Everton manager Ronald Koeman is hoping his decision to drop Ross Barkley against Manchester City last weekend will act as “a wake-up call” for the England international.
The 22-year-old has been a regular for Everton in recent seasons, but Koeman, who took over from the sacked Roberto Martinez in June, wants more from his attacking midfield star.
Barkley was an unused substitute in the 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium, and the Dutch coach insisted the promising youngster “needs to improve”.
“Maybe last weekend was a wake-up call for him,” Koeman was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
“He knows exactly what I expect because maybe he is one of the players who has the most attention from the manager. He needs the support of the manager but the manager will always select the best 11 to start a particular game.
“That means you can be left out because you are not happy with the performances of an individual player or you are making a tactical decision – but he knows he needs to improve.
“Yes, he’s young, but, after four years of playing in the Premier League, don’t mention that too much. He is experienced, and yes, he needs to perform. That’s what everybody needs to do.”
Should he feature, Barkley’s next opportunity to impress Koeman could come away to Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday.