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Maritzburg Utd sign Youlley

Football
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 By PA Sport

Everton manager Ronald Koeman not confident Ross Barkley will stay

Paul Mariner compares the Ross Barkley of last season with his performances this season and explains how he can return to form.

Everton manager Ronald Koeman has said he is not confident that Ross Barkley will stay but is "not worried" about the situation.

Koeman said Everton were looking for players who operate in Barkley's position irrespective of whether or not the 23-year-old midfielder signs a new deal, with his current contract expiring in summer 2018.

The board have been working to try to get Barkley re-signed, and the England international was told by Koeman last week that he had until the end of the season to make a decision on his future.

The manager said at the time: "Either he accepts the contract or we sell the player."

Asked at a news conference ahead of Sunday's trip to Arsenal whether there was any update on Barkley's future, Koeman said: "I don't know. It is after the game, on Monday -- then we will know."

He was then asked whether he felt confident Barkley would stay at Goodison Park and said: "No, because it is a long time that he is thinking about his future.

"But I'm not worried, because I like to work with players who like to stay.

"And -- it is not about his decision -- we will go on. We are looking for players in that position. Even if he stays, there will be more competition for him next season."

He stressed that Everton wanted Barkley, who came through their academy ranks, to stay and added: "If you offer a player a new contract, and a good contract, that means that you like to keep the player."

Koeman also said he knew of no update in the situation of striker Romelu Lukaku, who told Everton in March that he would not sign the contract extension on offer.

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