Everton Jury: False hopes that everything will be fixed in January
There is no value in the inflated prices of New Year window
By Chris Beesley
1 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
LEE MOLTON (St Helens) "Koeman has to be ruthless and start dropping these players"
Wake up Everton. When the referee blows the whistle, we need to be ready to play.
There have been too many games this season where we have started slowly and Sunday at Southampton was another one. I am fed up of watching such inept performances from overpaid prima donnas who are not playing for the Everton shirt. Koeman has to be ruthless and start dropping these players, starting with our captain Jaglieka, he does not speak at all. Ashley Williams was berating the referee on Sunday for the home team time-wasting – our captain should have been doing this. There are plenty of other players who are not performing either including Barkley, Lennon, Mirallas, Bolasie and Deulofeu. It must be time to play youngsters like Mason Holgate and Tom Davies, they will play with some pride in the shirt and have plenty of energy too. The Evertonians had high hopes of this season and we do not want to slip into the bottom half. Jose and his team come to town on Sunday, we must get stuck into them and put in a good performance. Manchester United are not in great form so it could be a chance to get back to winning ways – we need to start winning quickly.
Video thumbnail, Ronald Koeman expects to do business in January
Click to play
Koeman expects to do business in January
CONNOR O'NEILL (City Centre) "Everyone knows there is no value in January"
Sunday's performance for me, was simply summed up in stoppage time. Chasing an equaliser, we got a throw in just inside the Saints half. One last throw of the dice. But no. Yannick Bolasie produced a foul throw simply gifting all three points to the Saints. It summed up the rut we are in. As, make no mistake about it, we are in a rut. One win in eight games says it all and the belief that come January we will make wholesale changes and everything will be alright are completely false in my eyes.
Everyone knows there is no value in January and clubs find it tough to sign players due to the inflated prices; it will sadly be no different this year. What we need to do is start to work with what we've got and get some momentum together. And there is no better place for this to start than Sunday against Manchester United.
Everton's Yannick Bolasie kneels dejected after the game
I hope for heaven's sake, that the busiest man at the club right now is Steve Walsh. Not just focusing on the in-comings but all so looking at the outgoings side of things. While Walsh will no doubt be looking for the next N'Golo Kante or Riyad Mahrez, which we would accept with open arms of course, he should also be looking to offload some of the club's deadwood too. Players like Darren Gibson, Arouna Kone and Oumar Niasse clearly don't have futures at the club and should be sold the first chance we get. While many may question who would want to buy them - and to be fair, who would want to buy them?
Someone has to at least try and that person should be Steve Walsh. In his role as Director of Football he should be responsible for not just in-comings but also the outgoings at the club as getting rid of deadwood is just as important as bringing in new blood.
MATT JONES (Prenton) "The back five looking every inch their combined 153 years old"
After starting the campaign with a calm assurance and what looked to be solid foundations in place, on the cusp of an unforgiving run of fixtures Everton find themselves floundering for momentum.
The performance at Southampton was the most frustrating one of this most recent lull. You can accept that on any given day a juggernaut like Chelsea can turn on the style. You can accept that after an international break the players might be rusty as they were against Swansea City. But there were no excuses for the surrender on the south coast. Saints were without key men, had travelled to Prague in midweek and had been suffering a poor run of form themselves. Yet it was Everton that looked physically jaded, mentally tired and lacking in cohesion.
There was also a lack of aggression in the way the team played. That's certainly not something you'd anticipate from a Ronald Koeman team on his return to Southampton, but Everton were sluggish in all aspects of their play, with the back five looking every inch their combined 153 years old.
Ahead of a major test against Manchester United this weekend, that's something the manager must remedy with the introduction of younger players. Mason Holgate's early season displays far outstripped the erratic recent efforts of Seamus Coleman, while Tom Davies surely deserves a chance in place of an ambling Ross Barkley.
Oriol Romeu (R) and Ross Barkley challenge for the ball
It's easy to have sympathy for Koeman in a sense, as he's been left with a squad that lacks bite and operates with a misplaced sense of arrogance. However, should he continue to keep faith with these struggling senior options instead of some refreshing upstarts, that sympathy will quickly seep away.
DAVID TAYLOR (St Helens) "The senior players need to take the situation by the scruff of the neck"
Koeman was pretty adamant when dismissing any chance of Niasse making a first team appearance as long as he is manager, so I think we can just put that to bed. It's not going to happen and not sure it would do any good anyway.
Football is a fairly simple game but when you are in the doldrums it is just as difficult to play as it is to watch and the squad need a kick up the backside, the senior players need to take the situation by the scruff of the neck to turn things around.
If the current demise itself doesn't motivate the players to sort it out the upcoming run of games against some of our nearest and dearest will surely kick them into gear, the fans will do their best to influence things from the stands but ultimately the players need to run around a bit more and play football a bit better.
Everton's Romelu Lukaku (top) and Southampton's Jose Fonte battle for the ball
Plenty of players have been singled out for criticism recently, most of it justified, and whilst I don't enjoy jumping on moaning bandwagons I was really disappointed with the effort of Lukaku against Southampton. His movement, hold up play and strength seemed to have regressed back to worse than basic. If he plays well, the team play well so we really need him to get back to his marauding best ASAP. COYB
Ex-Everton Academy chief Ray Hall lands new job - in non-league football!
Former Blues talent spotter to take up football consultant role with Southern Premier Division side
By Phil Kirkbride
1 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Everton Academy guru Ray Hall has a new job - at non-league King's Lynn Town.
The 66-year-old has been appointed as football consultant to Evo-Stik Southern Premier League side.
Hall was Everton's Head of Academy for over 20 years and oversaw the progression of players such as Wayne Rooney and Ross Barkley. King's Lynn Town chairman Stephen Cleeve told the Eastern Daily Press: "I'm delighted, it's the best signing I've made. "Ray has a wealth of experience and a huge amount of football knowledge." Remember the name Everton 17 year old midfielder Ross Barkley made his full debut against QPR, 20th August 2011 Hall will initially take the role on a part-time basis and aid the work of manager Gary Setchell. "Wayne Rooney was eight when he first came to us I think, I've got his first registration form somewhere at home from when he signed in 1998 or 99," Hall said.
Everton v Arsenal October 2002 United Football Premier League Goodison Park Liverpool, Everton won 2-1 Everton's Wayne Rooney celebrate his winning goal at the end of the match ©Mirrorpix
"Obviously in terms of players I worked with I didn't just train them on the coaching field but oversaw their development off the pitch as well. "Wayne was the outstanding player to come out of the programme but obviously there were many more, such as Ross Barkley."
King's Lynn Town are 15th in the table.
Everton fans tell Ronald Koeman there isn't enough blue on his Christmas Tree
Blues boss posted picture of tree online today
By Phil Kirkbride
1 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Ronald Koeman looks on before the match against Southampton at St Mary's Stadium
Ronald Koeman has been given an early insight into the derby mindset.
The Everton manager received some gentle ribbing from Blues fans today over the amount of red on his Christmas tree. Koeman posted a picture on social media this morning of his festive tree but Evertonians replied, telling him that there wasn't enough blue on show. Koeman then quickly shared an image of a second tree in his house with the tongue-in-cheek message: "Better colour?". Everton welcome Liverpool to Goodison on Monday, December 19 for the opening derby of the season.
Under-23 boss David Unsworth last week revealed that none of his squad are allowed to wear red boots.
But as well as getting an early insight into derby, maybe Koeman should look at setting Everton up in a Christmas Tree formation? The Dutchman made sure he got the last word on the tongue-in-cheek saga too.
Why Everton should be happy that Michael Oliver is taking charge of the Manchester United fixture
The Blues have a good recent record under the Northumberland-born official
By Adam Jones
1 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Michael Oliver has been confirmed as the match official for Everton 's Goodison clash with Manchester United on Sunday - and that could actually be good news. The Northumberland-born official has only taken charge of two fixtures involving the Blues this season - the 1-0 victory over Stoke back in August, when he awarded the Toffees a penalty and the City match in October...when he gave City two penalties. But, it's not just that match in which Everton have done well under Oliver's watchful eye.
In fact, Everton have only lost one of their last nine matches that the official has taken charge of - a run which stretches all the way back to the end of 2014.
That's not bad going...
Last season, Michael Oliver was in charge of the Blues brilliant 3-0 win away to Southampton in the second game of the campaign - and the 4-0 defeat of Aston Villa at Goodison last November.
And, of course, Oliver was also in charge for Chelsea's visit to Merseyside in the FA Cup quarter final in March this year - and we all know how that one turned out...
The last time Everton lost at home when Michael Oliver was in charge was all the way back in September 2014 - when Crystal Palace came away from Goodison Park with a 3-2 win.
So far this campaign, Michael Oliver hasn't handed out a red card yet - and has dished out 38 yellows in his 11 Premier League games. Everton could do without any more suspensions - so keep those cards in your pocket please Michael....
An Everton fan walked past a busker in London - and he treated them to a rendition of Z Cars
He knows Z Cars quite well...
By Adam Jones
1 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
The 1st of December is upon us - and the Christmas cheer for Everton fans everywhere is already clear to see. The festive spirit is definitely alive and well in St Pancras train station in London thanks to this brilliant piano player. A video was posted to the GrandOldTeam forum and then shared on their Twitter feed - showing the man playing Z Cars in the middle of the station.
You know what, he plays it rather well, too. They do say Everton fans are everywhere...
Forum user "sarath" originally posted the video on to the site this morning saying: "hey guys, bizarrely bumped into this man at st Pancras. He saw my Everton Christmas jumper and asked me to film this to share with other blues. "Brought a smile and hope it does to the rest of you guys!" It definitely brought a smile to us!
Everton v Man United - Period of silence to be held in memory of Colombia air crash victims
71 people, including players from Brazilian side Chapecoense, died on Monday
By Phil Kirkbride
1 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
A period of silence will be held before Everton's game with Man United in memory of those people who died in a Colombian air crash this week. The Blues face United at Goodison on Sunday (4pm) and ahead of kick-off a moment of reflection will take place. Seventy-one people, including most of the players from Brazilian side Chapecoense, were killed when their plane crashed. Everton said: "The thoughts and prayers of Everton remain with the families of those who lost their lives and were severely injured in the accident. "The aircraft was transporting the Chapecoense football team from Brazil for the first leg of their two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin. "In solidarity with our football family all over the world, we will mourn the passing of the victims of this tragedy with a period of silence at Goodison Park on Sunday."
Everton add goalkeeper to January transfer window shopping list
Blues want keeper to put pressure on Stekelenburg
By Phil Kirkbride
1 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Everton are eyeing a new goalkeeper in the January transfer window.
The ECHO has learned that the Blues have drawn up a three man shortlist as they look to bolster their options in that position. Maarten Stekelenburg was signed in the summer and has established himself as Everton's No1 this season ahead of Joel Robles. But Blues boss Ronald Koeman wants to bring in a goalkeeper to challenge the 34-year-old for his position and with a view to being Everton's long-term first-choice. Koeman remains a fan of Fraser Forster, who he signed for Southampton last summer, but knows it will prove difficult to strike a deal with Southampton for his sale - and near impossible in January. Forster, it is understood, would be looking for his next move to be to a club playing in the Champions League. Joe Hart was available in the summer on loan from Manchester City but Koeman said he only wanted to sign a player who would be willing to fight for the No1 spot. In August, he said: "We are still looking for a goalkeeper. We like to have three good goalkeepers. If you have an injury, the manager is not so afraid of the other two but Joe Hart is not a third goalkeeper or a second." Everton failed to add another goalkeeper before the close of the summer window but are hopeful of bringing in a new face next month.
Everton boss Koeman will be doubting some of his players - Ratcliffe
Blues appear to be lethargic
By Kevin Ratcliffe
1 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Everton's players got caught cold at Southampton and it makes you wonder whether it's a mental weakness. There doesn't seem to be any urgency in their play and it must be very frustrating as a manager when you've done all you can in the days leading up to the game only for your plans to be ruined less than a minute into the contest. I think the manager Ronald Koeman will be having a few doubts about certain people now but he'll also be looking at himself and wondering just what he can do to turn things around. The players appeared lethargic and you've got to wonder whether they're feeling like they've been worked too hard in training after not being fit enough last season.
Certainly if you're on a bad run then you want to mix things up on the training pitch rather than going through the same routines if they're not working.
We seem to be stuck in the middle when it comes to a game plan.
Are they trying to get in people's faces or soak things up because if it's the latter then they're really got to become more resilient. This group of players has had a lot of good things said about them in the past with people claiming they were Everton's strongest squad since the title-winning days but now they're being questioned and it's different to what they were used to. There are no pats on the back right now.
The manager has said himself that it's not good enough and it will be interesting to see what business he does in the January transfer window.
What happens next month could really shape where we're going as a club.
The problem is that if you go into the window in a disappointing league position then it's going to be much harder to try and attract the top players but we all want to see some new faces who can bring a brighter future to the club.
Winter warming performances needed to boost energy levels
The temperatures have dropped in recent weeks and so have Everton's performances and it's a phenomenon I've seen happen throughout the game year in, year out.
It's certainly not something exclusive to the Blues and we saw Jurgen Klopp having to try and rouse the Anfield crowd at the weekend. Teams have come back from the international break and it's about five to 10 degrees colder than the last time they played and with that there seems to be a dip in intensity both on and off the pitch. It's weird because you'd think it would make you run around or jump up and down a bit more but there's that coldness in the air and you even notice that when you hit a golf ball it doesn't travel as far!
There should be no motivation needed for the visit of Manchester United to Goodison but unlike Ronald Koeman who is embarking on another rebuilding job with Everton after his work at Southampton, Jose Mourinho has found himself in a new position.
Having taken the job I doubt Mourinho realised just how much of an overhaul the squad needed and he's never really had to deal with that before. When he first came to Chelsea, Claudio Ranieri had already done a lot of buying and he just added some more on top. This is quite different.
Everton transfer rumours: Ronald Koeman to make January bid for Morgan Schneiderlin
A round-up of transfer rumours and speculation from around the web
By Joe Rimmer
2 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Everton boss Ronald Koeman wants a January reunion with Morgan Schneiderlin, that's according to reports today. The Blues boss is said to be ready to make a £20m bid for the 27-year-old, who does not feature in Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho's plans. The Frenchman worked with Koeman at Southampton and, according to John Percy at the Daily Telegraph , the Dutchman is keen to be reunited with Schneiderlin. West Brom are also linked with a move for the holding midfielder, but Everton are said to be favourites to convince the player to swap Old Trafford for Goodison Park. Schneiderlin has made just two league appearances this season and did not even come off the bench in the EFL Cup victory over West Ham United on Wednesday night.
Prentice: Koeman Christmas tree shows lack of Everton fan connection
Bizarre, yes, but Dave Prentice still thinks Koeman's tree suggests he doesn't quite get Blues yet
By David Prentice
2 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Football is taken very, very seriously on Merseyside.
Perhaps not quite as seriously as Bill Shankly's famous tongue in cheek quote, but not far off.
And Ronald Koeman discovered just how deep those feelings can run this week.
The social media world of Twitter can be a very strange place to dwell.
And yesterday's experience endured by the Everton manager was verging on the bizarre.
Bizarre but illuminating.
Koeman, we are reliably informed, posts his own messages on the platform.
And yesterday he posted a charming picture of a Christmas tree at his Cheshire home, accompanied by the message "Almost #Christmas time #busyfootball#period (hashtags are de rigueur on Twitter).
All very sweet and all very creditable.
Except some Twitter users took offence. Grave offence.
Ronald's 'crime', apparently, was that his tree contained too much red decoration.
"Red Christmas tree, Ronald. Noooo! It needs to be BLUE", "Red Ronald, really? Disappointed" and "Oh dear. What a faux pas. Try again without the red" were just some of the more printable replies.
Clearly cut to the quick, Ronald promptly replied with a photo of a different tree in a different room, this time with predominantly white decoration.
Almost #christmastime #busyfootball#periodpic.twitter.com/lppRjY4LfX
— Ronald Koeman (@RonaldKoeman) December 1, 2016
Better colour? pic.twitter.com/oiIeJry2aB
— Ronald Koeman (@RonaldKoeman) December 1, 2016
I Think there are more serious problems in the world, than making a big story out of a #ChristmasTree !!!
— Ronald Koeman (@RonaldKoeman) December 1, 2016
He tweeted the message "Better colour?" followed by another tweet which declared: "I think there are more serious problems in the world, than making a big story out of a #ChristmasTree!!!"
He's correct, of course.
But people arriving on Merseyside are quickly made aware that we take our football very, very seriously here. Howard Kendall famously turned up for his first day's training at Bellefield following his transfer from Preston North End in a red sports car - and was ordered by manager Harry Catterick to repaint it blue. He did. In 2003 Ibrahim Said was on loan at Everton from Egyptian side Al Ahly – but saw his chance of appearing in a Merseyside derby dashed because he had dyed his hair red!
David Moyes quickly connected with the Everton fans in the city when he described Everton as the "People's Club" of Merseyside. It struck a chord with Evertonians, it wound up Merseysiders of a red persuasion – and bought Moyes a little time when his second full season as Blues boss turned sour.
Koeman hasn't connected yet.
He is, rightly or wrongly, perceived as a manager who sees Everton as a short term project, a stepping stone. Maybe he will connect via results on the pitch – but until that moment there are plenty who will pounce upon innocent moments like overly red Christmas trees.
Watch the story of Everton's Glory Days in this impressive short timeline animation
Howard Kendall's halcyon Everton era told in this short clip
By Greg O'Keeffe
2 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
The name Howard Kendall needs no introduction.
His exploits as an Everton player and trophy-laden manager are woven into Merseyside football history.
But it's always nice to remind yourself of what the great man achieved, having recently passed the first anniversary of his untimely death. So that's why it was such a treat to discover this superb short animation, illustrated by Joe Devine and narrated by football writer Iain Macintosh . In a little over three minutes the pair neatly tell the remarkable story of Kendall's achievements at Goodison; which of course made him the club's most successful ever manager. It's a familiar story for Blues everywhere, but certainly worth watching for some footballing cheer amid a glum run of results. Thanks to Iain and Joe for their terrific work on uMAXit Football . We hope you enjoy it.
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho looking forward to returning to 'beautiful' Goodison Park
The manager also gave injury updates on the Red Devils squad
By Adam Jones
2 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has admitted that he is looking forward to returning to Goodison Park to face Everton - even describing the stadium as "beautiful".
The Portugese manager will be returning to the home of Blues for the first time since brining his Chelsea side to Merseyside last season - and leaving defeated thanks to a Steven Naismith hat-trick.
The United boss praised both the stadium and the crowd - and believes that the two sides will produce a good game of football at the weekend. Video thumbnail, Koeman: Hard work & aggression the key to finding form.
"Goodison Park is beautiful," Mourinho said.
"It is a great crowd, it is a historic stadium for my country. Eusebio scored 4 goals there in the World Cup. "The way United is playing, combined with the way Everton always try to play, means it should be a very good match." Mourinho also offered some United team news ahead of Sunday's clash.
The Red Devils boss confirmed that Luke Shaw will miss out after the full back picked up a "little" injury.
Former Everton man Wayne Rooney will also be missing for the visitors through suspension - but Marouane Fellaini and Paul Pogba are back in contention after serving bans themselves.
Everton comment: Koeman says what's black and white really matters at the moment
Everton manager says seventh place at the start of December is satisfactory - despite recent slump
By Phil Kirkbride
2 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Never mind blue, never mind red , its what's black and white that Ronald Koeman is truly focused on.
And how, in December and despite a run of just one league win in eight games, Everton are still seventh in the table. And with the chance this weekend to go above Manchester United and in to sixth place.
All things considered, you'd take that wouldn't you?
"...but still were in a good position in the table," he said at his press conference today.
"When somebody asks me at the start of the season if we would still, in the beginning of December, be seventh and if we beat Man United at home we will be sixth and above Man United, I would be happy at that stage." Koeman wasn't telling anyone to get real or trying to hide from the fact that the Blues have been wretched of late, but he was keen to put things into perspective and show why he's refusing to panic or make knee-jerk changes.
Everton cannot carry on playing as they have been of late - do so and they'll soon be well below seventh - but for Koeman to has dragged a side, who placed 11th in the past two seasons and only at the beginning of a major transition, into seventh at this stage of the season should be some reason for comfort. His aim is for Everton to be challenging for Europa League qualification this season and, as it stands, they are on course. The inconsistencies of the sides below Everton has helped, of course, but the hope is, form here on in, Everton's performances and results will only get better as Koeman spends longer and longer on the training, as well as spending a bit more time in the transfer market.
The hope is, that as a base, this isn't the worst place for Koeman and Everton to work from.
They've just got to get out of this rut, first.
Royal Blue: Everton are in an identity crisis but Manchester United can help them solve it
Phil Kirkbride on why Koeman wants "personality" but Blues fans want team to show bottle
By Phil Kirkbride
2 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Ronald Koeman says it's personality that Everton need to show on Sunday.
Some would call it bottle.
While others may choose to use words that can't be printed here (clue: it rhymes with Town Halls).
But whatever way you choose to articulate that feeling, the truth is that a few years ago, we wouldn't even be having this discussion. Yet this fixture highlights more than any other just how much of an identity crisis Everton find themselves in. It was not too long ago that when Manchester United came to Goodison, in one of the stand-out fixtures of the Blues' season, there were some things you could bet your bottom dollar on. One being that Everton would be up for it. That the Blues, however limited, however inferior in star quality or talent, would always, always make a game of it.
But as we head into this weekend's visit of United, there are too many question marks over that.
Too many for comfort.
This isn't how it should be.
And when Koeman speaks about his concern over the team's recent performances, he's really talking about their attitude. And it is that which will determine so much of what happens on Sunday.
Last season Seamus Coleman said: "..we know how Goodison likes heavy tackles" while Leighton Baines spoke this week about making visiting teams hate coming to Goodison again and Gareth Barry remembers a time when it was the hardest away day in the Premier League.
