Football

Koeman and Pulis praise 'fantastic' Barkley

England boss Gareth Southgate was in attendance at Goodison Park as Ross Barkley united both managers in praise in Everton's 3-0 victory over West Brom on Saturday.

Southgate's presence on Merseyside could prove profitable for the 23-year-old playmaker, who has not appeared in a Three Lions squad since Euro 2016.

Barkley was afforded licence to commit himself to attack and he did just that, helping force the Baggies on the back foot and capping a strong all-round showing with a fine cross that begged to be nodded home by Romelu Lukaku.

Southgate must now be pondering whether to call up Barkley for the forthcoming games against Germany and Lithuania, and Ronald Koeman expects him to have liked what he saw.

"Yes, he played really well," he said, when asked if Southgate would have left impressed.

"Sometimes you need to be lucky as a player... If the national coach is in the stand when it is not your best game, maybe he goes home with a different opinion about the player.

"He's a fantastic player and he showed that with his assist. Outstanding. Everybody knows Ross had a difficult time at the beginning of the season, but he's really improving."

Koeman's opposite number Tony Pulis was even more ready in his praise for a player who has long been tipped as a major star, debuted for his country in 2013, but has yet to nail down a role.

"That's the best I've seen Barkley play and I've been up against him quite a few times," Pulis said.

"I thought he was very, very good. Then there's Lukaku who is one of the best strikers in the English Premier League.

"Those two up front are very, very good and that's the difference these clubs have." - PA SPORT

eplevertonWest Bromwich Albion