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Everton's injury curse continues

by | 05/10/2014  Comments (103)  jump
Everton's debilitating run of key injuries continues with the news that John Stones is likely to miss what Roberto Martinez predicted as "a few weeks" after falling badly on his ankle in the closing stages of today's defeat at Old Trafford.

The 20-year-old appeared to roll his ankle as he came down from an aerial challenge in the Manchester United area with the Blues desperately chasing an equaliser and had to be stretchered off the field with suspected ligament damage.

"It is a problem with his ankle," Martinez said after the match. "It is such a massive blow because he plays with an incredible arrogance and a great maturity and is a very good young player and is going to be a top player. We will assess him in the next 48 hours.

"We need to get the medical department to assess it but it will be at least a few weeks. I don't expect John to be fully fit for next week."

That would mean the defender's withdrawal from the England squad for the upcoming Euro2016 qualifiers and force Martinez to once more deal with the loss of a vital part of his first-choice team.

Stones's injury comes at a time when Kevin Mirallas is already sidelined with a hamstring tear and in a match that was already missing the talents of Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy — both players failed late fitness tests on hamstring and thigh injuries respectively — and Ross Barkley.

Steven Pienaar's return from a seven-match layoff was also cut short by the recurrence of his niggling injury problems, the South African hobbling off with a little over an hour played.  


Reader Comments (103)

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Tony J Williams
1 Posted 05/10/2014 at 16:51:28
Typical of the start of this season.
Kunal Desai
2 Posted 05/10/2014 at 17:04:55
I have no faith in Alcaraz. How about Martinez try Barry alongside Jagielka and play Besic with McCarthy.
Brian Waring
4 Posted 05/10/2014 at 17:14:11
Wow, Jim, on every thread you have come out with the same crap.
Kieran Riding
5 Posted 05/10/2014 at 17:18:45
Oviedo coming back is fantastic news however, and he looked very sharp today.

Cracking footballer is Bryan.

Andrew Ellams
6 Posted 05/10/2014 at 17:18:47
Jim is right. The season is taking an alarming downturn and all of the injuries are making it much harder to turn it around.

If things don’t turn around quickly some of our star players will be tempted away in the summer.

Jim Bennings
7 Posted 05/10/2014 at 17:21:39
Brian

It's because we are fucking shite mate.

This season we still have no plan B.

Our corner kicks are pathetic, never any variety, no movement, even Ronnie Goodlass touched on it.

Martinez much like Moyes will not try another formation, he rigidly sticks with the same two defensive midfielders who offer nothing whatsoever in terms of creativity.
He needed to rectify this, there were players like Gylfi Syguardsson available in the summer, creative players with a brain, ok Barkley got injured but teams don't just have one attacking central midfielder.

It was a total lack of preparation and we are now seeing the results.

Its ok everyone saying we have this big squad but we are finding out now that when players get injured we are short on genuine quality players that offer a variety.

We play two defensive midfielders but continuously concede goals.

Dean Adams
8 Posted 05/10/2014 at 17:25:48
Jim, have you seen the wages those two strikers are on? Get a grip. You are acting like a petulant child with all your pathetic moaning. Life is full of shit. It is how you deal with it that defines you. So far, I really can’t write what definition you are creating.

Just calm down. We have been here before. Time is a great healer and we will survive and be stronger for it. If all else fails Jim, then just get drunk (that’s if you are old enough and of course if you drink). Just chill fella. It ain’t that bad.

David Flanagan
10 Posted 05/10/2014 at 17:33:05
Last season, Martinez stated on more than one occasion the need for 6/7 players to add to the quality and depth of the squad... we basically added a striker Eto'o and Besic but due to selling Jelavic in January we only added one player.

Too many players have no competition for places or are simply past it and should be moved on or replaced. The lack of creativity, drive and pace from the centre is a real concern as are some of the signings.

Phil McKeown
11 Posted 05/10/2014 at 17:43:28
I think I have to agree with a lot of Jim's (3) sentiments.

Tim Howard has been a liability for five years, whilst I was proud an Evertonian played so well during the World Cup, part of me cringed at the prospect that these kind of performances would be prolonging his time as Everton's No 1.

I think Roberto is deluded if he thinks the depth in this squad is sufficient to rotate like he has; for the first time in a long time, the numbers are there. However the quality is not. Too much loyalty is being shown to the old guard who were very average in their prime but are now woeful.

Mourinho is laughing his head off at getting 㿈M for Lukaku... Emile Heskey, anyone??? Strong, big, scores goals without having an amazing record. Had fantastic potential at 21 years old but ultimately never fulfilled it. His first touch is poor, his hold-up play even worse and his work rate is disgusting.

Joel, Howard, Hibbert (played bit better today but doesn't have the quality), Alcaraz, Distin, McGeady, Osman are no longer or not good enough for us. I have serious concerns over Atsu, Gibson and Kone as well. This is half our squad!!!!

Why aren't we playing a settled team every week and changing players when injured or suspended? We are rotating players that have not even achieved match fitness, absolutely scandulous from Roberto.

Last season, Roberto added the attacking flair and expression we had cried out for for years under Moyes, built on Moyes's solid defensive principals. Now I worry we have gone too far the other way with Roberto's philosophies. I would still rather have the excitement and entertainment than that what used to frustrate me under Moyes; however, striking the balance has to be achieved and fast.

Let's get Coleman, Stones, Mirallas, Barkley, and McCarthy fit and on the same pitch and hopefully Jagielka and Lukaku back on some kind of form. Then we may enter a key stage of the season fit, hungry and full of energy.

John Daley
12 Posted 05/10/2014 at 17:43:21
Fuck me. Back to the Future Bennings strikes again.
.......................
Jim Bennings

Today:

"We could have had Welbeck and Ba for a combined cheaper option"

Jim Bennings
Posted 02/06/2014 at 19:43:46

"Don't want Ba, he is average and too lumbering.
Don't want Welbeck...again seen him playing on Friday for England and again, like every time I see him I make the same judgement...he is no more than a hyped up Marcus Bent, full of pace and running but doesn't ever look like hitting a cow's area with a banjo"

John Malone
13 Posted 05/10/2014 at 17:23:34
Is Lukaku Emille Heskey in disguise? Useless today absolutely useless!

McGeady's nowhere near good enough would any of the top four clubs have him anywhere near their teams? No!

On a positive, I thought Besic showed some quality and energy could be a decent player for us.