Vincent Janssen of Tottenham Hotspur is tackled by Phil Jagielka at Goodison Park in August
Everton are unbeaten in the league at home this season but this is the next challenge, restore it's reputation. Restore their reputation. If Everton are as powder puff, as brittle and flimsy as they've been of late then United will have a field day. But if they are aggressive, in their face, relentless and energetic then the Blues will boss the game and turn what Jose Mourinho described as "beautiful" Goodison into a snarling beast. It will also be a significant step towards Everton becoming the team Koeman wants them to be and a team with an identity. One Goodison is more accustomed to seeing.
Koeman: This is why I won't blood Everton youngsters anytime soon
Koeman resisting calls to inject struggling side with Academy stars but admits team is too old
By Phil Kirkbride
2 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Ronald Koeman admits he needs to reduce the age of the Everton squad - but insists the Blues' youngsters are not ready to be blooded. The average age of the Koeman's squad is among the highest in the Premier League and he says he needs to bring it down. But the Everton boss resisting calls to inject his struggling team with players from the club's high-flying under-23s team. Koeman insists the gap between Academy football and the Premier League is huge and that the decision to include them in a first-team fixture cannot be taken lightly. Mason Holgate and Tom Davies have featured for Everton this season while Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been on the bench but Koeman says he won't be calling on the youngsters for Sunday's game with Manchester United - even though he has an ageing squad.
"We have some players close to the end of their career but still they are important players for the team," he said. "They are players with a lot of personality. "Of course we look to the squad and we look what we need. It is impossible to change everything or to change a lot in one summer. We need at least this winter and we need the next summer to make changes in this club. "That is also about the older players. We have Phil, Gareth, Baines that are more than 30 but of course Baines is still in a good physical way, Jag is in a good physical way and Gareth is still the player who runs the most distance in the game. "Of course we have young players but when is it time for a young player?
"I don't believe now because still they are not ready and the pressure is more on than it was. It is a reason we need to wait when we make these kind of decisions (on young players)."
Everton's u-23s side are top of Premier League 2 and this week midfielder Liam Walsh was nominated for Player of the Month. "What we do is analysing young players, it is about Tom Davies, it is about Kieran Dowell, it's about Liam Walsh, it's about Dominic the striker, Kenny the right full-back," Koeman said. "The Under-23 competition cannot be compared to the Premier League. They train a lot of times with the first team and if there is a moment that they show they are on the level of other players in their position then I will give them the chance. It is also a physical question about young players. Everyday we have the contact with David Unsworth and they need time."
Koeman had great success in bringing players through the system at Feyenoord but says the Premier League is far less forgiving than Eredivise.
"It is so easy to say, he played fantastic, he needs to play in the first team," he added.
"No, they don't understand the level of the Premier League and they need time, they need time. We are not playing in Holland – if so yes they are ready. But ready for the PL? and if I bring a young player it is not for one game and then I will show the confidence in that young player. Still they are not ready."
Everton need more time to show marked improvement, says Koeman
• We need next summer to make changes, says Goodison manager
• Everton have had one win in nine, with Manchester United up next
By Andy Hunter
Friday 2 December 2016 Guardian
Ronald Koeman has said Everton's miserable run has opened his eyes to the changes required at Goodison Park but insisted the club's academy prospects are not yet the solution.
Everton host Manchester United on Sunday having won only once in nine matches and failed to respond to their manager's demands for a reaction to poor displays against Chelsea and Swansea City. Koeman's requests for more pressing, greater penetration and more aggressive starts have gone ignored in recent weeks, to leave the manager admitting: "We need at least this winter and we need next summer to make changes in this club."
But, despite a dramatic downturn since the start of the season, Koeman believes he will learn more about the squad during this period than had their encouraging early results continued. "I still have the belief we will be successful at Everton," he said. "Maybe we need a little more time, maybe we need to make more changes in the team, maybe we need it for next season. We know it is a new project and everybody knows that takes time. We had a good start, it is a difficult time now but that is football."
He added: "It is always difficult when there is a lack of confidence and a lack of belief but it can be good for me to see the reaction of the team in a difficult time. It is better to see that. Of course you like to have a win every weekend because everyone is happy but sometimes, to get your eyes really open, maybe this time is the best to understand what we need to change."
Change is unlikely to come from within, it appears, with Everton's academy prospects not ready to step into an ageing team who lacked mobility at Southampton last Sunday. Koeman, who has been linked with January moves for the United duo Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin, plus the 19-year-old Charlton Athletic forward Ademola Lookman, said: "We analyse our young players. It is about Tom Davies, it is about Kieran Dowell, Dominic Calvert-Lewin the striker, Jonjoe Kenny the right full-back.
"The under-23 competition cannot be compared to the Premier League. They train a lot of times with the first team and if there is a moment that they show they are on the level of other players in their position then I will give them the chance. "It is also a physicality question about young players. Every day we have the contact with David Unsworth [the under-23s coach] and they need time. It is easy to say: 'He played fantastic, he needs to play in the first team.' No, they don't understand the level of the Premier League and they need time. We are not playing in Holland – if so, then yes, they are ready. But ready for the Premier League? If I bring a young player in it is not for one game and then I will show the confidence in that young player. Still they are not ready."
Everton manager Ronald Koeman forced to keep faith with veterans ahead of Manchester United's visit
By Chris Bascombe
2 December 2016 Telegraph
Everton fans like to chant about their "grand old team". At the moment, the description is being applied too literally. The average age of Ronald Koeman's side is the fourth highest in the Premier League, with fears first voiced by former manager David Moyes proving prophetic. Shortly before leaving Everton for Manchester United in 2013, Moyes expressed concern about the age balance of his squad.
"I do think there is a big rebuilding job to go on at Everton. We have a few players getting near the end – we have a little bit of an ageing team," Moyes said. "We have to get some younger players in as well as developing our own." At 29, the average age of Koeman's side is a year older than Moyes's. Four of the line-up on Moyes's farewell appearance against Chelsea three years ago were over 30 and he had no one in the side under 25. Last weekend at Southampton, Koeman selected five players over 30 and only Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley were under 27. Three of his back four were the same as in Moyes's last game. No one recognises the need to reinvigorate more than Koeman, but as he prepared for Manchester United's visit on Sunday he made the pertinent point that his older players are the most trustworthy. Koeman says it will require at least two transfer windows to shift the age balance and build a higher quality side capable of meeting his and the club's expectations, but he knows the stalwarts cannot go on forever. "We have some players close to the end of their career but still they are important players for the team," Koeman said. "They are players with a lot of personality. Of course we look to the squad and we look what we need. It is impossible to change everything or to change a lot in one summer. We need at least this winter and we need the next summer. That is also about the older players. We have Phil [Jagielka], Gareth [Barry], Leighton Baines that are more than 30, but of course Baines is still in a good physical way, Jagielka is in a good physical way and Gareth is still the player who runs the most distance in the game. "We have young players but when is it time for a young player? I don't believe now because still they are not ready and the pressure is more on now than it was."
There has been some clamour for Koeman to promote from his club's academy – teenagers Tom Davies and Kieran Dowell have been part of the senior set-up since their debuts last season – but the manager says they are not ready for regular Premier League football.
"The under-23 competition cannot be compared to the Premier League," he said. "They train a lot with the first team and if there is a moment that they show they are on the level of other players in their position then I will give them the chance. If I bring a young player in it is not for one game. I will show the confidence in that young player. They need time."
When Everton made a promising start, Koeman was more cautious than optimistic. After one win in his last eight games he says the difficulties he anticipated in August are now clearer.
"From the beginning I knew it was a difficult job," said Koeman. "Not one manager will change the 12th position of the table into finishing second or fourth. We'd like to change the style of play and everybody finds it difficult. "Maybe it is good to make one step back and then with more confidence in the future to make two steps forward. That is the realistic situation at the moment. "Maybe players and the team has more doubts and having doubts is not the best way of showing your qualities. But it is good for me to see the reaction of the team in a difficult time. "Of course you like to have every weekend a win but sometimes to get your eyes really open. Maybe this time is the best to understand that if you need to change where we need to change."
Koeman lukewarm on McCarthy's future at Everton amid exit talk
By Paul Hyland –
03 December 2016 Irish herald
James McCarthy is now odds on to leave Everton and it could happen as early as the January transfer window. Revealing that McCarthy is fit to play against Manchester United at Goodison Park tomorrow after hamstring problems, Ronald Koeman offered a very lukewarm response to hardening rumours about the Ireland international's future. "I don't know. I did not speak with James about his situation," said Koeman dismissively. "For a long time he wasn't available for the team. Even last week he had only two training sessions and this week? Yes, he did train and is available for the weekend.
"About the future of James, the future of other players, new players? That is not the focus I need to show at this moment." McCarthy has endured an unhappy season to date, managing just four Premier League appearances under Koeman. Speculation throughout the summer pointed to McCarthy as a likely mover during the transfer window and when Koeman played him in defence against West Brom and then subbed him before half-time, a rapid exit seemed to be on the cards. The subject of a fierce tug of war between Ireland boss Martin O'Neill and Koeman, persistent hamstring trouble has been his biggest problem this season but he has also found it difficult to dislodge a first-choice midfield pairing of Gareth Barry and Idrissa Gueye when fit. Under pressure Koeman also found himself defending his choice of ornaments on his Christmas tree after picking red and white. Following a social media storm, he changed the colour scheme to white. "This was a big mistake of my wife, put her under pressure!" he laughed. "I understand the fanatic blue people. Of course I am the Everton manager, I'm a blue and will do everything to be successful at this great club. "But I like a glass of red wine. I don't need, if I drink a glass of red wine, to mention and to show I am a blue. But okay, it's funny. Don't take it too seriously."
Ross Wallace warns Sheffield Wednesday to beware of old boy Aiden McGeady
December 3 2016 Sheffield Star
Dom Howson Experienced winger Ross Wallace has warned his teammates that Owls old boy Aiden McGeady will be determined to come back and haunt them at Hillsborough today. McGeady is set to line-up against Wednesday for the first time since his ill-fated loan spell last season where the winger failed to shine, scoring just once in 13 appearances. But the Republic of Ireland international has resurrected his career since joining Preston North End on loan from Everton before the August transfer deadline and is likely to be deployed on the left wing this afternoon. Wallace, who came through the ranks with McGeady at Celtic, said: "Aiden has got quality. We saw when he was here he has the quality to hurt us. We have to make sure we defend against him; he's a good player. Unfortunately it never worked out for him here, that happens." For our Owls news and opinion on twitter follow here McGeady is relishing the prospect of returning to S6. Ross Wallace Ross Wallace "I didn't really have the best of times at Hillsborough," he conceded. "Towards the end I kind of lost my place in the team and then towards the end of the season when the team were in the Play-Offs I wasn't really playing at all, so I am probably going back with a point to prove I suppose. "There is an added motivation, especially when you are going somewhere that you would want to do well and probably get one over on them. "It's not the be all and end all, obviously the most important thing is that we come away with a good result but personally, obviously there is a bit more motivation there." For more news from Hillsborough click here The 30-year-old thinks Preston have got nothing to lose, saying: "I know what it's like playing at Hillsborough with the fans, they are obviously a big club with a big following and a big fan base. "They have a lot of pressure on them this season I think to do well and to go up. "Even when I was there last season there was an onus on the team to be right up there in the Play-Offs, if not finishing second, because at one point when I was there last season we had a chance to do that." The Lilywhites are currently in the top half of the Championship and take on Carlos Carvalhal's side on the back of a three-match unbeaten run. "Preston re doing absolutely magnificent," said Wallace, who spent two seasons at Deepdale between 2008-2010. "The manager has come in and dragged them up the leagues, they are very difficult to beat. "They have added bits of quality like [Paul] Gallagher, McGeady, and have a strong team. It will be a difficult game. I think all the players have gone, since I was there, so won't be getting any insider team information."
Barry Horne: Everton should be wary of a Manchester United team on the rise
"It will be a tough day"
By Barry Horne
3 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Mourinho and Manchester in the ascendancy
Jose Mourinho and United are very much on the up. They had a terrific performance the other day against West Ham which I'm not surprised about. I wrote before the season started that I thought Man United and Mourinho would go well together eventually. I thought Ibrahimovic would be a star and I'm actually surprised it's taken so long. Obviously he's not quite there yet, he's got a lot of work to do but I still think that he will make it work. Whereas Everton just seem to be stuck in the mud a little bit. I saw the game last week and the feeling is that they've just lost their way a little bit. It will be a tough day. There's always a perception that we do well against Man United but I'm not sure that we do. In recent years we have had some good games against them, we've often played well against them but I think they tend to come out on top more often than not.
So I don't know. I think that the crowd might be ready to turn a little bit.
It's a shame that Rooney isn't back, he's suspended. I'm still not sure what Everton fans make of him but I would have liked to have seen him come back. As long as we didn't lose I wouldn't have minded him
I remember Koeman had a bad run at Southampton and he pulled them out of it. They went through a great run and in the end they didn't want him to leave.
You can only have one personality and a personality sometimes, when things are going well no one questions it, but when things aren't going so well it becomes a big deal. But I think he's consistent and he's honest with not only himself, but the fans and the players. I don't think he is going to change, because that's how he is and he will stand or fall by that.
You have to earn that Goodison Park atmosphere
In recent years the home record has been brilliant. Perhaps it was at its best towards the second half of Moyes's reign and Everton really did have a fabulous home record. Leighton Baines spoke about wanting Goodison to be feared again. Players, teams and managers would probably have feared coming to Goodison Park in those Moyes days so any player who has played through that era would say the same thing, so it's no surprise he said it. But to do that you have to start playing well and winning games. That comes first. The fear factor doesn't come before the results come. You have to earn that right to become a feared club and have that atmosphere in the ground. The team has to build that and make that happen with performances and results, so that's up to them.
Stekelenburg has been good, but there's nothing wrong with a little competition
Everton are keeping tracks on a couple of goalkeepers ahead of January. I think Stekelenburg was one of the better signings of the last transfer window, considering he came on a free. I don't think 34 is old for a goalkeeper. Tim Howard had many great years after he got to that age, as have a many number of other keepers such as Neville Southall. I would say it's great to have two keepers always pushing each other, one younger one trying to push the older one, that's the ideal situation. I thought in the last couple of years of Tim Howard's career it was clear that Everton should start looking to replace him. I don't think Stekelenburg is in that position quite yet but of course you need cover if there are injuries.
If there's money there and there's good players available then go for it. I'm not suggesting Stekelenburg is past it by any means, he has got a good few years ahead of him yet.
Everton transfer rumours: Koeman sees Gabbiadini bid rejected
A round-up of the latest Everton transfer gossip from around the web
By Kristian Walsh
3 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Expect Manolo Gabbiadini to feature on these gossip pages between now and the end of January.
After Everton's interest in the Italian striker over the summer, the media in Italy are keen to push the idea the Blues still want the Napoli front man - so much so, Calciomercato now claim Ronald Koeman submitted a 17million euros (£14.2million bid) for the 25-year-old.
However, the report says the bid was rejected, despite the offer supposedly containing a sell-on percentage clause. The Italian website further goes on to claim the Serie A side would want at least 22million to negotiate for the player, with Everton mulling over their next move.
Gabbiadini has found himself down the pecking order in Naples and has scored just two goals in 14 games, with speculation his time in south Italy is coming to a close.
Everton's Academy stars pledge to help raise nearly £250,000 for homeless charity drive
David Unsworth and his squad to work throughout season for Everton in the Community initiative
By Phil Kirkbride
3 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
David Unsworth and Everton's under-23s players have pledge to help raise nearly a quarter of a million pounds for charity. The Blues coach and his squad have launched 'Home Is Where The Heart Is', a campaign to generate money needed for a special Everton in the Community project which aimed at people on the brink of homelessness. Unsworth and his players took part in a Goodison sleepout last week in a bid to raise awareness for the cause but are now going to take their involvement a step further. EitC are looking for £230,000 to purchase and operate a house near to Goodison Park which will offer 16-23 year-olds who have fallen on hard times a place to stay. And Unsworth and his players have committed to working throughout the season in order to help the Blues reach their target.
"Modern day footballers are in an incredibly privileged position and are supported by their club with everything including dietary and fitness support and psychological matters," Unsworth said.
"'Home is Where the Heart Is' will us see offer that same level of support to the most needy across Liverpool and draw upon all areas of expertise within Everton in the Community to ensure that those young people accessing the facility will be given tangible life skills to set them on the right path in life.
"The Sleepout was a tough night and temperatures plummeted to minus four but we were all wrapped up with layers of clothing on. There are people out there doing this for real and that is the scary thing.
"That is why we are doing this - because we want to stop this. We want to give all those people on the streets of Liverpool a helping hand and get them off the streets and somewhere safe where they can get back on their feet again. Everybody should have a roof over their head and we are going to give our all to this campaign to ensure that we can help as many young people as possible." There are plenty of ways for you to get involved and support Unsy and his team with their fundraising efforts.
You can visit https:// www.justgiving.com/fundraising/EvertonU23s>> ; to donate directly to the cause or alternatively please contact the charity directly on 0151 530 5253 if you are able to support the campaign with items or services which could be used for developing the house or perhaps help a young person with their social development such as driving lessons or clothing for job interviews.
Carragher - Firmino and Lukaku difference is colossal because Liverpool man can't stop running
The former Liverpool defender compares Liverpool and Everton centre forwards
By James Pearce
3 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Jamie Carragher says the difference between Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino and Everton's Romelu Lukaku is "colossal". The Kop legend highlighted the Brazilian's work ethic for the high-flying Reds to underline what's been missing from Lukaku this season. Firmino, who has been leading the line for Jurgen Klopp's side, runs on average 7.1 miles per game with Lukaku covering just 5.4 miles.
"Lukaku has certainly got talent," Carragher wrote in his column for the Daily Mail.
"He and his agent, Mino Raiola, are never shy of telling us about that, but if he is to fulfil Koeman's prediction then there is one thing he has to do more than anything else - run. "Consider this: so far this season, he has been on the pitch for 1,017 minutes. Liverpool's Roberto Firmino has played 1,067 minutes. "In that time, Firmino has run 23.6 miles further than Lukaku and made 490 more high intensity sprints. The difference is colossal. "He wants to play at a Champions League club but it's the same with Diego Costa, Alexis Sanchez and even Sergio Aguero. They are all running further and harder than Lukaku. "It is noticeable Koeman has said after nearly every game that Lukaku hasn't pressed well from the front, in the same way he has made a habit of saying after several games that he had to give a rocket at half-time to galvanise his players. "Koeman must be thinking they are not capable of taking on instructions or, worse, that they are just lazy."
Mourinho can see Manchester United's form and fortune converging at Everton
The Old Trafford manager admits to liking trips to Goodison Park and this visit may be perfectly timed as his improving side face one stuttering
By Paul Wilson
Saturday 3 December 2016 Guardian
José Mourinho enjoys going to Everton. "Always difficult, always beautiful," he says. The Manchester United manager's reasons include old-fashioned stadium architecture, passionate fans and the fact that Goodison Park was the setting for some of Portugal's most famous victories in the 1966 World Cup. Mourinho was only three at the time Eusébio was banging in the goals against Brazil and North Korea, but he will not find it too difficult to re-imagine the atmosphere as the ground has hardly changed since.
A more pragmatic reason for Mourinho to look forward to Sunday's kick-off is that it breaks a disappointing sequence of league games at Old Trafford. The last time United earned three points was away from home, at Swansea. Due to a combination of the international break and the fixture computer United have not had an away Premier League game in almost a month while three home fixtures since the emphatic defeat at Chelsea in mid-October have yielded one point each. Added to the 1-1 result against Stoke that began the run of draws, that means United have not won a league match at home since beating Leicester in September. This is United's worst start to a season in 27 years, to which Mourinho's reply is that, with the eight points his side deserved but did not get from their past four home games, the club would now be in a Champions League position. Football does not work like that, as everyone knows, though Mourinho is right in saying United fans have been much happier with the way the team is playing this season. They have been particularly happy with the 4-1 results against Feyenoord and West Ham in cup competitions when, as Mourinho says, the only difference from the league performances was that for some reason the chances were taken. Given that even Wayne Rooney has begun to sparkle of late – the United captain is suspended but was excellent against Feyenoord and West Ham – the United supporters who opposed Mourinho's appointment are gradually warming to the manager and his methods. Mourinho should learn to curb his temper and cut out the touchline tantrums if he wants to be universally popular but now Henrikh Mkhitaryan is beginning to show his value and Bastian Schweinsteiger is back in from the cold at least it is possible to see what the manager is trying to bring about. Like a lot of Old Trafford attendees Mourinho rejects Louis van Gaal's safety-first approach out of hand – too cautious, too boring, too unsuccessful and not remotely close to the club's traditions. The football United are presently playing is better: more adventurous, more attacking, more watchable. Michael Carrick has even suggested there are signs of the old club re-emerging, yet it is probably naive to expect results to improve overnight. When Van Gaal used to plead for time, citing what he appeared to hope would be a three-year transitional period, everyone would inwardly groan at the prospect of more tedious football. Now Mourinho, too, is pleading for time, though at least this process promises to be entertaining. He is not turning United into a new version of his original Chelsea, a prospect that alarmed some supporters as much as it intrigued others, and neither is there any evidence of the disconnect between manager and players that curtailed his most recent stay at Stamford Bridge. To judge by recent performances United are on the up again, maybe not climbing as high and as fast as they would like but definitelymoving in the right direction. Everton supporters would like to be able to say the same thing, though at the moment it is unclear where they are heading under Ronald Koeman. Like Mourinho, Koeman appeared to have a fairly straightforward task in replacing an unpopular manager and who better to sort out an over-generous defence than a former Barcelona and Holland centre-half? Everton and their manager began the season impressively but could not keep it up. A winning start is the main reason they are still so high in the table, for the old inconsistencies began to creep back several weeks ago. But for Seamus Coleman's last-minute equaliser they would have been beaten at home by bottom-of-the-table Swansea in their previous home match and, though Koeman's return to Southampton last week had obvious significance for the manager, Everton went down without a fight. Losing John Stones has not helped for, though Ashley Williams initially appeared a sound enough stopgap to help Phil Jagielka cope with an inevitable departure, the two thirtysomethings at the heart of the Everton defence are beginning to show their age. AsSo is Gareth Barry, who seems to have been slowing up for much of his career and is now just over a couple of months from his 36th birthday. Add to that a plethora of wingers who all struggle to deliver a telling final ball and a striker who permanently feels he needs more love and better support and it will be seen that Koeman has his work cut out, without even mentioning the enigma that is Ross Barkley. Still, at least one manager will enjoy Sunday afternoon's occasion. For the other, the one who heard boos from the home crowd at half-time against Swansea, the Goodison atmosphere is perhaps a couple of poor results away from becoming oppressive.
