“What Barkley needs to do is play regular football and I think that’s probably why he’s delaying it [signing a new contract],” Cottee told talkSPORT. “He has been a bit in and out of the team and Ronald Koeman has been a little critical of him, but he’s a fantastic talent.
“The fans have been a bit impatient with him as well, but he’s trying to do the hardest part of the game - create and score goals - and you’ve got to be patient and understanding with him.
“But keep him at Everton. I don’t want to see him leave. I want him to stay at the club and help get them back into Europe. And then hopefully they can push on and compete with the big boys, but you can’t do that if you sell your best players. He needs to stay at the club.”
Barkley is 23 years of age and is still quite young. Everton have to make sure that his long-term future is at Goodison Park.
United, Chelsea and Arsenal can offer Champions League football or the chance to challenge for the Premier League title.
Everton are unable to do that at the moment, but the club’s hierarchy should try their best to convince the attacking midfielder to carry on at Goodison Park.
Barkley has scored four goals and created 53 chances in 23 Premier League appearances for Everton so far this season.
During the 2015-16 campaign, the Englishman scored eight goals and created 55 chances in 38 league matches for the Toffees.