Barkley: This is how I responded to Koeman criticism at Everton
By Matt Farr
Everton midfielder Ross Barkley insists he has the resolve and the determination to silence the critics.
Barkley has come under fire from both the press and his manager over the course of the season, after struggling to establish consistency in his game.
The 23-year-old was criticised by Ronald Koeman in the first-half of the campaign, around the time that Barkley was dropped from the England setup, but he has since worked hard to improve his performances.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Barkley admitted that it was imperative for him to avoid letting his head drop, and ensure that he proved Koeman, and his critics, wrong.
He said: “When I am being criticised, I work harder. That is the answer for me. I don’t put my head down. I want to prove people wrong.
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“I have high standards for myself and there was a time earlier in the season when I knew that I wasn’t doing it, so I went away and worked and put in a lot of fitness time. You are rewarded for your hard work.
“I look at my game, I look at other players. Players like [Mesut] Ozil, [Philippe] Coutinho, [David] Silva. I look at people who play in my position, and I try to see what they are doing differently and what I could do better.”
Barkley’s hard work off the field has brought about a rather re-invigorated player on it, with significant improvements in the new year.
He had a starring role as Everton thumped Manchester City 4-o at Goodison Park on January 15, claiming two assists, before netting a goal and an assist in the 6-3 victory over Bournemouth last month.
His improved displays have coincided with an upturn in form that has seen Everton go unbeaten in the Premier League since the Merseyside derby defeat to Liverpool on December 19.
They have also failed to score in a league game on just one occasion since the defeat, a goalless draw away at Middlesbrough on February 11.
Barkley now has five goals and five assists from 28 appearances in all competitions this season, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.
As well as continuing to silence the critics, he will also have one eye on fighting his way back into the England squad, with Gareth Southgate set to name his next senior squad in the coming weeks.
The Everton attacker has not featured for England since before Euro 2016, having been an unused substitute throughout the competition.
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