Everton boss Ronald Koeman hopes Ross Barkley’s late equaliser in Friday night’s 2-2 draw at Hull can kick-start the misfiring midfielder’s season.
Barkley has come in for plenty of criticism following a series of below-par performances under Koeman, but in front of watching England coach Gareth Southgate his thumping 84th-minute header was a timely reminder of his talent and salvaged a point for his side.
“I hope it really gives Ross a boost,” said Koeman, who has dropped the 23-year-old twice this season.
“I think he was the player we expect him to be in his position. We spoke about being more dangerous in front of goal, to have better offensive movements.
“He was really important in the final part of our attacking and he scored an important goal and he was dangerous.
“He was that player that we need – to have better support for our strikers.”
Barkley was central to Everton’s offensive threat throughout at the KCOM Stadium, where he denied Mike Phelan’s Tigers a priceless first win since November 6.
He headed home Leighton Baines’ late cross to haul Everton level for a second time after Robert Snodgrass’s brilliant second-half free-kick appeared to have clinched Hull’s fourth league success of the season.
Hull skipper Michael Dawson had given the hosts an early lead before goalkeeper David Marshall punched Kevin Mirallas’ corner into his own net in first-half stoppage time.
In October Koeman left an out-of-sorts Barkley out of his squad for the game against Manchester City and did so again for the home draw against Manchester United earlier in December.
“I try to start always with the best 11,” Koeman added. “Sometimes that can be a tactical question or reason for why somebody’s not starting.
“But we need productivity and normally we don’t create a lot of opportunities, but here we created a lot and that is one of the positives that we take out of it.”