Ross Barkley: Nothing fazes Everton midfielder, says captain Phil Jagielka

Koeman praises 'focused' Barkley

Everton midfielder Ross Barkley was not affected by a difficult week that involved two major off-field incidents, said captain Phil Jagielka.

Barkley was punched in a Liverpool bar last Sunday, then insulted in the Sun by columnist Kelvin MacKenzie.

The England international, 23, responded with two important clearances and a key role in Everton's second goal as they beat Burnley 3-1 on Saturday.

"I've known him a long time and nothing fazes him," Jagielka told BBC Sport.

"These things can happen. We had an academy day a couple of days ago, and he was part of that. He's just a normal lad who wants to play football."

Ross Barkley
Ross Barkley kept his post-match reaction to this post on Twitter

Everton manager Ronald Koeman was pleased with Barkley's performance against Burnley.

Koeman said: "The boy was really focused on the football side and not on all the stuff that came out after last Sunday.

"What happened we spoke about last Monday, and then you need to finish it and focus on the football side. Even in a really difficult situation, he did that, and it was really positive."

Barkley's Everton team-mate Leighton Baines added he had been impressed by the midfielder's composure at the end of "a busy week".

Baines told Everton's website: "He's got a great temperament. Nothing ever seems to get to him.

"He's a lad who has been talked about a lot from a young age. He just gets on with his job. I think he's really progressed this year, and that's been good to see."

Barkley's difficult week

The Sun
Posters and banners critical of the Sun were on display outside Goodison Park

Uncertainty surrounds the future of Barkley, who has yet to agree an extension to a contract that expires at the end of next season.

Koeman said after last weekend's 4-2 win over Leicester that the player would have to be sold if he did not sign a new deal.

However, both the manager and the club's fans showed their support for Barkley after his turbulent week, which began with what the player's lawyer called an "unprovoked attack" in a Liverpool bar.

There then followed MacKenzie's column in Friday's edition of the Sun, in which Barkley, whose grandfather was born in Nigeria, was compared to a "gorilla".

MacKenzie, who has since been suspended by the paper, also wrote that men with similar "pay packets" to Barkley in Liverpool were "drug dealers".

Everton have banned the Sun for the "appalling and indefensible" allegations, for which the newspaper has apologised.

Posters criticising the Sun were on show outside Goodison Park before Saturday's game. Inside the stadium, supporters displayed a banner featuring Barkley.

Ross Barkley
A banner of support for Barkley was prominent inside the stadium


Former England midfielder Frank Lampard on MOTD:

"I like him, but we're in danger of over-analysing our young English players because we want so much from them.

"He is getting to the stage now where he is a man and not a boy. He needs a consistent season. He needs to play at the level he showed today consistently. He's a bit phasey at times. For talent he's got it but I'd like to see him stay at Everton and improve."

Former Everton winger Kevin Kilbane on BBC Final Score

"I think Ross Barkley handled today's pressure really well. He cleared the ball off the line at one point and generally succeeded in having an influence on the game.

"His manager Ronald Koeman will be impressed with how he's handled the off-the-field distractions this week."

Ross Barkley
Barkley had a key role in Everton's second goal, with his shot deflected in off Ben Mee

Former England defender Danny Mills on BBC Final Score

"Ross Barkley is one of those players who needs to play on the edge, a bit like Wayne Rooney when he first started.

"Having an almost nasty side to his game is what he needs to make him that little bit better.

"He went out there today with a point to prove and he put in a good performance. He just needs to find that consistency to do that week in, week out."

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