Nigel Gregson
14 Posted 05/10/2014 at 17:49:21
Nice one John Daley !

Yes we looked shit but, if not for three world class saves by De Gea, we could have actually won despite all the injuries and fatigue and then everyone would be singing a different tune.

Gerard Carey
15 Posted 05/10/2014 at 17:46:56
Here we go again, back to Jags and Distin. We still need a defensive coach and the sooner the better.
Nigel Gregson
16 Posted 05/10/2014 at 17:52:02
"Let's get Coleman, Stones, Mirallas, Barkley, and McCarthy fit and on the same pitch ..."

Without being disrespectful, what a silly thing to say. If they are injured, they are injured – what we need to do is find a way to win with the XI that are available. Unless you have some kind of magic wand that will heal them all somehow?

Duncan McDine
17 Posted 05/10/2014 at 17:54:09
To comment on the actual topic of Stones’ injury... that looked nasty. I’ve done exactly the same twice and it hurts worse than a broken bone. Took me months to recover, but thankfully John wont be seeing my local GP!

Must be at least a month though depending on how damaged those ligaments are. One thing’s for sure, he’ll have one very obese ankle tonight.

John Daley
18 Posted 05/10/2014 at 18:04:10
Ah, the dreaded 'obese ankle'. Put the brakes on many an alpha-class pussy hound in the past.
Ian McDowell
19 Posted 05/10/2014 at 18:09:04
Thank god it's not something worse. Get well soon, John. Excellent again today.
Colin Glassar
20 Posted 05/10/2014 at 18:04:54
John Daley, that was brilliant. I think Ben and Phil are one and the same person. A bit like Brady/Brody.
Steavey Buckley
21 Posted 05/10/2014 at 18:39:52
It sums it up really, when someone made the same point that has been made a few times before: Martinez plays two defensive midfielders yet Everton still conceded goals. So, either the defensive midfielders are not up to it... or the defense is ...
Sam Hoare
22 Posted 05/10/2014 at 18:47:07
Out for at least a couple of weeks. Recent Everton translation: we'll see him in 2015 if we are lucky!

I harped on all Summer about not spending all our dosh on Lukaku as we needed more depth in other positions and sadly this injury crisis has highlighted that scarcity.

When it rains it pours.

Ged Simpson
23 Posted 05/10/2014 at 18:47:47
But we frigging didn't win, Nigel. Again. Ifs ifs and more ifs have us down singing about bloody history.
Ged Simpson
24 Posted 05/10/2014 at 18:51:53
And why do I hate that 'If ya know yer history song'? Same reason I laugh at RS when they say '5 times'. It is the song of the has-beens. And that is so so sad.
Neil Wood
25 Posted 05/10/2014 at 18:51:52
Whilst I fully agree that we are in a bit of a pickle at the moment, we have to accept that today, Man Utd deserved the win, albeit marginal in the end.

The thing that sticks in my throat are the two games we should have had three points from... Leicester and Arsenal. It is these failings that are costing us dearly as some of the discussions on here that have occurred over the last two days or so wouldn't be happening and we wouldn't be as panic-stricken over today's result. We would be on 10 points and that would only have been 1 behind 4th place.

I appreciate that these are all ifs and buts but look at last year... The first three games... Whilst at present we are not up to the standards we reached last year, I firmly believe that this WILL come and we will start to overcome this mini crisis.

In a nutshell I suppose what I am getting at is don't panic! We will come good again. Besic learning the league and looking very very good today.

Ajay Gopal
26 Posted 05/10/2014 at 18:56:40
I hope Stones will be back in November. I won't be too alarmed over Jagielka and Alcaraz for a few games. It is Howard who needs to step up a gear.
Colin Glassar
27 Posted 05/10/2014 at 19:10:07
Garbutt LB, Bainsey CLM, Oviedo LW. That will give us velocity and creativity down the left.
Jim Bennings
28 Posted 05/10/2014 at 18:49:28
The trouble is when we like or have a shit season it's always the same "Oh if we didn't have all those injuries we would have got fourth" and blah blah blah.

Reality is every fucking year Everton get a trial shitload of injuries and we never have the necessary quality to come in and do a good job and deputise.

We knew we were in Europe this season yet started the season with just four central defenders and three of those were over 31, one with a woeful injury record, another 37. He had also been too loyal to Tim Howard, the fella knows he is undroppable.

The striking options are virtually nil, Naismith is showing Lukaku up. Lukaku knows he has no real competition for his place. Eto'o is no longer a 90-minute, two-games-a-week player and Naismith not an out-and-out striker.

We spend years hyping up the likes of Conor McAleney, well my question is: Where the hell is he? Is he good enough? If not, then why's he still here?

And what the hell is happening regarding Arouna Kone, fuck knows, a whole year out with a knee injury isn't it? Didn't somebody say Pienaar is now injured again too???

Jon Withey
29 Posted 05/10/2014 at 19:24:05
That's properly depressing. Stones has been the one bright spark recently. At least there is an international break. I'm clutching at straws. This season has been a proper readjustment of expectations! Back to the 40 points mantra?
Jamie Barlow
30 Posted 05/10/2014 at 19:26:02
How old is Pienaar? He looked about 90 today.

I hope Stones isn't out as long as Lukaku was when he went over on his ankle. A few weeks always seems to be about 2 months at this club.

Tony Cheek
32 Posted 05/10/2014 at 19:35:14
No, Eto'o is not a 90-minute player any more, so use him till his legs go and then bring on the 㿈M man to run them about. When he is arsed that is!

We were literally playing with 9 men today, Pienaar was an embarrassment. Even Hibbo looked skilful beside him!

Just so pisses me off that we have so many injuries ALL the time. All our best attacking players are out. Mirallas, Barkley and Coleman! Wonder how Man Utd would've faired today without Di Maria, Falcao and Co?

Phil Walling
34 Posted 05/10/2014 at 19:47:58
So everything is alright because 'we should've hads' and 'might have beens'. Daft statements like 'if De Gea hadn't saved the penalty' and 'if we'd had more luck against.......' show only the desperation of our situation.

Fact is that the manager found something more important to do in the summer than prepare his team and has been found clueless in arresting the slide that created.

Today he was – as usual – happy with the performance, only regretting that we hadn't got a result. But don't you dare criticise for he's a lovely fella!

Robbie Muldoon
35 Posted 05/10/2014 at 19:15:03
Jim Bennings #3: "Someone please just fucking write this season off now."

