Belfast Telegraph

Manager Ronald Koeman gives little away about Ross Barkley's Everton future

Everton manager Ronald Koeman refused to be drawn on what the future holds for Ross Barkley despite the midfielder proving to be the matchwinner in their final home game of the season.

The Toffees boss has warned the 23-year-old he has until next weekend to tell the club whether he will be signing the contract extension on offer or be sold in the summer.

Barkley's 56th-minute long-range strike was enough to beat Watford 1-0 but that did not elicit effusive praise from his manager, who substituted the player 10 minutes from the end because he wanted more control in midfield.

"Ross, like most of the players, did better in the second half and scored a great goal and that is what you like from players like Ross who have that talent and quality," said the Dutchman.

Asked whether he expected more from Barkley, Koeman added: "It is not the time now to talk individually about a player. If you have followed me during this season I think you know the answer.

"We can continue with questions (on his future) but I have told my story. We will see.

"The goal was good. I think the first half we had not that aggression up front - not by Rom (Romelu Lukaku), not by Ross. Kevin (Mirallas) yes, (Idrissa) Gana yes, Morgan (Schneiderlin) yes but we missed something in the first half."

A fourth successive defeat, which leaves Watford still one point short of mathematically being safe, frustrated boss Walter Mazzarri.

"We played a good game. We didn't deserve to lose, we deserved at least a draw but the ball doesn't go in," said the Italian, who lost Christian Kabasele to injury before half-time.

"I am also not very happy with the referee (Kevin Friend) because there were two incidents when I didn't agree with his decisions but I am not happy with how we lost the game.

"You saw we created many chances. I am very angry but I am also angry that we have injured players and keep losing them."

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