Andy Cawley, Barkley's PE teacher at his former school Broadgreen International, confirmed Benitez's interest.
In 2008, Barkley produced one of his most impressive performances at youth level that year, scoring twice as Broadgreen International beat All Saints Catholic High School in the Liverpool Echo Cup final.
Watching that day, and presenting the trophy, was Benitez, manager of Liverpool at the time.
"He was never distracted by any of the potential interest from anywhere," Cawley told BBC Sport.
"He was hugely loyal to Everton and I think that came across when he met Rafael Benitez. He was not arrogant or rude, but it was very much just a case of him saying 'thanks very much' when receiving the trophy and that was that."
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