Have we really got fans who think like this? Try supporting the team, Jim. Nothing is won in October. We need to stay in the chase for silverware and hope we get a chance to field our strongest 11 for a few games... because that hasn't happened once this season.

Oh, we need to talk about Tim Howard, though.

Patrick Murphy
36 Posted 05/10/2014 at 20:06:25
Phil - many criticize you and doubtless you are a lovely fella. I think most of the posters on this site have rightly given Roberto some criticism in varying degrees and I don't see that many who have defended him or his team one hundred per cent without question. Similarly I haven't read too many who have criticised him completely at every given opportunity - mind you my memory does play tricks and I'm sure there must be someone who does do that.
Steve Orchard
37 Posted 05/10/2014 at 20:12:27
I'm afraid it's the age-old problem with Lukaku: they're fantastic on loan then you buy them and they can't hit a barn door!!

Problem is and I agree with some of the above comments, we could've strengthened the rest of squad with that cash.

Phil Walling
38 Posted 05/10/2014 at 20:13:02
Patrick. I've never rated him and have made no secret of that fact. When he did well last season, I had not hesitation in saying so but his bullshit comments annoy me continuously and his catalogue of mistakes almost dwarfs that of his predecessor already.
Ray Said
39 Posted 05/10/2014 at 20:17:15
Didn't the club confirm that Lukaku has been playing with a toe injury? Maybe he should be getting a bit of praise for playing through pain and showing commitment? Just a thought.
John Pickles
40 Posted 05/10/2014 at 20:18:32
Another quality player crocked! Why does God hate Evertonians so much, What have we done to him?
Kieran Riding
41 Posted 05/10/2014 at 20:23:26
Phil, he's different behind closed doors.

He's had a right fall out with a senior player recently.

He needs to say publicly when we are shit though, I will give you that, as we are not the sort of fans who need hiding from the truth.

Peter Laing
42 Posted 05/10/2014 at 20:20:00
Get a grip, Phil, "catalogue of mistakes dwarfs that of his predecessor already" – can you please elaborate. We've got off to a very bad start, there's no denying that, although there are mitigating factors most notably terrible misfortune with injuries, the continued poor decision making by our goalkeeper, and the fact that we have played Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Man Utd. We need a couple of weeks to get key players through the treatment room and ready to start against Aston Villa.

If we don't take maximum points from the next two games then I will share your pessimism. I'm hoping that we have hit our nadir in terms of poor form and the season will begin to turn around with an improvement in results. Goodison will be a cauldron against Villa and the manager and players need our backing and support. COYB

Peter Laing
43 Posted 05/10/2014 at 20:30:05
Kieran, is that senior player a French milkman?
Dave Harper
44 Posted 05/10/2014 at 20:24:12
Stones getting injured particularly galling. Alcaraz hopefully a non-starter as a replacement, Distin injured apparently... just to float the idea that Ty Browning has played as a central defender hasn't he?
Phil Walling
45 Posted 05/10/2014 at 20:31:47
Peter, I didn't realise that injuries never befell other clubs or that they, too, had to play the Big Boys. Perhaps the fixture list should be suspended until we can play the 'tiddlers' eg. Crystal Palace with our full side!
Kieran Riding
46 Posted 05/10/2014 at 20:35:47
Oui Monsieur.

Got to get it sorted now with Stones out though. How Everton would it be for Jags to pick up an injury on England duty though, so we're left with Alcaraz and Distin?

I'd play Besic in the middle of a three man centre defence by the way.

Peter Laing
47 Posted 05/10/2014 at 21:12:40
It's the sequence of games though, Phil, plus the injuries have hit us very hard and with the Europa League games we have really struggled. It goes without saying that we need Coleman, Barkley and McCarthy back pronto. Besic is showing some promise and I hope that January we can get a decent goalkeeper and centre half in.
Dick Fearon
48 Posted 05/10/2014 at 21:15:23
The pity of it is that neither Stones nor Jags nor Distin are any bloody use at corners so why do they bother to go up for them.
Our only plan (if in fact we can call it a plan) is for Naismith to wrestle with a defender on the goalline.
Nigel Gregson
49 Posted 05/10/2014 at 21:24:47
Kieran #41 Completely agree. Look at his post-match comments on BBC today.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/29398862

0:26 - I think in the first half we were... [long pause - trying to UTTER SHITE in a positive way - then avoids altogether] Took a little bit to get into the game...

Jim Bennings
50 Posted 05/10/2014 at 21:44:10
I wonder if as time goes by this song may actually be more apt by Evertonians....

Roberto had a dream, it was to make us all fucking scream..

We're shit at the back, piss weak in attack...

Walter Smith's Everton is on its way back der der der der

Jim Bennings
54 Posted 05/10/2014 at 22:38:53
Thanks guys.

At least if the rest of the season goes shitter we know we have a ready made chant in the waiting hahaha..

Jack Cross
55 Posted 05/10/2014 at 22:25:48
Jim Bennings, very good that mate.

I was quite pleased with Besic, I thought he did ok.

A good cross from Baines and superb headed goal from Naismith and those two exellent saves near the end, if only hey. If they would have showed the same urgency that they showed in the last 10 minutes throughout the whole of the second half, we could have won it. I havenÂ’t seen one team so far that as been head and heels over us. We just make them look that much better.

I canÂ’t be arsed saying anything about Roberto or Lukaku and I think you know my feelings about those two; itÂ’s getting quite boring now. It could be the same script no matter who we play...

Jim Bennings
56 Posted 05/10/2014 at 23:39:30
Watching Match of the Day highlights bloody hell Lukaku was bad, what has happened to him?

Tim Howard?? That second goal just gets worse every time you see it mate, what the fuck were you doing?

Why would you keep the ball in play knowing as the ggoalkeeper you are stranded by the corner flag? It put totally unnecessary pressure on us thus resulting in Falcao's goal.

The fella is Richard Wright reincarnated

Jack Cross
57 Posted 05/10/2014 at 23:48:51
Yes Howard, useless prick. All he is, is a shot blocker but anything else heÂ’s shite. But heÂ’s under no pressure, is he Jim? I mean who is going to take his place? And That Lukaku, no I said I wouldnÂ’t.

I agree with you about Jelly, I would have kept him. At least he got around the pitch. He wasnÂ’t a muscle bound lazy twat.

