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McCarthy remains doubtful for West Ham clash

by | 18/11/2014  Comments (54)  jump

Roberto Martinez has provided an update on an injury list that has lengthened again over the international break, with Leighton Baines and Darron Gibson joining Gareth Barry and James McCarthy in the treatment room.

The manager indicated that McCarthy still hasn't trained after straining his hamstring against Sunderland nine days ago which would make him doubtful for the visit of West Ham.

With Barry almost certainly ruled out with ankle ligament damage despite responding well to treatment and Gibson complaining of pain behind the knee on which he had surgery last year, the Blues could be without three central midfielders this weekend.

James was desperate to be involved with his national team but he couldn't make it," the Catalan said this morning. "We will try to get him fit for West Ham but it is a bit too early to tell. He hasn't been able to train with the team and that is a worry on a Tuesday leading up to a Saturday game.

It's James' second injury of this nature in the last month and that's a bit of a worry. We need to give him perfect treatment and make sure he is fully fit.

Gareth is a player who will be quick in his recovery period because of the way he looks after himself. We will have to take it day-by-day for confirmation of how long he will be out but he is recovering very well.

Darron ... played against Scotland and got a bit of soreness in his knee. He had a year-long lay-off with his ligaments, so we need to be cautious. But I'm very confident he will be available to train very soon.

Meanwhile, Martinez said that the condition of Leighton Baines is being taken day by day as the club's medical staff assess what scans revealed to be a grade one hamstring problem picked up in training with the England team.

His initial prognosis was a seven- to 14-day absence which would make him touch-and-go for Saturday.

"[A]t the moment [Leighton] is responding well to treatment," Martinez continued. "Again, it is too early to say how long he is going to be out but we remain very positive. Leighton is the type of player that heals very quickly from those sort of injuries."

Bryan Oviedo, who has made a couple of senior appearances this season, is still no fully fit and the manager did not provide a timeframe for his full-time return to the first-team setup.  


Reader Comments (54)

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Tony J Williams
1 Posted 18/11/2014 at 16:07:37
There you go Keane, you "stupid" bellend!
Scott Bosworth
2 Posted 18/11/2014 at 16:36:27
Far from good news. If Gibbo passes fit, then I'm actually fine with a pairing of him and Besic in defensive midfield. Otherwise, this may be a keen opportunity to try a different formation altogether.
Adam Luszniak
3 Posted 18/11/2014 at 17:09:06
Crikey we're not having much luck with injuries are we?
Christopher Wallace
4 Posted 18/11/2014 at 17:13:48
IÂ’m confident heÂ’ll play.
Jon Bentley
6 Posted 18/11/2014 at 17:17:08
It's alright. "Dr" Keane knows best and its all a ruse and all our players are fighting fit.

Shame Kone isn't Irish!!!!

Dominic Tonge
7 Posted 18/11/2014 at 17:29:04
Looking like we might have to play 4-4-2 against the Hammers, I am guessing Besic and EnglandÂ’s best ever player in the middle. We should still be fine though.
Phil Smith
8 Posted 18/11/2014 at 17:37:09
Bit worrying that all our defensive midfielders could be missing against West Ham. Besic has to play now but who with? Leon with Ross just in front and Atsu and McGeedy on the wing? Or is it time we dropped one of the kids into first team action?
Jim Bennings
9 Posted 18/11/2014 at 18:00:56
Is there such thing as Gibson passing as fit??

I was somewhat surprised by Martinez saying that Oviedo is still "quite a little while away from being ready"

I thought the operation to remove the screws was going to be a simple one that meant he wouldn't miss anything worse than a week or two?

We just never seem to make progress with getting injured players fit quickly.

We were told Kone would possibly be back early Autumn, yet mow he's gone until New Year at least.

I suppose we shouldn't expect to see Mirallas back before January either?

I'm sorry if it's sounding negative but the way this season has go e is making it pretty hard to be anything but.

Peter Murray
10 Posted 18/11/2014 at 18:06:42
If Keane has anything in him, apart from turned-up volume and disloyalty to team mates, he should pick up the phone immediately and offer an apology to Martinez.
Jamie Barlow
11 Posted 18/11/2014 at 18:10:09
I thought Oviedo had an outside chance of making his World Cup squad at one stage. What the fuck went wrong with that? It's been 5/6 months since the World Cup started.
Karl Masters
12 Posted 18/11/2014 at 18:19:20
Of course, it won't help West Ham either not knowing who will be playing and in what formation......

