:37
Does Koeman throw him in at the deep end? Sink or swim sort of thing...? If that's the case, I can see Ross struggling.

Does Koeman let him sit games out on the bench, thereby giving Ross time to suss out what the manager wants? Take the pressure off him and hope he comes good?

I'd prefer the latter. A bit of time out might do him the world of good, get him hungry with something to prove when he comes on later in games.

John Mckay
63 Posted 15/09/2016 at 23:57:47
I have no worries about Ross Barkley, he will come good. He has been coached for the last 3 years to retain possession and play sideways passes by Martinez; it worked for a while. His stats was amazing at the beginning of last season because he would just pass it around sideways and wasn't penetrating the opposition defence enough.

I think we all have over hyped Ross and all have expected too much of him too soon, after all we all wanted him to be our 'Gerrard', I honestly believe he is still in Martinez mode and this will soon enough be coached out of him, or beaten out of him, like what's happening now.

I remember a couple of years ago when he would pick the ball up and run at people and fly past 3-4 players (like his goal against Newcastle) I think this has been slightly coached out of him because of Martinez possession/passing game.

Give him time and support and he will prevail, don't forget he is only 22 and has had a lot of expectation to live up to, everyone expects Magic everytime he gets the ball! Maybe getting dropped for a couple of games might do him the world of good, I think he can do a lot more going forward a lot better like when he broke into the scene but he is just scared of losing the ball or seeing his touches/passing stats go down.

It's nice to see players with immense stats, but stats mean nothing compared to penetrating attacking football All will be fine with Ross, mark my words.

Les Martin
64 Posted 15/09/2016 at 00:04:17
Ronald Koeman as manager is the best thing that will happen to Ross, if Ronald cant sort him out, guide him and take him to the level we hope then he will sell him, make no mistake.

The manager is honest straightforward and knows the game and players as good as anyone. Its up to Ross, the mechanisms are in place, he needs to be boss, show more aggression and get himself and the game by the scruff of the neck.

I believe it will happen and he will get fitter, make better decisions and man up on the pitch, he needs fire in his belly. It's down to the player, a massive year for him.

Anthony Dwyer
65 Posted 15/09/2016 at 00:04:54
Ross got taken off for performing badly for 45 minutes, no more no less.

He's a massive player for the Blues, one of our very own. He has 2 goals and 2 assists in 4 league and 1 cup game, his form is good, he just didn't perform to well on Monday.

Us Blues should not get caught up in the hype and get on Ross case, we should instead give Ross the support he so rightly deserves.

I'd bet that Ross will hit double figures in the league this season, and that's good enough for most attacking midfielders.

Douglas McClenaghan
66 Posted 15/09/2016 at 00:10:03
"...we showed the clips and then there's no escape."

I love this 'shit or get off the can' attitude. I wonder where Barkley will be at the end of the season. The clock is now ticking on his career.

Darren Hind
67 Posted 16/09/2016 at 00:22:51
Just seen it.

Why do I feel I've just watched a "Sit down" with Tony Soprano every time I see him give an interview?

Steve Smith
68 Posted 16/09/2016 at 00:30:33
Barkley's a decent player who's shown too few flashes of brilliance in over 100 games for us, he's not potential any more. He's also one of the most frustrating players to watch for me, but that's probably because like most on here, I've wanted him to do so much better than he actually has.

I think its time to accept we still have a good player but not the world beater we all hoped he would be, I also hope he proves me wrong.

Barry Jones
69 Posted 16/09/2016 at 01:28:03
It's definitely sink or swim time. What we don't know is whether or not Ross has the innate qualities inside of him that can enable him succeed. The manager's own agenda to succeed will take a higher priority so I cannot see him persevering forever.
Derek Thomas
70 Posted 16/09/2016 at 01:47:57
Tony & Patrick at #18, #19 and no doubt others ; Spot on. Instinct is when you do it without thinking in a split second, the dropped teacup, the cricket ball etc. Practice is when you train yourself to do it... seemingly without thinking... in the same split second.

Slightly off topic I know, but it's like Repartee. Repartee is Instinctive, all the good ones have it. It comes without thinking, in a split second... and how many of us mere mortals think of the witty reply 2 mins, 10 mins later or on the way home or the next day?...most of us.