Peter Z Jones
58 Posted 06/10/2014 at 03:34:23
This is all too eerily similar to last season's perfectly timed injury crisis right smack in the middle of our toughest part of the schedule. We then began to play the bottom half of the table, got our confidence back as players started to recover from injury, and then proceeded to rip off 7 straight wins.

Look at the fixture list. A similar scenario is developing, just at the very beginning of the season rather than the middle. It's so Everton what we're doing and I'm not happy about it obviously, but Barkley's return is gonna ignite Rom and we're gonna start crushing people soon enough.

Peter Z Jones
59 Posted 06/10/2014 at 03:46:12
And also, a lot of people keep shitting on Lukaku at every turn. Last I checked, a striker is only as good as his service. Rom is getting absolutely none. He's had one teammate put him through on goal this season. It was Leon Osman against Palace. What happened? A no doubter left-foot finish crashed in the back of the net.

The Emile Heskey comparisons are beyond asinine. His best Premier League season he had 14 goals. Lukaku has already beaten that mark in each of his first two seasons at age 21. And that career best year for Heskey was anomaly, as his goals-to-game ratio is a shade under 1 in 5 for his joke of a career in front of goal. Fuck outta here with that shit.

Form is temporary and class is permanent. Steven Naismith will begin to fade and regress to the mean. Lukaku will begin to bang them in because he's the best forward on our team. Just because he cost a lot and isn't having the best time right now doesn't make that any less true.

Peter Barry
60 Posted 06/10/2014 at 06:26:06
How come Coleman now has a HAMSTRING injury when he was originally sidelined with a concussion?
Jim Bennings
62 Posted 06/10/2014 at 09:11:39
Peter,

A striker is only as good as his service??

Why was it Naismith on the end of the fine cross from Baines then with a fantastic centre-forward's header? Did anyone even see where Lukaku was when that beauty of a ball was floated in??? No, me neither.

The fact is Naismith scored because he WANTS to get in to scoring positions, he drags himself and the team into the game with his never-say-die attitude; Lukaku simply does not lead the line like a striker with his sheer physique.

The size of Lukaku, it's embarrassing to never see him get his body between man and ball; for Christ's sake, even Victor Anichebe could utilize his body strength on a more consistent basis and he was erratic at best. Lukaku's control is also appalling, it doesn't even look like something he is even working on at present because it gets worse by the week.

But there's one thing you just can't coach and that's the passion side of it. Steven Naismith may be limited, actually I think he's a far better footballer than we all thought when Moyes wasted his first year on the wing, but one thing what Naismith gives you is passion and a guaranteed 110 percent hard running and workrate every week.

I can understand, Paul, that you want to be positive, but I'm a realist: there's no way on earth we are going to be putting a winning run together the way we're playing. Don't forget you're going to have a back five now that includes Distin and Howard, two serial mistake offenders.

Even Aston Villa at home won't be easy, Agbonlahor, Benteke, Delph, N'Zogbia, running at our back line?

I'm sorry, the best we can hope for this season is around mid-table, if your expectations are for us to challenge the top 4-5 again you're only going to be let down.

Jim Bennings
63 Posted 06/10/2014 at 09:26:38
I beg your pardon, Peter, not Paul – getting a bit carried with one named Peter, one named Paul thing.

It makes you wonder though what Big Dunc is making of Lukaku's currently meek attempts at leading the line??

Liam Reilly
64 Posted 06/10/2014 at 09:26:48
Peter Jones #59 - Agree - give the lad a break.

Although Naismith's work rate cannot be faulted; one of the reasons he finds space is because the opposition is busy worrying about Lukaku.

And can we put this shite to bed about spending all our cash on Lukaku; he's been bought on a payment plan and for the same money we offloaded Fellaini. The rest of the cash from the new PL deal et al; well it's anyone's fucking guess where that's gone.

Jamie Barlow
65 Posted 06/10/2014 at 10:03:33
Jim @63, he probably sees a lot of similarities with his own game. He used to pick and choose which games he was up for.

If only they both had Naismith's attitude... If only half the team had Naismith's attitude.

Jim Bennings
66 Posted 06/10/2014 at 10:17:43
Liam,

I very much doubt too many teams' defences are having sleepless nights "worrying" about Lukaku at present.

Don't get me wrong here: any striker in the world can have a run of poor form but the one thing you can't lose, you must not lose, is your willingness to work, and to make sure the opposition defence has as hard a time as possible.

Can we really say Lukaku is doing that st present?

Okay, I'm hearing he has been carrying a toe injury... well, that's down to Martinez: if he was really not up to playing, he wouldn't be out there, would he?

He has to start being that Number 9. He has to start using his strength to lead the line.

Les Fitzpatrick
67 Posted 06/10/2014 at 10:15:05
BK needs to put Martinez on notice... shape up, or get out.

I have said it before... we are NOT Wigan. Relegation is not an option for our club, and we must not let the Wigan gang get us relegated, while Martinez treats the fans like mushrooms, and sits there taking the positives from every shambles we witness with our own eyes.

As a bare minimum, we need a proven defensive coach, and an experienced first team coach/tactical maestro.

Get shut of Ferguson as coach... he needs to learn his trade at a smaller club, NOT at a Premier League club.

Anthony Hughes
68 Posted 06/10/2014 at 10:00:21
With Stones, out I think in the short term it's only going to get worse, not better. Until we get Mirallas, Barkley, Coleman and Kone (only joking) back then we are going to struggle regardless of who we play.

At the moment, we have an injury-hit squad which just doesn't have the quality in depth to cope. Coupled with this the squad rotation for the cup games and it is leaving us without a settled line up for the team to gel.

Like Liam said, the Lukaku deal is on the drip and there should have been more money available to strengthen the squad. We knew what the fixture list was going to be and we also know at some point that we would pick up injuries so a squad should have been assembled to cater for this.

On the subject of Lukaku, there is good player in there but at the minute I get the feeling the 㿈m price tag is weighing him down. The team aren't playing well behind him and it's got to be affecting his game.

Brian Wilkinson
69 Posted 06/10/2014 at 10:53:19
My big concern, and I commented before the transfer window closed, was signing a goalkeeper. Feel free to call me Nostradamous but I said it could come back to bite us on the arse should Tim Howard get injured or suffer a loss of form.

Howard has no competition, but that's saying something when I still feel a lot safer with Howard between the sticks than Robles.

Allowing for injuries, I doubt any Evertonian would have thought our defence would be our main worry this season but it's all over the place. Say what you like about OFM he had that defence and midfield as tight as a nun's crotch.

