By Aramide Oladipo
Phil Neville has laid into Ronald Koeman and insisted that the Everton manager has to take a lot of the blame for the way he has handled Ross Barkley’s contract situation.
Speaking in a press conference last week, the Everton boss stated that 23-year-old midfielder needed to make a decision on his future after the final game of the season against Arsenal.
Barkley was named on the substitutes’ bench for the game at the Emirates Stadium but he was brought on early in the first half following Laurent Koscielny’s straight red card.
The English international failed to make much of an impact in the game as Everton went on to lose 3-1, despite having a man advantage for more than an hour.
Speaking to TalkSport on Monday morning, former Everton skipper Neville believes that Koeman’s behaviour suggests that the Dutchman is trying to force the Goodison Park academy product out of the club.
“I keep listening to Ronald Koeman, and there is an obsession with talking about Ross Barkley every time he does a press conference,” Neville explained.
“It looks to me as if he wants him to leave, you don’t just keep saying ‘he has a week to decide’, ‘tomorrow I’ll issue a statement’. It seems to me as if he is probably trying to push Ross out of the door. That is what it looks like from the outside.”
Since breaking onto the Premier League scene in 2013, in terms of goals, this has been Barkley’s poorest season since the 2014-15 campaign as he has only contributed with six goals in all competitions.
Given his manager’s recent comments, Barkley is expected to make a decision regarding his Everton future in the upcoming week.
Neville also believes that the midfielder won’t have any difficulties in finding a new club next season.
He concluded: “I am sure if you are a top four, top six club now you will be thinking you can get him relatively cheap – £20m-£30m with a year left on his contract.
“That, in this day and age, is a snip so I think he has probably played his last game for Everton.”
In other Everton news, Arsene Wenger believes the Toffees can sign this prolific Premier League forward.