Big Fat Sam will be wondering what way to set his team up and what training routines to use in preparation.

Don't be too surprised if Baines, Coleman, McCarthy and Gibson all recover in time.

Bill Gall
13 Posted 18/11/2014 at 18:04:39
Prior to the season starting, the manager stated that he needed another 6-7 players. With Barry and Lukaku signed as Everton players and bringing in Besic, the manager put his faith in the youngsters at the club to make up the squad.

With the large number of injuries we are experiencing, I believe that it is time for the manager to see if the faith he had in these youngsters is warranted by giving at least one or two a chance to prove themselves. Who knows a bit of youthful exuberance may liven some players who are not playing up to their potential.

Geoff Evans
14 Posted 18/11/2014 at 18:20:43
It's beginning to sound like a far from funny joke. Going to stop listening to club updates on injuries? About as reliable as a politicians press release.
Sam Hoare
15 Posted 18/11/2014 at 18:29:19
A good chance I think to try Besic and Barkley as the central two. I would like to see Ross again in this position as I think it will suit his box to box style better than the AMC role where i'm not sure he has the precision to unlock teams.

My team if all those players are unfit is:

Howard
Coleman Jagielka Distin Garbutt
Barkley Besic
McGeady Eto'o Pienaar
Naismith

With Lukaku off the bench, especially if we are winning and there is space at the back for West Ham.

Mike Childs
16 Posted 18/11/2014 at 18:46:04
Good lineup, Sam. I don't believe Rom sits if he's healthy though. I'd love to see Garbutt; here in the States, I have yet to see him play.
Sam Hoare
17 Posted 18/11/2014 at 18:57:22
Yes, Mike. I think that line-up is highly unlikely but it's one I would want to try.

I believe Eto'o behind Naismith could be our best combination for teams that pack the defense tightly. Eto'os vision and and Naismith's movement proving a good double act to break a stubborn rearguard to my mind.

Ian Jones
18 Posted 18/11/2014 at 19:09:00
Not necessarily required this weekend but anyone know what's happening with Tyias Browning?
Conor Waters
19 Posted 18/11/2014 at 22:12:52
Considering our ever-increasing injury list, its quite surprising that none of our youngsters have made any sort of breakthrough this season.

Browning aside, we have not seen the likes of Garbutt, Galloway, McAleney, Grant or Long progress to the first team. Even McAleny got a rare outing under Moyes a few years ago. And Long was involved pre-season.

Surely with all these problematic and recurring injuries, now is the time to shake things up a little?

Ross Edwards
20 Posted 18/11/2014 at 22:43:23
We know who'll replace McCarthy. Osman. Isn't it obvious?
Kunal Desai
21 Posted 18/11/2014 at 22:55:19
I think Barkley and Besic in the middle could be an interesting one. With Browning at left back perhaps. I'd also like to see Ledson on the bench. It's about time he's given the opportunity to have a few minutes here and there rather than the crock Gibson.
Jay Harris
22 Posted 18/11/2014 at 23:19:14
I have to totally disagree with your lineup, Sam.

Barkley is a potential liability anywhere but in an advanced role and I see Nais making a better contribution right now.

Hopefully McCarthy will make the cut and we can see how Besic and McCarthy do.

Hopefully Bainesy and Kev are fit and will strengthen our chances.

But an inexperienced line up against the high flying Hammers would be tantamount to throwing the points away,

Garbutt does not seem to have progressed this season and the manager seems to feel Browning is not ready yet.

Ciaran Duff
23 Posted 19/11/2014 at 07:09:30
Agree with Jay that you cannot play Barkley as DM.
My suggestion would be 4-1-4-1 :-

Howard
Coleman Jagielka Distin Garbutt
Besic
McGeady Barkley Osman Naismith
Lukaku

Ajay Gopal
24 Posted 19/11/2014 at 07:29:23
I think Ciaran has got it spot on.

Eto'o, Pienaar, Browning, Hibbert are the only realistic options for getting playing time from the bench. The rest of the bench could be interesting: possibly, Ledson and Atsu (other than Robles).