Carragher slams Everton striker Lukaku for lack of running
Former Reds defender uses his column in the Mail to highlight a flaw in striker's game
By Phil Kirkbride
3 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Jamie Carragher has heavily criticised Romelu Lukaku for his lack of running in games.
The former Liverpool defender has used his weekly column in the Daily Mail to highlight how far Lukaku is behind other strikers in the Premier League. Carragher, who compares Lukaku's stats to that of Reds forward Roberto Firmino, has also raised question marks over Everton goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg and defender Ramiro Funes Mori. Ronald Koeman has made a point of saying the £28m forward is one of the best finishers he has worked with but that he must improve his pressing and efforts off the ball. "Lukaku has certainly got talent," Carragher wrote. "He and his agent, Mino Raiola, are never shy of telling us about that, but if he is to fulfil Koeman's prediction then there is one thing he has to do more than anything else - run. "Consider this: so far this season, he has been on the pitch for 1,017 minutes. Liverpool's Roberto Firmino has played 1,067 minutes. "In that time, Firmino has run 23.6 miles further than Lukaku and made 490 more high intensity sprints. The difference is colossal.
"He wants to play at a Champions League club but it's the same with Diego Costa, Alexis Sanchez and even Sergio Aguero. They are all running further and harder than Lukaku. "It is noticeable Koeman has said after nearly every game that Lukaku hasn't pressed well from the front, in the same way he has made a habit of saying after several games that he had to give a rocket at half-time to galvanise his players. "Koeman must be thinking they are not capable of taking on instructions or, worse, that they are just lazy."
Everton in Ademola Lookman hunt as Steve Walsh pursues January transfer
Blues hoping to beat off competition from host of Premier League clubs for teenager
By Phil Kirkbride
3 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Everton's director of football Steve Walsh is hoping to push through a deal for Ademola Lookman.
The Blues are in the hunt with a number of Premier League clubs for the signature of the highly-rated teenager from Charlton Athletic. Lookman, 19, is one of the hottest prospects in the Football League and has risen through the ranks rapidly after joining the London club two years ago. Talent-spotter Walsh is driving Everton's interest in the player ahead of next month's transfer window.
Steve Walsh director of football at Everton watches a game from the stands
The League One side are said to value the talented teenager at over £7m and have had enquiries from Arsenal, Crystal Palace and a host of other top flight clubs. But Everton are understood to be hopeful of winning the race although no deal is in place yet. The ECHO understands that even though Lookman is only 19, the Blues would add him straight to the first-team squad if a deal can be made.
Reports in South London, however, say Charlton would insist on Lookman being loaned back to them for the remainder of the season. The forward made his senior debut last November and scored five times in 24 appearances in the Championship last term. Charlton were relegated but Lookman's progression has continued with six goals so far this season.
Lookman was handed an England under-19 call up in May but has now graduated to the u-20s.
How Everton should line up against Manchester United - 'Time to go back to what worked earlier this season'
Our writers give their views on the team Ronald Koeman should pick
By Phil KirkbrideIan DoyleGlen Williams
3 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Phil Kirkbride - 'Time to go back to what worked'
Everton need to go back to what worked earlier in the season. They need to be hard to beat again.
And it's why Koeman must look at re-introducing the 3-5-2 system that was effective in the opening few weeks of the season. Bring back Mason Holgate into a back three, push Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines out as wing-backs and pack the midfield with Gueye, Barry and McCarthy. Bolasie and Lukaku are Everton's most effective forwards this season so look to use them on the counter-attack.
My team (3-5-2): Stekelenburg, Holgate, Williams, Jagielka, Coleman, Gueye, Barry, McCarthy, Baines, Bolasie, Lukaku
Ian Doyle - 'Say hello to a return to a back three'
Should Ronald Koeman adopt the old Christmas tree formation?
Now we've got that jest out of the way, the Dutchman has some serious selection issues ahead of the visit of Manchester United. His team just haven't been good enough for some time. And while Koeman has been reticent to shake up his line-up, my team would be somewhat different for Sunday.
For a start, say hello to a return to a back three. And say hello, again, to Mason Holgate, who will surely thrive in the atmosphere and the opportunity to impress once more. Ramiro Funes Mori is recalled, and it gives me no pleasure to drop Phil Jagielka to the bench.So too Gareth Barry, with James McCarthy providing legs and protection to the defence alongside Idrissa Gueye.
Up front, Romelu Lukaku receives help from Yannick Bolasie and Ross Barkley.
My team (3-4-2-1): Stekelenburg; Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori; Coleman, Gueye, McCarthy, Baines; Bolasie, Barkley; Lukaku.
Glen Williams - 'Perfect opportunity for Everton to make a statement'
Even though it is against United, who they have only beaten once in their last five attempts in all competitions, I don't think there's any hiding place this weekend. United's mediocre start to the season could be the perfect opportunity for Everton to make a statement. Attacking from the outset and giving the Goodison crowd a reason to get behind the team and believe again. A spearhead of Romelu Lukaku, with Ross Barkley behind and the trickery of Yannick Bolasie and (hopefully) on form Gerard Deulofeu could stop United in their tracks. An early goal would be so crucial.
The rest of the team picks itself, steadying the ship and laying the foundation for a potentially exciting front four.
My team (4-2-3-1): Stekelenburg; Coleman, Jagielka, Williams, Baines; Gueye, Barry; Deulofeu, Barkley, Mirallas; Lukaku
Koeman's Everton battle - how old is the Blues squad?
Ronald Koeman's team is one of the oldest in the league - but just how old is it?
By Glen Williams
3 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Everton boss Ronald Koeman admitted some Blues players are coming close to the end of their careers and he needs to reduce his squad's age. But the Dutchman also admitted he is wary of blooding the youngsters too early in the first team due to the pressures of the Premier League. The average age of the squad is 26-and-a-half years old – but this includes the younger players Koeman is cautious of exposing. The likes of Tom Davies, Tyias Browning, Kieran Dowell, Mason Holgate and Matthew Pennington all feature in the 27-man squad. If you take a closer look at the team's starting 11 the figures begin to stack up. Based on an average starting team of: Stekelenburg, Coleman, Williams, Jagielka, Baines, Gueye, Barry, Barkley, Bolasie, Mirallas and Lukaku – the team's average age shoots up to 29. In that starting line-up there are five players over 30, almost half the team, which could be telling in the tail-end of the season and Koeman's hand could be forced into entrusting the young Blues.
But the January transfer window could also be an opportunity to bring in some younger players who are already established in first team football to aid that late-season push. Everton have been linked with a number of young players who could bolster the squad and are already proven in England and some of Europe's top leagues. "Of course we look to the squad and we look what we need. It is impossible to change everything or to change a lot in one summer. We need at least this winter and we need the next summer to make changes in this club," Koeman said.
Everton youngster Liam Walsh on why shots from halfway won't impress Koeman
Academy midfielder on the Blues, being marked by Gueye, Yeovil and cooking for himself
By Phil Kirkbride
3 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Liam Walsh walks into the media centre at Finch Farm straight after the end of training.
The teenage midfielder is still in his kit.
Walsh was expecting to finish earlier than he did on Friday, grab a shower and then sit down to chat, but at the end of his session with the under-23s, he got the call to run across to the other side of the club's Halewood complex and join in with the first-team. In a practice game, the 19-year-old was being marked by Idrissa Gueye, "a tough one to play against" he says, but the Huyton lad nevertheless hopes he impressed the watching Ronald Koeman. "He's a hard worker, you can tell that on matchdays, and he's great on the ball as well and I also played against Ross and Cleverley and it's tough playing against them but it makes me a better player," Walsh says of Gueye.
"When I do train with them I make sure I give it my all because I'm trying to impress everyone. It's a privilege to train with them and be around them, I learn a lot everyday. "I hope I've made an impression. I've been trying my best, which I always do with the reserves, but maybe it takes something in a game when the first-team staff are watching, or something in training which catches the eye.
"I'll keep giving it my all and, hopefully, get my chance one day."
Soberingly, Koeman said Everton's youngsters aren't ready yet.
But Walsh, a composed midfielder playmaker with a fierce competitive streak, is in a small group of Academy players that are pushing to be. He was this week nominated for the Premier League 2 Player of the Month for November and Koeman name checked him when explaining his reasons for not giving youth a chance. Walsh, at least, is in the manager's thinking, even if he must remain patient for the time being. "I feel as though I am in good form at the moment," Walsh said. "I had a little injury and missed a few games but I've come back and I'm still in good form, so I've just got to keep going. It's up to the coach what happens. "I'm in good form so while I'm playing my best it's good to get nominated for that award and it shows people are watching me and hopefully people at the club are watching me closely." Walsh hails from Huyton, an established hotbed for local talent, but went to school at Cardinal Heenan in West Derby before a move, aged 15, to Wade Deacon in Widnes as his Everton career gathered momentum.
He comes from a family of Evertonians.
"All my family are Blues - expect my Dad!" he says with a laugh.
"He still wants them to do well, he still wants Liverpool to do well but whatever team I'm playing for he wants them to do well and me to do well. "They are all big football fans and my grandads come and watch when they can, even some away games. When I went on loan to Yeovil last year, they were there nearly every single game and it's a four hour trip down.
"I've got a lot to thank them for."
They have helped Walsh become a grounded and articulate young man but the Blues Academy star also credits last season's loan at Yeovil with opening his eyes. "I think it's important to go out on loan, especially, when you are young because you are only used to kids' football, you don't know what a proper man's game is like and going out has done me justice," he said. "But I feel as though that loan is done now and it can go down on my CV and I've just got to concentrate where I am now, at Everton, and I just want to push for the first-team. Liam Walsh is tackled by Jack Munns of Cheltenham Town during the EFL Checkatrade Trophy match between Cheltenham Town and Everton at Whaddon Road
"It toughened me up a lot and it made me look at the game much more. People don't think about it but going out on loan helps you with off the pitch as well and you see how proper footballers live.
"I was living down there with them and football has been their whole life but I'm only just starting.
"As soon as I came back I felt like I was closer to the first-team and felt I could handle myself better and that if I got my chance then I could take it." Walsh, despite David Unsworth's backing, admits he had some concerns about leaving Everton but when he come through a Football League initiation, he felt like he belonged. "When I got the call from Unsy he was all for me going down and said I could handle it footballing-wise but off the ball (I wasn't sure) because they are tough men," he added.
"In my first game I had a 50-50 with one of the biggest players I've ever seen in my life and I went right through him and from there I just thought 'I can't really back down' and that I could handle myself.
"So from that first game I knew I could handle the rest of the games.
"In the reserves, when you're at a Premier League club, you've got it easy.
"You've got all the kitchen staff cooking food for you, your things get washed, you get new kit everyday and when I went down to Yeovil there's just this little kitchen, you've got to make your own breakfast and you have got to adapt. "Those lads down there just love football but you get people these days who play football for the money but these lads don't get the wages to go and buy big cars, they've got mortgages and kids to pay for and so every game you're going into, three points is vital, and that is all they strive for each day."
Did he have concerns about not being welcomed?
"I thought about that myself, that I wouldn't fit in straight away because I'm coming from a Premier League club and I'm a young kid. "But they helped me a lot, they showed me around and before games they were telling me to play the way I usually do, so they had great confidence in me and that I could do well in the games and when I showed that I became part of the team and they helped me every single game." He now hopes to earn the same confidence of those in Everton's first-team but admits he needs to grab the manager's attention. Walsh caught the eye last November when scoring from just inside Derby County's half in a game for Everton's u-18s. It won the award for Premier League Youth goal of the season. So would he try it in front of Koeman? Would he dare try it the next time he trains with the seniors? "Nah! Not a chance," he says with a smile. "And the keepers wouldn't like it either."
The Everton Premier League 25 - who is at Number 23?
We count down the top 25 Everton moments in the Premier League era
By Phil Kirkbride
3 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
We're well aware that football existed before 1992. Indeed, many of us were regularly attending football matches before then. But with this being the 25th year of the Premier League, and December 25 being a kind of special day, now seems as opportune a time as any to look back at some of the most seismic Everton moments of that time. We asked our team of writers and a select group of Evertonians to rank their favourite 25 Everton moments of the Premier League era. We then ranked them in a list from 25 to one, because we all love Christmas countdowns. They're not necessarily goals. There are tackles, pirouettes, film stars, boxing - even an unlikely substitution in there.
Yesterday Alex Nyarko getting shirty was No 25. Here's the next...
23. Tony Hibbert scores in testimonial game
August 8, 2012.
It was a Wednesday night.
Goodison was playing host to AEK Athens in a friendly game with the new Premier League season less than two weeks away. Steven Naismith, a summer signing from Rangers, bagged a first-half hat-trick but nobody left the game talking about the Scot. The game doubled as Tony Hibbert's testimonial game and after over a decade of playing for his beloved Everton without scoring, he ended his drought.
In the 53rd minute, the Blues won a free-kick 20 yards from goal and after the ball was laid off for him, Hibbert drove it low and into the bottom corner. Goodison went berserk and around 1,000 fans stormed the pitch to join in the celebrations. Well, they had long warned what would happen if Hibbo scored. "The lads were saying to me in the changing room that it was like a fairytale," Hibbert said.
"I'd said to Leighton Baines earlier on that I was on free-kicks. All the fans were asking me was if I was going to score, I hit it well and it went in."
What happened next?
Tony Hibbert receives warm applause from the Goodison crowd during his final Everton appearance against Bournemouth last season Well, Hibbert never found the back of the net again.
It would be the only time in his 329-game Everton career that he would score.
But as it came in a pre-season friendly, his moment of glory will not be found in any official records.
Yet no Everton fan will forget the day Hibbert finally broke his duck. And neither will he.
Koeman - 'I knew Everton job was going to be this hard'
Blues boss insists scale of task at Goodison has come as no surprise
By Phil Kirkbride
3 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Ronald Koeman insists he always knew how difficult the Everton job was going to be.
The Blues were unbeaten in their opening five league games of the season but have won just one of the following eight. Koeman is attempting to transform a squad he inherited from Roberto Martinez and admitted to being frustrated after Everton missed out on transfer targets in the summer.
But the 53-year-old former Southampton boss is adamant the scale of the task at Goodison has not come as a surprise. "From the beginning I knew it was a difficult job," he said.
"It is about expectations of the fans and not one manager will change the 12th position of the table and you finish second or fourth. "We like to change the style of play and everybody finds it difficult to press higher. "That means we like to press but the defenders are a little bit more afraid. If the defenders are more afraid he drops more back and that is the reason we get more distance between the lines and then it is very difficult. OK, we spoke about this. Maybe it is good to make one step back and then with more confidence in the future to make two steps forward. That is the realistic situation at the moment."
Everton's lack of aggression and making slow starts to games have contributed to their poor run of form.
Heading into this weekend's fixtures, the Blues' squad had only run further in the opening 13 fixtures than one side - rock bottom Swansea City. "I know a lot about this because every Monday I get the stats about running and high speed (sprints)," Koeman said.
Everton manager Ronald Koeman is dejected on the touchline at St Mary's Stadium
"I use that, it is not always easy because it is to do with how the opponent is playing and how your level in the game is can have an influence on the final numbers.
"We look to that and we speak about this of course."
Romelu Lukaku has come in for fierce criticism from pundit Jamie Carragher this weekend for his lack of running in games. "When we played Chelsea I spoke with Romelu about what he did compared to Costa," Koeman added. "There was a difference. Sometimes it is difficult. But we can do more and we need to do more. But that is the whole team you cannot criticise the strikers that the Southampton score was 1-0. Overall we need to do more, we need to run more and we need to be more aggressive."
So will Koeman make changes for Sunday's home game with Manchester United?
"Maybe one or maximum of two players had the normal level against Southampton the rest were under the individual level that they need to show and can show," the Everton boss said.
"It is always difficult but a lack of confidence and a lack of belief but it is good for me to see the reaction of the team in a difficult time. It is better to see that. "Of course you like to have every weekend a win because everyone is happy but sometimes to get your eyes really open maybe this time is the best to understand that if you need to change but we need to change."
Everton's Idrissa Gueye: A cult hero? No, I'm just a hard-worker
The midfielder has made a great start to his Goodison career since £7.1m summer switch
By Adam Jones
3 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Cult hero is a tag that Idrissa Gueye wants to distance himself from – despite making a brilliant start to his Everton career. The Blues midfielder, who explained that he wears 'Gana' on the back of his shirt because it was a name given to him by his father from his grandfather, has proven himself to be an astute signing from Aston Villa. But, in true, modest fashion, Gueye doesn't see himself as the "hero" that most Everton fans would describe him as. He just tries to work hard and try his best in every match, and that's exactly why the Blues faithful have taken to him so quickly. "Cult hero is perhaps putting it a bit strongly. Hero is a big word," Gueye said. "I would describe myself as a player who is willing to put in my shift and express myself on the pitch. "Having the support of the fans helps me to push myself and give my best. You do that by performing to the instructions of the manager and his coaches. "There are a lot of players who have helped me in that transitional phase to settle very quickly.
"I am very happy here and my priority is to get on and help Everton get back into winning ways and set out to get more victories." Of course, at least some part of winning over the fans constitutes to your performances on the pitch – and in that respect Gueye has instantly settled in.
Leroy Sane of Manchester City is challenged by Idrissa Gueye of Everton
The 27-year-old has quickly become the engine room in the middle of the park for Everton, always full of energy and never one to shy out of a tackle. That hard work ethic often means that the Everton man is compared to Chelsea's N'Golo Kante. Only the former Leicester City star made more tackles than Gueye last season but, in this campaign, it's the Toffee leading the way in those statistics.
Gueye said: "It's true, I often get compared with Kante. He is who is, and I am very much who I am. I am on my own path. "There is a similarity with the way we look as well. But it's not a comparison I make myself." But, Gueye admits that he has had that desire to win from a young age – back from when he was playing "rocks for goalposts" as a youngster in Senegal. The midfielder says that he has a natural talent for working hard and putting in the effort that he needs to do to make himself a better player.
"When I was young, I remember we were always in a great rush to get lunch down quick to play football in the street," Gueye said. "We'd play barefoot on sandy pathways and usually put two small rocks down as goalposts. No proper goalposts!
"I was always keen and hungry to win even then.
"Apart from the physical force you're born with, there is something natural in me to work hard to get what I want. "Performance on the pitch requires a lot of effort on the training pitch but off it as well. Daily work. It's everything together, mental and physical. Idrissa Gueye has worked with numerous world-class players over his career – namely Eden Hazard and Dimitri Payet from his time back in Lille.
Now, the Blues midfielder is working with young talent such as Ross Barkley at Everton – who is still trying to find a way to unlock his vast potential on the field. However, having seen the likes of Hazard succeed – the 27-year-old's advice to the youngsters at Everton is to keep working hard in training and to keep focused. Gueye's advice was: "Just to keep going, work hard and do the same like Eden Hazard and Dimitri Payet. Everything you do the pitch and outside the pitch is important. You have to keep focused and do your best on the pitch. "When you do some exercise drills like technically he [Hazard] doesn't like them, but when you play football now you see he can do everything. Run, shoot and dribble.
"His technique is so effortless and efficient. "He knows his qualities and what he does."
Why Ronald Koeman needs a 'big moment' if he wants to connect with Everton fans
Blues boss is still waiting for the catalyst to kickstart his tenure... will United provide it?
By Ian Doyle
4 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
December, and tis the season to be jolly.
Jolly angry, that is, if you're an Everton supporter who has taken umbrage at the Ronald Koeman household having a Christmas tree with red tinsel. It was, as Koeman later pointed out, much ado about not very much. But as the ECHO sports editor David Prentice opined, the incident underlined how Koeman hasn't yet properly connected with Blues supporters.
How, then, can that change?
Putting the offending tinsel back in the decorations box will appease some, but that's not really going to win over the majority of the fanbase. That can only be done through results. And, truth be told, Koeman is still waiting for a big one to kickstart his Goodison reign. For predecessor Roberto Martinez, it arrived with the 1-0 win over Chelsea five games into his tenure. Goodison bounced, and continued bouncing all the way to a record Premier League points tally in 2013-14. David Moyes didn't even have to wait that long. His introductory press conference set the tone, and by the time David Unsworth rattled home after barely 30 seconds of Moyes's first game against Fulham, the supporters were on board.
Everton train ahead of the United game
Koeman hasn't had such a moment. Certainly not at Goodison where, while Stoke City, Middlesbrough and West Ham United have been beaten, performances haven't quite captured the imagination.
Everton's next three home games at least offer a perfect opportunity to address such a shortcoming.
Arsenal and Liverpool visit later this month, but today's clash against Manchester United represents the most immediate chance. This fixture has, of course, proven a catalyst for the Blues in the past, Duncan Ferguson's decisive header in 2005 helping Everton make a definitive step towards a top-four finish.
And sometimes it doesn't even have to be a goal. Recall in October 2008 how a crunching tackle by Phil Neville on Cristiano Ronaldo brought Goodison to life, helped the Blues fight back to earn a point and, after a dismal start to the season, roused the team to ultimately finish fifth and reach the FA Cup final.
Phil Neville deals with Cristiano Ronaldo in 2008 The following season, an injury-time penalty save from Tim Howard against Tottenham Hotspur prevented an eighth defeat in the first 15 Premier League games. Everton went on to lose only two more top-flight matches that campaign.
This Koeman side needs something similar.
A scrappy win against a leading side. A memorable save. A thunderous tackle. Anything.
Goodison thrives on such moments and, as United have discovered in the past, a baying Blue crowd is difficult to silence. Winning over the support will be just as important as winning three points for Koeman and his players this afternoon.
Football can still unite
Football has an ability to unite in moments of crisis.
Such has been the reaction to the tragic plane crash in Colombia involving the Brazilian football team Chapecoense.