That's the real difference between Bob Hope and a mere Smart Arse. The real difference between say (no disrespect to either) Sheedy and Cahill as midfielders. Instinctive talent + practice and hard workvs A decent talent + practice and hard work.

But what the true greats have is a deep well of responses...instantaneous, split second responses, all stored, ready... the famous 'well rehearsed ad-lib'...AND the Instinctive.

This comes with practice, practice makes perfect, makes it seem like it's Instinctive... until, lo and behold, with a bit of luck one day - IT IS.

I fear if Barkey ever does gain this level of competence, become a late(ish) Improver/developer, It mightn't be here, as I don't see Koeman's patience lasting forever.

If he does, he will owe Koeman and his Staff a tremendous debt... and, 20 years down the track, will be either forever kicking himself or thanking his lucky stars he listened and learned.

Anto Byrne
71 Posted 16/09/2016 at 03:03:53
After the Sunderland game, Moyes said he would be taking his players on the field to learn how to defend.

Defending is something Ross needs to learn and that has to happen on the training ground. For a player to be blowing hard nearing half time if not physically fit then has to be mentally unfit. Looks like there is no enjoyment just now leading to a crisis of confidence.

I would be pulling him out of the starting line-up and using him for impact late in the game asking him to do a job and keeping it simple. Pressing tackles and chasing for a start. Keeping possession and making every pass count. A lot more energy and a good 20 minutes is achievable.

Mike Gaynes
72 Posted 16/09/2016 at 03:06:08
Different accent, Darren... but he does sort of project that presence, doesn't he?
David Barks
73 Posted 16/09/2016 at 03:15:11
I just have to say, I'm very impressed with RK's team and player management so far. He's not belittling players, but challenging them. He's not denying their potential, but he's telling them that potential isn't enough.

Barkley has to improve. And I could see Lukaku getting 30 goals this season to be honest. He doesn't tear the players down in the press, just says enough of the truth while also publicly encouraging the player. I would have to imagine that the veteran players must love it. And the young players must know that they're going to have to earn everything.

Peter Lee
74 Posted 16/09/2016 at 04:31:00
First half on Monday, moves broke down or slowed down too often when the ball reached any of the midfield trio. Lukaku was also guilty of failing to control the ball when it was played up.

Ross Barkley was the worst offender and in the first 15 minutes I counted 6 times when promising moves were turned over to Sunderland possession and a counter-attack because of the faults detailed above. Matters were so poor in my view I was up for a wholesale swap for Lennon, Deulofeu and Davies.

The switch made by the manager, and the hard words, had the desired effect. Bolasie turned into the winger he can be, although I fear we'll see more than a few performances such as that in the first half (excepting the great cross for that Lukaku header), and Mirallas was gifted what he seems to want, a chance at 10. He was better but has a long way to go in either that position or on the wing in my view. Deulofeu looked hungry for the opportunity whilst being far from perfect.

I'd start with those three Saturday but I would be keen to give Lennon a good run during the second half and to test Tom Davies for a half-hour in the hole.

Mike Dolan
75 Posted 16/09/2016 at 05:59:25
Ross can obviously be a brilliant player but the horrendous leg break he got a few years ago has left him timid on the ball. He pulls out of tackles all of the time. He tries to just dump the ball because he is instinctively frightened of being tackled.

He was a complete player before his injury now he plays scared. Good enough for an 11th place team maybe but those days are behind us.

I hope beyond hope that Ross can get over what is essentially a psychological problem. If he does we will see a complete player who is world class but he's getting very near to the crossroads.

Geoff Evans
76 Posted 16/09/2016 at 07:18:59
Potential at some stage has to become reality.
Ian Cowhig
77 Posted 16/09/2016 at 07:21:01
The main comments have been 'sharpness' & 'anticipation'. Totally agree. I would also add positional sense, and this is the part that Koeman should apply focus.

Ross is better with the ball at his feet facing goal, not with a defender up his backside, back to goal. I would show him the Arsenal game at the Emirates in Martinez' first season. He may have received the ball with his back to goal, but his positioning allowed him to turn and start moving forward.