But there are many other possibilities: push Pienaar/Hibbert into a Left Back role if he thinks that Garbutt is not ready to start a full game. Or pair Pienaar with Besic in a deep lying role or provide the 'old heads' of Osman and Pienaar to shore up the defensive midfield with Besic and play McGeady, Barkley and Lukaku in a front 3. Or play a back 3 of Jagielka, Browning and Distin with Besic providing additional defensive cover and use Coleman and Pienaar as wing-backs.

I am talking:

Howard
Jagielka Browning Distin
Coleman Besic Pienaar
Barkley Osman Naismith
Lukaku

SUBS: Robles, Eto'o, McGeady, Atsu, Garbutt, Hibbert, Ledson

Colin Glassar
25 Posted 19/11/2014 at 09:24:30
With potentially so many players out, this is where managers earn their money and heighten their status... or fall flat on their faces.

Despite disliking OFM intensely, he always stepped up in times of injury crises and we usually did far better than expected. It was when he had a full squad to choose from that he seemed unsure who to play.

Roberto now has to do the same. He needs to use his remaining assets in the most effective manner or it could be a long time till Xmas.

Ben Jones
26 Posted 19/11/2014 at 12:30:22
Ajay,

I don't think there's a chance of Pienaar playing a wingback. Yes he tracks back, but he has no positional sense defensively whatsoever, which isn't his fault, just that he isn't a full back.

I'd like to see Besic with Barkley in midfield, but I imagine it's going to be Osman. I think the team would look like this:

Howard
Coleman Jagielka Distin Baines
Besic Osman
McGeady Eto'o Naismith
Lukaku

Barkley might fit in there somewhere, but despite West Ham playing well, that's a team good enough to beat them.

Sean Patton
27 Posted 19/11/2014 at 14:38:00
Sounds like it is going to be more square pegs in round holes. I would love to see Ledson involved if Gibson, McCarthy and Barry don't make it, instead of shoehorning in Osman.
Sam Hoare
28 Posted 19/11/2014 at 14:54:18
Jay Harris, 22. Fair enough but then who do you play instead assuming Martinez is not going to change his hugely favoured formation? Osman? Potentially, but just as liable to give the ball away in dangerous positions. I can't think of any other alternatives unless he throws in one of the youngsters such as Ledson which seem unlikely and even more of a risk.

Barkley can be a liability but he's strong, fast and can pass the ball decently off both feet. He arguably had one his best games for us in the derby last season when dropped back. I don't see a better option currently assuming, as I originally stated, that McCarthy and Gibson are unfit.

I agree, Naismith or Eto'o are better fits for the attacking midfield role but surely we want Barkley in the team if possible. He has to play his way back to sharpness and continue to learn his craft. Missing this many players in defensive midfield seems the perfect opportunity to me given the lack of alternatives to try him there again.

Kevin Rowlands
29 Posted 19/11/2014 at 16:03:06
Oh well, looking on the bright side: just read Sturridge out ANOTHER six weeks!
Mike Oates
30 Posted 19/11/2014 at 16:01:55
He's not going to play Barkley in a defensive midfield position, just forget it, he's a creative/attacking player and nothing else, just get real.
With WHU having a strong central midfield in Song and Noble he will want to stifle the midfield and assuming Barry, McCarthy, Gibson, and Baines all out he will go with either of these set ups

Howard
Browning Jagielka Distin
Coleman Besic Osman Barkley Pienaar/Eto'o
Lukaku Naismith

Or his favourite 4-2-3-1 formation:

Howard

Coleman Jagielka Distin Garbutt
Besic. Osman
McGeady Barkley Pienaar/Eto'o
Lukaku

Tony J Williams
31 Posted 19/11/2014 at 16:20:45
Kevin, watch his first game back be the Derby......
Sam Hoare
32 Posted 19/11/2014 at 16:20:50
Mike Oates, with all due respect, bollocks.

'he's a creative/attacking player and nothing else, just get real.'

a) He's really not very creative is though. How many assists has he got this or last season? Very, very few.

b) Who are you to say what he is with such certainty? The lad's 20 years old and has yet to nail down one position. Martinez has tried in him in at least 4 different roles this last season and a half.

c) To my eye he's clearly suited to a box -to-box player rather than an intricate attacking playmaker. Maybe he'll develop into one but right now he isn't one. I reckon that some time in DMC while we are short there will benefit him in the long run.

Although I do agree that Martinez will probably play Osman instead I don't think thats the right move. Time will tell.

