By Alex Stevens
Thierry Henry has advised Ross Barkley to draw inspiration from Ronald Koeman to make the most of his incredible talent.
The Everton playmaker, 22, has been criticised in public by his manager this season for losing possession and not being a consistent driving force for the team.
Arsenal legend and TV pundit Henry is convinced that Koeman’s management style is aimed solely at improving Barkley and the player must take the criticism on the chin.
“For Koeman it’s a tactic, a way to spark a reaction from Barkley,” Henry wrote in his Sun column. “There is no doubt he likes him, he has played him in every position across the midfield — No 10, out wide, holding midfield.
“If he didn’t like him, he wouldn’t play him. And he certainly wouldn’t talk about him. The time to worry is when you are not being talked about.
“Anyway, what can Barkley do? He has no choice: Ronald is his boss. His only choice: Play well.”
Henry recalled his own career and how criticism from his managers and teammates would often be key to dredging the best performances from him.
“I reacted much better to a rollicking than I did to praise,” the former striker wrote in the Sun. “If it was public it didn’t bother me.
“Yes, it’s not nice to hear but I used it as a way to motivate me.
“The best response is to show people they are wrong — in the long term. And to remember that they are usually trying to help.”
Barkley has made 14 appearances for Everton in all competitions this season, scoring three goals and providing one assist.
In total, the England international, who has also earned 22 international caps, has scored 24 goals and registered 20 assists in 154 Everton games since graduating from the club’s academy.
Everton take on Manchester United in the Premier League at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon aiming for their first win in nine matches.
Koeman’s side are eighth in the Premier League with 19 points from 13 matches, a point and a place adrift of Jose Mourinho’s United.
In other Everton transfer news, the club are at the centre of a January transfer scramble for a Premier League player with the release clause set at £25million.