There is no debating the skill Ross Barkley has or his ability to attack, but the consistency and finish have often been lacking for the home town boy. Under former manager Roberto Martinez though the idea was just put him out there enough and things will come together for him. That seemed to work as last season he totaled 8 goals and 8 assists in all matches. There were plenty of matches though where his impact was clearly missing.
This season it doesn’t appear current Everton manager Ronald Koeman is going to let him just scuffle through the rough patches to get going. His touch has been poor this young season and his passing has been pretty bad at only a 79 percent completion rate. He has a tendency to lose crucial balls in the final third and the manager decided enough was enough.
Koeman had already challenged the player to bounce back from being dropped by Sam Allardyce from the England squad by showing the manager that he could play week in and week out, but that didn’t seem to be the case in the first half yesterday.
After the match when asked about the switch at the 45’ mark Koeman said the following.
“He didn’t play at the level I expect,”
“I know it’s always difficult for the manager because he was not selected for the national team and you take the player off after 45 minutes.”
“But I had to do something. He lost too many balls.”
“I will speak to Ross tomorrow.”
While it’s a different approach to what he did with Romelu Lukaku it appeared to at least help the team in the second half. The question now is how does Barkley respond. Does he work harder and concentrate more on ball retention or does he press harder and result in more sloppy play?