People pay tribute to the players of Brazilian team Chapecoense Real who were killed in a plane accident in the Colombian mountains And so too, hopefully, will be the response to the developing story of historic abuse of youth players during the 1970s and 1980s. Football can't ignore it. And while now we're now thankfully in a very different era – steps have long been introduced to safeguard youngsters – the game must play its part in punishing past offenders and providing support for the victims.
Everton transfer rumours: Blues linked linked with FOUR Man United stars
A round-up of transfer rumours and speculation from around the web
By Joe Rimmer
4 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Everton face Manchester United today, but if you believe Sunday morning's newspapers, the Toffees might end up with almost half their opponents' team in January. The Blues have now been linked with no less than four of Jose Mourinho's men. Memphis Depay is a January target for Ronald Koeman, we know that much. Koeman is hoping to help the winger recapture the form that persuaded Manchester United to spend £25m to take him from PSV Eindhoven in 2015. And the Blues boss has also remained tight-lipped out reports that the Blues could try to tempt Morgan Schneiderlin to move to Goodison Park, a player Koeman worked with at Southampton. To add to this, the Sunday Express claim that Everton are still keen on taking Wayne Rooney back to his boyhood club. Rooney has long been linked with a return to Everton, despite Mourinho insisting he stays put. And the Express also believe the Blues could be tempted to swoop for Ashley Young, whose days at Old Trafford are said to be numbered.
Ex Everton striker slammed after being sent off for fighting team-mate
Beckford clashed with fellow Preston frontman Doyle
By Chris Beesley
4 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Former Everton striker Jermaine Beckford and his Preston North End team-mate Eoin Doyle have been slammed for their "childish behaviour" after the pair were both sent off for fighting each other in a 2-1 loss at Sheffield Wednesday. With Preston heading for defeat, the strike partners took their frustrations out on each other in an angry exchange. Londoner Beckford, 32, reacted badly to Irishman Doyle's decision to pass to Marnick Vermijl rather than himself and the duo had to be kept apart by North End and Wednesday players alike as they traded blows. Their stunned manager Simon Grayson said: "In 30 years of being a footballer, player or manager, I've never seen an incident like that between two team-mates. "I thought I'd seen it all at the Forest game last night but today has been an embarrassment with those players. "Absolute childish behaviour from the pair of them has cost us ultimately a point out of this game, potentially three, because at 2-1, 11 against 10, it looked like we were going to get something out of the game. "They've let a lot of people down. Those players will be reprimanded regardless because they've cost us an opportunity to get something out of the game and potentially a three-match ban for both of them." Beckford arrived at Everton on a Bosman-style free transfer when his Leeds United contract expired in 2010 and scored 10 goals in 17 starts and 21 substitute appearances.
After a solitary season at Goodison which climaxed with his amazing solo effort to beat Chelsea 1-0 on the final day of the campaign, Beckford joined Leicester City for £2.5million. In 1999, Everton team-mates Don Hutchison and Richard Gough infamously got involved in a shoving match between each other in a 1-1 draw at home to Coventry City but neither player was punished by the referee.
Everton v Manchester United team news: Jagielka and Barkley dropped
Koeman drops Blues captain plus midfield pair from Southampton game
By Phil Kirkbride
4 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Ronald Koeman has dropped Everton captain Phil Jagielka for today's visit of Manchester United to Goodison. The Blues boss has made three changes from the side that lost 1-0 to Southampton last weekend with Jagielka, Aaron Lennon and Ross Barkley being dropped.
Ramiro Funes Mori comes in for Everton's skipper at the back, Tom Cleverley replaces Lennon in what appears to be a re-jigged midfield and Kevin Mirallas is preferred to Barkley.
Koeman, it seems, may line Everton up in a 4-3-3 formation.
Maarten Stekelenburg keeps his place in goal, Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman are Everton's full-backs with Mori partnering Ashley Williams at centre-half. Gareth Barry and Idrissa Gueye are in midfield alongside Cleverley with Yannick Bolasie and Mirallas either side of Romelu Lukaku.
Lennon doesn't even make the bench today with Koeman going for substitutes of Joel Robles, Jagielka, Deulofeu, Barkley, James McCarthy, Enner Valencia and Mason Holgate.
Everton vs Manchester United: Leighton Baines rescues late point from the spot to deny Jose Mourinho victory
Everton 1 Manchester United 1: Jose Mourinho's men were on course for all three points but Baines' converted penalty meant United were held to yet another draw
By Simon Hughes at Goodison Park
It says everything about José Mourinho's state of mind that he instinctively tried to argue a case for Marco Rojo in the moments after the defender had launched himself into an off-the-ground tackle with two-feet and so much force that now, Idrissa Gueye might not only be able to speak of the words on the Argentine's hulking thighs but also identify the aroma of his groin region. Mourinho reacted to the flashpoint by leaping into his technical area to remonstrate with Paul Tierney, the fourth official; perhaps pointing out that a few minutes earlier, Gareth Barry had escaped a booking after testing Zlatan Ibrahimović's appetite on a freezing Merseyside afternoon. There was no doubt Barry deserved a yellow card. Rojo, however, merited a cold shower. Later, Ibrahimović was lucky to stay on as well after his studs met Seamus Coleman's head. Michael Oliver is one of the better referees in the Premier League. Perhaps he did not see Ibrahimović's apparent dark art act in the midst of a fallen heap because play had quickly been recycled to another area of the pitch. His decision not to end Rojo's involvement, though, means there is every chance he will be afforded an opportunity by his bosses to get Christmas shopping done next weekend. Mourinho's day was probably best described as taxing. He had awoken to headlines about the creative abilities of his accountants and United would have won here had it not been for the clumsiness of Marouane Fellaini, who, having been introduced as a substitute only four minutes earlier, conceded the penalty as injury time approached that allowed his former club to equalise. Spiritually, it feels as though Mourinho has crossed the Trent. Where once stood Brian Clough's Portuguese incarnate, now exists Jimmy Sirrel's phantom, a sourpuss notorious for his curt replies. Mourinho was asked whether he blamed Fellaini for United's failure to deliver a victory. "I didn't see it," he responded. What about Rojo? Despite evidence to the contrary, there was the same answer. "I didn't see…" Mourinho had rather more to say about the current standing of his team, speaking with almost evangelical positivity about their supposed creative football. That this draw takes them above West Bromwich Albion and 13 points behind top of the table Chelsea reminds of the stark reality: United have made their worst start to a Premier League season and, indeed, they could not see off an Everton team struggling desperately for confidence. Aside from Rojo's Kung fu display, the first half had been non-event until four minutes before the break when Maarten Stekelenburg deemed it necessary to react to Anthony Martial's pass by racing off his line in the direction of the main stand. The further Everton's goalkeeper travelled, the more he seemed to decrease in speed and by the time he met Ibrahimović, it was as if he'd been stung by a poisoned dart. Twenty-five yards from goal, Ibrahimović flicked out one of his long limbs and via the cross-bar and then the post, the ball finally spun over the line. Goodison Park was unhappy and boos cascaded from the terraces at half time. Everton had previously won just once in eight league games and Ronald Koeman's decision to drop Ross Barkley and captain Phil Jagielka from the start did not transform their play. Tom Cleverley was brought in for Barkley and he struggled to the point where his substitution for Gerard Deulofeu with 25 minutes remaining was cheered. On the occasions goalscoring opportunities were created by Everton, David De Gea was equal to the volley released by Kevin Mirallas, the header from Ramiro Funes Mori from Deulofeu's free-kick and then Enner Valencia's weak attempt right in front of the Gwladys Street stand.
At the other end, Ander Herrera shot clanked against the angle of the post and the crossbar after the movement and pace of Henrikh Mkhitaryan – starting a league game for the first time since September - exposed Leighton Baines's defensive limitations. Baines, though, can still be relied upon to deliver from the penalty spot and after Fellaini dangled out a leg to bring down Gueye, he rammed home the resulting kick with typical gusto.
How Manchester United managed to throw away one-goal lead after Everton did best to gift them three points
By Jim White, Goodison Park
4 December 2016 Telegraph
The point of bringing Marouane Fellaini on to the pitch with 10 minutes to go was to secure three points. Instead, before he had touched the ball, he had gifted Everton a penalty. Bemoaning fortune has been Jose Mourinho's default position as Manchester United have seen supremacy slip away in a cascade of wasted points. But here it was tactics that did it. After United had appeared to ride their luck, twice escaping censure when red cards might easily have been flourished, the manager brought on the former Evertonian to sure up the backline. As a move it did little more than add weight to the conviction that no Manchester United side worthy of the traditions of the club should feature the Belgian. And how his blunder cheered the home fans, who relished seeing their favourite former agent provocateur so discomforted.
After the most fractional of calls at the Vitality, technology had its second moment of the afternoon when Zlatan Ibrahimovic's long range lob was seen to have spun fully over the line, sending an immediate buzz to Michael Oliver's wristwatch.
After the years of guess work, of taking a stab in the dark, of Geoff Hurst and Frank Lampard, it must be a huge improvement in the lives of referees that they can now happily rely on the technology to provide them with immediate, correct decisions. Which makes you wonder why it is taking so long to introduce the assistance of the camera to other contentious issues. Such as giving the referee a buzz on his wrist to flourish the red card when a player goes flying two footed into an actual bodily harm of a tackle like Marcos Rojo did in his assault on Idrissa Gueye.
We know what Everton's players need for Christmas
Half-time commercials during the television coverage from Goodison featured the delights of the range of satnavs at Halfords (other suppliers of expensive location devices are presumably available). And how Everton's players could do with finding a gift like that in their Christmas stocking.
An Everton fan For much of the first half their radar was horribly awry. Almost from then kick off, following the impeccably respected minute's silence for the victims of the Chapecoense disaster, Everton's passes started to fly direct into touch or straight to a red shirt. As for a cross from the normally laser-sighted Leighton Baines flopped into David de Gea's hands with no Everton player in the same post code. Their shooting was not much better. A long range effort from shot from Ramiro Funes Mori threatened more damage to the Goodison lettering running along the top of the Park End stand than it did to the United goal. Tom Cleverley joined in, spooning the ball upwards into orbit when well placed. It was not long before the groans were echoing round the stadium, which grew into loud booing at half time. Not an easy choice in a game of limited endeavour, few moments to savour and little to remain long in the memory. David De Gea demonstrated to Martin Stekelenberg what a solid, reliable goalkeeper looks like with a trio of excellent saves in the second half, one of which, diverting a fierce shot from Kevin Miralles over the bar with his shin, was magnificent. Paul Pogba had a couple of flourishes, and Miralles was the best of a largely woeful home side.
But it was Phil Jones who most deserved the accolade. Faced with the demanding physical presence of Romelu Lukaku, he was assured, calm, quick to intervene when necessary. Commanding in the air, intelligent in his reading of danger, his superb sliding tackle on Enner Valencia midway through the second half sealed a performance which suggested he may at last be close to living up to his once-substantial potential.
Where do the teams go from here?
Everton: For long periods it appeared Ronald Koeman was the manager who had the most pressing issues to deal with. After the hurly-burly chaos of the Roberto Martinez era, Koeman seems to have brought an organised dullness. Everton rarely rose above the efficient. Lukaku was largely isolated, Gareth Barry hardly dynamic, poor Tom Cleverley, hopelessly out of his depth on the left side of midfield rarely gave any in United's set up cause for regret. There is work to be done. Manchester United: Mourinho's side, meanwhile, continued their bold attempt to revive the football pools. The score draw kings, the pattern of 1-1 draws is becoming wearily familiar. There were brief, flickering moments when Pogba flattered to deceive or Ibramhimovic laid off with purpose, but there was little sign of the fluidity Mourinho has been searching for. The one plus was the performance of Henrikh Mkhitarayan. It wasn't eye-stopping, it wasn't match-winning, but there was enough there to suggest that, given the trust and responsibility, he might just be the key to unlock this side.
Everton 1-1 Manchester United full-time report: Baines rescues a late point
Fellaini pays the penalty in front of the Gwladys Street
By Phil Kirkbride
4 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Leighton Baines' late penalty rescued a point for Everton against Manchester United to preserve their unbeaten league record at Goodison. The Blues trailed to Zlatan Ibrahimovic's first-half lob but levelled the game with two minutes left when Baines fired home from the spot-kick after Idrissa Gueye had been fouled by old-boy Marouane Fellaini. Everton pushed for a winner in five minutes of time added on but will be relieved to have grabbed a point after a decidedly mixed display. The draw means their form reads one win in their last nine league games but Baines' late intervention at least preserves their unbeaten league record at the Old Lady under Ronald Koeman. Everton's good work in the first-half was undone by a rush of blood to the head from Maarten Stekelenburg. The Blues keeper made the fatal decision to race off the line in the hope of closing Ibrahimovic down but got nowhere near him and the United striker lobbed his former Ajax team-mate. Ramiro Funes Mori tried to hack the ball clear after it came back off the bar but it had already crossed the line. The Blues were rattled but rediscovered some composure early in the second-half as they pushed for an early equaliser.
Eight minutes after the re-start they fashioned their best chance of the game up to that point when an intricate move sent Kevin Mirallas through but his shot was brilliantly saved by David De Gea.
It should have been a platform from which to build but Everton began to make more poor decisions and escaped conceding a second when Ander Herrera smashed the bar from close range. Koeman made three substitutes in the space of three minutes, two of which were enforced, and the changes seemed to give Everton renewed impetus. Idrissa Gueye saw a shot saved by De Gea from outside the area before the United keeper tipped Mason Holgate's header over the bar and then stopped Enner Valencia's header from close range. With two minutes to go, Everton found a way through as Gareth Barry found Gueye in the area and he was fouled by Marouane Fellaini. Baines dispatched the penalty, firing low past De Gea, and then nearly won it in time added on but the United keeper was equal to his piledriver.
Everton FC 1 Manchester United 1: How the Blues rated
Kristian Walsh rates Koeman's men after the Goodison draw
By Kristian Walsh
4 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Leighton Baines' late penalty rescued a point for Everton against Manchester United to preserve their unbeaten league record at Goodison. The Blues trailed to Zlatan Ibrahimovic's first-half lob but levelled the game with two minutes left when Baines fired home from the spot-kick after Idrissa Gueye had been fouled by old-boy Marouane Fellaini. Everton pushed for a winner in five minutes of time added on but will be relieved to have grabbed a point after a decidedly mixed display.
Here Kristian Walsh rates the Blues.
Maarten Stekelenburg 4
As good as Ibrahimovic's goal was, the goalkeeper's decision to come off his line and commit was one of the most bizarre Goodison has seen in a while. It's 35-year-old Ibrahimovic, not Usain Bolt. Made even more ridiculous that he had nothing else to do.
Seamus Coleman 6
Could have found it more difficult against Martial, whose instruction is to run on to the Irishman's weaker side. Put in a fine block to deny Mkhitaryan in the second half before succumbing to injury. Didn't do enough going forward.
Ramiro Funes Mori 5
Partly at fault for the opening goal, giving up on the ball after it left Ibrahimovic's foot instead of following up and clearing. A few good tackles but didn't use the ball well and Goodison crowd for his lack of composure.
Ashley Williams 7
Better than Chelsea and Southampton, that's for sure. Still seemed to be missing a step from his early-season form but dealt with a star-studded United front four well enough. Should have been the man on the ball more than Funes Mori.
Leighton Baines 8
A different partner in front of him to begin, with Cleverley on the left, and has performed well enough. Mindful of United's strong right side, so didn't offer much in attack. Dispatched the penalty with class, can have an extra point given the pressure.
Yannick Bolasie 6
Carried a threat on the counter but wasn't involved as much as a record signing should be. Didn't have much to aim for either, in fairness. Injury will still be a concern.
Idrissa Gueye 9
Great tackle on Pogba to get crowd going early on, and looked back to the Gueye of the autumn. Recipient of an awful challenge from Rojo which should have produced a red card. Stung De Gea's palms second half and won the penalty after Fellaini foul. Superb.
Gareth Barry 6
Walked the disciplinary tightrope throughout the first half before finally toppling over for a challenge on Mkhitaryan. Probably missed a third man in midfield more than anyone else, and passing was erratic.
Tom Cleverley 6
Started well after surprise inclusion, and surprise position on the left side of a 4-4-2. Found positions and kept his shape, but that disintegrated in the second half, becoming careless in possession and peripheral out of it.
Kevin Mirallas 7
Started up front and looked to provide Lukaku with a lively partner, and effort cannot be fauled; seemed a bit unsure whether to dovetail to the left or right of his compatriot. Early second half chance saved brilliantly by De Gea.
Romelu Lukaku 6
Set the tone early on with strong hold up play, with United's centre backs bouncing off him, but didn't build on that. On his heels a little too often. Needs to impose himself more in these kind of games.
Gerard Deulofeu (for Cleverley, 65) 6
The Spaniard loves an infuriating offside call, demonstrating his lack of awareness around the pitch sometimes. Can't fault energy or intent, but nothing tangible in front of goal.
Mason Holgate (for Coleman, 67) 7
Put in a peach of a cross for Valencia, who could have done better. Kept Martial quiet enough before Frenchman was subbed.
Enner Valencia (for Bolasie, 68) 7
Rose well with nine minutes remaining but header was thwarted by De Gea. Ran around a lot and glimpses of the pressing reputation he came with.
Marouane Fellaini substitution explained by Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho
Man Utd fans hammered Marouane Fellaini after he conceded a late penalty in the Premier League fixture vs Everton.
By Samuel Luckhurst
4 DEC 2016 Manchester Evening News
Jose Mourinho brought Marouane Fellaini on in an attempt to combat Everton's 'direct football' during another maddening Manchester United draw. Fellaini emerged in the 85th minute and just two minutes later calamitously tripped Idrissa Gueye to gift Leighton Baines a penalty and allow Everton to equalise.
Baines' late leveller means it is now three consecutive Premier League draws for United, who are nine points off the top four and 13 adrift of leaders Chelsea. When asked why he decided to introduce Fellaini by an M.E.N. reporter, Mourinho replied: "What do you mean by that? I thought you would know more about football than you do, because the answer is obvious. "Everton is not the passing team anymore, like they were, Everton is a team that plays direct, everything is direct, goalkeeper: direct, Ashley Williams: direct, Funes Mori: direct, everything is direct.
"And when a team is losing and plays direct, intensifies the direct football, and when you have a player on the bench with two metres you play the player in front of the defensive line to help the team to the match." During a tetchy and brief press conference, Mourinho refused to comment on Fellaini's foul, saying: "I didn't see it." The Portuguese used the same answer when asked if he felt Marcos Rojo should have been sent off for a first-half foul on Gueye.
Jose Mourinho defends Manchester United tactics vs Everton
Man Utd recorded another infuriating Premier League draw in the fixture vs Everton and Jose Mourinho was criticised.
By Samuel Luckhurst
4 DEC 2016 Manchester Evening News
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho defended his second-half tactics at Everton despite presiding over a third successive Premier League draw. United led at half-time through Zlatan Ibrahimovic's lob and Ander Herrera smacked the post in the second period, however United became increasingly reticent and substitute Marouane Fellaini gifted Everton a penalty in the 87th minute.
Leighton Baines converted to make it three Premier League draws in succession for United and an irate Mourinho bristled when asked why he decided to send on Fellaini. Mourinho then defended his pragmatic second-half tactics against Everton, who had won one of their last nine fixtures before United visited. "You have questions that you have to make a decision because when my teams are playing pragmatic football and winning matches and winning titles, you say that is not right and nice," Mourinho said. "When my teams like now, they play very, very well, there is a huge change in the relation to the past two or three years, now you say that what matters is to get the result no matter what."
League leaders Chelsea recorded their eighth consecutive win at Manchester City by scoring three of their four efforts on target, with Willian's winner coming via a slick counter-attack. "And in this moment we have teams in the Premier League getting results that defend with 11 players," Mourinho added. "Kick ball, and attack the space with counter-attack, it's phenomenal, it's beautiful. So you have to make a decision."
Everton 1-1 Manchester United analysis: Blues find aggression but need brains
Tyro Gana was everywhere, Holgate shows he's ready but keeper calls remains questionable
By Greg O'Keeffe
4 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Joe Hart is currently keeping clean sheets while fighting dandruff over in Turin but don't forget he could have been at Goodison Park. A deal for the England goalkeeper was doable but Ronald Koeman, on the advice of his coach Patrick Lodewijks, walked away from it. Maarten Stekelenburg, it was agreed, had the quality to remain first choice. It was decided that pursuing Hart would have meant a vast sum spent on unnecessary wages. The wisdom of that decision remains questionable. Stekelenburg has won Everton points for his side this term, most notably against Manchester City and Swansea, but he's made some high-profile blunders too. His rash decision to charge off his line before Zlatan Ibrahimovic lobbed him was reminiscent of Richard Wright. It was that inept.
Ref bottles it
Michael Oliver is rightly credited with being one of the top flight's better officials but he called two downright stinkers today. He bottled it on Rojo and then somehow let Ibrahimovic go unpunished for some thoroughly snide foul play. The decision not to red card United's Argentinean defender for a horrendous airborne challenge on Idrissa Gueye was astonishing. Then he somehow turned a blind eye as Zlatan knowingly raked his boot over the prone Seamus Coleman. It was right in front of him.
Even Everton's faltering front line might have profited against nine men.
Aggression back but brains still required
Ronald Koeman had to try and spark Everton to life.
He had to get them to start this match with a hunger and intensity they've so sorely lacked of late.
To do it he made some big decisions. Phil Jagielka and Ross Barkley on the bench was testament to his boldness in that regard. To an extent it worked. Everton did indeed start faster and pressed the ball in a manner which suggested Koeman's message had hit home. But when it came to trying to galvanise his side in the final third it was a familiar story. His attacking substitutions seem increasingly in vain.
Deulofeu and Valencia had little impact, although the on-loan Hammer at least found some decent attacking positions. Everton need to be more clinical. They have to start showing more guile and savvy in the final third. The enforced introduction of right-back Mason Holgate seemed more likely to make something happen at times. Afterwards the Dutchman said he was pleased with his side's desire, but that quality on the ball would come. It needs to if they are to return to winning ways.
