Everton manager Ronald Koeman had no doubts about picking Ross Barkley after the midfielder’s week in the headlines.
The 23-year-old found himself at the centre of a media storm after first being allegedly punched on a night out 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 McKenzie.
He responded by creating Everton’s important second goal, via deflections off two defenders, and celebrated by jumping into the Gwladys Street end as the Toffees beat Burnley 3-1.
Asked whether there was any doubt over his selection Koeman said: “No, I think it is the best way to play football. To forget what happened last week.
“Of course I can understand (his celebration) because what happened this week had really a big impact for him.
“I think he was focused on the football side the rest of the week and also this afternoon.
“I think it is what happens in life. He will learn from what happens. I did myself some stupid things when I was 19, 20, 21.
“If you learn from mistakes, that is good. Everyone is human.”
Barkley was heavily involved at both ends, twice heading off the line, as Phil Jagielka’s goal was cancelled out by Sam Vokes’ penalty before the Everton midfielder’s decisive strike was followed by Romelu Lukaku’s 24th Premier League goal. That equalled the great Dixie Dean’s 1934 record of scoring in nine successive home league matches.
It meant Burnley are still looking for their first away win of the season, although manager Sean Dyche could not fault their performance.
“It is a tough one to call. You don’t want to cry about it but I thought the performance was good,” he said.
“If you were a neutral and didn’t know we hadn’t won away from home, you wouldn’t believe it.
“They are on a very hot run at home but I thought first half we were excellent: we had one cleared off the line, two one v ones and their keeper has made a big save.
“Second half I didn’t think there was that much in the game but the second one (Everton goal) has to be bad luck.
“To have a shot hit your centre-half and it is going wide and then it hits your other centre-half that has got to be had luck.
“They have three minutes where they turn up the heat and one of the top strikers in the game at the moment scores a goal. That is the Premier League.”