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Martinez: No decision over trio for Saturday

by | 14/08/2014  Comments (43)  jump
Roberto Martinez says that it is too soon to say whether Seamus Coleman, Romelu Lukaku or Kevin Mirallas will feature against Leicester when the new season kicks off this weekend.

The Belgian duo both got 45 minutes' of action under their belt in a behind-closed-doors friendly with Sheffield Wednesday a few days ago and could play a part at the King Power a Stadium even if neither player starts but Coleman is less likely given the fact that he is recovering from a slight hamstring strain and might not be risked.

Seamus has been working well but it is a little too early to know if he will be available for Saturday, Martinez told reporters at a press conference this morning.

And the same has to be said of Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas because they arrived a little later than the rest of the squad because of the World Cup.

Over the next two days we have a few decisions to make but we are all in a very healthy way and there is a real excitement for the start of the new season.


Reader Comments (43)

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David Ellis
1 Posted 14/08/2014 at 11:23:44
Translation: None will start. The Belgians might make the bench. Seamus needs more time and wonÂ’t be risked....until September probably!
Helen Mallon
2 Posted 14/08/2014 at 11:38:53
Well, I for one think he should start both Belgians, get a lead... then bring them off after 60-odd minutes. The other way round, trying to win or retrieve a game is not the way to do it if they are not as fit as he lets us believe. Not having them in the squad is unthinkable.
Shane Corcoran
3 Posted 14/08/2014 at 11:47:45
Helen, if they only have 20 minutes in them weÂ’d be taking them off in the first half and should Leicester score weÂ’d have our hands tied with regards to winning the game.
Steve Cotton
4 Posted 14/08/2014 at 11:50:57
Tony J Williams
5 Posted 14/08/2014 at 12:16:32
If Atsu has been training with Chavski, then that is almost a straight swap for Mirallas.
Helen Mallon
6 Posted 14/08/2014 at 12:58:07
Shane Corcoran...

REALLY, you know what I mean — and no-one has said they are only 20 mins fit.

Dave Southword
7 Posted 14/08/2014 at 13:11:28
I donÂ’t get why players become incapable of playing football after three weeks holiday without a huge fitness plan, but come November / December we will be throwing players in who have just returned from 3 - 4 weeks off with a hammy.
John Crook
8 Posted 14/08/2014 at 13:20:31
I canÂ’t see Atsu starting on Saturday. And I also suspect Naismith will be the lone striker on Saturday with Lukaku maybe coming on sometime 2nd half. ItÂ’s a massive shame we probably wonÂ’t be able to field our strongest team for the first match because of 3 or 4 fitness concerns.
Patrick Murphy
9 Posted 14/08/2014 at 13:33:55
The EchoÂ’s Greg OÂ’Keefe reckons this will be the line-up on Saturday:

Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, McCarthy, Barry; Pienaar, Barkley, Osman; Naismith – with Lukaku and Mirallas featuring as subs from the bench.

On another note, there is a possibility that Del Boy will be allowed out on loan but it seems that Seville will be his destination rather than Merseyside.

Mark Tanton
10 Posted 14/08/2014 at 13:42:11
I cannot for the life of me think of another Premier League side Osman would get in. I think we run the risk of underestimating and disrespecting Leicester with that side. When they see that team sheet PearsonÂ’s team talk is done.
Paul Smith
11 Posted 14/08/2014 at 13:38:53
Surely players could not lose much fitness in a month on holiday. When players are out injured for a month they will have a weeks training and come straight back in. So for me it would be more of a risk to play Seamus than the two Belgian lads.

IÂ’ve got a sneaking feeling he may play a 3-4-2-1 formation of
Jagielka, Stones, Distin
Besic, Barry, McCarthy, Baines
Barkley, Mirallas
Robles, Garbutt, Gibson, Pienaar, Naismith, McGeady, Osman

David Booth
12 Posted 14/08/2014 at 13:41:01
I do hope this is some sort of tactical smokescreen.

Professional footballers, paid an obscene five figure salary to kick a football competitively for 90 minutes once or twice a week, who might not be fit for the start of the season?


Lukaku and Mirallas maintained their fitness at the World Cup, where, to be fair, they werenÂ’t over used anyway.

For there to be any question whatsoever of them not being in contention for the opening game – where we need to get off to a better start than last year – is beyond the bounds of my comprehension.

