Tuesday 25 July 2017

Jagielka lauds Barkley after a testing week for midfielder

Everton's Ross Barkley
Everton's Ross Barkley

Carl Markham

Everton captain Phil Jagielka praised Ross Barkley's character after the midfielder capped a difficult week with a man-of-the-match performance.

The 23-year-old created the pivotal second goal in the 3-1 win over Burnley as part of a mature performance full of responsibility.

Jagielka said Barkley had coped well with the media storm which began with him hitting the headlines after being allegedly punched on a night out last Sunday, and then becoming inadvertently embroiled in the row which saw The Sun newspaper banned from the club after derogatory comments about him by columnist Kelvin MacKenzie.

"I've known Ross for a long time now and nothing fazes him," Jagielka said.

"These things can happen. It's not ideal but he was still out there for the Academy Day this week and joined in.

"He's a normal lad who likes to play football and I'm going to give him that goal, even though it might only go down as an assist."

Barkley's strike was credited as a Ben Mee own goal, having taken deflections off Michael Keane and then his central-defensive partner,but it was all the Everton man's work, jinking into the penalty area and then cutting back onto his right foot.

The goal helped secure an eighth successive home league win, Everton's best run since April 1990, as Burnley were posing a threat with the score at 1-1 after Jagielka's goal early in the second half was cancelled out by Sam Vokes' penalty.

Toffees striker Romelu Lukaku matched the great Dixie Dean's record of 1934 with his 24th Premier League goal of the season, meaning the Belgian has now also scored in nine successive home league matches.

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