By Dominic Toner

Everton manager Ronald Koeman believes that Ross Barkley is thriving in a more advanced role this season.

The 23-year-old has been in great form recently and has benefited from having the likes of Tom Davies, Morgan Schneirderlin or James McCarthy behind him in the midfield.

Barkley has been given the licence to support the attack freely and has been rewarded by being involved directly in five goals during his last six Premier League games.

The England international has always been regarded as an attacking midfielder, but has come under criticism on numerous occasions for his end product.

Toffees manager Koeman is now beginning to get the best out Barkley and feels he is relishing the more offensive role.

“I think Ross is really playing well, it’s a different position for him at the moment where he is playing it’s a little bit more offensive,” Koeman said, as quoted by the club’s official Twitter account. “He is scoring, he is making assists and he is improving in being that player to create chances.”

Barkley has been tipped to be a star ever since he broke into Everton’s first-team from the academy and was likened to Wayne Rooney.

However, the attacking midfielder has struggled to live up to that hype and has not featured in England squad since the disappointing European Championships.

He has managed to turn a corner since Koeman’s arrival at Goodison Park in the summer from Southampton and is a regular feature in the starting XI.

Barkley managed a goal and an assist in Everton’s last game as they eased to a 6-3 victory over Bournemouth.

He will be hoping to continue his good run of form and earn a recall to Gareth Southgate’s next England squad.

In other Everton news, Paul Merson has predicted the club’s upcoming game against Middlesbrough.

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