This is what he lost in the last two seasons. He comes towards the ball, back to goal, gets it passes it back. Totally ineffective. If he wants a more up to date example. Then Deulofeu, as soon as he came on on Monday, was finding space in between and behind their midfield. Very simple.

Steven Jones
78 Posted 16/09/2016 at 08:43:29
Sorry Mike - Doesn't make sense... did you see the tackle he put in on Wilshere the first away game to Arsenal under Martinez?

Barks is capable of the big crunching tackle and putting himself about.

I (although a big fan of RM) think it was Martinez getting into his head that he needs to save his energy for the counter attacks, to go into tackles looking to pinch the ball and set things off, not to go off your feet, gain an advantage in transition etc etc

That without the pressing and fitness I think has taken its toll.

Paul Tran
79 Posted 16/09/2016 at 08:52:24
Funny thing, Darren, is that my Dutch wife caught a bit of this presser and asked if I thought he was stroking an invisible white cat.

I mean, if a Dutch person thinks he's scary...

Lee Brownlie
80 Posted 16/09/2016 at 09:02:26
Think we're mostly all on the same lines with Ross... that he's STILL unrealised potential, however long he's been a regular. Also that he's unlikely to be become a great 'holding' midfielder.

Some of the 'brainless' stuff is a bit unnecessary as we don't need him to be a mastermind to the job, especially in and around the last third; bit of off-the-cuff magic'll do!

As for Danny [#49], I get that the players mentioned like Gerrard had similar attacking stats, but also did the heavier work, but would hesitate to say Scholes was good at getting his foot in; Gerrard too often, too for that matter, if we're talking 'cleanly'!

Anyway, I hope this newfound air of managerial honesty does the trick. Come on, Rossy, COYTs!!!

Rick Tarleton
81 Posted 16/09/2016 at 09:25:29
Yes, Barkley does need to improve. But he and Deuloefeu too for that matter, have gifts that are unteachable. Watch the way Barkley controls the ball with either foot as it comes to him, the way he can glide at pace up the field in a way that reminds me of Bobby Charlton. His shooting power too is outstanding. He'll never be an orthodox midfielder, his defensive ability is non-existant, he can't tackle and as for pressing when he does it, it looks like an afterthought, not instinctive as it needs to be.

If I can go back to the Charlton comparison, at first Man Utd didn't know what to do with him. they played him as a striker alongside Tommy Taylor, then as a winger on the left. Eventually, he became an advanced midfielder; Stiles and Crerand did the "dirty" work behind him.

Managers love work rate, so do crowds. Henderson and Milner are the ideals, players who never stop running and never give a pass longer than five yards. I watch the German clown across the park, destroying a talented striker who has pace and is a natural finisher, because he wants an automaton who'll chase back down the wing. The other "great" manager at Tottenham is destroying another fine young natural striker, because the lad is permanently exhausted by the demands of the pressing game.

Good managers know how to make the most of their players' gifts, not try to turn them all into clones.
Barkley has a great talent, he lacks confidence, not surprising the way the crowd reacts to his mistakes , and the way the manager is keen to emphasise what he can't do, rather than what he can do.

Barkley has to be employed as a number 10 as they now call that position, where his shooting and running ability could be used. A good manager would emphasise his skill and make him feel valued, not try to turn him into another James Milner.

We'll lose him soon and that would be a tragedy. He's a rare talent.

Dave Ganley
82 Posted 16/09/2016 at 09:35:27
To be honest I don't see what all the fuss is about really. I think Ross has started the season decently enough, he just had a bit of a stinker on Monday night. Big Ron has already shown that he is not afraid to change it sooner rather than later if something isn't working so Ross was subbed.

The last couple of seasons have been and gone. We have a new regime and new (better) way of doing things. There's no point bleating about how good, bad or indifferent Ross was, or indeed anybody was during Martinez's reign. Fact of the matter is that we were a poor team and needed a radical shake up, which Big Ron is giving us. There will be lapses in what he demands, it's still early doors and players are still coming to terms with the work rate/quality he wants. Big Ron is not shy about telling the players when they have both it wrong. In Barkley's case that was Monday night.

Ross has already shown that he is buying into what Big Ron is doing. He is quite slim-lined compared to last season, is tackling, winning headers and tracking back – all things he seemed incapable of last season. OK Monday was a bad night at the office, all players have them, but he will come back better for the warning Big Ron has given him.

