Everton midfielder Ross Barkley quizzed Ronald Koeman about his regular public criticism of the player earlier this season, his manager has revealed.

Koeman indulged in some tough love in an attempt to get Barkley back to form, and has admitted the youngster was concerned enough to raise the matter.

“I spoke about this with Ross. He mentioned that it is always about him. I said, ‘OK, start to be afraid when they don’t ask about you’,” said Koeman.

“And if the manager is still criticising you as a player then it means he still believes in your qualities. If I don’t talk about you anymore than that is when you need to be afraid.

“I understand it is always difficult for him. There are always a lot of comments and questions about him.