Good man Gana
Idrissa Gueye claims he's no hero, but try telling Goodison that.
The adulation may sit uneasily on the slight shoulder's of Everton's Senegalese tyro but he'll have to get used to it. If one man embodied the desire and tempo Koeman demanded today it was him. He was everywhere. Then to put the gloss on it he went and won the point-pinching penalty.
He was still going as the Blues chased a surprise triumph too; witness the sensational pass with the outside of his right boot to send Deulofeu through on the counter.
His enduring stamina puts others to shame.
If Steve Walsh can find a striker, winger, and centre back with the same mentality in January he'll be laughing.
Mason an exception
Koeman insists his Everton kids aren't ready for the physicality of the Premier League, he's adamant. But there's an exception. Mason Holgate showed over 25 minutes that he has plenty to offer the first team.
The defender was immediately at the races when he came on. He linked-up well in attack, defended robustly and can be a more than able option for Seamus Coleman. Koeman can be stubborn, but not to a fault. Holgate may be young but he's proven that he can be relied upon again. There's definitely something in the water at Barnsley's academy.
Everton 1-1 Manchester United: Fans call for Valencia to start and laud over Gueye
"The game's over Gueye... you can let Pogba out of your pocket now"
By Glen Williams
4 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Leighton Baines's 88th-minute penalty snatched a point for Everton from the jaws of defeat against Manchester United. The Blues went a goal down to a Zlatan Ibrahimovic strike, but when ex-Blue Marouane Fellaini's clumsy challenge. The left-back stepped up and coolly slotted home from the penalty spot. Blues fans took to Twitter to praise Ronald Koeman's side for their resolve as their team fought until the end to take a point away from Goodison Park. There were two clear heroes who stood out for Everton fans, Idrissa Gana Gueye and the introduction of Enner Valencia which changed the game for many.
Again better second half. Mirallas ok, Valencia changed the game. Holgate and gueye fantastic and tbf Coleman handled martial well
— NSNO (@VoiceOfEverton) December 4, 2016
Both Valencia and Holgate played decent when they came on. I would start valencia upfront with Lukaku next game. Lukaku is too isolated
— Luke (@molyneux_luke) December 4, 2016
No coincidence we look a better team with Valencia, credit were it's due.
— efcplayers (@efcplayers) December 4, 2016
Valencia and Holgate should both be starting next week, played really well
— Jen M (@3V3RTON1AN) December 4, 2016
Call Valencia all the names under the sun but he showed more fight in 20 minutes than lukaku all season.
— Marc (@Rochey_efc) December 4, 2016
Gana was my MOTM yet again and cost around £82m less than Pogba. Have a good evening blues #efc
— Everton Fans (@Everton_Fans) December 4, 2016
Idrissa Gana gueye once again by far the best player on the pitch. Proper talent that lad.
— Sam Evans (@Senoir_Blogman) December 4, 2016
Greatly impressed by Gueye today. Had Pogba in his pocket, no mean feat. Excellent tackler and confident on the ball.
— #4. (@ThatMunichNight) December 4, 2016
The game's over Gueye.. you can let Pogba out of your pocket now
— Pyrex (@Geriesque) December 4, 2016
When Gueye gets home and empties his pockets: pic.twitter.com/w7nrQRcGm4
— Ed (@EFCEddie) December 4, 2016
Zlatan Ibrahimovic reacts to Coleman incident in Manchester United draw vs Everton
Man Utd striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was accused of kicking Everton defender Seamus Coleman in the head in the Premier League fixture.
By Alex Porter
4 DEC 2016 Manchester Evening News
Zlatan Ibrahimovic insists he did not deliberately kick Seamus Coleman in the head in Manchester United 's draw against Everton. Referee Michael Oliver missed the incident when the Swede tangled with the Everton defender in the second half . It was a niggly encounter with five yellow cards in total doled out by the referee but Ibrahimovic is confident he should not be facing retrospective action at the hands of the FA ahead of a busy festive fixture list. The striker told MUTV : "It was a physical game, they played hard. I heard one of the commentators say I kicked someone in the head on purpose, but it was a 50/50 duel and he pulled me down. "Trust me if I want to kick someone in the head, I know how to kick someone in the head and make him fall asleep. That is the only thing I have to say."
Ibrahimovic gave United the lead with a wonderful lobbed finish, although the ball took a while to spin across the line before technology confirmed the goal. He added: "I went for the run in the space, I got a fantastic ball from Martial, and I saw the goalkeeper coming out, so I tried to time it right. Then it hit the post, hit the top bar and then it went in. "I scored to day but it only gave us one point. I would prefer to win and not to score, that is my way of thinking."
Koeman: Everton can play better but it is a difficult situation at the moment
Boss pleased with back to basics Blues
By Greg O'Keeffe
4 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Ronald Koeman hailed the back to basics approach that earned Everton a battling point with Manchester United. The Blues came from behind to maintain their unbeaten home status in the Premier League so far this term, and go some way towards lifting the gloom after a run of one win in nine games. Too frequently guilty of slow starts, such as the shocking first half at Southampton last time out, Koeman demanded a quicker tempo from the off-set today and said his team delivered.
"I am happy about that because we had a good start in the game and we made it difficult for them," he said. "It starts with the strikers and that is what we need. They can make it much more comfortable for the midfielders, for the defenders. That was much more positive today. "We can play better but it is a difficult situation at the moment. "But we needed to improve and that was much better today than last week. We played really very compact and it was difficult for the opponent to create any big chances.
"It starts by making difficult to your opponent when they have the ball. That was the big difference from last week." The Toffees boss admitted that his side's attacking composure was lacking, but believes it will return as their confidence grows. "We can play better, have better movements on the ball," he said. "You saw a lack of confidence on the ball. That is all about the last few results but we will get that back if we show the fighting spirit. "Of course it was disappointing to get a 1-0 down before half time. I think we did not deserve to lose. "We showed commitment and qualities and the three subs had a big impact in the game and we were the most dangerous team in the second half. De Gea made two fantastic saves." Koeman also refused to criticise official Michael Oliver for not sending off United defender Marcos Rojo after his first half horror-tackle on Idrissa Gueye. "It is difficult," he said. "Maybe if the referee watches it back, it will be a red card. "We have always discussions if it is red or yellow, a penalty or not but finally I think it is a fair result 1-1."
Everton 1-1 Manchester United fan cam reaction: Koeman got stuck into them
19:42, 4 DEC 2016UPDATED19:42, 4 DEC 2016
Evertonians speaking to Tony Scott's fan cam were pleased with how their side battled against Manchester United to fight back for a late point.
A bizarre first half decision from home keeper Maarten Stekelenburg who rushed out of his goal allowed Zlatan Ibrahimovic to put the visitors ahead but a foul by former Blue Marouane Fellaini on Idrissa Gueye gave the hosts a late penalty which Leighton Baines converted to earn a share of the spoils. One fan said: "I'll take that today. Ronald Koeman got stuck into them at half-time. Kevin Mirallas was a different player while Enner Valencia was full of energy. "We deserved it and showed some vigour. After using all his subs, I thought Ronald Koeman was going to bring his Christmas Tree on at the end!" Another supporter said: "The second half was much better. Gerard Deulofeu and Kevin Mirallas gave us an attacking threat while Enner Valencia did well. "The last 20 minutes gave us something to build on."
Everton 1-1 Manchester United The Verdict: Still woefully toothless in attack but Blues find their bottle at right time
21:00, 4 DEC 2016UPDATED21:00, 4 DEC 2016
There was a time when a late equaliser, in front of the Gwladys Street end, at home to Manchester United would have been seen as a moment to spark better times. Everton deserved this point, make no mistake about that, but going off the muted reaction of the home fans at the final whistle, they'll require more convincing that the Blues have turned a corner. This performance is, at least, a decent enough start, however. And the spirited way in which they fought back to earn a draw, thus preserving their unbeaten home record in the league, was important. Because Ronald Koeman's side needed to show they had something about them, that they could avoid slow starts and they do, despite the evidence to suggest otherwise, have an appetite to fight and scrap their way back into form. Everton are still entrenched in a poor run of results, it's just one league win in their last nine games now, but it was their performances that troubled Koeman. Rightly, he was encouraged by this but nobody, certainly not the manager, is getting carried away. They remain woefully toothless in attack, but what's new? Yet they had organisation, hard-work and desire in a game where defeat didn't bear thinking about and when they were asked to perform a gut-check, they didn't disappoint. After all the good work of the opening 40 minutes was undone by Maarten Stekelenburg's moment of madness, Everton looked rattled, as if they were ready to unravel and as though the towel was going to be thrown in at any moment. The second-half became a test of their character and a question of just how many in this squad have it. Few will be believing that the Blues have suddenly transformed themselves into a gang of grizzled hard-men who won't take a backwards step but nobody could knock their fighting spirit here. This group of players needed to offer a reaction to their manager, to the supporters and to the rest of the league for that matter as well, after their rut reached it's nadir at Southampton last week in embarrassing fashion. This was no high point in the season but it was far, far better than what has been served up of late and with just one minute of normal time remaining, they had something tangible to show for those improvements. It helps, of course, when Idrissa Gueye is in such a wrecking ball mood. Everton's midfield dynamo was sensational, by some distance the best player on the pitch and, fittingly, the one who got them back into the game. Gareth Barry, also excellent, found his midfield partner in the box, Gueye turned neatly and was fouled by Everton old-boy Marouane Fellaini. It could be a long January without Gueye when he disappears off to the Africa Cup of Nations but until then, this side need him to help them navigate a tricky run of fixtures. It was a penalty, whatever a rattled Jose Mourinho said afterwards, and though he argued otherwise, the home side were worthy of their point as Leighton Baines fired low past David De Gea. Koeman, rightly, said 1-1 was a fair result and that Everton have to improve as an attacking force; their last two goals have been scored by their full-backs, lest we forget. But as a place to start rebuilding, getting back to being hard to beat, to restoring discipline and being able to get his message across to his players when it looked like they weren't listening, this wasn't bad at all. Everton restricted United to just two shots on target and despite the calamitous nature of Ibrahimovic's goal, when he lobbed Stekelenburg, they defended with greater intensity than of late. Ramiro Funes Mori, preferred ahead of captain Phil Jagielka, remains the type of player to shred your nerves but you would suspect, that in the quest for consistency, Koeman will not tinker with his backline for next weekend's trip to Watford. And nor would he want to change his instructions. Apart from Stekelenburg's rush of blood to the head, and a period early in the second-half when Everton made some crazy decisions to invite pressure upon themselves (culminating in Ander Herrera hitting the bar), this was a far smarter performance than we've seen recently. Mourinho moaned that the Blues were "direct" but Koeman will be satisfied that his decision to play that way ruffled the feathers of United's manager. It's not easy on the eye but given his team are struggling to be creative, lacking guile and finding chances hard to come back, playing the percentages and working off knockdowns and second balls is an eminently sensible approach. This isn't the time for Everton to try and play their way into form. It also seemed to give Kevin Mirallas and Enner Valencia, one of three second half substitutes in three minutes that helped inject Everton's performance with urgency, something to feed off and as the game wore on, it increasingly unsettled United. Gerard Deulofeu, too, had a positive impact when he came on while Romelu Lukaku, slammed for his lack of running before kick-off, belatedly joined in with the spirit of things, but his performance was largely disappointing. Everton need Lukaku to be at it from the start of games and Koeman must keep hammering home that while the Blues are struggling for consistency, their star striker needs to go looking for the ball, and not expect it to find him. Results won't just simply fall into Everton's lap either, but play with this type of spirit and desire and they'll soon find plenty of them.
Manchester United's Ibrahimovic denies deliberate kick on Séamus Coleman
• Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Everton's Coleman clashed in 1-1 draw
• 'If I want to kick someone in the head, I know how to and make him sleep'
Monday 5 December 2016 00.09 GMT
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has denied deliberately kicking Séamus Coleman in the head, saying he could have made the Everton defender "fall asleep" if it had been on purpose. The Manchester United striker tangled with Coleman early in the second half of Sunday's 1-1 draw between the sides at Goodison Park. The referee, Michael Oliver, did not appear to see the incident, leaving open the possibility of retrospective disciplinary action from the Football Association. Speaking to MUTV, Ibrahimovic said: "It was a physical game. They played hard. I heard one of the commentators say I kicked someone in the head on purpose but it was a 50-50 duel and he pulled me down. "Trust me, if I want to kick someone in the head, I know how to kick someone in the head and make him fall asleep. That is the only thing I have to say." Everton snatched a point as Leighton Baines scored from the penalty spot after United's substitute Marouane Fellaini conceded a penalty, cancelling out a fine lob from Ibrahimovic just before half-time. "I got a fantastic ball from [Anthony] Martial and I saw the goalkeeper coming out, so I tried to time it right," Ibrahimovic said of his goal. "I scored today but it only gave us one point. I would prefer to win and not to score. That is my way of thinking."
The Everton Premier League 25 - who is at number 22?
05:00, 5 DEC 2016UPDATED20:47, 4 DEC 2016
We're well aware that football existed before 1992. Indeed, many of us were regularly attending football matches before then.But with this being the 25th year of the Premier League, and December 25 being a kind of special day, now seems as opportune a time as any to look back at some of the most seismic Everton moments of that time. We asked our team of writers and a select group of Evertonians to rank their favourite 25 Everton moments of the Premier League era. We then ranked them in a list from 25 to one, because we all love Christmas countdowns. They're not necessarily goals. There are tackles, pirouettes, film stars, boxing - even an unlikely substitution in there. Yesterday Tony Hibbert causing a riot was No 23. Here's the next...
Duncan Fergusons leaves St James's Park.PHOTO OWEN hUMPHREYS/PA.
Duncan Ferguson joined Everton initially on a three-month loan deal from Rangers in 1994 before Joe Royle eventually made the striker's move permanent. Hey was impressive as well - playing a key role in not only saving Everton from relegation, but also helped the club win the FA Cup in 1995. He quickly became an absolute idol on Merseyside - despite battles with injury and having also spent time in prison during his spell with the club. The fans were in love with him - and he was in love with the club. But, in November 1998, supporters were left stunned when Ferguson was sold to Newcastle United for £8 million. That was down to club chairman Peter Johnson, who had gone behind Walter Smith's back to sell the striker. The news rocked the Everton fanbase - and even left some in tears. Blues fans were left heartbroken, as was Ferguson, who penned a long goodbye letter in the club magazine to let supporters know that he would never forget them. What happened next? Duncan Ferguson of Everton celebrates. Picture: Clive Brunskill /Allsport
Well, it all worked out alright in the end. Big Dunc didn't have it all his own way on Tyneside- leading Bobby Robson to sell him back to Everton for £3.75 million in the 2000/01 season. In his second spell with the club - Ferguson would go on to score 31 goals for the club, including a strike in his final game against West Bromwich Albion. The Everton Premier League 25 – the top 25 moments of the past 25 seasons
A coaching career with the club followed - and the Goodison legend was honoured with a testimonial 2015 - which even Wayne Rooney played in. Let's hope Big Dunc is around the club for a long time to come.
Everton transfer rumours: Blues make bid for Manolo Gabbiadini
08:57, 5 DEC 2016UPDATED08:57, 5 DEC 2016
The Toffees tried to sign the Italian international with a late move in the summer transfer window, only for Napoli, who had already sold Gonzalo Higuain to Juventus, to resist. Gabbiadini has struggled to break into the Serie A side's starting line-up since the summer, and has scored just three goals this term. Despite that, Ronald Koeman reportedly remains a fan, and the Mirror claim the Blues have already made their move to bring the 25-year-old to Goodison Park. They claim that the bid of £14.5m was rejected by Napoli, who want £20m. And in a further twist to the transfer tale, Stoke City are now said to be favourites to sign the striker. Football Italia claim that the Potters have moved ahead of both Everton and West Ham and are willing to pay the asking price for Gabbiadini. It's going to be an interesting January indeed.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he did not kick Seamus Coleman on purpose
Accident? Or accidentally on purpose?
09:28, 5 DEC 2016UPDATED09:28, 5 DEC 2016
Zlatan Ibrahimovic claims he didn not kick Seamus Coleman in the head during Sunday's feisty draw with Manchester United at Goodison Park - because Coleman left the pitch fully conscious! Ibrahimovic fell awkwardly on top of Everton's Irish full-back early in the second half, but as he tumbled the Swede appeared to bring his left boot down cynically on Coleman's head. But Ibrahimovic denied there was any intent - and offered a bizarre defence of his actions. Speaking to MUTV, Ibrahimovic said: "It was a physical game. They played hard. "I heard one of the commentators say I kicked someone in the head on purpose, but it was a 50-50 duel and he pulled me down. "Trust me, if I want to kick someone in the head, I know how to kick someone in the head and make him fall asleep. That is the only thing I have to say." "I got a fantastic ball from (Anthony) Martial, and I saw the goalkeeper coming out, so I tried to time it right," Ibrahimovic said. "I scored today but it only gave us one point. I would prefer to win and not to score, that is my way of thinking."
Everton 1-1 Manchester United what the papers say - No Koeman click of the
10:17, 5 DEC 2016UPDATED10:21, 5 DEC 2016
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04: Ronald Koeman manager of Everton controls the ball during the Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park on December 4, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
In The Times, Paul Joyce reflects on the boos from the Everton supporters at half time, and believes Ronald Koeman faces an uphill climb at Goodison Park. He writes: It is now one victory in nine league matches for Koeman. He found himself immersed in a similar run at this stage last season — Southampton winning one of eight matches — but no one batted an eyelid. Now, in this fervent corner of Merseyside, even the colour of his Christmas tree provokes outrage. There will be no click of the fingers, though, and a rebuild is required in the January transfer window. Romelu Lukaku patrolled the periphery of a contest low on quality and knows that there is no one at the club capable of dislodging him from the line-up. Koeman took Lukaku to one side after last month's 5-0 defeat by Chelsea and discussed the striker's performance in comparison with that of Diego Costa. The focus was on Costa's work-rate — he made 77 sprints that day while Lukaku managed just 24. However, the sermon could be spread to all aspects of the Chelsea forward's game. Here, Lukaku wanted everything to his feet rather than stretching the United defence. Everton were blunted as a result. Jamie Strickland, of BBC Sport, believes it was a deserved point for the Blues. He writes: Everton's strong finish to the match was in stark contrast to an opening 45 minutes during which they managed no shots on target. And if there was any sense of injustice over Rojo's tackle on Gueye - which referee Oliver only deemed a caution - it did not translate itself to greater urgency in their play, despite their run of just one win in eight games at kick-off. But as the game wore on, so Everton's threat increased. Their flurry of shots after the break transformed De Gea from a mere bystander to a central figure in proceedings - with his first stop from Mirallas' powerful drive the pick of the bunch. Fellaini's mistimed tackle on Gueye was lucky in a way but just reward in another, and after Baines planted the ball home to De Gea's right there was only one team in the running to take all the points. Meanwhile, Simon Hughes talks of Maarten Stekelenburg in the Independent. Aside from Rojo's Kung fu display, the first half had been non-event until four minutes before the break when Maarten Stekelenburg deemed it necessary to react to Anthony Martial's pass by racing off his line in the direction of the main stand. The further Everton's goalkeeper travelled, the more he seemed to decrease in speed and by the time he met Ibrahimović, it was as if he'd been stung by a poisoned dart. Twenty-five yards from goal, Ibrahimović flicked out one of his long limbs and via the cross-bar and then the post, the ball finally spun over the line. And finally, the absence of Ross Barkley holds the thoughts of the Daily Mail's Ian Ladyman. Everton have had problems of their own recently and as such there was something rather helter-skelter about their play. In the opening 40 minutes, the game was notable only for its fouls. The home team were better than in recent games without being convincing. Having started the season so brightly, there is something missing creatively at the moment and the Barkley issue is one that Ronald Koeman is some way from solving. The Everton manager was spared questions about that by the manner of his team's late comeback.
Everton's Idrissa Gueye - just how good was he against Manchester United?
10:48, 5 DEC 2016UPDATED11:57, 5 DEC 2016
Idrissa Gueye bashfully rejected the idea that he has become a cult hero at Everton . He insists he just likes to work hard for the cause. Hero is not a title to be dished out lightly, he says. But should Gueye continue to play in the full-blooded manner he did against Manchester United on Sunday then he'll not be able to avoid it. Gueye will become a hero at Goodison. Comfortably, the 27-year-old was the game's best player as his energy, persistence and desire dragged Everton back into the game. It came as no surprise to anyone inside the Old Lady that it was Gueye who won the penalty from which the Blues equalised. That was the decisive moment in his performance but the Senegal international's display was brimming with quality through the 90 minutes. Gueye made - and won - more tackles than any other Everton player in the game and continues to lead the Premier League in that field by some distance. The midfield machine was also successful in 75% of his duels against United and fared significantly better than his team-mates in the middle of park with Gareth Barry and Tom Cleverley only winning two of their 11. But Gueye's performance wasn't just based on his destructive qualities and aside from turning Marouane Fellaini and drawing a foul in the area with two minutes to go, his quality with the ball also shone through. The £7.1m summer signing completed 39 of his 50 passes - a rare high on a day Everton struggled for any sort of fluency - he had two shots and created a chance as well. He also is no-nonsense. And though the records show he won two free-kicks for the Blues yesterday, there was to it with one of them. Marcos Rojo's cowardly challenge on Gueye in the first-half had leg-breaking potential slapped across it. Luckily, Gueye was unhurt and he refused to make a meal of the x-rated, two-footed tackle. What a hero.
When is the FA Cup third round draw? All the information for Everton fans
20:00, 4 DEC 2016UPDATED18:32, 4 DEC 2016
When is the draw?
Everton will find out who they will face in the third round of the FA Cup when the draw takes place on Monday night just before the second round tie between Lincoln City and Oldham Athletic. Steven Gerrard will be alongside Ian Wright for the draw which be screened live on BT Sport and BBC Two at 7.10pm in the BT Tower in London.
What happened last year?