And ought to be beyond everyoneÂ’s, Evertonian or otherwise.

Absolute nonsense that does not endear one to the game and those overpaid prima donnas who populate it nowadays.

Newly-promoted Leicester, away, for the opening game is tough fixture. We need both of them and there should be no reason other than injury, why they may not be available

How on earth can they not Â’be readyÂ’?

More evidence that the gap between the the real world and the fantasy one we allow footballers to live in shows no signs of narrowing...

ItÂ’s completely absurd.

Kevin Tully
13 Posted 14/08/2014 at 14:05:11
I would take this news with a pinch of salt to be honest. Mirallas has been working on his own tailored fitness programme, and Lukaku was training with Anderlecht while he was waiting for his move to come off.

I doubt they will as fit as those who have played in our pre-season programme, but they should be able to play some part.

Hopefully this is all smoke and mirrors, and the whole squad is raring to go. I’m like a big kid waiting for this season to start - and the missus is already moaning about too much footy!

Simon George
14 Posted 14/08/2014 at 14:17:56
Of course Lukaku and Mirallas will start; this is all about playing mind games with the opposing team. Neither are carrying any major injuries and are probably as fit as any of the other players.

Leicester will also know this is just mind games but it creates that doubt in your mind where you aren't 100% certain of the team so you have hope. Then, only hours before kick-off, the Everton teamsheet is announced with Lukaku up front and Mirallas out wide and Leicester heads will drop a little.

Even Coleman who has had an injury will probably start; at this point you know if you are fit enough to play Saturday.

Just mind games.

Michael Penley
15 Posted 14/08/2014 at 14:23:31
I'd be more comfortable playing it safe with Coleman, he's irreplaceable in my opinion and without him we have trouble both defending and with our creativity out wide on the right. However that either means putting Hibbert in or a back 3 with Distin, Jags and Stones. Neither are very appealing, to say the least.
Harold Matthews
16 Posted 14/08/2014 at 14:05:55
I cannot believe there is the slightest chance of Naismith starting up front. Is this some sort of bad joke? There again, he could clearly be seen training in the same gear as Stones and Gibson, so maybe all three will either start together or sit on the bench together.
Sam Hoare
17 Posted 14/08/2014 at 14:55:08
I reckon all three will feature and could well start. If not then Naismith will do a job but I hope to the heavens we don't see Hibbert at RB! Presumably he'd put Stones there with jags and Distin in the middle.

I reckon we may see:

Stones Jagielka Distin Baines
McCarthy Barry
Besic Barkley Pienaar


Mike Childs
18 Posted 14/08/2014 at 14:54:42
We keep hearing about Besic's versatility any chance he could fill in for Seamus? Certainly seems a better option than Hibbert. Only worry is his over aggressiveness .
Tony J Williams
19 Posted 14/08/2014 at 15:31:38
How is a brand new player whose position is Centre Half/Midfield a better option than a 10+ year Premier League veteran pro at right back?
Harold Matthews
20 Posted 14/08/2014 at 15:21:26
OK. After mulling over these posts I reckon we'll start with our normal first eleven with Stones, Naismith and Gibson on the bench.

Why train in such appalling conditions without protection. No wonder they get hamstring problems. They all looked frozen solid.

Mark Taylor
21 Posted 14/08/2014 at 15:36:32
I hope Kevin Tully is right and this is just a smokescreen. I seem to recall Hazard played more time in the World Cup than either of ours and he as been turning out for Chelsea in their last 4-5 games. What have our two done? 45 mins each and even that was not in a proper pre-season friendly but behind closed doors.

Frankly if they don't make the starting line up, it won't say much for our club's professionalism.

Coleman is a different matter, hamstrings need caution. If there is any doubt, don't risk him. It is his possible absence that makes me realise we need a right back in; Hibbert is not remotely the answer and Stones didn't exactly fill me with confidence last season – his positional sense looked a bit challenged, to put it mildly.

Papers reporting that Kone is up for sale. If so, that is going to be our biggest turkey signing since Krøldrup. I hope we have someone lined up as backup.

Eric Holland
22 Posted 14/08/2014 at 15:52:56
Tony J

Because if its Hibbert you are talking about he would be lucky to get in to a championship side, that goes for Osman to...

