Everton scored three goals in the second half and his replacement, the Spaniard Gerard Deulofeu, helped change the game in the away team’s favour. It would be no surprise to learn that Barkley has lost his place when Everton play Middlesbrough at the weekend.
Supporters are quick to voice their frustration at Barkley, though that is because his flashes of quality lead to fans demanding greater consistency. Irritation from the terraces seems to affect his game. Goodison has always warmed to those willing to work hard, but in some cases, hard work disguises a lack of ability. That is not the case for Barkley.
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These are troubled times for Everton’s Ross Barkley, who may find that losing his place in the England squad under new manager Sam Allardyce is the least of his problems.
Ross Barkley (born 5 December 1993) is an English professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for Premier League club Everton and the England national team. He has been at Everton his whole career but has played on loan for Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United when he was younger.
Barkley’s omission from the England squad last month was the only real shock from Allardyce, but rather than inspire a positive reaction from the player – as was surely hoped - it appears to have drained him of confidence and self-belief.
Except it is a problem. English football cannot afford to see a talent like this wasted. There are too few like him and with Jack Wilshere discarded by Arsenal this season, sent out on loan to rebuild his flagging career at Bournemouth, two of England’s most skilful and creative players are in a bind.
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Barkley was dreadful against Sunderland, losing the ball on 11 occasions in a mistake-ridden 45 minute display and was hauled off at half-time by a furious Ronald Koeman.
Perhaps Barkley was over-indulged by his old manager at Everton. Roberto Martinez always saw the best in him and, like defender John Stones, was always willing to excuse his mistakes, no matter how costly they appeared to be.
Barkley is still just 22. He has, in theory, the best years ahead of him, but there is only so long you can talk about potential. Moyes still has faith in him, but if he is not careful, Barkley will be playing for a club like Sunderland, not Everton.
The Dutchman volunteered the fact he let rip at his player at half-time at the Stadium of Light, but only one of them did not appear for the second half. Barkley was the scapegoat and he is starting to look like damaged goods.
Yet as influence in the final third has dipped lately, improvement off the ball has faded. You can excuse bad matches as form fluctuates, but there is no excusing a lack of endeavour or defensive work when out of possession.
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“Ross Barkley is a really talented player,” said Moyes. “I gave him his debut at 16 and Ross went out on loan, had to go away and come back. He’s matured into a really good football player and he will play for England many more times.
“He did not show the level what I expect,” said Koeman. “It is always difficult for a manager because he was not selected for the national team and then you take the player off after 45 minutes. I had to do something. He lost too many balls and I will speak to him. It’s no problem.”
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Hodgson did not trust him, Allardyce has ignored him and now Koeman has a big call to make.
Koeman spoke earlier in the summer of Barkley needing to show cleverness in his game, the same trait the Everton manager regularly applauds teammate Gareth Barry for exhibiting in matches. Barkley has to add cleverness to his game as well as proving he has the right mentality required of players in the top flight. Progressing through the various age groups at a rate faster than most, Barkley has often found praise easily lavished, but there are no such platitudes at Premier League level.
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Barkley was born on the 5th of December 1993 in Liverpool, England and he began his career at Everton aged 11 years old and he progressed through the youth teams and he made his debut for the senior side on the opening day of the 2011-12 season against Queens Park Rangers in a 1-0 defeat. Prior to his debut Barkley suffered a horrific leg break where his leg was broken in three places.
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Both teams boast a striker who seems to relish playing against their respective opposition. Christian Benteke has scored four and assisted one in his five league appearances against the Blues, while Romelu Lukaku has three goals in his last four matches against Palace, including the equaliser in a 1-1 draw in last season's corresponding fixture. The Belgian will want to continue this run against a visiting team without a clean sheet in their last 11 league games.
On 29 July 2014, Barkley signed a new contract with Everton, keeping him at the club until 2018. Before the start of the 2014–15 season he suffered an injury to his medial collateral ligament, and did not play until 18 October 2014, setting up Romelu Lukaku's goal in a 3–0 home league win over Aston Villa. He scored his first goal of the season in a 3–1 win over Queens Park Rangers on 15 December.
Barkley has talent, but is he any better now than he was four years ago? Is he dominating games more regularly? Is he playing with more authority?
Barkley started the 2015–16 season with goals in Everton's first two league games.
Barkley made his full international debut in 2013. He played for England at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and was selected in Roy Hodgson's 23-man squad for UEFA Euro 2016 but didn't appear in any of England's four matches. Managers and teammates have compared his style of play to those of Michael Ballack, Paul Gascoigne and Wayne Rooney.
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:54, 30 September 2016 (UTC).
It was a reminder that Everton cannot let standards drop. Basic pressing and work rate are vital to how Koeman wants his team to play, not to mention composure and quality in possession. One player who fell short on both is the much-discussed Ross Barkley.
Barkley, Ross - Everton (ENG)
Barkley was eligible to represent both England and Nigeria as he has a Nigerian grandfather. Barkley opted to represent his country of birth. He has represented England at under-16, under-17, under-19, under-20, under-21 and senior level.
Barkley has to ensure the fundamentals exist from match to match. His control may be erratic, shooting can be wayward, but work rate and concentration must always be present. Starting from the ground up may be the best approach for a player who has suffered a crisis of confidence in the past few weeks.
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It is not just at international level that Barkley has a new manager to impress and Koeman appears to have reservations. Having picked him in his starting line up for all five of his games as Everton boss so far this season, his patience might have run out.
He may have been included in England’s Euro 2016 squad, but he did not play a single minute. That should alarm even his staunchest supporters, as England were crying out for someone to open up well-drilled defences and Roy Hodgson did not turn to him.
At times, it brought out the best in an instinctive footballer. It encouraged him to express himself, to try things different, to play with spontaneity and flair, but it is how he handles criticism that will define him. It is too early to write him off, but it is only right that his progress is questioned.
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“He will develop because there is another stage of his career to come. He will become one of the senior players and at the moment he’s still one of the boys who is progressing. He is still finding his way a little bit.”
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Luke is ESPN FC's Everton blogger. Follow Luke on Twitter @lukeofarrell.