Kevin Rowlands
33 Posted 19/11/2014 at 16:28:15
Wouldn't surprise me Tony, sure does look like they've got a real sick note on their hands there though, fucking fella is made of glass, I mean his last three injuries that have kept him out for months all happened in training!
Mike Oates
34 Posted 19/11/2014 at 17:43:37
Sam Hoare,

I haven't seen Barkley win a tackle yet, I haven't seen him track a player, I haven't seen him win a midfield header, he hasn't an ounce of "defensiveness" in him.

If he doesn't develop into an attacking midfielder, he won't ever become a good PL player.

Mike Childs
35 Posted 19/11/2014 at 17:40:33
He was always injured when at Chelsea from what I remember.

Spot on again Sam.

Sam Hoare
36 Posted 19/11/2014 at 18:36:23
Mike Oates.

Sounds as though you don't watch us a lot then!

I've watched Barkley dominate in central positions for Everton and England youth teams and he has all those things in his locker. Of course it's different doing it consistently in the premiership and I'm not saying the defensive side of his game is anywhere near his strength but he certainly has the capacity.

The lad has a good engine, is pretty quick and he's a solid 6-ft plus build. He's so clearly a Yaya Toure / Steven Gerrard type player and not a David Silva / Juan Mata type. Box to box... not picking locks. There, I made it rhyme so you can remember it.

Phil Walling
37 Posted 19/11/2014 at 18:13:42
People seem determined to slot Ross in somewhere – even if it's in a defensive role. Don't think Roberto will go for that option and if both our regulars are unavailable I suggest he will go for Besic and Osman.

What baffles me is that for all his lauding of young Barkley, he seems to prefer Naismith or Ossie behind Lukaku even though it is obviously the younger man's prime role! Perhaps he's right to do so?

Brent Stephens
38 Posted 19/11/2014 at 19:30:24
You can bank on Barkley, Phil.
Paul Andrews
39 Posted 19/11/2014 at 19:34:34
Phil,

Just for clarity.
You are suggesting Osman should be in the team, in the position behind the centre forward, before Barkle?

Phil Walling
40 Posted 19/11/2014 at 19:57:07
No, no, no, Paul. I am speculating on Martinez actions. He has often preferred Ossie to Barkley and Naismith has had a great start to the season – although last night's exertions may have earned him a rest in the manager's eyes.

If Ross gets the shout against West Ham then I hope he makes himself undroppable!

John Daley
41 Posted 19/11/2014 at 20:25:58
Sam,

Agree fully with your analysis of Barkley.

All this 'you're either an attacking midfielder or a defensive midfielder' bollocks is just pointless modern pigeonholing and Barkley finds himself automatically placed firmly in the former category because of his perceived weakness of giving the ball away 'all the time'.

Like losing possession isn't something that happens to every player. Everton 'legend' (fuck me) Phil Neville spent his entire captaincy miscontrolling the ball like his boots were made from Lego, sending passes astray, and then pointing forwards as though some fucker should be chasing after it. Osman loses the ball a lot. Pienaar is another. McGeady, Mirallas, Lukaku, they all do it. It's just with Ross it's jumped on and pointed out constantly whilst, with others, it's written off as part and parcel of the game (look no further than last nights over-the-top weaction fwom that Wombles wesembling wanker Woy). Coleman often gets robbed while trying to beat a man and is then caught out of position at the wrong end of the pitch, but no one ever has a go at him about it or writes him off as a liability. He's expected to try and run with it and make things happen, as Ross is, and it can't always come off.

What's wrong with just being a plain, old fashioned, central midfielder anyway? As you say, anyone who witnessed Barkley at youth level will know he has the capacity to control a game from the middle when given the responsibility. He can pass it short or long, can speed up the tempo of a game by driving forward from deeper areas, is physically capable of coming out of his fair share of challenges with the ball, can win it in the air (despite claims to the contrary on this thread) and he has more passing options open to him than just an isolated lone forward surrounded by two or three defenders.

His best performance for the first team to date was probably in the Goodison derby last year, when he dropped back into a more orthodox central midfield role and completely changed the whole complexion of the game. He was involved in everything good that day and provided a glimpse of what he could, and should, ultimately become.

Colin Williams
42 Posted 19/11/2014 at 19:47:57
Ross should always play, every game! Why? This lad has everything! you need to become a great player within the near future. All he needs now is plenty of game time to create momentum within his game which will advance the learning process within his mind.