Shane Corcoran
83 Posted 16/09/2016 at 09:55:58
The most telling part for me is the bit about working hard. I banged on all last season about Ross without the ball. He was about as effective as McCarthy with the ball. Token running on the spot instead of either getting in a good defensive position or pressing the man on the ball.

This, for Koeman I believe, is a starting point for all players. It doesn't take a football brain. A five-year-old knows that when you don't have it you have to get it back. Once he's addressed that he'll feel the warmth of Koeman and hopefully the confidence to play with the ball returns.

I'm not convinced he has a long term future at a club at the top of the Premier League but I hope he does and I hope he gets a chance to prove it.

Alan J Thompson
84 Posted 16/09/2016 at 10:24:20
Mr Koeman has told him that this is what you are doing and shown him the film of it. Next is what he wants him to do which isn't yet on film. It's called coaching, it's called man management, it's experience.
One knows what is wanted and now the other has to show it. Barkley won't be alone, probably isn't the first and more than likely is only one of the first ten to already experience it.
Stan Schofield
85 Posted 16/09/2016 at 12:07:13
Rick @81: Great post, says it all. I believe that Koeman is trying to channel Ross's talents, which as you say are not everyday things.

I think there is too much emphasis by some managers, including the hyperactive Klopp child, on players burning a million calories every game, instead of looking at the finer points of football. I'm confident that the fact that RK was a top player himself will be very significant in all this.

As the old sayings go, you can't put in what nature left out, and you can train a donkey to run faster but you can't turn it into a race horse. Ross is a race horse whose natural talent needs exploiting, and Koeman has some experience in this.

Stephen Jones
87 Posted 16/09/2016 at 13:08:25
Mike Dylan (#76), spot on, mate. I also believe that his history of the 2 injuries he suffered as a teenager is weighing heavily on his mind and he needs counselling to clear his mind of his obvious fear of putting in a tackle. He also needs desire to succeed as, without it, I see no future in the top flight for him. I hope he gets sorted as he could be some player for us. NSNO
Ernie Baywood
88 Posted 16/09/2016 at 13:11:12
I love to see a great challenge. A proper crunching tackle. We won't see Ross make them – he'll stay on his feet with the logic that if he wins the ball, he might as well be in a position to make use of it.

I recall seeing a stat (yes I know, a stat) that his tackles won ratio was quite good.

Concerned about plenty with Ross, but not his tackling. Seems an unfair stick to beat him with.

Steve Hogan
89 Posted 16/09/2016 at 13:29:27
Matt Williams (#7)

i think you're being a little unfair on Ross saying 'he believes he's the finished article and doesn't need to work hard', really?

Nothing I've seen or heard about Ross leads me to believe he's arrogant or a 'Billy big bollocks'. He's going through a poor spell of form that's for sure, but to label him lazy, I don't believe that's the case.

There were times last season that he needed to be either 'dropped' or rested, and taken out of a team that had clearly stopped believing what the manager was telling them.

Martinez's insistence on playing him, week-in & week out, has clearly left him damaged. As one of our own, I hope he is able to get back to the form everyone knows he is capable of.

Matt Traynor
90 Posted 16/09/2016 at 13:29:41
His main injury was the triple leg break as a 16-year-old wasn't it? I read that one of the reasons he is capable of scoring from distance with his left, is he was so protective of his right during his recuperation and used his left a lot for ball work, so it seems understandable, if frustrating, about his worries.
Steavey Buckley
91 Posted 16/09/2016 at 13:31:02
One of the reasons why Barkley suffered serious injuries he was with England youth coaches of unknown quality belonging to England's younger teams, when there is little or nothing gained playing for England for Everton's up-and-coming younger players.

Everton's academy players are best served when with Everton all of the time, as the England set will never enhance their prospects of playing for Everton. Ledson is the recent example of this. Recently played for England Under-19s; when he returned to Everton, he was transferred to Oxford. Not the move he would have wished for.