Brian Wilkinson
70 Posted 06/10/2014 at 11:13:14
On a more pleasing note, Shergar and Lord Lucan have been found, the hunt is ongoing in locating Kone.
Jim Bennings
71 Posted 06/10/2014 at 11:20:29
Brian

I did hear a rumour that Kone had been abducted and taken to a remote planet called Croctforgud, although as you say the search will be on-going.

Okay, let's take a look at the start of the season.

We have played seven league games, yes? If I can put any kind of positive spin on this start we have endured, then four of the games have been against so-called "top sides"

Our next four games are Aston Villa, Burnley, Swansea and Sunderland... Okay? I am willing to see how we go in these games before making further judgement because the way we are at present then it should be games of this ilk that we need to judge ourselves on.

I am a firm believer in "one game at a time" but surely looking at the wider spectacle then you have to say we badly need a minimum of 10 points from those four matches, yes?

Failure to win at the very least two of these and then I think we can only expect more criticism to come the way of the staff and players, it's a fact of life.

We haven't defended well, we haven't kept clean sheets, we look pretty poor all over. These next four matches have to give the fans some hope back.

Patrick Murphy
72 Posted 06/10/2014 at 11:45:12
Jim - For somebody who is very much a 'one game at a time' person, you never cease to amaze me with how much anxiety you display prior to a match, during a match and after a match – you also indulge in the most outrageous 'what if' scenarios imaginable.

You should for your own sanity, and to a lesser extent the sanity of other posters, do what you advocate and take it one game at a time: We now have twelve days before Everton's next fixture and perhaps you should take some time out and abstain from posting for a couple of hours.

Yes, Everton FC is an important element in all Blues' lives but it shouldn't be our sole reason for living. I bet half the people who work for the club don't display as much passion or anxiousness that you do on occasion; perhaps they should.

Remember Everton FC will still be there a long time after we have left the planet and Kone will probably still be on the payroll having been unable to regain fitness for a decade or two.

Football is just another business that happens to be popular and it should be treated for what it is, entertainment, just like X-Factor, Celebrity Come Dancing and all of the other popular pastimes similar in nature, it should not and does not deserve to be treated too seriously.

Sam Hoare
73 Posted 06/10/2014 at 12:00:06
If Stones is out for Villa, which seems almost certain, I really hope Martinez gives a start to Browning. Their biggest weapon will be pace on the counter and Ty is the quickest defender we have at the club I believe. He's also decent in the air.

We were told Martinez would look to youngsters when he came in and so far he has only really utilised one (Stones) that was not playing before he arrived. Be nice to see one or two more given a shot.

Tony Cheek
74 Posted 06/10/2014 at 12:28:49
I think he will need an op! It looked a very bad fall, and probably torn ligaments in his ankle. Out for three months at least. Pessimist... me!!!
Linda Morrison
75 Posted 06/10/2014 at 12:26:52
Agree totally with Sam about the youngsters, they will at least be keen – hopefully – to have a chance just as Barkley and Stones were. In all honestly ,if Stones has done his ankle ligaments, he could be out for a long time – several months, not weeks. I think there must have been a massive breakage of mirrors at Goodison Park for this bad luck...

I know all sides have injuries, it's part of the game, but not to so many key players and ours are never out for "a few weeks", they do it in style and are out for months!

I was totally fed up with them yesterday but have told myself off and I think looking at the games the one I feel let us down most was losing to Palace. Like last season, they are a bogey team.

For Villa we are likely to have at least Coleman and McCarthy back which will give everyone a lift. The players must feel cursed as well. I haven't got a clue what's going on with Kone. On a positive note the report in today's Independent gives huge praise to Osman and baby Bryan who lifted proceedings when they came on. Hibbert also praised.

Onwards and upwards – I'll take a top half finish and a cup please, Roberto!

Pete Edwards
76 Posted 06/10/2014 at 12:48:34
I'm confident Lukaku will come on strong as the season continues, he's still young, remember, and will have dips in form... although I can't for the life of me understand why he wouldn't be fired up for a visit to Old Trafford playing against a makeshift centre-back pairing, I would have thought that would have given him extra impetus and confidence to bang a couple in.
Anthony Lamb
77 Posted 06/10/2014 at 12:17:06
Football certainly continue to amaze me – certainly at Everton it does.

Accepting that the club is suffering from a truly unfortunate spate of injuries to the likes of Barkley, Mirallas, Coleman, Stones etc, in the wider context we are told that the club is seriously stretched financially. Could we have a competition to try and arrive at a figure for the combined weekly salaries of the likes of Gibson, Kone, Alcaraz, Pienaar etc? (𧵎,000 for starters?) Some of whom in any other walk of life would be deemed simply "unfit for purpose"' and moved on or out. Some appear incapable of effectively coping with the physical demands of the game. This is certainly the case with the former and appearing to be increasingly so with the latter. The Lord knows what we are to make of Kone.

Then we give a 3-year contract to a 33-year-old and extensions to loyal but limited elder statesmen such as Hibbert. Then we have a 㿈 million pound investment in a guy who seemingly cannot do the footballer equivalent of a joiner's essential ability of being able to knock a nail in straight!

While he has many qualities to admire, such as his industry, the one-dimensional play of McCarthy should not have cost the club the reported 㾻 million pounds. The world is awash with goalkeepers and wide players and yet we actively recruit limited players such as Robles, McGeady and Atsu.

Who is actually responsible for this ludicrous state of affairs? Are we saying that there are really no young lads capable of performing more reliably and effectively than the likes of Gibson and Pienaar? How can we be suddenly carrying so many so-called essential members of the team/squad who are so "advanced in years"? Planning?? When and why did people have to start questioning the physical condition/conditioning of players? Are certain things not accepted as being "taken as read"?

An old friend who actually won the old First Division title many years ago recently said to me that "to succeed in the game today, it seems that one simply has to be able to pass the ball backwards and sideways". If this is the case, we seem to be watching a very successful team at the moment!

If 35,000 people can see how easy it would be to set up a team against Everton, how can these dreadfully overpaid personnel not see it? Those responsible, at board level, management level, at so-called levels of coaching and physical conditioning, and for inculcating a genuine professional approach to their responsibilities on the part of those who take to the field, should be made fully aware that, as things stand, it is simply unacceptable.

