Everton manager Ronald Koeman sees Ross Barkley as a main cog in his team, but feels the young player still has some improvements to make to his game to get there.
Speaking at Finch Farm earlier today in the Middlesbrough pre-match press conference, he said -
“There was a reason to change Ross at half-time because he did not play well and lost many balls. Players of that quality can’t lose that many balls.
“I had talks with Ross that he needs to improve but okay we’ll see at the weekend.”
When asked if his performance last week would affect him this weekend -
“In my opinion that’s the past and what counts now is what happens now. You get game time in the national team because you play at a good level with your club and that’s deserved game time in the national team.
“That was one game what happened last Monday, we spoke to him and he understands. We showed him the clips and there’s no escape.”
On what exactly he was looking for from Barkley -
“It’s more the way how he used to play. The player by himself is strong enough even to work harder to do better pressing. That’s not for Ross in particular because it’s also for some players in front.
“If you look at his qualities, he needs to be the key player between the defenders and the strikers. He’s that position in the midfield to create, but also defensively to be part of the team.
“In all aspects he can improve and needs to improve but he is a young player to question. It’s always possible to discuss his position. I spoke to him in pre-season about his position and we agreed his best position is midfield.
“These kind of good players can play wide, but if we play three strikers I prefer three strikers in front. He can play as the number 10 or the two holding midfield positions.”
We had discussed Barkley’s halftime substitution during the Monday game against Sunderland in an article earlier this week.