Everton boss Ronald Koeman is attempting to “sting” Ross Barkley so he becomes a better player, according to Ruud Gullit.
Gullit played with Koeman at international level with Netherlands and took his coaching qualifications alongside his compatriot, who took over at Everton this season after two campaigns at Southampton.
Koeman’s treatment of attacking midfielder Ross Barkley has been one of the club’s main talking points in recent weeks, with the 22-year-old left on the bench for the draw with Manchester City on October 15.
Barkley, who has lost his place in the England squad, has been repeatedly warned over his performances by the Everton manager and urged to improve, but Gullit believes it is all a motivational ploy.
“Sometimes I watch Premier League games here and when people make mistakes they say nothing to each other – they just let it go and it is like happy families,” Gullit told BBC Sport after Barkley had scored in Sunday’s 2-0 win over West Ham.
“I don’t understand it. If you want to win, you have to wake people up and I have seen Koeman do it already at Everton.
“With his treatment of Ross Barkley in the past few weeks, he has been trying to sting him a little.
“That is also our way – the Dutch way – a little bit. He has high standards and he has been saying to Barkley that if you don’t want to listen to me, then you have to learn the hard way.
“By leaving him out, or taking him off, then Koeman is thinking that maybe he will learn.
“He is trying to show Barkley that this is how you will end up if you don’t do what is necessary for me, but for sure he will also have told the player that he is only doing it because he wants him to become better.
“Koeman has done it to get a reaction and he got one against West Ham on Sunday, when Barkley scored his first league goal since the opening day of the season.”