And could we please put an end to the psycho-babble that pervades so much current football-speak such as "tiredness"; "he is only 21 and has not yet learnt to trap a ball, control it, play it etc"; "pressure", and the 1001 other examples that infect so much discussion from every quarter?

Sorry. Rant over!

Les Fitzpatrick
79 Posted 06/10/2014 at 13:45:17
Yo... Well said, Anthony... My sentiments exactly.

Martinez has fallen on his feet at EFC. We began to crumble about March last year and itÂ’s just got worse ever since.

We sit back and let Martinez keep us in the dark and feed us shit,and do not hold him to account for his actions, or lack of. If he does not buck up soon, we need to start a campaign to hound him and his pie eating pals out of our club, before itÂ’s too late.

We MUST NOT let him do to us us what he did to WIGAN. BK wonÂ’t start to cack himself till itÂ’s too late...

We have been crap since April so he has had time to get it sorted.

Tony Cheek
80 Posted 06/10/2014 at 14:19:21
Brilliant rant, Anthony...!
Anthony Hughes
81 Posted 06/10/2014 at 14:21:22
A pretty damn fair assessment of our squad there, Anthony.
Mark Andersson
82 Posted 06/10/2014 at 14:26:34
Nice rant, Anthony – made sense to me. Unlike most, you put your points across simply. However most are fans are simple and your words of wisdom will go unheard.
Anthony Hughes
83 Posted 06/10/2014 at 14:27:24
Can I also add this about our backup strikers: Eto'o, whilst still technically very good is 33 and past his peak and Kone is becoming part of Everton folklore. I think it was one of Bruce Lee's quotes "the art of fighting without fighting".

In Kone's instance, it's "the art of playing without playing". Our striking options are a joke and, without Naismith's contributions this season, our stats would look even worse.

Alex Carry
84 Posted 06/10/2014 at 15:07:27
After slating Hibbert before about being past his sell-by date, I take it back after his performance against Manchester United, he played pretty well although shows no presence in the attack. I'd like to see Browning getting started instead of Hibbert as the alternative for Coleman.

Martinez needs to stop sugar coating everything and lay things on the line; it seems to me that Lukaku doesn't seem to want to play for the shirt he's wearing, whereas the polar opposite to that is Naismith.

MIke McLean
85 Posted 06/10/2014 at 15:18:06
The old and the limited players are relatively cheap to buy and pay each week, Anthony.

There haven’t been any oversights at the club regarding this: it’s our operating plan. The plan has failed, temporarily I hope, because of injuries to the younger, more gifted players.

Trevor Lynes
86 Posted 06/10/2014 at 15:16:56
The squad is too small and does not have enough top quality players to be able to maintain a level of performance that will keep us challenging for honours. Fans on here are being unrealistic in expecting us to progress without increasing the squad numbers.

Luckily it has shown that we do have a couple of quality kids who are at least getting a chance in the team. Just look at the players that Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd and Liverpool have. We feel every injury as we do not have cover of the top quality needed to compete. From our little squad we have Barkley, Kone, Mirallas and now Stones out injured.

Every other top team have similar injuries but no-one even notices. Money rules and I think we will finish top ten, perhaps have really good runs in cup competitions and that is all I see for us at present.

I wrote at the start of the season that by the end of September we will know where we stand as we have been short of numbers since day one. We were told 6 or 7 additions to the squad but instead we have just replaced players who have left us.

Anthony Hughes
87 Posted 06/10/2014 at 15:58:44
It's a flawed operating plan though, isn't it? There will always be injuries to players, this is nothing new. Relying on old crocks to come in and cover will result in failure. Fair enough, we have haven't got vast amounts of money but what we did have could have been spent more wisely.
Linda Morrison
88 Posted 06/10/2014 at 16:49:29
I think Roberto should inform the Irish FA that neither Coleman or McCarthy will be ready for either of the qualifiers.

I'm prepared to wait and see how things pan out after the International break in terms of results.

I really think Tim should be dropped for a while now.

If, by mid-November, Everton are not at least in the top half of the table, something drastic needs to be changed.

John Daley
90 Posted 06/10/2014 at 15:14:28
Sorry Anthony, but there's a lot of stuff in your self-proclaimed rant I simply can't accept.

"Gibson, Kone, Alcaraz, Pienaar....in any other walk of life would be deemed simply "unfit for purpose"' and moved on or out"

So anyone who suffers a serious injury, instead of receiving support and rehabilitation, should be told to 'grab your socks and drop your cocks'? Stand up (on your smashed to shit ankle/knee/whatever) or ship out?

The problem I have with that attitude is, beyond being a footballer contracted to the club for certain duration of time, you're also talking about human beings who, through no fault of their own, have had their careers brought to a stuttering halt simply through doing that which they were being paid to do: play football.

You can't just say "Tough luck old chap. You tried your best out there and it's bloody unfortunate that you're now left loosely dragging your right foot behind you like the bad guy in Dirty Harry but, at the end of the day, damaged goods weren't part of the deal. Now get your coat and fuck off you quasi-cripple."

You brought up a play on a Bruce Lee quote in connection with Kone: "the art of playing without playing." Beyond the fact that doesn't even make sense in this instance, I'll trade you another qoute from the Little Dragon:

"All martial arts is simply an honest expression of one's body – with a lot of deception in-between."

If Kone's body has not sufficiently recovered and the risk of a setback is still there, then how is he supposed to even contemplate a comeback? You talk as though this man is a work-shy fraudster leeching off the club and making little to no effort to get back into prime physical condition. You think the medical staff at any football club would countenance that?

He and his injury will be under constant scrutiny, with his rehabilitation carefully planned out. The fact it's not plain sailing and the human body sometimes refuses to stick to a fucking schedule, doesn't mean there's some deception at play on Kone's part. Ask any footballer and the thing they hate more than anything is sitting on the sidelines.

Everton have had many injury-prone players during my time supporting the club. Players who missed more games than they played. Players whose careers were a virtual write-off by the time they left the club. Never have I known one to receive the vitriol and unwarranted accusations of taking the piss like Kone has since he got crocked. I've got to ask 'Why'?

Here's another qoute:

"Memorizing and regurgitating Bruce Lee's words does not increase one's intelligence. However, adapting his thoughts for one's own actions gives life to his words".

Bruce Lee's bird.

..................

"While he has many qualities to admire, such as his industry, the one-dimensional play of McCarthy should not have cost the club the reported 㾻 million pounds."