This will be the Blues' first game in the competition this season, with Premier League and Championship clubs handed byes in the first two rounds. Everton were knocked out by eventual winners Manchester United in last year's semi-final and Ronald Koeman's side will be keen for another successful run in the Cup. They last won the competition back in 1995 via a Paul Rideout header, this time beating United in the final. Ross Barkley looks dejected after Anthony Martial scored his sides second goal during the semi final last season. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
What number am I looking out for? There will be 64 teams in the next round but Everton will be ball number 16 in the draw. Third round fixtures set to be played across the weekend of January 6-9.
Did Everton switch to 4-4-2 work for Ronald Koeman?
13:50, 5 DEC 2016UPDATED13:51, 5 DEC 2016
After one win in eight league games, Ronald Koeman had to change something to pick Everton up from their current malaise. Sunday's team sheet confirmed it, with both Phil Jagielka and Ross Barkley dropping to the bench for the visit of Manchester United. But the Dutchman had another surprise. The personnel on the pitch looked likely to line up in the 4-2-3-1 that has been utilised frequently by Koeman, but it soon became apparent it was a more rigid 4-4-2. Koeman has tinkered with the set-up before this season – most notably playing three at the back against Chelsea – but the 4-4-2 represented another tweak to his Everton side. It showed his tactical flexibility, but possibly also hinted that he is a coach still figuring out how to get the optimum performance out of a squad he, largely, didn't build. The 1-1 draw did not give the desired result as the Toffees' winless run extended to four, but the performance was improved from previous outings, their point against Jose Mourinho's side a deserved one. To that extent, it worked. But is it an option long-term? What worked and what didn't against United? It should not be forgotten...
Jamie Carragher on 'obsessed' Leon Osman
14:22, 5 DEC 2016UPDATED14:28, 5 DEC 2016
Liverpool legend and Sky Sports analyst Jamie Carragher has promised a forensic analysis of Liverpool's defensive difficulties during tonight's Monday Night Football show. And Carragher also delivered a withering putdown to fellow studio guest Leon Osman for celebrating while Bournemouth turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 victory on Sunday. Carragher shared a studio with former Everton stalwart Osman at Goodison Park yesterday as both watched Liverpool's astonishing meltdown. In a special Facebook Live chat with Sky presenter Dave Jones today, Carragher said: "Yeah, I was devastated by Liverpool's loss. Leon Osman was jumping around and celebrating with people in the crowd. "I felt like saying 'if you weren't as obsessed with Liverpool you might have won something, Everton.' "I was going to say that one time but I couldn't quite find the time. He didn't tee me up for it. "But that's why I love football, the rivalry." Then Carragher promised an analysis of Liverpool's shock defeat on the south coast. "After the game I had to think 'did Bournemouth play well?'" he said. "Liverpool, I called them Borussia Dortmund at their best in the first half, they were outstanding. "But it's a common theme and that's what we're going to look at tonight - why this keeps happening. "We'll try and go as deep as we possibly can into it and some of the reasons why. "You could possibly do a full hour on that game and what's been going on at Liverpool, conceding goals in that manner. "Obviously we haven't got that long but I'm sure we'll have a good 10 or 15 minutes on it and look at the reasons why it happened and why it keeps happening and how can they stop it - or will they ever stop it?" The analysis will precede Sky's coverage of the Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Hull City.
Everton in shirt sponsor talks with African betting firm
5 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Everton are in talks with a Kenyan online sports betting firm about a lucrative new shirt sponsorship deal. Nairobi-based SportPesa already have an agreement with Hull City which sees their logo emblazoned on the Premier League strugglers' kits. But the company want to increase their UK profile even further and are pursuing a deal to take over as the Blues main commercial partner, when the 12-year association with Thai brewery Chang expires in the summer. The ECHO understands that the deal would represent a considerable improvement on the £5.3m a year they currently receive from Chang. SportPesa, which is owned and operated by parent company Pevans East Africa Limited, were only founded in 2014 but have rapidly become a major player in the growing online sports betting market. Hull City, who signed an undisclosed but rumoured to be around £3m-per-year three-year deal in the summer, are not their only English football interest. The firm are also currently Southampton's Europe and African partner, and in February they added Arsenal to their growing roster of commercial tie-ins. SportPesa became the Londoners' Official Betting Partner in Kenya, a deal which involves Arsenal sending coaches to hold training camps in the East African nation. Toffees majority investor Farhad Moshiri sold his shares in Arsenal and took over at Everton later that month. Along with sponsoring the Kenyan Premier League and Rugby Union their logo also appears on the shirts of the country's most successful club Gor Mahia. According to the Nairobi News wesbite SportPesa was started by a group of international investors including their chief executive Ronald Karauri, an ex Kenya Airways pilot , three Bulgarians and an Amercian businessman called Gene Grand. According to Naibuzz.com the firm have made billions of Kenyan shillings in profit each year of its brief existence. In Kenya alone their site reportedly grosses a daily average of one million users. The ECHO attempted to contact Sports Pesa for comment but had received no reply at time of publication. Betting firms increasingly dominate the Premier League shirt sponsorship market. Philippines-based online gambling company Dafabet sponsor both Burnley and Sunderland, Asian firm BETEAST appear on Swansea's shirts, gaming site Mansion claim Crystal Palace and Bournemouth, while Stoke City (Bet365), Watford (138.com), West Brom (UK-K8.com) and West Ham (Betway) also follow the lucrative trend. In July Blues chief executive Robert Elstone led a delegation from Goodison on a trip to Kenya to explore a proposed partnership with the Kenyan Football Federation. They met with FKF president Nick Mwendwa at the Federation's offices in Kasarani - and while the visit was more of a fact-finding mission, the Blues were keen to tap into football and business opportunities in Africa. Mr Mwenda said: "Everton have paid us a courtesy call today to have some discussions around how we can partner in the future and to share some insights in the game. With their experience and our vision, we can work together in the future." Robert Elstone visited Kenya with other Everton officials. Here he speaks with FKF president Nick Mwendwa at a press conference
Mr Elstone added: "We are very keen to look and see how we can help develop (football in Kenya). "Whether that's elite players, stars of the future or whether that's around communities and winning hearts and minds, using football and using sport as a force for good to inspire lives and to change lives, whether it's around general business management or whether it's around commercial or business matters or stadium safety matters, then there's an awful lot of areas we can explore."
Everton's players accept criticism has been warranted after poor run of form
But Blues squad determined to rediscover winning formula
By Phil Kirkbride
5 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Everton's players have been forced to accept the negative reaction to their recent performances but insist they remain their own harshest critics. The Blues fought back to grab a point at home to Manchester United on Sunday but remain in a run of form that has seen them win just one of their last nine league games. Centre-half Ashley Williams concedes that flak for such a string of results has to be expected at a club of Everton's stature but says the squad are determined to fight they way back into form. Ronald Koeman has not been afraid to publicly criticise his players but Williams insists the Blues squad know they have fallen short of the standards they expect of themselves.
Chelsea's Spanish midfielder Pedro (2nd L) vies with Everton's Argentinian defender Ramiro Funes Mori (L) and Everton's English-born Welsh defender Ashley Williams during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Everton at Stamford Bridge in London on November 5, 2016
Koeman asked for Everton to approach Sunday's game with more aggression and to avoid another of the slow starts that have blighted their campaign and the defender believes they reacted well.
"There had been a good reaction in training all week, it was a lot better and you could see people had really taken it to heart," Williams said. "We were trying to push ourselves in training and showing the right intentions and that we want to be playing. "We took that into the game on Sunday and we had a lot more energy and we had a lot more intent than in first-halves of previous weeks.
"And that's the level, the least, we have to play at."
Asked if they had been hurt by the criticism of Koeman and the people outside of the club, the centre-back added: "More than that. "It hurts that we know we are letting ourselves down more than anything. "When results don't come in, especially at a club like this, you're going to get criticism and we've all had it before and we'll have it again at some point. "It is part of the job and we don't really focus on that, we focus on trying to put it right, trying to do it for each other." Williams says Everton must use Sunday's draw with United as a platform from which to build a better run of results - starting at Watford this weekend. "That's the least, we have to grind things out, we always have to work hard and show good intentions and be sharp, everything we did on Sunday off the ball," he said. "We've got a big period coming up and when you're not playing the pretty stuff you have to dig in."
Everton FA Cup third round draw: Blues face all-Premier League tie
Koeman's men host champions Leicester City
By Chris Beesley
5 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Everton have been drawn at home against Premier League champions Leicester City in the Emirates FA Cup third round. The sides have twice met previously in the FA Cup with the Blues triumphing in both matches and going on to reach the final on both occasions. Their first FA Cup meeting came in the third round at Filbert Street in 1933 when goals from Dixie Dean, Jimmy Dunn and Jimmy Stein gave the visitors a 3-2 win. Curiously the exact same three scorers all netted in the same order in Everton's 3-0 victory over Manchester City in that year's final. Leicester were also at home when the pair clashed in the 1968 quarter-final as a Jimmy Husband brace and Howard Kendall strike gave Harry Catterick's team a 3-1 win. Later that season, Everton would lose 1-0 after extra time to West Bromwich Albion in the final. In total, the clubs have played 102 times with Everton winning 38 matches, Leicester winning 32 and 32 draws although the Blues most recent success came 13 years ago. Last season the Blues got to Wembley before succumbing to a last-gasp goal from Anthony Martial in a 2-1 semi-final defeat to Manchester United. En route they had overcome Dagenham & Redbridge 2-0 at home, Carlisle United 3-0 and Bournemouth 2-0 away before returning to Goodison to beat Chelsea 2-0 in the quarter-finals.
Everton have won the FA Cup five times with their last success in 1995 when they defeated Manchester United 1-0 thanks to Paul Rideout's headed goal. This year's third round ties will be played across the weekend of January 6-9.
Everton boss Koeman to review transfer plans after Bolasie injury shocker
Blues big money signing set to miss the rest of the season
By Phil Kirkbride
5 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Ronald Koeman has been forced to review his January transfer plans after injury brought Yannick Bolasie's season to an early end. The Everton forward will undergo surgery after suffering a serious knee ligament injury in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Goodison.Bolasie underwent scans on the problem today and earlier this evening Everton received he results which confirmed that he needs to go under the knife. The 28-year-old sustained anterior cruciate ligament damage in his right knee and will now miss the rest of the campaign. Koeman is pushing to bring in United's Memphis Depay next month but will now discuss with the Blues board about looking to sign another wide-man when the window opens next month. Bolasie was due to miss a clutch of Everton games in January due to Africa Cup of Nations involvement but he now looks certain to miss the rest of the season.
Comment: Everton have been hit hard by Bolasie injury blow
Long and arduous road to recovery for popular summer signing
By Phil Kirkbride
5 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
A sense of nervousness hung around Goodison today as Everton awaited the results of a scan on Yannick Bolasie's injured knee. They were right to have felt apprehensive. Because at just after 7pm their worst fears were confirmed: Bolasie's season was over.
Scan results showed that the 28-year-old has suffered damage to the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Manchester United on Sunday and will require surgery in the next few days.
Knowing Bolasie, he will remain as positive as he possibly can be in such difficult times be but it promises to be a long and arduous road to recovery for the popular summer signing. For Everton, this is a significant blow, and one that will force Ronald Koeman into a re-think of his January transfer plans and maybe even his summer ones too. He wants Memphis Depay to add balance, depth and quality to an attack that has been woefully toothless in recent times and one that has been over-reliant on the understanding of Bolasie and Romelu Lukaku. But Bolasie's rotten fortune means that even if Depay is signed, Koeman's problem doesn't go away and so Everton will have to explore the idea of doing more business next month than they had planned. For the time being at least, it puts the onus on Kevin Mirallas, Gerard Deulofeu and Aaron Lennon to convince him that spending more money is unnecessary.
Koeman was braced to lose the DR Congo international to the Africa Cup of Nations next month and find a way to cope without him until February, not for the rest of the season.
Today's news has hit Everton hard.
Bolasie, a £28m signing from Crystal Palace in August, has made an impact since his arrival.
His form has been erratic, but we were prepared for that, but in every game he has played he has, at the very least, always made something happen.
And Bolasie's four assists, all for Lukaku, were an early glimpse of a potential lucrative partnership at Koeman's disposal, but that has now been stopped in its tracks. Optimistic predictions said that Mo Besic, who suffered the same, horrible fate in an pre-season friendly at Old Trafford, will return to training at the beginning of February. That's an absence of six months. Soberingly, Bolasie's focus now has to be the start of next season.
Everton 3-1 Portsmouth: Calvert-Lewin and Dyson net as U23s march on
Unsworth's young Blues remain top of Premier League 2
By Dan Matthews
5 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Ronald Koeman's Everton first team may be struggling to build on a promising early season run.
But the Blues' U23s side continue to give little indication that the rot has spread throughout the ranks.
Despite an indifferent run of their own, which had seen them win only two of their previous eight games, David Unsworth's team remain two points clear at top of Premier League 2.
And goals from Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Calum Dyson helped them to a 3-1 Premier League Cup victory over Portsmouth. An own goal from visiting defender Tom Davies helped Everton build what proved an unassailable lead, despite a late Portsmouth rally. The visitors did give themselves a sniff through Harvey Bradbury in the closing stages. But Unsworth's side – who were without Oumar Niasse upfront - held on to secure their second win in three games in the competition.
The Senegalese striker has six goals so far this season at this level, having been frozen out by Koeman.
But Calvert-Lewin ensured his absence was not too keenly felt with a promising display which deserved more than his single goal. Koeman has so far resisted calls to blood more of Unsworth's table-topping youngsters into his stuttering first team. Despite a run of only one win in 11 matches, the Dutchman said young players will get their chance but claimed now is the time for "more experienced players and more personality". But justifications of that nature will fall on increasingly deaf ears if the likes of Calvert-Lewin and Tom Davies continue to put in performances like this. Calvert Lewin was not perhaps the most recognisable double-barrelled youngster on the team sheet.
But he overshadowed Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain – brother of Arsenal's Alex – while Davies was classy in front of his back four. Portsmouth had not conceded – or scored – a goal in their first two Premier League Cup group games this season. But they were cut open on many occasions by an Everton side whose only gripe may be that they didn't win by more. Because after a bright start from Unsworth's side it seemed only a matter of time before Everton would succeed where Wolves and Norwich had failed before them. Calvert-Lewin had an early chance partially blocked before his neat dummy set up an attack which finished with Harry Charsley firing just over from the edge of the box.
But Portsmouth's resistance did not hold for long.
After only 15 minutes Kieran Dowell slipped Calvert-Lewin in on goal and the 19-year-old striker rounded Liam O'Brien in the Portsmouth goal to put his side into a deserved lead.
Everton initially failed to build on their advantage and as the pace slowed they were forced into an early reshuffle after Liam Walsh went off injured. The promising midfielder walked from the pitch unaided but headed straight for the tunnel before being replaced by Broadhead. That substitution saw the bright Charsley drop in alongside Davies in midfield but the change in personnel did little to dent Everton's superiority. And it was from Broadhead's cross that Calvert-Lewin had the Blues' best chance before the break. The forward somehow managed to bring down the ball and wriggle past several challenges in a crowded penalty area before falling over and failing to lift his shot over O'Brien. Their inability to turn the chances into more goals meant Everton's lead seemed slender. But the scoreline belied how comfortable they were, such was the bluntness of Portsmouth going forward.
The young Blues had kept only one clean sheet in the ten games since their 1-0 victory over Wolves in this competition. But the likes of Tyias Browning will have few less testing forty-five minutes.
Ben Close did test the hands of Mateusz Hewelt early in the second half with a powerful effort from outside the box as Portsmouth enjoyed a rare period of dominance.
But it was short lived as Everton wrestled back control.
Calvert-Lewin curled a shot just over and moments later he was felled by Tom Davies inside the box.
Jonjoe Kenny's spot-kick was saved down to his left by O'Brien.
But he was helpless to prevent the ball from being bundled over his line from the resulting corner, with Davies compounding a nightmare couple of minutes by getting the final touch.
Calum Dyson then headed home Charsley's cross to give Everton the lead their dominance during the first hour deserved. But at the end of a weekend of squandered leads Unsworth's side threatened to join the party, allowing Portsmouth back into the game through substitute Harvey Bradbury.
And had Kal Naithsmith and then Milan Lalacovic made the most of promising positions Everton's lead could have evaporated entirely.
But they held on to secure a second win in the competition and head into the three reverse fixtures in rude health on a number of fronts.
Everton (4-2-3-1): Hewelt; Kenny (c), Jones (Feeney, 45 mins), Browning, Connolly; Davies, Walsh (Broadhead, 32 mins, Sambou, 85 mins); Charsley, Dyson, Dowell; Calvert-Lewin
Portsmouth (4-4-2): O'Brien; C Davies, Haunstrup (McDowell, 66 mins), May, T Davies; Bedford (Wakley, 74 mins), Oxlade-Chamberlain, Close; Chaplin (Bradbury, 66 mins), Naismith
Everton can get mileage out of return to old school 4-4-2 says Michael Ball
Formations should fit personnel and Lukaku needs support in a direct system
By Michael Ball
6 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
I was intriguing to see Ronald Koeman switch formations as it's getting very rare to see a 4-4-2 these days. When I started playing most teams played that way and I didn't mind it because I always knew what my job was and what my position should be as we grew up with it.
Roberto Martinez played a more possession-based game but when you're playing direct balls like we were against United, it's asking a lot of Romelu Lukaku to do it all on his own. You need to have someone around you to feed off and I think the 4-4-2 could be one for us to use again.
Sometimes you haven't got the personnel to play a certain system. You can over-complicate things and most British players have been brought up on 4-4-2 but you've got to find a formation that fits the people you've got in your squad rather than managers coming in and saying 'we're going to do it this way.' It's okay when you've got the ball and everything is working well but if something erratic happens where's your positional sense going to be? If you get caught in two minds you get found out at the top level. The majority of our players will have their heads around where they need to be with 4-4-2 and there's no questions asked unlike the zonal marking system – you know your job and there is no hiding for players. Leighton Baines has been a bit shy over the last year or so when it's come to handing over the ball to team-mates when it comes to penalties and free-kicks so to score past David De Gea was a big moment for him. It was great to see that he's taken the mantle of being the penalty taker again.
While it was always a bit nerve-racking taking penalties, I thrived on having a one v one with you and the goalkeeper. It was a bit like a boxing match to try and out-think him and out-skill him but to do it in the last minute of the game against someone like De Gea is extra difficult.
Goal from the penalty spot against Manchester United by Everton's Leighton Baines at Goodison Park. Rotten luck for Bolasie but others now have a chance
I feel for Yannick Bolasie as there's nothing worse than getting a long term injury when you've just signed for a club. I wish him a speedy recovery and just hope that whoever comes in between Gerard Deulofeu, Kevin Mirallas or Aaron Lennon can take the opportunity with some big games coming up.
It's important that we try and get back to winning ways at Watford given that both Arsenal and Liverpool are on the horizon.
Cleverley needs to show more
The starting line-up did surprise me a little bit. Seeing Tom Cleverley in there I thought 'I'm not too sure.' However, Ross Barkley hasn't been reaching the levels expected of him while Phil Jagielka has been through a sticky patch so it's only right and fair that others are given a chance.
Cleverley didn't show much in my opinion and while his work rate was there but he didn't bring anything for me. He looked a little bit lost and it seemed like the game was too much for him.
Red-faced over Christmas Tree colour
It cracks me up hearing about Ronald Koeman and his Christmas Tree but I'm a bit like that.
When I played I was fortunate enough to be sponsored by Adidas but they had a lot of red in their boots which annoyed me.
When I started there wasn't all multi-coloured boots like now so it up to me and Unsy to get the marker pens out and cover up the red bits – especially on derby day. You don't see many Blues wearing red but I think it's just banter really than anything serious and Ronald understands the passion of Evertonians.
Absent friends can foot the bill next time Last Friday I attended a Christmas reunion with some of my old Everton youth team pals – including those who played in the 1998 FA Youth Cup win.
Phil Jevons organised it and also attending were Tony Hibbert, Leon Osman, Wayne McDermott, Adam Eaton, Mark Quayle and Keith Southern. We had a good chat about the old days and our coaches like Colin Harvey, Ronny Goodlass and John Hurst. A word of warning to those who didn't make it or weren't allowed out – you can pay for the other lads next time around!
Everton transfer rumours: Jose Fonte puts Blues on alert after contract snub
A round-up of transfer rumours and speculation from around the web
By Joe Rimmer
Jose Fonte has turned down the offer of a new contract at Southampton - putting the likes of Everton and Manchester United on alert, according to widespread reports today. The Guardian say that the Saints have agreed to sell Fonte in January after the Portugal international decided against signing a new deal at St Mary's. Fonte has just 18 months remaining on his current deal, and the 32-year-old was linked with a move to Goodison Park or Old Trafford in the summer after an excellent European Championships. An offer of around £5m is said to be enough to persuade Southampton to sell.
Elsewhere today and Ghana Soccernet are linking Everton with a move for Chelsea full-back Baba Rahman. The 22-year-old has returned to the Bundesliga on a season-long loan with Schalke 04, but has struggled to play regularly back in Germany. Rahman signed for Chelsea in 2015 for a fee of £21.5m, but the 22-year-old couldn't convince the London club he was in their long-term plans.
Why Everton manager Ronald Koeman has a million reasons to celebrate
Blues boss to dish out prize after Twitter milestone
By Chris Beesley
6 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
The old football adage that nobody is bigger than the club will always ring true but on Twitter Ronald Koeman has reached one million followers before his employers Everton. To celebrate the occasion he's promised to send one of his followers a signed Everton shirt but just how will he choose the lucky recipient? Certainly a Blues jersey from Koeman would be more welcome than a Euro 88 West Germany one from his collection! Perhaps the Goodison gaffer should have been more creative with his presents at this time of year and offered a tour of his house to view his different coloured Christmas trees?
Koeman is the only person currently at Everton to reach a seven-figure following with the club's official account not far behind on 981,000.
Gerard Deulofeu is the most followed player among the Blues squad on 827k with other six-figure players including Romelu Lukaku (757k), Aaron Lennon (646k), Ross Barkley (387k), Enner Valencia (212k), Phil Jagielka (166k), James McCarthy (111k) and Seamus Coleman (109k).
