Everton skipper Phil Jagielka has praised new boss Ronald Koeman’s handing of Ross Barkley who has yet to hit top form this season.
The England midfielder was hauled off at half-time in the recent win at Sunderland and in the following days the manager told the 22-year-old he had to improve.
Barkley responded with a better performance in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Middlesbrough and Jagielka believes that says as much about the player as it does his manager.
“Ross took what happened on board and it was great for the manager to give him another opportunity to perform,” said the centre-back.
“It may not have been Ross’ most dazzling of games but he got around the pitch, put tackles in and that is what we want from him.
“He is not going to go and crawl into a hole or hide. He has had such a lot of expectation from a young age but he has learnt to deal with it.”
Koeman insisted he was not testing Barkley but he had one simple message for the player and the rest of his squad.
“If you don’t handle the pressure you can’t play in the Premier League,” he said.