By Matt Jones

Ross Barkley has lifted the lid on life in Dubai under manager Ronald Koeman and spoken about his controversial pre-goal celebration against Bournemouth.

With no FA Cup commitments for the Toffees after their January elimination against Leicester City, they’ve had a two-week break between fixtures, with their next match against struggling Sunderland on February 25 at Goodison Park.

However, despite some squad members and staff being snapped at the recent Meydan race event, Barkley has insisted the team are not taking it easy.

“It’s been a great trip up to now,” he said to Everton TV. “We’ve been working really hard, a lot of intense work but there’s a lot of enjoyment in the training sessions. We were expecting a lot of sun, which we haven’t had, but it’s still been very warm and that takes it out of you a little bit, especially with the intense work we’ve been doing.”

Barkley added that the work done in Dubai can give the squad a boost for their remaining Premier League fixtures, with the Toffees still looking to chase down the top six. “We’ve been putting in a lot of effort and we are looking forward to the games coming up,” he added.

The midfielder also outlined his thinking behind celebrating against Bournemouth before he’d scored.

With the score at 5-3 deep into injury time, Barkley rounded Artur Boruc, raised his arms to the Park End and rolled the ball into the gaping net; it was an action that’s triggered a mixed reaction.

“The goal was in the last minute—and it’s something you do as a kid,” said the England international. “I was through and knew I wasn’t missing, so I celebrated before I scored. It was just on the spur of the moment, I thought about doing it straight away.”

Barkley has been in tremendous form since the turn of the year after enduring a difficult start to the season; he has four goals and five assists in 23 Premier League appearances.

The midfielder has also been subject of transfer speculation as of late, with his Everton contract set to expire at the end of the 2017-18 season.

For Barkley’s interview in full, visit the Everton website

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