People who prefere, Naismith or Ossie before Ross in the hole are "barking mad" and donÂ’t know enough about the game! how the feck you can come to that decision, I will never know.

Ossie is just "lucky"to play In premiership never mind take the place of a massive talent like Ross. Naismith is just a work horse and scores the "odd goal," this lad just runs around in circles doing fecking nothing!.. (Last two games) There are many players with "that talent" playing non league.

Said it many times before, until we get rid of players of this weak standard! We will NEVER! win feck all. These too players are only part of a group of players that will always stop us being a top team in premiership.

No, I am not a Ossie and Naismith hater!....Before people get their lame excuses out about these players, they build up as world beaters. Just being realistic about something which is fecking obvious!!

Mark Frere
43 Posted 19/11/2014 at 20:24:20
Mike Oates, I don't think Sam is suggesting Barkley should be playing the conventional holding midfidfield role where he sits in front of the back 4 and protects them. That particular job will be left in the capable hand of Besic.

Barkley will play deeper alongside a holding midfielder, much in the same way Toure plays alongside Fernando at Man City; the same as Dembele (a box to box midfielder) plays alongside Capoue ( a holding midfielder) at Spurs.

Barry and McCarthy are both very defence minded players and in certain games I don't think we need to play both at the same time. Barkley could add something a little more dynamic from playing deeper role.

Wayne Smyth
44 Posted 19/11/2014 at 20:48:14
I'll throw my hat in with Sam's view of things too. Whenever you look at the most impressive stuff Barkley does, it's when he is attacking from deep, and running into space.

At the moment Naismith is actually a better option playing as a supporting striker, because Naismith works harder to close down the opposition and – being vastly more experienced – he currently has more intelligence about where to put himself to cause damage. That will come for Barkley too with matches.

Two defensive midfielders can be excused when we have Coleman and Baines playing at being wingers, but with Baines likely to be out, I can't see Garbutt being as cavalier, or as effective.

Barkley has the frame and ability to play as a box-to-box midfielder, he won't throw himself into tackles like McCarthy, but he will shield the ball and use his strength to win or keep possession.

With the extra space he'll get picking the ball up from deep positions, he can really hurt West Ham. He's a much better choice in there than Osman, who is more disciplined and experienced, but too lightweight.

Seems odd that we've gone from having so many options at centre mid, to scraping the barrel in the space of a couple of weeks! On the plus side, I'm looking forward to Besic getting a sustained run in the side. The Chelsea cameo apart, he's looked very good whenever he's played since.

Trevor Lynes
45 Posted 19/11/2014 at 20:58:02
Barkley is not a good tackler and he would be a liability playing defensive midfield. If Browning is one of the three youngsters that Roberto thinks is ready for the first team then perhaps he will slot in. It will not be a blemish on the manager if the youngsters do not cut it.

Three kids are a lot and I think he will minimise changes and perhaps just have one of them play. Barkley is far better with the ball and I want to see him in the opposing half of the field and run at defenders not just make short passes. His strength is in playing directly and linking up with the wide men.

At present we only have two wide players available unless Mirallas makes a miraculous recovery. McGeady and Atsu are the only players who can play wide. I just hope that Pienaar and Baines make the team as they play well together.

If McCarthy is not fit then we are left with Besic and another from Naismith, Browning, Garbutt if Baines is fit to play or Osman. Garbutt might be worth a try as he has a great left foot and takes very good dead ball kicks. He is fast and is already a defender.

Gavin McGarvey
46 Posted 19/11/2014 at 21:21:24
I'm a bit concerned about the number of injuries in the middle of the pitch. As some have said maybe it's Barkley's chance to come in there and run the show. Easier said than done though if you haven't done it before. Players like Toure and Gerrard have more experience than him in the premier league, and I've only really seen Barkley dominate the pitch in that England Under-21 match (I think it was the 21s)

As for Osman, well you know what you'll get from him, and for that reason he may get the nod. Still, he struggled to play in the centre last season in those first few draws; he'll find it more difficult a year on. Could we move McGeady into the centre with Barkley and Besic? Is there any chance of Mirallas being fit in time to take care of business out wide? Pienaar can play in the centre, but I think in some ways I'd prefer to see Barkley given the chance there.

I'd like to see more of a 4-3-3, with there being three fairly central to counter balance having our two mainstays out. Is there anyone in the frame from the youth set up? At least we're at home, but this will be a difficult match against a West Ham side that made a fairly positive start.