According to who? You? Firstly, the fee was 㾹M. Secondly, although many were indeed saying that fee was too much when he first signed, they changed their tune completely come the culmination of last season. After Coleman, McCarthy was our best player by far. Although he may have started sluggish this time out, that doesn't automatically mean his value, in monetary terms or to the team, has diminished as rapidly as the ebbing faith of fickle fans.

You may say he's one-dimensional, others may simply suggest he concentrates on what he's good at and sticks to fulfilling the very explicit role he is asked to perform by the manager. A role that, incidentally, allows the team to function around him and concentrate on their task without worrying who is going to mop up behind them.

I said earlier McCarthy was second only to Coleman in terms of form and effectiveness last season. Well, remove McCarthy from the equation and Coleman would not have had anywhere near the freedom to reach such heights. Without McCarthy coming across and filling in when his compatriot went firing forward, Seamus would have had to cut down his attacking charges or risk seeing Everton's right flank become more wide open than Whitney Houston's bum hole after Bobby Brown asked her to 'pack a few things'.

............

As Columbo, that dishevelled, dirty-macced little detective with the dodgy eye, always said to the suspect he'd sussed as the culprit mere minutes after the opening credits but had to kid on he didn't have a clue about for a further 45 fucking minutes simply to pad the show out: "Just one more thing, sir":

When did stating someone's age ('he is only 21') and suggesting they have scope for improvement, due to the many years and associated experiences ahead, become 'psycho-babble'?

"I'm only 21 though, Doc".

"'Ho, ho, ho. Dearie, dearie me. We really aren't getting any better are we? Hmmm? You're not 21 dear. No, no, no. You're really not. In actuality, you're a fucking ancient arl crone and your friends and family have had you sequestered into my care in a last-ditch attempt to stop you from embarrassing all and sundry with your sordid, serial, strumpeting about town with strapping young men who were nothing but strong swimming sperm when you were already approaching your sixties. So, I'll ask you once again: Why must you continue to live, LuLu?"

Lukaku IS 21. There's no getting around that. He WILL improve certain aspects of his game as he gets older. It's impossible for him not to get better at certain actions the more he practices and performs them. There's no smoke and mirrors or mind massaging going on when someone says that. Nor is it a nauseatingly half-arsed pardon for poor form, as you imply. It's not an excuse, it's simply a statement of fact.

Tom Bowers
91 Posted 06/10/2014 at 17:27:40
So the season is a bit of a nightmare at the moment but we have to remain optimistic. It could have been a lot worse! They were flattered by the scoreline against Wolfsburg who missed a number of good chances, they got very late equalizers against Krasnodar and the Shite.

This international break may be a godsend to the Blues who now have some time to get key players fit again before they face Villa. Losing Stones is tempered by the fact that they have Alcaraz and Distin to fill in.

The points tally is not that much that they cannot rise in the table quickly with two or three wins but it seems no-one will match Chelski this season.

John Daley
93 Posted 06/10/2014 at 18:18:44
"Yo....we need to start a campaign to hound him and his pie eating pals out of our club, before it's too late."

Just add 'BITCH!' on the end and it sounds like a plan formulated by fucking Jessie from Breaking Bad. About as well thought-out as something he'd come up with whilst mashed off his tits on meth as well.

Colin Glassar
94 Posted 06/10/2014 at 18:44:56
Pmsl, John Daley.
Kieran Riding
95 Posted 06/10/2014 at 20:19:29
Phil #43

I see other sites have the Distin story running now that we talked of yesterday.

Gavin Johnson
96 Posted 06/10/2014 at 20:24:46
I saw the story on another site and to be honest I don't care about him spitting his dummy out, as he's become a liability! What bothers me is whether it's a symptom of some wider disharmony going on at the club.
Kieran Riding
97 Posted 06/10/2014 at 20:40:10
Gavin, I knew of the problem last week, so the reports of him not training for "over 15 days" may well be a bit wide of the mark.
Ian McDowell
99 Posted 06/10/2014 at 21:04:26
Anthony Lamb @ 77 Brilliant Post!
Anthony Lamb
100 Posted 06/10/2014 at 20:44:02
John (#90) thanks for the responses and of course you are entitled to completely disagree with everything I say but sorry to say I did not mention Bruce Lee! Not guilty as charged! However, with regard to some of your responses, I am certainly the very last person to suggest that an athlete of any description should not be given every help to rehabilitate himself/herself and of course there are contractual issues etc to be considered as well as the moral/ethical ones. However, in the particular case of Darron Gibson, for example, the evidence is that he in fact is not up to the task.

His history speaks for itself and, no matter how you may load your case with references to a somewhat cold-hearted analogy, the fact is that these guys are not in fact sent out on the streets – you are aware that this particular player has been paid somewhere in the region of ٟ million a year for the last few years? It is not heartless to in fact say to an employee that you indeed seem incapable of providing what we need and so (to coin a phrase) "sadly we have to let you go" provided all the ethical demands have been fulfilled by the employer.

You seem to put great store in the thorough overseeing of the various aspects of rehabilitation – a simple query would be that, in the case of Kone, I seem to recall he was "on the bench" in a recent game and so have to ask what was he doing there if he is not deemed capable of playing in any part of the game?

I certainly do take your points regarding McCarthy's contributions, especially last season, and his impact on certain aspects of the team but I still maintain that, whatever the true millions spent – be it 㾹M or 㾻M – it is an awful lot to pay for a lad who is undoubtedly fit and works hard but are we seriously saying that we cannot find such for less?

With reference too the oft expressed mention of Lukaku's age, I would still maintain that there is something fundamentally flawed in the system if he can reach "the top" without some of the very important basics such as controlling the ball, passing it under pressure etc. Mind you... Phil Neville managed it!

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that it was not me and Bruce Lee!

Jim Bennings
101 Posted 06/10/2014 at 21:39:23
What the fuck has Bruce Lee got to do with Everton FC and ToffeeWeb? Jesus and I’ve been slated here for my rants, at least I stick to the point.

Age has not got a great deal to do with Lukaku’s dismal form. There is a great column in the Echo tonight about where Lukaku is going badly wrong at present and, to be fair, they hit the nail on the head: he’s playing on the periphery of every game lately.

You can’t keep blaming service. There is such a thing as dragging yourself into the game, much like Naismith does; it’s not called "leading from the front" for nothing.

A big strong lad like Lukaku should be chasing down defenders and making his presence felt, has he ever stopped to think it may actually inspire his team-mates to see their big striker leading by example basically saying "Come on, that’s what the rest of you have gotta fucking do!"

