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Ronald Koeman salutes Maarten Stekelenburg for 'fantastic' response to criticism

Published 21/10/2016

Everton goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, pictured, has been praised by manager Ronald Koeman
Everton goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, pictured, has been praised by manager Ronald Koeman

Everton manager Ronald Koeman has praised Maarten Stekelenburg for responding to his critics in the best possible manner.

Stekelenburg found himself under the microscope in his native Holland after he let in a long-range effort from France's Paul Pogba during the international break.

But if there were any concerns over the 34-year-old's frame of mind upon his return to Merseyside, they were put to one side in emphatic fashion against Manchester City last Saturday.

Everton salvaged a 1-1 draw but would have been soundly beaten had their number one not saved penalties from Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero, before pulling off a pair of brilliant saves in open play from the same City duo.

"He had some criticism in Holland, okay, but he turned around the situation," Koeman said ahead of the trip to Burnley.

"It's not normal to save two penalties in the same game. What he showed last weekend was fantastic.

"In football the position of goalkeeper can change very fast. He's confident and working hard.

"It's important to have a good goalkeeper winning points for your team."

Everton showed their faith in the former Southampton and Fulham stopper by naming him first choice following his arrival this summer, declining to move for England's Joe Hart when City made him available.

Hart's loan move to Torino is not expected to become a permanent one, but Koeman offered no indication that his interest would be piqued in January.

"I can't do anything about speculation," he said. "We are not doing anything about that at the moment.

"I am happy with (my) two goalkeepers."

Everton expect to see much more of the ball at Turf Moor than they did against Pep Guardiola's table-toppers last time out.

Ross Barkley can expect a return to the starting XI but has been challenged, alongside the likes of Gerard Deulofeu and Yannick Bolasie, to share the attacking burden with six-goal top-scorer Romelu Lukaku.

"Of course you like to have more players scoring goals in your team," Koeman said.

"The productivity of only one player is very high, Romelu. Players around him need to show more productivity.

"We need to score more goals."

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