Chris Sutton has defended Everton manager Ronald Koeman over his treatment of Ross Barkley on the Monday Night Club, which was broadcast on BBC Radio Five Live on 12th December.
Koeman has been criticised for dropping Barkley by some sections of the Goodison Park crowd and the media.
The England international has not started in either of Everton’s last two matches - both of which they have failed to win.
However, Sutton does not feel that Barkley is performing well enough to justify starting for the Toffees.
“Ronald Koeman is not going to go out and pick Ross Barkley if he’s not performing well enough,” Sutton said.
“So he needs to improve his consistency. He has to prove himself.
“Barkley needs to knuckle down. He has shown flashes of brilliance over the years, but not on a consistent level.”
Barkley has endured a difficult season so far at Everton, and he has only scored twice and claimed one assist in 13 Premier League appearances to date.
The 23-year-old’s future at Everton is now being questioned, with Koeman seemingly have reservations over using the attacking midfielder regularly.
Everton are next in action this evening against Arsenal, and Barkley may well be brought back into the Merseyside club’s starting line-up for the fixture against Arsene Wenger’s side.