He’s too lazy and frankly isn’t putting himself in a position where he can be our main threat. Naismith is showing him up.

John Daley
102 Posted 06/10/2014 at 22:36:54
Apologies, Anthony Lamb. I see now the Bruce Lee bit was actually by another Anthony who posted after your good self. I got aspects of your post mixed up with that of Anthony Hughes (#83) and kinda mashed you both together to make an ultimate Anthony monster.
John Daley
103 Posted 06/10/2014 at 22:37:29
LA Confidential had Jack 'just the facts' Vincennes

ToffeeWeb has Jim 'on point' Bennings.

Jim flicks on Sky Sports to see which player is making the difference in the latest Premier League fixture to be played. As the scorers name starts to sink in, Jim slowly starts to seethe: "Right, what I want to know is why didn't the club legally adopt that Yaya Toure 25 years ago when he finished kindergarten? We could've enticed him away from his parents with a pouch of magic beans, bundled him in the boot of a car and smuggled him through customs in a Captain Caveman costume, instead of spending a shitload on Lukaku a quarter of a century later. Pisses me right off it does. He could've been playing for us now if the people at the top showed some smart pre-planning and let Lionel Hutz loose on the paperwork. Oh, wait on, he's just scored an own goal. Don't know what anyone sees in that dozy daddy long legs twat. Always said I wouldn't take him if he was free. Absolute waste of space he is. Shite. Utter, utter, shite".

[Picks up remote and switches channel]

"That bird who plays Cilla Black is bloody brilliant. Best actress in the world, this week. Little cracker she is. She could've played Michael Corleone's daughter in The Godfather Part III, if that Francis Ford Coppola wasn't such a nepotistic nobhead....and she was born in a different country, many, many years earlier etc etc"

Brian Wilkinson
104 Posted 06/10/2014 at 22:50:01
I think we saw more of Glen Keeley in an Everton shirt than we have Kone.

Has Kone got a clause in his contract like Thomas Myhre? If Kone plays ten games for Everton, we have to stump up another ten grand.

Still embarrassing Myhre getting dropped one short of appearances where we had to stump up a little extra for reaching so many appearances.

Mark Frere
105 Posted 06/10/2014 at 22:53:49
John (103) - A very amusing post which pretty much sums up Jim Bennings down to a tee. The ironic thing is, Jim was the one spouting off all summer about the need for us to sign Lukaku... even wrote an article about it if my memory serves me correctly.
James Stewart
106 Posted 06/10/2014 at 23:04:17
The season is fast turning into a write-off.

Ironically we should have had a point out of the United game which would have been a good result. We don't seem to have the intelligence or ability to grind out results, though. All Howard had to do was put that ball out of play and that 2nd goal would never have happened. We were on top at the time and its these errors that are continually costing us dear. Howard needs to be replaced in January simple as that.

My biggest concern is that, in order to get anything out of a game, we now have to score at least 3 under Martinez because we are conceding at an alarming rate.

Nigel Gregson
107 Posted 06/10/2014 at 23:15:25
JohnDaley - still laughing an hour after reading your posts today.

On a more serious note, could someone please post these Distin links? Distin has always struck me as someone very direct, maybe too much so and I can see how 'politically correct' Bobby and he might have had a falling out with him. This is quite sad though because, other than Stones, Distin used to be the usual ball player and would play in the Martinez style.

Anthony Hughes
108 Posted 06/10/2014 at 23:15:56
Hey Jim, Bruce Lee was an Everton legend (or was that Gordon)? Oops!!
Marc Sansum
109 Posted 06/10/2014 at 23:35:00
Wouldn't want to start any bullshit rumour, but I saw a post on FB earlier, from a media outlet, that said Distin hasn't trained with the club for the last week or so after being told to "take some time off"......

Really?

Lyndon Lloyd
110 Posted 06/10/2014 at 23:41:00
Marc (109), the story was posted by NSNO.co.uk based on information from their sources. I have no idea how true it is.
Marc Sansum
111 Posted 06/10/2014 at 23:52:40
Cheers Lyndon. Does make you wonder — I mean, he hasn't been in the squad recently I don't think. (I correct if I'm wrong please!)

He's been such a professional these last few seasons, I can't see him getting the hump (maybe with himself, but not the club).

Kieran Riding
112 Posted 07/10/2014 at 00:47:04
Marc, post #19 in the 'Mystery after Everton Mystery' thread.

I do try and point people in the right direction, but the constant point scoring amongst TW posters sometimes gets in the way.

Peter Z Jones
113 Posted 07/10/2014 at 05:57:51
Jim 62. I don't disagree that Lukaku needs to pick up the intensity and impose himself more on defenders than he has. But I would argue that this season, he's actually been used out wide quite a bit where he is much less comfortable. Naismith has been deployed centrally in every game he's played. It doesn't surprise me that the guy playing in his preferred position each game is doing better than the one being moved around from time to time where he's less effective.

We all saw how bad Naismith was when played out of position. Danny Welbeck had been complaining about this very issue while he was at Man Utd and he's far more suited to be stationed out wide than both Naismith or Lukaku. Now he's being played down the middle at Arsenal and he's banging in Champions League hat-tricks as he's playing in his preferred position and getting service.

Too often, I'm seeing Lukaku actually putting a ball into the box and drawing a corner, rather than being on the receiving end. When Barkley comes back, and finally we have someone actually looking to put the big man in on goal for once, I expect Lukaku and Everton's fortunes to change dramatically for the better.

Phil McKeown
114 Posted 07/10/2014 at 09:37:57
Nigel(16)

"Let's get Coleman, Stones, Mirallas, Barkley, and McCarthy fit and on the same pitch ..."

My comment was not meant like you have picked up on, it was to suggest that once these players return then we could enter a period of form with hopefully our strongest key players fit & fresh.

I am sure you will agree the depth in the squad is not of sufficient quality.

Linda Morrison
115 Posted 07/10/2014 at 11:31:14
What's this rumour about Distin? I thought he was still injured and that's why he's not trained. This is what happens when teams are having a poor run – a lot of rumours.

If he has been told "to take some time off" they better get him back ASAP unless they play Alcaraz. Stones will be out for some time.

Re the Tony Cottee article, Lukaku plays where he is told. He is struggling in a team that is struggling and having no luck. He will fulfill his potential, you'll see.


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