When it comes to former Blues, Koeman is still dwarfed by Wayne Rooney's 14.1m which makes him the most-followed English player while Gary Lineker has 5.44m followers.
Wayne Rooney runs on to the pitch as he replaces Tom Cleverley during the Duncan Ferguson Testimonial match in August 2015 Lifelong Evertonian Joey Barton never played a senior game for the Blues but many people must want to read what he has to say as he enjoys a disproportionately large Twitter profile in proportion to his football achievements with 3.25m followers.
Koeman can now set his sights on the likes of Landon Donovan (1.26m) and Samuel Eto'o (1.16m).
The 53-year-old is something of a rarity among working managers to be on social media and is the only current Premier League manager on Twitter although Bayern Munich's Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti, formerly of Chelsea, has 2.21m followers. Like many Dutch compatriots, the Blues boss is known for his straight-talking and Twitter is something of a family affair for the Koemans. Ronald's brother and assistant manager Erwin uses the platform as does wife Bartina, daughter Debbie, son Tim and of course pal Jan Kluitenberg who is Everton's fitness coach.
Everton's Ramiro Funes Mori: I hope I've done enough to keep my place
Defender looking to keep his place in Blues side at Watford
By Phil Kirkbride
6 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Ramiro Funes Mori hopes he has done enough to convince Ronald Koeman to keep him in the side for the trip to Watford. The Argentina defender was given the nod ahead of captain Phil Jagielka for Sunday's game at home to Manchester United to win only his fifth league start of the season.
Funes Mori had fallen down the pecking order following the arrival of Ashley Williams in the summer but was given a chance to impress last weekend. And now the 25-year-old hopes to nail down a place in the heart of Everton's defence. "It's been a while since I played," Mori said. "I had to wait for my chance to be a part of the team. "I went in for this game and it was nice to play. I always try to do my best, on and off the pitch." He added: "Every time I want to be in the starting 11. For some reasons I wasn't starting but I kept my focus, kept training and I got my opportunity." Mori's made back-to-back starts in games with West Ham and Chelsea but had previously been restricted to appearances off the bench following Williams' arrival. And so he admits it took him time to get into the swing of things against United. "It was hard to get the rhythm of the game - it was tough and Manchester United are a good team that play with good tempo," he said. "I felt a little bit tired at the end but I just need to get more games and more playing time."
Steve Walsh continues expanding Everton's scouting team
Walsh adds another Leicester man to Everton's backroom staff
By Phil Kirkbride
6 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Everton director of football Steve Walsh has added another of his trusted talent-spotters to the club's scouting network. Leicester City's European scout Dave Worthington has left the Premier League champions to join forces with Walsh at Goodison. Worthington works mainly in Spain and Portugal, basing himself in the Barcelona area, and has held key scouting roles at a number of top flight clubs.
The 71-year-old counts Chelsea and Hull City among a raft of his former clubs with Sam Allardyce appointing Worthington to his recruitment teams at West Ham United, Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers. Worthington has also worked with Everton's new chief scout Martyn Glover in the past.
The former Grimsby Town player, for whom he made nearly 300 Football League appearances, is credited with convincing Allardyce to sign Nicolas Anelka in 2006 before recommending that Chelsea to do the same, where he worked under Frank Arnesen. "It was against everyone's view to sign Anelka," Worthington said, in a 2010 interview. "Everyone thought he was moody and past his best, but a contact of mine grew up with him and was convinced he was just unhappy at Fenerbahce.
"He said Anelka had matured and started a family and was just a quiet lad with a bad reputation; his talent was wasting away there. "He turned out to be a fantastic signing. At Bolton we had him, Kevin Davies and El-Hadji Diouf in attack, which worked really well." Worthington is the brother of Frank and Bob, who were also professional footballers.
Always keep smiling': Football wishes Everton's Yannick Bolasie a speedy recovery
Blues winger will miss the rest of the season
By Glen Williams
6 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Everton's Yannick Bolasie sustained anterior cruciate ligament damage in his right knee and will now miss the rest of the season but the footballing world has taken to social media to wish him well in his recovery. His former club Crystal Palace and his Blues team-mates and players who will be playing in the African international tournament in the New Year were some of the well-wishers on Twitter.
The DR Congo wide man was set to jet off to the Africa Cup of Nations in January but the 28-year-old must now undergo surgery after suffering a serious knee ligament injury in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Manchester United. Bolasie underwent scans on the problem yesterday and last night Everton confirmed he needs to go under the knife.
Wishing you a speedy recovery, @YannickBolasie! https://t.co/FU9hkkde9C
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) December 5, 2016
Ah @YannickBolasie I'm sorry to hear about your injury wouldn't wish it on no one. You'll come back and bad it up again though bro
— Rolando Aarons (@RolandoAarons) December 5, 2016
Beaucoup de courage mon frère pour ton opération. Reviens nous en forme! Tu as tout mon soutien, on est ensemble @yannickbolasie pic.twitter.com/w6gx7LYuMa
— chancel mbemba (@mbemba22) December 5, 2016
Just heard the news about my bro @YannickBolasie injury ☹
You will come back stronger, for sure !
— Bakambu Cédric (@Bakambu17) December 5, 2016
Get well soon @YannickBolasie! I know you will come back stronger, and I wish you all the best in your recover. Always keep smiling pic.twitter.com/FGEKIbyaCp
— Gerard Deulofeu (@gerardeulofeu) December 5, 2016
Devastated for my brother Yannick but I know first hand how strong he is and what he's been through he will come back stronger #efc pic.twitter.com/eJH73Rwv8Z
— Gabriel Zakuani (@Gabs50Zakuani) December 5, 2016
Everton v Watford to be refereed by Anthony Taylor
Taylor came in for criticism for decisions in Man City's game with Chelsea
By Phil Kirkbride
6 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Under-fire Anthony Taylor has been appointed to referee Everton's next game.
The Cheshire official will take charge of the Blues' trip to Watford on Saturday (12:30pm).
Mark Clattenburg meanwhile is to officiate Everton's home game against Arsenal on Tuesday, December 13. Taylor came in for criticism for his failure to send off David Luiz in last weekend's game between Man City and Chelsea. That game ended in ugly scenes with two City players being sent off and a ruck of players, substitutes and staff members.
The Football Association have charged both sides with failing to control their players.
Referee Anthony Taylor during the Premier League match at Goodison Park. Sunday October 30, 2016.
Taylor, who has overseen 12 Premier League games this season and dished out 42 yellow cards in that time, will be hoping Everton's trip to Vicarage Road does not go the same way.
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho received a touchline ban for comments made about Taylor before his side's game with Liverpool. The Altrincham supporter has now graduated to become a Champions League referee and took charge of Bayern Munich's game with Rostov. Everton will be hoping Taylor's appointment is a good omen given he refereed the last league game they won - October's 2-0 victory over West Ham.
Why Everton are influencing Aston Villa's promotion bid
Key figures in Blues' past are driving Midlands club
By Phil Kirkbride
6 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
A clutch of former key figures at Everton are helping to drive Aston Villa's bid to return to the Premier League. Danny Donachie is the latest former Blue to be appointed into a central position at the West Midlands club. Donachie, Everton's popular former head of medicine, has taken up the job of head of medicine and sports science with the Championship outfit as they build an impressive backroom set-up.
Former Blues assistant manager Steve Round, who spent around five years at Goodison under David Moyes, was named as Villa's technical director in the summer following the purchase of the club by Dr Tony Xia. Round was influential in convincing Everton's chief European scout Ian Atkins to swap the Blues for Villa earlier this season and handed the trusted talent-spotter the job of chief scout and head of European scouting. At boardroom level at Villa Park, Keith Wyness has taken up the position of chief executive having held the same role at Everton, where he spent five years. Villa also came close to appointing former Everton manager Moyes in the summer before the Scot pulled out of the running despite impressing the Villa owner and being on a three-man shortlist.
Everton youngsters will get their first team chances declares Unsworth
Blues Under-23s boss believes his youngsters will be rewarded with senior call by Koeman
By Dan Matthews
6 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Some of Everton's table-topping U23s will eventually force their way into the Blues first team, manager David Unsworth claimed in the wake of their 3-1 Premier League Cup win over Portsmouth.
Goals from Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Calum Dyson helped Everton to victory in Southport, despite a late Portsmouth rally. Unsworth's side are top of Premier League 2 and now lead group D in the Premier League Cup after two wins in their first three matches. But despite a run of only one win in 10 matches in all competitions, Ronald Koeman has so far been reluctant to blood many youngsters in his first team.
Tom Davies is one of Unsworth's squad who has been given a chance in the Premier League this season – albeit only in brief cameos. He has been in impressive form for the U23s and he again screened his back four with class and composure against Portsmouth, prompting his manager to label him "the best player on the pitch". And though he believes there is "no doom and gloom" surrounding the first team's current form, Unsworth is confident young players like Davies will break through if they continue in this vein. He told the ECHO: "These lads have got to keep learning, keep listening, keep progressing and keep waiting for their opportunity and I firmly believe it will come. "I thought Dominic [Calvert-Lewin] was good, I thought Kieran Dowell was back to his best, I thought Callum Connolly was great as well along with Tyias [Browning]. "It's great to see Tyias get some much needed minutes and he's slowly getting back to the form that got him in the first team 18 months ago. It was a good solid team performance all round." The victory over Portsmouth was only Everton's third in their last ten matches.
But they remain two points clear of Manchester City at the top of Premier League 2.
And Unsworth believes the standards demanded at a club like Everton mean success in the cup is as important as maintaining their impressive league position.
"It's important to win every game," he said.
"That doesn't matter whether it's the first team, our U23s, our U18s, these young lads want to win every game that they play in and that's important that the momentum carries on from whatever competition we're playing in." After an impressive first hour at the Merseyrail Community Stadium Everton were cruising at 3-0. Harvey Bradbury gave Portsmouth a glimmer of hope with an instinctive finish past Mateusz Hewelt, before the visitors wasted several good chances to reduce Everton's lead further.
But Unsworth was never concerned his side would surrender their advantage, despite having missed several good chances to put the game to bed. "I wasn't worried at all – it was a sloppy goal to concede from our own corner," he said. "They broke on us and got a bit of a lucky break. But I wasn't worried. I was quite comfortable all evening. "You are always looking for perfection and we probably could and should have scored a few more goals but we got three, we missed a penalty and created numerous chances – it was a good performance."
Everton fan favourite Laura Merrin still pursuing football dream after leaving Blues
The New Zealander endeared herself to fans after coming out against The S*n
By Glen Williams
6 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Former Everton ladies fan favourite Laura Merrin's dream of making it as a footballer is not over as she reveals she has been training with other English sides. Merrin left the Blues in August for personal reasons. The 21-year-old now has her own healthy living website but is still pursuing a career in football.
"I'm not paying for Everton anymore," she told the ECHO. "I'm currently training with a few clubs but am unable to name who at the moment. My fitness website is just something I'm doing on the side."
Her social media accounts are inundated with followers and she has pledged her allegiance to the Blues on Twitter.
Nah, I love Everton
— Laura Merrin (@LauraMerrin) November 27, 2016
Merrin has over 36,000 followers on Twitter, 59,000 on Instagram and 11,000 on Facebook.
She also endeared herself to her Merseyside following after coming out against The S*n. The newspaper branded her 'the world's hottest footballer' in a feature piece.
I never knew anything about the Sun until now, and I never gave them permission to post about me! Im sorry if it's upset anyone!! ❤ #JFT96
— Laura Merrin (@LauraMerrin) March 21, 2016
Everton FA Youth Cup winners of 1998 - where are they now?
Whatever happened to Delany, Regan, Farley and others?
By Phil Kirkbride
6 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Everton face Tranmere Rovers in the FA Youth Cup this week hoping to emulate the class of '98.
A Blues squad that included Leon Osman, Franny Jeffers and Danny Cadamarteri defeated Blackburn Rovers 5-3 in a two-legged final. Everton saw off Blackpool, Stoke, Watford, Ipswich and Leeds before seeing off Rovers in the showpiece. Kevin Sheedy's under-18s welcome Tranmere to Goodison on Thursday night (7pm) hoping to become the first Everton side in almost 20 years to lift the trophy.
But whatever happened to the class of '98?
Everton's Youth Cup winning goalkeeper now plays for Bohemians in the League of Ireland Premier Divsion. The 36-year-old left Goodison having never made his first-team breakthrough and went onto play for Port Vale and Shelbourne after leaving the Blues.
Dean Delany in action for Port Vale
Right-back Regan was last seen playing for Bury in early 2013.
The Liverpool-born defender left Goodison in 2000 and went onto play for Barnsley, Hull, Droylsden, Chester, Macclesfield, MK Dons, Bristol Rovers, Shrewsbury and Notts County.
The 36-year-old has over 300 senior appearances to his name.
Regan scored in Everton's Youth Cup semi-final second leg at home to Leeds United.
Wigan born Eaton spent three years at Everton before leaving in 1999.
He had a brief spell with hometown club Wigan Athletic before moving to Preston North End and then Mansfield Town. The defender scored in the second-leg of the final as the Blues drew 2-2 with Blackburn.
Eaton retired in 2005.
Centre-half Farley would make his first-team breakthrough the year after lifting the FA Youth Cup.
The local lad came off the bench to face Derby County in February 1999 and was on the bench for games with West Ham and Spurs. But after he broke his cheekbone and jaw in an under-19s game, Farley didn't play for the Blues again. Released from Goodison in 2000, Farley had a successful spell with non-league Droylsden before eventually returning to Merseyside to play over 200 times for Marine.
He was last listed as playing for AFC Liverpool.
By the time Dunne helped Everton to FA Youth Cup glory, he has already played for the first-team .
The towering centre-back went on to make 72 appearances for the first-team before leaving for Manchester City in 2000.
Dunne picked up 80 caps for the Republic of Ireland and finished his Premier League career having clocked up 431 games.
He retired in 2015 after being released by QPR.
Everton's FA Youth Cup-winning captain O'Brien left the club soon after they defeated Blackburn over two legs. O'Brien, whose 25 yard volley gave the Blues a semi-final first leg advantage over Leeds United, joined Torquay in 1999 before moving to Droylsden and Chester.
He rejoined the Blues as an Academy coach before leaving in 2013.
Poppleton played in all eight games in the Blues' Youth Cup run of 1998 but was released by the club a year later.
He moved to Lincoln City but lasted just one season before retiring from football.
Poppleton trained as an accountant and then moved into property investment consultancy and now is a director at a property management company.
He is a Sheffield Wednesday season ticket holder.
Osman went on to enjoy a long career with Everton before leaving the club this summer.
The midfielder clocked up 433 first-team appearances for the Blues after making his debut in 2003.
Osman scored 58 times for Everton and went on to play for England.
He is currently without a club but filling his time with media work.
Jevons scored four times in seven appearances as Everton lifted the Youth Cup - including in both legs of the final. The centre-forward made nine appearances for the Blues' first-team before leaving in 2001 for Grimsby where he scored a winning goal at Anfield in the League Cup. Jevons' career then took him to several clubs in the football pyramid before he retired in 2014.
He is now back at Everton as an Academy coach.
By the time Cadamarteri won the Youth Cup with Everton he was already well known to Blues fans.
The young striker scored a memorable goal against Liverpool at Goodison in October 1997 in a 2-0 win.
Cadamarteri would go onto make 50 starts for the club before leaving for Bradford City in 2002.
The striker retired from football in 2014 having last played with Carlisle United.
Milligan is now forging a career as a successful youth coach after 17 years as a senior player.
The cultured midfielder made four sub appearances for Everton's first-team before leaving for hometown club Blackpoolin 2001. Milligan was a key player in Fleetwood Town's surge through the levels and counts Southport as another of his old clubs.
Tony Hibbert receives warm applause from the Goodison crowd during his final Everton appearance against Bournemouth last season
The Goodison stalwart went on to make 329 first-team appearances after making his debut in 2001.
Hibbert won the admiration of the Everton fans for his whole-hearted approach and left the club this summer after his contract expired. The right-back never scored a competitive goal for the Blues but sparked a pitch invasion when he fired home in his testimonial match.
Jeffers' career has come full circle with him now in place as Everton's Academy strikers' coach.
In between, the forward made 82 appearances for the Blues and scored 22 times before making an £8m move to Arsenal in 2001. He would return on loan before featuring for a host of clubs at home and abroad before retiring in 2014.
McDermott started Everton's second round win over Blackpool at the very start of their FA Youth Cup win. After leaving the Blues in 1999, he went onto to play for Northwich Victoria, Nuneaton and Vauxhall Motors where he was part of the team that shocked QPR in the FA Cup in 2002.
McDermott also played for Marine.
Help former Everton star Ronny Goodlass fight back against bowel cancer
05:00, 7 DEC 2016UPDATED19:23, 6 DEC 2016
He doesn't mind being mistaken for Santa - even if Ronny Goodlass might object to the red suit. But the former Everton winger is in the process of growing as long a beard as possible in time for Christmas, to support a charity close to his heart. BBC Radio Merseyside summariser Ronny, who made 33 senior appearances for the Blues between 1975-77 before later coaching at the club, has signed up to ' Decembeard ' - a novel scheme to support people affected by bowel cancer. By growing their bristles and ditching the razor for the month of December, participants across the country are raising money to help fight a disease that claims a life every half an hour. Ronny also wants to raise awareness about the disease, which fellow ex Everton midfielder Kevin Sheedy battled in 2012. Barry Clayton recognised he had symptoms of Bowel Cancer after reading serialisation of former Everton star Kevin Sheedy's book in the Liverpool Echo. Sheedy survived and returned to good health thanks to an early diagnosis, and Ronny wants people to realise the symptoms of the disease and how to detect them. He said: "I will be walking to Goodison and the kids will probably be telling me what they want for Christmas soon. "But I hope it becomes as long as ZZ Top if it means I'm getting the message out there. "It's a cause close to my heart. I've lost friends to bowel cancer and the stats about how many people are diagnosed with it are alarming. Sadly cancer generally will probably affect us all at some point in our lives." Ronny said he has already received generous donations from fellow Blues, among them noted Everton historian and benefactor Dr David France, along with Sue Allen, aka Lady Grantchester . "Cancer doesn't pick colours so it would be great if Liverpool and Tranmere supporters, as well as Blues, could help," added Ronny. "I know we come together as a footballing family to help others."
Everton transfer rumours: Blues to compete with Chelsea for Premier League defender
09:06, 7 DEC 2016UPDATED10:36, 7 DEC 2016
Middlesbrough have placed a £35m price-tag on defender Ben Gibson in order to ward off interest from both Everton and Chelsea, according to the Daily Mirror. The 23-year-old has reportedly been told he is going been told he is going nowhere in January. He is seen to be a key man in Boro's efforts to stay in the Premier League. Everton are said to be long-term admirers of the centre-half — Middlesbrough owner Steve Gibson's nephew — who only signed a new deal earlier this year to keep him at the club until 2021. It's reported that the Teesside club rate him very highly and regard selling now as a false economy because staying in the Premier League long-term is so lucrative. Ronald Koeman is keen to strengthen his squad in January , with attacking players a priority after Yannick Bolasie's season-ending injury.
Sheedy wary Everton avoid another Tranmere humiliation
11:00, 7 DEC 2016UPDATED11:02, 7 DEC 2016
Despite being a genuine 24 carat Everton legend, Kevin Sheedy was part of the opposition camp on the day that Tranmere inflicted arguably the Blues most humiliating Goodison defeat of all-time so he'll be ensuring his young charges don't take Rovers challenge lightly when the sides clash in the FA Youth Cup on Thursday (7pm kick-off). On January 27, 2001 – a date still celebrated annually by Tranmere fans as 'St Yates' Day' in homage to their two-goal hero – Rovers inflicted a 3-0 drubbing on Walter Smith's ponderous plodders in an FA Cup fourth round tie. Everton transfer rumours: Blues to compete with Chelsea for Premier League defender Although Tranmere were much more of a force to be reckoned with back then, operating three divisions above their current National League status in what is now the Championship, the comprehensive loss to their supposedly inferior neighbours from across the water remains a dark day in Everton's history.
Rovers – who had reached the League Cup final the previous season – would overcome a 3-0 half-time deficit to defeat Southampton 4-3 in the next round with a hat-trick from Goodison FA Cup hero Paul Rideout and a goal from another former Blue Stuart Barlow before eventually succumbing to their other Mersey neighbours Liverpool 4-2 in a Prenton Park quarter-final. To add salt to Evertonian wounds on that winter's day almost 16 years ago, the visitors were managed by lifelong Red John Aldridge but his assistant was fellow former Republic of Ireland international Sheedy who of course served all three of Merseyside's professional clubs having joined the Blues as a player from Liverpool. The 28 year itch - how Everton must end FA Cup wait going back to 1988 While Sheedy will no doubt be wary that his Everton Under-18s side take Tranmere's challenge seriously, he admits that his charges are in superb form having built-up an 11-match unbeaten run with a 2-0 win at Derby County on Saturday with goals from Shayne Lavery and Daniel Bramall. He said: "It's a local derby. We've watched Tranmere and they'll be a difficult test. They've got some good players and they'll be highly motivated so we need to make sure we're ready for them. "The lads are oozing with confidence at the moment and we want the games to keep coming. "Out of the last 11 games, we've won seven and drawn four - and we should have won those four. "After our slow start, we've put ourselves in a good league position. We just need to keep winning games, not get beat and we'll have a great chance." Everton haven't won the FA Youth Cup since 1998 – Wayne Rooney steered them to the final in 2002 but they fell short against Aston Villa – but Sheedy is pleased with the progress of the current crop who are also in the hunt for the Premier League U18s title. He told evertonfc.com: "Everyone's looking forward to this game. "There's good competition for places, everyone's fighting to get in the team which is healthy. "There were one or two disappointed to be left out [against Derby County], but that's what you need. "My job and that of [Under-18s assistant] Paul Tait is to get the best out of the players and they're doing really well." Tickets will be available on the Goodison turnstiles, priced at £3 for adults and £1 for concessions. Due to competition rules, free entry for Season Ticket holders and Foreverton members is not available for this fixture.
The Everton Premier League 25 - who is at number 21?
