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Published: 09:09 | 17/9/16

Barry says "standards slipped" under Martinez


Everton midfielder Gareth Barry says "standards slipped" at Goodison Park in the final months of Roberto Martinez's regime.

The Toffees appointed Ronald Koeman as their new manager on a three-year deal in June, after the sacking of Martinez in May following a 3-0 defeat to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

And one of Koeman's first acts at Everton's training ground, Finch Farm, was to bring forward the start of pre-season training, and to impose strict new rules over meal-times, and the use of mobile phones and headphones.

"The standards of the players were, for me, slightly slipping last season, on and off the pitch," the former England international told the Guardian.

"Everything slipped last season, really: timekeeping, dress codes, training. The confidence and everything had gone and things were maybe going away from what was expected. Confidence had gone on the pitch, results weren’t going the right way and there was a lot of unrest with the fans.

"If standards are slipping off the pitch it can impact on your form on the pitch and the whole team was losing the level that is expected to compete at the top end of the Premier League."

Barry will make his 600th Premier League appearance against Middlesbrough at Goodison Park on Saturday, a match that will be shown live on BT Sport 1 on the eirSport package, joining Frank Lampard and Ryan Giggs as a member of the exclusive 600 club.

The 35-year-old says he is enjoying playing the game as much as ever, and still believes he is good enough to play for England.

The 53-times capped midfielder, a Premier League title winner at Manchester City in 2012, has not played for his country since missing out of the Euro 2012 finals with a groin injury.

"I still feel I could play and do a job in that position at that level," he told the Daily Star.

"I would back myself to play that position as well as anyone who’s English.

"Being left out of the squad really hurts. But these are things you can’t control, so you can’t worry about them."

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