Ian Wright: This is where Everton senior duo must improve
By Matt Farr
Pundit Ian Wright believes Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku can both improve as footballers before joining a top European side.
The Everton star duo have been strongly linked with a summer exit from Goodison Park, amid the club’s failure to tie them down to new long term contracts.
Lukaku has a deal at Everton that runs until 2019, but is holding out for Champions League football next season, and declined an offer of a new deal.
Barkley, meanwhile, has just one more year left to run on his deal, and with contract negotiations having stalled, the 23-year-old could quit this summer.
But in his column for the Sun, Wright urged the pair to stay put and further hone their talents before seeking a fresh start with a bigger club.
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He said: “As good as Rom and Ross are already, they can still get better. And for that reason I think they would be better advised to stay with the Toffees and hone their talents even more.
“In Ross’ case I think he just needs to simplify his game a little now [Ronald] Koeman’s given him a more attacking role. Like when and where to make his runs for example.
“With Rom, no one can question his goalscoring. But there are a couple of rough edges which need smoothing out. Things like his link-up play and not moving outside the width of the penalty box quite so much.
“His hold-up game can also get better. And if he sorts that, as scared as defenders are of him now, they’ll be absolutely petrified in future. By remaining in familiar surroundings they can get even better.”
The two players, particularly Lukaku, have been central figures in Everton’s push for a top six finish in the Premier League this season, with the Merseyside club currently seventh with six games remaining.
Lukaku has scored 23 goals from 31 league appearances, and currently tops the Premier League goalscoring charts following his brace against Leicester at the weekend.
Attacking midfielder Barkley, meanwhile, has had a rather turbulent campaign, but has contributed five goals eight assists from 33 appearances.
He has endured plenty criticism in his performances throughout the campaign, but put in a fantastic display against Leicester to cap off what has been a much-improved period for the youngster.
In other Everton news, the club are reportedly set to renew their interest in this Premier League defender this summer.