Rick Tarleton
92 Posted 16/09/2016 at 13:55:30
Barkley's in good company. I see in today's "Guardian" that Conte at Chelsea is unhappy with the work-rate and defensive skills of the World Cup winning midfielder, Fabregas. Milner and Henderson are the ideals for these managers.
Neil Pickering
93 Posted 16/09/2016 at 15:25:36
In my opinion, Barkley has 'all the gear but no idea'. By that I mean he has all the physical attributes but not brains to be really top class.

What you are seeing now is the best us or any other side will get with Ross. He will always give the ball away, his decision making will always be dubious, and he will continue to never be a midfielder as long as he has a hole in his arse!

Put all the sentiment aside of him being a local lad made good, and think about this – for the money that we now allegedly have, could we get better? For me the answer is unequivocally yes, and we should be looking to strengthen in this area in January.

Darren Hind
94 Posted 16/09/2016 at 16:11:53
I like him Paul.

Couldn't take to the last two, both spoke to us as if we were born yesterday.

I keep saying I will reserve judgement, but I'm warming to him already.

Perhaps I'm mellowing in me arl age.

William Cartwright
95 Posted 16/09/2016 at 16:31:03
Here's a twist...

I see Ross as an out-and-out centre-forward, in the true, old-fashioned sense of the term. A 'Dixie' reborn if you will.

He has the skills to either hold the ball or go it alone if the situation demands it. He is not a mid-fielder, he is an out-and-out attacker / finisher of world class skill. He scores wonderful goals and tap-ins. Pirlo penalties and wonderful one-twos. Also, he is an Evertonian.

Why then are we putting up with all this bullshit midfield crap? Get him in the goal mouth and let him loose. Easy.

Kevin Turner
96 Posted 16/09/2016 at 18:19:13
William (#95), I don't see those attributes in the lad at all.

I think we are seeing Koeman at his most clinical here (and that's a good thing, no?). He's told Ross what's expected of him and if he doesn't come up the the plate then I'm afraid he's toast. I'd love him to come good but there's something missing from his mentality and it doesn't auger well.

Viv Sharma
97 Posted 16/09/2016 at 18:30:26
Often with these 'up and coming wonderkids' you blink and they're 28 and still just chock-full-of-potential.

It keeps happening to me and my perception of young players so naturally I'd assumed by all the talk that Ross must be entering his early thirties by now... He's 22!!!!!

If we'd signed him this summer, we'd happily earmark him as one for the future.

He has BAGS of top level experience, and INCREDIBLE amount of talent and now a manager who is a) not afraid to use him nor b) afraid to criticize him. Both previous managers have seriously halted his growth but Koeman will let him flourish. If he's not hauled off for playing badly, how will he learn?

The fact that Koeman recognized the problem and promptly fixed it without worrying about poor delicate little Rossies feelings is a testament to both what a quality professional manager we have and also to the fact that Ross is a big boy and can be coached like everyone else in the league. He was captain a few weeks ago; Koeman knows his stuff and Ross will be just fine. More than fine.


Victor Jones
98 Posted 16/09/2016 at 22:58:29
Ross Barkley sort of reminds me of "Donk", the big guy out of crocodile Dundee. Always needed to be told what to do by that wee guy. Barkley was Martinez's Donk. Martinez was the wee guy. The wee guy did all the thinking and talking. Time now for Barkley to start thinking and talking for himself.

Surely Barkley must be hurting that Everton won that game the other night without him. His contribution was poor. Surely Barkley has listened to Koeman, and taken everything on board. Surely Barkley is champing at the bit to prove his worth against the Boro on Saturday? I would play him. But he's off at half time should he be showing no signs of lessons being learnt. The ball really is in Barkley's court. I hope that he realises that. I think that he has to have taken all the comments made this week on board. He has to. Stupid if he hasn't. Ross Barkley might not turn out to be an all time Everton great. Who knows? But he still could have a great Everton career. I hope that he grasps that chance. Just a final thought... did Barkley not break a leg in his early footballing days? Could that maybe be a reason why he does not really go full-blooded into a tackle? Would having suffered that kind of injury not have affected some players approach to tackling? It could explain a lot about Barkley.

And Barkley is never a DMF. For me he needs to be trained as an old fashioned inside forward. Playing up front through the middle, just off Lukaku. Also forget about midfield. He's an attacker. Just my opinion.Bring on the Boro. Up The Toffees..

