Ross Barkley escaped serious injury and trained as normal with Everton on Monday after being attacked in a Liverpool city centre bar following the team’s 4-2 win over Leicester City on Sunday.
Merseyside police are investigating CCTV footage from Santa Chupitos cocktail bar that shows Barkley being punched in the face during the early hours of Monday morning. The England midfielder can be seen talking to an unidentified man who suddenly launches an unprovoked attack, flooring Barkley with one of several punches aimed at the Everton player before being dragged away.
A statement from Barkley’s solicitor read: “We can confirm that Ross was the victim of an unprovoked attack by a stranger who approached him on Sunday evening.”
Barkley did not report the incident to police, though he and his representatives are believed to now be considering their options, and he reported for training at Everton’s Finch Farm base hours later. The 23-year-old was assessed by the medical department and allowed to take part in a scheduled recovery session after the win over Leicester. Barkley had played the full game and created an equalising goal for Romelu Lukaku.
The midfielder did not suffer concussion in the bar incident and is available for Everton’s team’s next game against Burnley at Goodison Park on Saturday. Though out late in a city centre bar, Barkley is not expected to face sanctionsfrom the manager Ronald Koeman given he was socialising in the hours following a game. His solicitor says the player was not drunk and was the innocent victim of an unprovoked assault.
A police statement confirmed: “Merseyside police is aware of footage online reportedly showing an assault in a bar in Liverpool city centre. No report of an assault has been received but officers are making inquiries to establish the circumstances of the incident.”
Barkley has found himself under intense scrutiny this season having lost his place in the England squad, though he was recalled for the last two games by Gareth Southgate but did not feature, and also faced criticism for some performances from the Everton manager.
Koeman, however, was full of praise for Barkley’s display against the Premier League champions on Sunday, in which he produced his eighth assist of the season, the most by an English player in the top flight.
The boyhood Evertonian’s long-term future at Goodison Park remains uncertain, with only 14 months left on his contract and Koeman reiterating his stance that Barkley will be sold this summer if he does not commit to a new deal. The Everton manager said on Sunday: “We have offered Ross a new contract and so there are two possibilities. One is to sign the contract and if he doesn’t sign we need to sell the player. It’s simple.”