Phil Walling
23 Posted 14/08/2014 at 15:59:17
I think Greg O'Keefe has got it spot on. Roberto is not telling us the Belgians aren't playing because he's in fear of the dog's abuse he will get on ToffeeWeb !!!!!
Graham Mockford
24 Posted 14/08/2014 at 16:14:12
I think Roberto is taking a cautious and sensible approach to Mirallas and Lukaku. Belgium were knocked out of the World Cup 40 days ago.

I know the old school approach says they are only playing 90 minutes of football, why do they need a rest?

But sports science has moved on a million miles and if the view is the two players need more time, I would trust the manager to do the best thing in the longer term interest of the season, however frustrating that may be.

Mark Pierpoint
26 Posted 14/08/2014 at 16:25:18

Think this will be the line up. (think it is also what Greg O'Keefe said in the Echo webchat thing earlier) If we were playing at home I would have probably said McGeady rather than Osman. Doubt Atsu will be in contention this week, so Pienaar it is.

Lukaku will probably get 35 mins, Mirallas the same (providing they are needed) I think Naismith has had a decent pre season. I don't think the lineup will strike fear into the opposition defenders but you know that Osman and Naismith will give 100%. Hopefully against players such as Wes Morgan and Ritchie de Leat, who maybe will get distracted by the euphoria of their premier league bows (hopefully anyway) there know-how will shine through.

Mark Pierpoint
27 Posted 14/08/2014 at 16:33:58
Mark #21. Martinez says the Kone stuff is rubbish. You also have to question who would bid for Kone anyway. Don't think that some of these journos have a brain cell between them.

Mike Allison
28 Posted 14/08/2014 at 16:29:29
David it is your post that is absurd, and frankly, comes across as the sort of thing my Mum might say.

Of course they would be fit enough to start the game. They haven't gone three stone overweight and struggle to get up a flight of stairs. The calculation about whether it is best to start them is in terms of a long term programme of fitness designed to keep them performing at their peak over a period of ten months.

This is why we have squads and rotation. You could play the same 11 for 50-60 games in your season, they wouldn't die or drop dead or go on strike, but after a while they'd start losing, because the opposition are all also highly trained, highly paid professional athletes, and if they've been getting the right rest to allow the bodies to replenish and heal while yours haven't they're going to be better.

The issue here is whether they are at the same level of fitness as some of the other members of our squad, and of the Leicester players they will be playing against. The answer may well be no, and if it is, that is because they were assigned an extended rest period after the World Cup, which followed on pretty closely from last season. This rest period was intended to make them able to play at a high level for the next ten months, and one game might have to be sacrificed in order for that to happen.

I expect them both to play, but not the full 90 minutes, and then I expect them both to play against Arsenal and Chelsea as well. One scenario is they play as subs against Leicester, start but don't finish against Arsenal and complete the 90 against Chelsea.

Andy Finigan
29 Posted 14/08/2014 at 16:12:36
The margins between winning and losing are minuscule, and letÂ’s face it goals do change games therefor I want us to take our A game to Leicester and that means the best attacking team we can muster. A two goal lead after 60 mins then we can fetch on Ossie and Naismith.

Our team should go there with a total togetherness and play for each and every team mate.

That means coming of the pitch knowing you have given everything for the cause. If we do this the results should take care of them selves and if they donÂ’t then they can still hold there heads up high and we can still be proud also. Come on Everton, prove those so called no all critics wrong.

Ste McCoombe
30 Posted 14/08/2014 at 16:43:28
We desperately need another striker if were gonna compete.
Mark Pierpoint
31 Posted 14/08/2014 at 16:41:34
Spot on post Mike.

It is easy to sit here as armchair experts. I am pretty sure that Everton don't employ hoards of conditioning coaches and sports scientists just to make the club look good. I think Wenger has said the same thing about his world cup winning players. He said that if he throws them into the mix straight away he is running the risk of at least one of them pulling up injured by October. I would hazard a guess that this was also Pellegrini's thinking in his squad selection last weekend.

You also have to consider that with Lukaku's age he has to be given the optimum time in order to recuperate. At 21 he is still developing physically.

Phil Walling
32 Posted 14/08/2014 at 16:30:34
If players need more than 40 days between games, football seasons will become somewhat elongated, methinks !
Shane Corcoran
33 Posted 14/08/2014 at 17:01:17
Helen #6, IÂ’m not sure what you mean by your reply.