Colin Glassar
47 Posted 19/11/2014 at 22:31:56
Downing, Reid, Sakho and Valencia are all doubtful for the hammers.
Tom Bowers
48 Posted 19/11/2014 at 22:53:50
No! No! No! Surely not Osman as the holding midfielder for Macca?
If RM opts for this then shame on him. He will finally have proved himself as inept as Moyes.

Common sense must prevail if the Blues are going to get some wins at home and climb the table. He cannot be frightened of blooding some young players when the situation arises.

Experience is one thing but not when those players are way past their best and no longer able to last the 90 minutes with reasonable consistency.

Everton have had a rather up and down season so far and any more points dropped, particularly at Goodison, must be translated that the rest of the season will be similar.

Does it not make sense that opportunity knocks for some of the talented youngsters to be given a run out?

Paul Baker
49 Posted 20/11/2014 at 07:38:22
I guess what it could actually mean is Roberto might use a 4-3-3 formation with Besic as an anchoring man and Osman with Barkley partnering him a little further up the pitch (Barcelona-style midfield). Shame Bainesy won't be fit, but again Oviedo might get a nod which is pleasing.

Howard
Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Oviedo
Barkley, Besic, Osman
McGeady, Lukaku, Eto'o (all three interchanging positions)

Mike Oates
50 Posted 20/11/2014 at 15:56:11
We all may be barking up the same tree. I'm totally on board with Barkley being a box-to-box player but when I say I don't see him as a defensive midfielder, I mean in the sense of Barry and to a lesser extent McCarthy covering the back four, either in front or behind or covering for full backs etc.

I do see Barkley as a player who can and should pick the ball up deep and pass, run whatever is on. He's not a tackler, he's not the type who will cover back, he's not a marker, he's a free spirit when on form can turn any game. I think when's he too far forward and he receives a pass with his back to goal he is far less effective than having space to run in.

I still think Martinez will push for a Besic - Osman pair rather than bringing Barkley back in a "defensive role".

On a separate issue, I would be disappointed if Martinez does put Hibbert as left back, when Garbutt surely deserves a chance (even though he gave a terrible goal away with England U21s last week).

Brent Stephens
51 Posted 20/11/2014 at 16:16:14
Mike #50. I would be worried by a Besic / Osman combo in front of the back 4, if that's what's being suggested. I'm the first on here to defend Osman when he gets slated after playing well, but one of his weaknesses is that he gets knocked off the ball too easily – less of a danger in front of Barry and McCarthy, suicidal if he's in their position.
Dan Brierley
52 Posted 20/11/2014 at 16:15:15
Mike, I think Ross is one of the most genuine footballers in our team. With that, I mean he is a footballer in the mould of Rooney, who would play in goal if asked to and could do a job all over the pitch. No prima donna stuff, he will get stuck into anything that is given to him.

If Martinez decides that Leon is more effective in that role than Ross, then there is something seriously wrong.

Brian Harrison
53 Posted 20/11/2014 at 16:45:45
I think its about time Barkley stepped up to the plate, he has shown in brief flashes his potential but nothing sustained over 90 minutes. If he is to be the player we all hope he will become he needs to start running the show, and prove he just isn't another over-hyped teenager.

I watch Sterling and yes his form is up and down which you get from youngsters, but he has also turned in some scintillating performances, but so far I haven't seen that from Ross.

Phil Walling
54 Posted 20/11/2014 at 17:03:59
We can only speculate on what Martinez will do. Over the years you come to realise that even the most adventurous of managers get to be pragmatic when the chips are down.

Moyes certainly did quite early in his reign and there have been signs of it from Roberto as things have got tougher this season.

Perhaps his pick for the Hammers game will show us whether he is the cavalier so many make him out to be or just the same old same old.

Having said that, if we lose, most on here will brand him a clown whomsoever he selects... or wheresoever he plays Ossie!

Patrick Murphy
55 Posted 20/11/2014 at 17:22:38
I agree that pragmatism is the name of the game Phil, and we all understand the reasons why but Roberto must also realise that the fans want to be entertained. It is a tightrope walk that every Everton manager past or present has had to negotiate and it doesn't help when injuries to key players hit hard as they appear to have done at this present moment in time. I hope the fans get behind the team on Saturday regardless of who is selected, it might just make the difference.


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