Brent Stephens
99 Posted 16/09/2016 at 23:37:51
Viv (#97), "It keeps happening to me and my perception of young players so naturally I'd assumed by all the talk that Ross must be entering his early thirties by now. He's 22!!!!!"

That sort of thinking always drags me back to optimism. Good man, Viv.

Brian Wilkinson
100 Posted 17/09/2016 at 00:23:39
IT is amazing that some fans will give Lukaku all the patience of him coming good, but in the same breath, Ross gets no leway hounded if a stray pass is played, Jesus you can hear the groans from the city centre let alone Goodison.

No doubting he had a bad day at the office Monday and deserved to be taken off, but he will have good and bad days, like most of our players at some point.

We need to encourage him, get behind the lad and hope he learns from his mistakes.

Barkly first goal Saturday, you just know it's fate.

Mike Dolan
101 Posted 17/09/2016 at 00:50:34
William Cartwright (#95), I totally agree with you. He's an out-and-out No 9.
Ray Jacques
102 Posted 17/09/2016 at 08:33:52
I say give the lad until Xmas before we judge him. Then the excuses – such as broke his leg 7 years ago, Martinez ruined him, carries too much muscle, needs to take on board Koeman's advice – will /should not be issues.

The ball is firmly in Ross's court and he now has no reason not to prove himself the top player we hope he can be. If he cannot do it, then we sign a replacement who improves the team.

John Crawley
103 Posted 17/09/2016 at 11:05:53
Ernie 59 Agree with you on this. Ross has basically not been coached properly for the last three years. Martinez gave him confidence and freedom to play but then what? From what I can see, there was nothing else. Same happened with Stones.

Ross now has a manager who will ensure he's coached properly. I think there will be a few bumps in the road but I'm sure we'll see a very good player emerge.

Damian Wilde
104 Posted 17/09/2016 at 11:56:23
Disagree with this 'he hasn't been coached properly' nonsense, the lad can barely pass at times and can't even be bothered to chase a ball if he loses it.

Very true words from Koeman and about time, this lad has been giving away the ball frequently for over a year; the last clown loved him though so never said anything. Koeman's honesty is refreshing. Love the guy (at the mo!)!

Laurie Hartley
105 Posted 17/09/2016 at 12:05:36
Ross Barkley has a great first touch with both feet, can turn a man either way, shoot with both feet and can head the ball. Perhaps MIke Gaynes (#55), William Cartwright (#95), and Victor Jones (#98) are correct in thinking his future is in a striking role.

During the pre-season in Austria, Ronald Koeman described Ross as a "great player". I am sure he will find the way to get the best out of Ross Barkley. I hope so – the lad loves Everton.

Chris Gould
106 Posted 17/09/2016 at 12:19:54
Ross does not show any signs of having the predatory instincts of an out-and-out striker. Never has he looked like he could fulfill that role. He is not a great header of the ball. Not even particularly good. He isn't the type to bust a gut to get onto the end of balls. He rarely even competes for a header.

This season has seen a slight improvement when he won a decent header in the box against Stoke. He also missed a simple headed chance this season. He is not good at one-on-ones (he had at least one this season where he hit it straight at the keeper). He doesn't show the movement of a quality striker.

If any coach had an inkling that he could flourish in that role then they would have experimented with him there. He isn't ever going to be deployed as a striker. I rate him very highly as a midfielder but he still has a lot to learn. He's now in the best environment to do that.

Danny Broderick
107 Posted 17/09/2016 at 12:52:08

Not all strikers are predators.

I see Ross as someone who could play in a Sheringham role. Admittedly, Sheringham was a better header of the ball - but he couldn't twist and turn like Ross, and he didn't have Ross's pace.

To be honest, I don't think Ross and Lukaku can play together – they are not mobile enough and are both prone to an off day. But I believe Ross could play up front alongside a whippet (Vardy type). He could drop back and link up play, and he would get away with not running about so much in this role.

Geoff Williams
108 Posted 18/09/2016 at 13:51:02
All those criticising Barkley should just take a look at Man Utd. Would I swap Barkley for £90M Pogba? Not in a month of Sundays! We have a gem, start appreciating that.

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