Nobody said anything specific about how long any of the three lads can play. The 20 minutes I mentioned is just an example.

My general point stands.

Tony J Williams
34 Posted 14/08/2014 at 17:19:24
Eric, they are both employed by a Top Premiership side and have been for the last decade.

The later was pretty much played in every game last season, so I don't think luck has much to do with it.

Mark Taylor
35 Posted 14/08/2014 at 17:30:36
Mark 27, I would imagine that to be so. Apart from anything else, I don't think Kone's value is above zero right now- arguably, he is actually a liability.

Personally I think we've got a crock on our hands here but we might as well see if we can get him on the field given I can't see anyone else taking him on at the moment. Hopefully he was insured to an adequate degree….

Mark Taylor
36 Posted 14/08/2014 at 17:37:31
Mike 28

That's fine for squads who actually possess a realistic back up. We haven't, unless you count Naismith, which most of us don't.

That means we have to cut our cloth accordingly and make it a goal to have them both fit for the first games, which are ones we should be prioritising to win to get some momentum.

Regardless what Arsenal or Man City do, with their rather more ample squads, we needed to do what Chelsea did with Hazard.

Mike Allison
37 Posted 14/08/2014 at 18:19:16
On the contrary Mark Taylor, it becomes more important for us to be careful if we don't have the back-up. Chelsea or Man City could risk a player and know they have someone in reserve if he does get injured. We will need Lukaku for 10 months and will suffer if he gets injured, so we don't want to risk anything with him now.

Phil, players need 40 days between seasons, not games.

Raymond Fox
38 Posted 14/08/2014 at 17:53:31
I'm in the Coleman wont take any part in the game and Lukaku and Mirallas will be on the bench to be brought on if required camp.

There no point in having sports fitness professionals if your then going to ignore what they and the tests are telling you.

Do you think Martinez would prefer them to play 90 mins, of course he would, his future depends on getting the best results.

This match is a difficult game to start with, for the reasons made already in the thread, if it was at Goodison I'd be confident, but there are few if any easy away games in the Premier League.

Paul Hewitt
39 Posted 14/08/2014 at 18:32:53
I expect to see all three players play... or we wonÂ’t win.
Mark Taylor
40 Posted 14/08/2014 at 18:47:24
Mike, There's a very simple point here, you seem to think it is not possible to get a WC player fit enough for the start of the reason, if you aim to do this, to be at no more risk of injury than any other squad player. You also are implying that Chelsea are knowingly risking injury with Hazard.

I would respectfully suggest that you have not a shred of evidence for that.

Eric Holland
41 Posted 14/08/2014 at 19:07:20

Could you name any other top Premier League side either would get a start for? Because they are not good enough for Everton.

Paul Kelly
42 Posted 15/08/2014 at 03:07:19
Bring on Lukaku and Kev for the last 25 mins. 3 goals between them to add to the other 2we already have. 5-0 to us. Heard it here first.
Ciaran Duff
43 Posted 15/08/2014 at 03:04:49
This is going to be a long season with lots of games. If RM or the medical staff, have injury doubts about certain players (eg Coleman) then they should not be risked. Similarly, if players are not 100% match fit then it is better for them to sit on the bench, see how the game goes and come on later in the game.

Firstly, they may not be required if things go well and secondly they will hopefully come on at a time when the other team is tiring. I know the game on Sat will be tough and we would love to get off to a winning start but you have to look at the bigger (longer term) picture, not just one match.

David Booth
44 Posted 15/08/2014 at 12:22:48
Mark 28 and Mark 31.

Try telling that to Gordon West, Tommy Wright, Sandy Brown, Howard Kendall, Brian Labone, Colin Harvey, Jimmy Husband, Alan Ball, Joe Royle, John Hurst and Johnny Morrissey – who with just the support of Tommy Jackson, Alan Whittle and Roger Kenyon, played the lot in 1969-70 and stormed to the league title.

How can anyone countenance modern-day footballers not being fit enough to start the season? And not because they're injured, but because they're not 'ready'? The poor dears.

And they're only paid how much...? Life's a bitch in the (so called) Premier League isn't it?

But in fairness, we speculate unknowingly don't we? Roberto may well be playing games. And hopefully they'll both be in the starting line-up for tomorrow's too!

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