By support

24th Dec, 2016 | 8:36am

Koeman shares doubts over potential of Everton youngster

By Emma Sanders

Ronald Koeman has cast doubts over Ross Barkley’s potential by claiming he is “not sure” if the Everton midfielder will ever fulfil it.

The 23-year-old has had a mixed season with the Toffees and his seemingly poor relationship with Koeman has been well documented throughout the campaign.

Barkley has fallen out of favour with the Dutchman and has struggled to land down a regular starring role in the Everton side despite being tipped as one of the club’s best talents in recent seasons.

Koeman admitted he didn’t like talking about Barkley but didn’t hesitate when asked whether he would fulfil his potentia.

“Of course I think the player needs to improve. He needs to improve to be the player that maybe everyone expected when he was 18 or 19,” said Koeman, as reported by the Telegraph.

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“I am not sure [if he will fulfil potential.] I had the same stories in Holland with players who, when they were 16 or 17, they were too good in the academy. But then they step up a level and everyone is strong. And that is more difficult.”

Earlier this season, Koeman claimed Barkley needed to improve the technical side of his game and also demanded the midfielder add more “firepower” in attack.

Barkley started the crucial Merseyside derby clash against Liverpool at Anfield on Monday evening but came under criticism for his performance.

He was lucky not to be sent off for a reckless tackle on Jordan Henderson and it was just his sixth full Premier League game of the season.

In 2016-17, Barkley has scored three goals in 17 appearances in all competitions and his international career has also been affected, with his last England appearance coming in May.

In other Everton news, the Toffees could land this Euro 16 winner next month.