11:48, 7 DEC 2016UPDATED11:48, 7 DEC 2016
We're well aware that football existed before 1992. Indeed, many of us were regularly attending football matches before then. But with this being the 25th year of the Premier League, and December 25 being a kind of special day, now seems as opportune a time as any to look back at some of the most seismic Everton moments of that time. We asked our team of writers and a select group of Evertonians to rank their favourite 25 Everton moments of the Premier League era. We then ranked them in a list from 25 to one, because we all love Christmas countdowns. They're not necessarily goals. There are tackles, pirouettes, film stars, boxing - even an unlikely substitution in there. Last time out at No. 22 was Duncan Ferguson's shock exit Here's the next and it's the big man in a more familiar pose...
Whether you're burglars on the landing or a self-styled 'Guvnor' it's advisable not to tangle with Duncan Ferguson as Paul Ince found to his cost in a Merseyside Derby at Anfield in February 1998. Like the fiery Scot, London-born midfielder Ince was no stranger to a bit of needle himself having been one of the few Liverpool players to be a former Manchester United hero – via a stint in Italy with Inter – and on this occasion he bounded into the Everton centre-forward just outside the Reds penalty area nine minutes into the contest. Ferguson was unimpressed by his opponent's hard man act though and like a lion swatting a fly he simply grabbed Ince by the shoulders and threw him to the turf in one swift motion. Although the Blues front man appears to offer a few choice words at the time, unlike today's card-happy referees match official Peter Jones accepts the tussle as part of the rough and tumble of Derby day and does not book either player. For his part Ince overcomes his humiliation by giving his fellow captain Ferguson – both men were skippering their sides – a 'playful' push on the back of the head and play resumes.
What happened next?
Having both stayed on the pitch, both men would score in a 1-1 draw. Ferguson fired Everton ahead in front of the Kop with a rare right foot effort from the edge of the area on 58 minutes but Ince would respond with a close range drive following some penalty box pinball 10 minutes later.
Why Everton's players will feel at home at Watford
Hornets have also ran out to Z-Cars theme for over 50 years
12:58, 7 DEC 2016UPDATED12:58, 7 DEC 2016
Although they'll be playing 200 miles from Goodison Park in Saturday's early game in the Premier League, like all visits to Vicarage Road Everton's players will feel at home as they run out to the familiar strains of Z-Cars. Along with the Blues, Watford have been taking to the field to the theme of BBC police show since the 1960s even though their reasons for the choice of song seem far less obvious. The stirring nature of Fritz Spiegl's tune performed by John Keating and his Orchestra also prompted both Sunderland during their days at Roker Park and Workington AFC – who had an Evertonian manager Ken Furphy – to use it on occasions but it is this weekend's opponents who have stayed the course for over half a century.Austrian-born Spiegl was a Liverpool resident but there are other Merseyside links that made Z-Cars the perfect fit for Goodison. Z-Cars was set in the fictional place 'Newtown' which was based on Kirkby while the instrumental production is a reworking of the traditional sea shanty Johnny Todd that many Scousers grew up listening to.
The original also contains the lyrics:
"Johnny Todd, he took a notion
For to cross the ocean wide
And he's left his own true love behind him
Walking by the Liverpool tide
"For a week, she wept with sorrow
Tore her hair and wrung her hands
Till she met another handsome sailor
Walking by the Liverpool sands."
A guest appearance at Goodison in November 1962 of the only Scouse member of the Z-Cars cast actor Leonard Williams (who played Sergeant Twentyman) prompted the first playing of the tune at the ground but his untimely death just days later seems to have facilitated the creation of the legend. The tale behind Watford's adoption of the ditty a year later is more off-the-wall – literally. A building next to Vicarage Road which later became the club's programme hut used to be the base for local taxi firm 'N Cars' but the N had dropped down from its fixed position to look like a 'Z'.
Everton View from the Gwladys Street: We may need to start overpaying for players
13:45, 7 DEC 2016UPDATED13:46, 7 DEC 2016
Memphis Depay in action with Seamus Coleman during the Wayne Rooney Testimonial match between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford on August 3, 2016 (Photo by John Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images)
point in the circumstances? And how important is it for Everton to now win at Watford? Given yet another slow start to the game and also once again falling behind first, it was a relief not to lose. It's incredibly disappointing that the players don't appear to be responding to Ronald Koeman's instruction and it makes the need for a major shake up of the team in the January transfer window all the more greater. Watford away is another huge game and it won't be easy. Watford have had a decent start and will know a win will take them above us. We will have to match our opponent's motivation, something we have failed to do on numerous occasions so far this season. How big a blow is Yannick Bolasie's injury to Everton? Who would you like to see brought in to replace him in January? I think it is a huge blow. The financial investment in Bolasie was huge by Everton standards. It takes time for a player to settle after such a big move and whilst his performances weren't always consistent, he offered something we'd been crying out for a long time - pace from midfield. With Bolasie likely to be out for the season, we definitely need to sign a replacement in the January window. Whoever we sign needs to provide us with the same type of pace. I've been a fan of Karim Bellarabi of Bayer Leverkusen for a few seasons now and I think he'd fit the bill. Whether that's a realistic target given our current standing, I'm not sure. We struggled to attract upwardly mobile players in the summer, but these are precisely the type of players we need to once again become a top six and/or top four team. The money to sign such players is supposedly in place. Although we are loathe to do it, we may need to start to overpay for players in order to get deals over the line, especially in January. In what other areas do Everton need to strengthen in during the winter transfer window? Where to begin? The biggest priorities have to be up front and in central defence. Memphis Depay from Manchester United has been linked and I would welcome that move. We need a lot more firepower because heaven forbid if something happened to Romelu Lukaku. Arouna Kone isn't the answer and it looks like Oumar Niasse could break Dixie Dean's 60 goals in a season record for the Under 23s and still not get a look in under Koeman. We desperately need at least one new centre half and we should break the bank for Southampton's Virgil van Dijk, a player Koeman reportedly has a great relationship with. A new central midfield partner for Idrissa Gueye and cover for both full backs also has to be a January priority. What have you made of Maarten Stekelenburg this season? Should a goalkeeper be a priority for the Blues? When Stekelenburg first signed for us, no-one expected him to be the first choice keeper. He started the season well, culminating in him saving two penalties at Manchester City. Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks on as he beats Maarten Stekelenburg to score in the Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park on December 4, 2016 (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Unfortunately, his performances - like most of the rest of the team to be fair - has slipped. He was at fault for at least two of the goals at Chelsea and his decision making for Manchester United's opener on Sunday was calamitous. I think a new long term first choice goalkeeper is a priority, but that may be something that has to wait until the summer, given the other areas we need to address first. Everton look to be closing on a new shirt sponsor with African betting company SportPesa, how important is it for the club to progress commercially? I think it's vitally important. Currently we have the 10th most lucrative sponsorship deal in the Premier League. For a club with at least top six aspirations, that isn't good enough. The likes of Southampton, Sunderland and West Ham all have more lucrative deals currently. A club like Tottenham rakes in £16m a season from AIA (over three times what our current Chang deal earns us), and we should be looking to bring in at least £10m a season, in order to become a significant commercial player in the Premier League.
Any other business?
It's been a difficult start to the season. The team haven't really benefited from the usual 'bounce' a club often gets with the appointment of a new manager. With the introduction of new funding via Farhad Moshiri, expectation levels have naturally been raised and rightly so. I think it's time that the club held the long awaited AGM, so that Mr Moshiri can elaborate on his recent claims on national radio that he had cleared Everton's debt. Everton football club major investor Farhad Moshiri and Bill Kenwright and Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson at Bramley Moore Dock on the waterfront for plans to provide Everton with a new stadium. Joe Anderson hugs Farhad Moshiri.
It's would also reassure a lot of fans if the club can explain what's happening with the new stadium search too, given other forms of media are regularly detailing that an architectural firm is on board to design a new stadium for a specific site (Bramley Moore Dock). Whilst it's understandable that the club probably doesn't want to announce anything until plans are finalised, an update and some clarity on the subject is long overdue.
In terms of the team, I would definitely like to see Ronald Koeman bring both Mason Holgate and Tom Davies into the first team squad, and maybe even the starting line up. Both are more than ready, and ending the current 'rotation of under-performing players' would really help the manager's standing with the fans. The fans are crying out for some leadership and a bit of excitement in the team, something really lacking of late.
The ECHO's Big Interview - Kevin Sheedy on Everton, Liverpool, Howard Kendall, Jack Charlton and beating bowel cancer
16:00, 7 DEC 2016UPDATED13:56, 7 DEC 2016
He is the owner of one of the sweetest left foots Merseyside has ever seen, and one of the few players to have pulled on an Everton and a Liverpool jersey in his career. Though we think you'll agree his fondest memories came in Royal Blue! For episode three of the ECHO's Big Interview series, we were delighted to spend an hour in the company of Kevin Sheedy to discuss his life and times in football. Speaking to Neil Jones and Neil Mellor, Sheeds opens up about his early years, honing his trade by kicking a ball against the wall of his family's pun in Hereford. It was there, against the gents toilets block, that he perfected his free kick technique! He discusses his move to Liverpool in 1978 - "I had a gun held to my head," he says - and his four years at Anfield. Not a complete wasted experience, despite a lack of first-team appearances. He got on well with Kenny Dalglish, Ronnie Whelan and co - even if Bob Paisley did get his name wrong on his first day! His move to Everton in 1982 is discussed (we have a Daily Mail journalist to thank for that) and his relationship with Howard Kendall is spoken about at length. Not surprisingly, Sheeds thinks he's the best manager he ever worked for, and someone who continues to inspire him in his current role as U18s coach at Everton. The glory years of the 1980s are re-lived, and Kevin is brutally honest about the demise of that great Everton side and the end of his own playing career at Goodison. Listen out for some great stories about international trips with the Republic of Ireland - one in particular involving Jack Charlton and a game of cards has to be heard! - and expected to be moved by Kevin's battle, a successful one, against bowel cancer We would urge all listeners to hear Kevin's story, and to support his campaign to raise awareness of the illness by visiting www.beatingbowelcancer.org . He was a gem of a player, and he's a gem of an interview. We hope you enjoy, and we would welcome all feedback on the series.
Everton striker Romelu Lukaku: Another English club were keen to buy me
15:57, 7 DEC 2016UPDATED15:57, 7 DEC 2016
Romelu Lukaku admitted that an English club came very close to the Belgian's signature last summer, but the Blues scuppered any potential move. The 23-year-old was subjected to a lot of transfer speculation during the window, and Lukaku revealed there was one club who were keen to sign him. "I'm not going to lie. There was a specific club in England who was really keen to buy me," he told Sport/Voetbalmagazine. "But Everton's new staff made me understand they didn't want me to leave. What can you do when that happens?" Lukaku's agent, Mino Raiola, is also the agent of Manchester United trio Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – who all made the switch to the Manchester club this summer. The Blues forward is another big name on Raiola's list that would be certain to go for big money, should a club come in for him. But the introduction of Ronald Koeman was enough to convince Belgium international to stay at Goodison Park. After pledging his allegiance to Everton for another season, the striker admitted he harbours ambitions to win the Premier League. "That's the trophy I want, that's what I work for, to win that title." But he also didn't rule out any potential transfers in the future. If he achieves his dream of winning the Premier League, he said he would like to explore the options of playing in other leagues. "I would not say no to Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1 or the Bundesliga, but before such a move several conditions need to be met. "First I need a coach to work with who believes in me as there is no point in signing for someone and then realise on the spot that the system is not designed for me." Lukaku has a contract at Everton until June 2019 after signing a five-year deal in 2014.
The Everton Premier League 25 - who is at number 20?
16:46, 7 DEC 2016UPDATED16:47, 7 DEC 2016
We're well aware that football existed before 1992. Indeed, many of us were regularly attending football matches before then. But with this being the 25th year of the Premier League, and December 25 being a kind of special day, now seems as opportune a time as any to look back at some of the most seismic Everton moments of that time. We asked our team of writers and a select group of Evertonians to rank their favourite 25 Everton moments of the Premier League era. We then ranked them in a list from 25 to one, because we all love Christmas countdowns.They're not necessarily goals. There are tackles, pirouettes, film stars, boxing - even an unlikely substitution in there. Last time out at No. 21 was an incident involving Duncan Ferguson from February 1998. Our next moment is from just three months later when the season reached its dramatic climax...
Even though Evertonians had been through the nerve-shredding agony of a final day escape just four years earlier – or perhaps because they had – their last-gasp reprieve from relegation in the rain against Coventry in 1998 seemed more draining than the dramatic late comeback in the sunshine against Wimbledon in 1994. Everton striker Romelu Lukaku: Another English club were keen to buy me
Whereas the Blues Great Escape Part One was pure Roy of the Rovers stuff, battling back from 2-0 down to triumph 3-2 with a rare Barry Horne wonder-strike thrown in for good message and jubilant fans watching from trees in Stanley Park while that end of the ground was rebuilt, this seemed a far more sobering experience. In truth Howard Kendall's side should have sewn things up, going ahead early on through a Horne-esque 'man of the hour' hit from another boyhood Blue Gareth Farrelly. Unfortunately when it came to the crunch Nick Barmby whose own childhood leanings towards Liverpool would be revealed in stark detail two years later when he controversially defected to the Reds was put on penalty duties to make it 2-0 but saw his tame effort saved by Magnus Hedman and Everton were left to cling on for a 1-1 draw after Dion Dublin's late header slipped through Thomas Myhre's fingers – ensuring they stayed up on goal difference. With the tension unbearable inside Goodison, even one of the greatest Evertonians who ever lived, club legend Brian Labone was unable to carry on watching and 'The Last of the Corinthians' spent the final minutes of the game pounding the pavements of Goodison Road under the shadow of the Main Stand. Across the street from the former captain was another overwhelmed Blueblood Stuart Anderson who was famously photographed by the ECHO's Eddie Barford weeping uncontrollably after the final whistle. The John Moores University lab technician couldn't even bring himself to go inside the stadium to watch the game. He said after the match: "I stood outside the ground on Goodison Road with some other supporters listening to the match on the radio. "I'd had so many omens the week before the game. My late dad's team, Hibernian, had already been relegated, my hamster had died, and I just thought 'oh no this is it.'" Despite wearing his 'lucky' scarf, it got even worse for the 48-year-old from Walton Lane as 15 minutes before the end of the game, his radio packed in.He added: "I ran down Goodison Road and some bloke had his front door open and the telly in the hall, so I watched the rest of the game with him. "As soon as it ended, everything came out. The tears flowed for about five minutes. "I stood there. I didn't know what to do."
What happened next
Everton fan Stuart Anderson who was photographed crying after the Blues stayed up in dramatic fashion on the final day of the 1997/98 season. Stuart is all smiles as he reflects on an emotional day.
After capturing the hearts of the Merseyside public, Stuart thankfully posed again for the ECHO smiling as he looked back on his memorable experience. He said: "I opened the door [of his house] and my son John was stood there laughing his head off. "And when I got into work on Tuesday, the picture was plastered all around the university with caption competitions. "It's just unexplainable how people get worked up over football matches but at least you get your money's worth at Everton, right down to the last minute of the last match." The game proved to be Kendall's last in charge of the Blues and his third spell in charge ended in the sack with chairman Peter Johnson bringing in Walter Smith who had just finished a trophy-laden spell at Rangers.
View Everton's latest initiative to regenerate around Goodison Park
7 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
The ever-impressive work carried out by the Everton in the Community (EitC) team continues to grow with the opening of one of their biggest projects so far. A first peak inside Everton's new Community Hub shows just how quickly the centre has grown – with building planned to be completed in spring next year. Based in the shadows of Goodison Park, the modern architecture cuts a contemporary figure on Spellow Lane. Everton for the Community Hub opening on Spellow Lane near Goodison Park
The Hub has been open to staff and participants since last week but is now open for the public to use. The initiative by the Everton Football Club charity is designed to tackle isolation in the community and is just one of the plans the club has to regenerate the areas surrounding the stadium. Elderly, disabled and disadvantaged people will reap the benefits of a café, family area, computer rooms, free space to organise activities, as well as a 'Cruyff Court' – a football pitch due to open in April 2017. EitC worked in tandem with the Johan Cruyff Foundation to get this football pitch up and running. Two of the key factors in qualifying for the pitch are that it has to be free to use and in a deprived area. The large open plan building will accommodate a delivery centre for the vulnerable and disabled members of the community. And on matchdays the venue will be used as a lounge for disabled supporters, notably those who may want to avoid the pre-match hustle and bustle of Goodison Park. The immediate reception area functions as the café, in which elderly residents from neighbouring streets were invited for a look at the new facility. Some ladies chatted away as they made their way from their morning coffee club in the church opposite and were audibly impressed by the plush café area. Through the corridor there are multi-purpose rooms where students from the Everton Free School are encouraged to go as a place to relax or complete their homework. Everton legend Graeme Sharp stops to chat to people using the Hub.
Upstairs, Everton's apprentices were able to sit in their lessons where they were learning about key IT skills as part of their curriculum. It was clear to see the work the community team at Everton are putting in around the clock. The EitC staff are also now permanently housed there to work and have a stable base to conduct their award-winning projects. Blues legend and club ambassador Graeme Sharp was at the launch and was suitably humbled by the work going on behind the scenes. "To come in and listen and talk to people participating in the programmes is incredible," he said. "For myself, Ian (Snodin) and Graham (Stuart) to be involved in this – it opens your eyes. It's only when you come in and talk to the people you realise how great it is and how much of a service they're providing. "Even here today, asking some of the people what they're doing, how they chose their apprenticeships – it's a case of learning for me as well." Sharp said the club is so central to peoples' lives in the area that it takes its position in the community very seriously. "It's incredible what we do now. Coming from Glasgow as well and knowing what football is like in the big cities and how much the people follow the two big clubs – sometimes you can be a bit blasé. "You can think 'yeah okay we can get the supporters through the gate that's what it's all about' – but certainly not here. Everton for the Community Hub opening on Spellow Lane near Goodison Park
"It's a deprived area, Walton, but I think a facility like this is important. We all work together to make this a better place. "We are part of the bigger picture. They've served us so well coming to support, it's important we give something back for them. "Football, at times, gets a bad name – but certainly not here. Our players are grounded in the fact that they participate in all the community schemes as well so they're very much backing it. Most notably of late, David Unsworth's U23 side slept out at Goodison Park to raise money for the homeless. The work done by EitC has been recognised on a national scale. In the last five years, EitC has picked up over 90 international, national and regional awards in recognition for their work. Phil Duffy, Executive Director of EitC, said: "We're delighted to open the doors and start using our new Community Hub, helping us to further strengthen our work within the local area. Everton legend Graeme Sharp looks over the Reception of Everton Hub.
"This facility allows us to offer members of our community a safe-haven where they can socialise safely; access employment, training, education and volunteering opportunities; as well as receiving support around physical health, dietary and provide access for isolated members of our community to engage with us via our programmes. "We want everyone in the area to know that we are always here for them, should they ever want to visit the Hub or require support." Phil Duffy, Executive Director of EitC, led the tour. He said: "We're delighted to open the doors and start using our new Community Hub, helping us to further strengthen our work within the local area. "This facility allows us to offer members of our community a safe-haven where they can socialise safely; access employment, training, education and volunteering opportunities; as well as receiving support around physical health, dietary and provide access for isolated members of our community to engage with us via our programmes. "We want everyone in the area to know that we are always here for them, should they ever want to visit the Hub or require support."
Sharp urges Everton winger Bolasie to stay positive after 'massive' injury blow
Blues legend calls on stricken star to keep 'chin up'
By Glen Williams
7 DEC 2016 Liverpool Echo
Everton legend Graeme Sharp has urged Yannick Bolasie to stay positive after the club was dealt a "massive" injury blow Monday night. The Congolese winger suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Goodison Park on Sunday. Fans and players took to social media to wish Bolasie a speedy recovery, as it is thought he will miss the rest of the season.
But Sharp, speaking at the unveiling of Everton in the Community's new Community Hub, spoke of just how much the winger being sidelined would affect the Blues this season.
"It's massive. First and foremost I feel for the boy, it's really tough for him," Sharp told the ECHO.
"He came here, I met him the first day he signed, he came out and he wanted to do so well.
"But it's horrible. It's a horrible injury. It will take him a while to get back but what I would say now is cruciate ligament injuries are not as bad as they were in our time. The surgeons and the technology now can get players back." The Glaswegian was quick to offer some advice to the DR Congo international, who will miss the Africa Cup of Nations in January. Sharp said that missing the tournament will be a huge blow to the 27-year-old, but urged him to keep positive during his lengthy recovery. "But the most important thing for Yannick is to keep his chin up and get back as soon as he possibly can.
"Now he has to get fit and make sure his rehab will be good – which it will be at the football club. We wish him all the best, because he was just showing signs of what he can do. "Listen, injuries are bad enough in football but when it's a serious one like that, it's a blow for him. But we just wish him well in his recovery and I'm sure he will be back soon."
Yannick Bolasie was just finding his feet at Everton before injury struck
Ronald Koeman's side will be without Bolasie when they travel to London to face Watford in the early kick-off on Saturday. Sharp himself played in some memorable clashes against Watford. He scored in both league games against The Hornets in 1984, which resulted in a 4-4 draw in February and a 5-4 win for the Blues in September. He also, of course, scored the opener in the 2-0 FA Cup final win over Watford at Wembley that May. The former striker said Everton took a lot of satisfaction from getting a point against United on Sunday. Leighton Baines' 89th-minute penalty squared the game after Zlatan Ibrahimovic's first-half strike. But Sharp disagreed with United boss Jose Mourinho and believes Everton were good value for the point – with the Blues having the better of the chances.
"So there's signs of hope and optimism in the second half performance," he added.
"It has been a little bit topsy-turvy in the last eight or nine games – the results haven't been great. But what people have got to remember is that the manager is new in, it's a new squad, he'll have to make changes. It's a time to back off a little bit and give him some time. "He's trying to install his methods into the football club. But Watford away will be difficult. I hope it's a goal-fest and I hope we come out on top. "I'd just like to think we took a lot from coming back against Manchester United and getting the draw and could have sneaked a win. "That's been a problem in recent weeks, we haven't started games well but hopefully we can do that on Saturday."