Ronald Koeman says Everton can follow Tottenham's blueprint to "take the next step"

As Everton prepare to take on Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday afternoon, Ronald Koeman has had plenty of off-field problems to deal with.

Koeman held private talks with both Ross Barkley and Wayne Rooney earlier in the week after Barkley rejected a late move to Chelsea and Rooney was arrested and charged with drink driving.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Koeman said that he is “very disappointed (with Rooney)" and added that the issue "will be dealt with internally by the club at the appropriate time.”

However, Koeman added that the former England captain “will play this Saturday" and said that only if "Wayne is not in a physical or mental condition to play then he won’t play.”

The Blues boss also spoke about how his side can view and Spurs’ development as a chance to progress in the future.

Speaking about Saturday’s opposition, the Blues boss described them as “contenders, one of the strongest teams" and admitted that "they are an example of how we can take next step at Everton.”

Dealing with Barkley’s situation

After the Everton boss revealed earlier this summer that he expected the departure of the England international, many reported that their relationship played a role in the potential sale.

Following an accepted deadline day bid from Chelsea, Barkley traveled down to London to complete the move. But that wasn’t the case.

Koeman told the media in attendance that the midfielder “was open to make a move to another club" and added that "there was an agreement between Chelsea and Everton", but in the end "the decision was by the player" and Barkley remained on Merseyside.

The Blues boss added that “Ross also came to see me on Tuesday and he explained to me why he turned down to go to Chelsea" in what he described as "a private talk" that he wished not to disclose, only saying that Barkley "is still an Everton player and he has a contract until the end of this season.”

Vlašić and Niasse to get their chance

Koeman also revealed that deadline day signing Nikola Vlašić "will be in the squad for Saturday" whilst Oumar Niasse has returned to the Everton first team squad after a spell with the Under-23’s.

The Dutchman described Vlašić as "one of the biggest talents in Europe" and admitted that "he also impressed us in the two [Europa League] games.”

Vlašić can operate as an attacking midfielder or on the wing, where he primarily played for Hajduk Split against Everton in Europe.

The 19-year-old Croatian international was Hajduk’s main source of creativity over the two Europa League games and caused the Blues plenty of problems.

The Blues boss has also gifted Oumar Niasse a chance to earn his squad place back after his proposed deadline day move to Crystal Palace fell through.

Niasse has returned to first-team training this week and will be given a chance to earn his squad place over the coming weeks. Everton tried desperately to get a striker late into the transfer window but were unsuccessful in securing their top targets.

Koeman explained that the attacker “is back with the first team and gives us another option", adding that "his attitude has been perfect and he needs to fight like all of the other players.”