Koeman welcomes competition for places

Friday 3 February 2017  10 Comments  [Jump to last]

Ronald Koeman has expressed his satisfaction with the state of his Everton squad, one that is now leaner but has plenty of competition for places and opportunity for involvement for the players.

The Blues brought just two players in at senior level during the January transfer window but saw a number of departures by players who were on the fringes of the first team.

The manager was asked during his press conference ahead of tomorrow's game against Bournemouth if he was happy with the business done during the window.

“Very satisfied,” he confirmed. “First of all we had some players without any good future to get good game time [at Everton] and they are now away from the club because they want to play more.

“I think that's good because that is always the ambition of a football player.

“We have a smaller squad at the moment but enough numbers to compete and to have competition.

“It's a little different spirit now because all of them have opportunities to play, to start, to be on the bench and that's good for the spirit of the team— that everyone's involved.”

Nowhere is competition fiercer than in midfield which was has seen Tom Davies emerge as a player capable of playing week in, week out at the highest level and also been bolstered by the arrival of Morgan Schneiderlin.

That pairing started in the middle against Stoke on Wednesday evening and was augmented by James McCarthy off the bench in the second half, while Gareth Barry was an unused substitute.

Added to that contingent once again this weekend will be Idrissa Gueye who is available again following a month away on Africa Cup of Nations duty. Koeman acknowledged how important the Senegalese was to the team prior to his departure but also highlighted how difficult it could be for him to get back in the side now.

“Gana played in the Africa Cup and was one of the key players [for Everton] before that,” the Dutchman explained.

“He has seen some new faces [come into] the team and everybody knows at the moment we have five really good midfield players.

“It's always a tough decision for the manager. I like to have it and [it means] now I can really look at the details of what we need for tomorrow for example and to put the best midfield on the pitch.”

Koeman's selection dilemma in that area of the pitch is set to get even more difficult in the coming weeks, too, as Muhamed Besic approaches the end of his long rehabilitation from a ruptured anterior cruciate knee ligament.

“Mo is doing well,” Koeman said. “I think in two weeks he can be involved in parts of the training sessions.

“He is working hard and I appreciate what he is doing, how he is acting and his behaviour trying to come back as soon as possible.”


Reader Comments (10)

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Alan Humphreys
1 Posted 03/02/2017 at 16:19:16
Competition for places everywhere but up front and it shows.
Christy Ring
2 Posted 03/02/2017 at 16:28:49
He needs to add a keeper, centre-back, left-back and striker in the summer, for competition in all positions.
Liam Reilly
3 Posted 03/02/2017 at 16:41:21
That's a lot less than it was in the Summer Christy. The reconstrunction is slow but its happening.

I also see on 365 that we are the 4th best 'Pressing' team in the league. But for RK that is not good enough and he wants to be # 1.

How sweet is it to hear that.

Will Mabon
5 Posted 03/02/2017 at 18:24:29
"Pressing" is not exactly a method available only to the skilled. It's gone from flavour of the month early season to just about the only tactical thing anyone discusses lately. I mean across the board not just at our club. Pressing stats now.

Soon enough every team will be at it to an advanced level, as we pass another milestone along the path to football as an essentially aerobic pursuit – with the "Players" to suit. Would appreciate development/hearing of some other tactics now and again, myself.

Koeman also needs to dour back up a bit. Far too happy lately, and all that smiling, he might strain his face.

Brent Stephens
6 Posted 03/02/2017 at 18:36:25
Will (#5). Good point about "pressing". I always feel that the pressing game is less effective if you have players who are comfortable on the ball (Hazard, say, as opposed to Jags, say) and have good decision-making skills (insert your own name, as opposed to Stones).

"Would appreciate development/hearing of some other tactics now and again, myself". Would love to oblige but I have a"pressing" appointment!

"Koeman also needs to dour back up a bit. Far too happy lately, and all that smiling, he might strain his face". Nice one.

Dermot Byrne
7 Posted 03/02/2017 at 18:52:11
Good players can play in different positions. The competition may be more than our narrow categorisation suggests.
Lev Vellene
8 Posted 03/02/2017 at 19:48:10
Well, Stoke showed us some of our old 'long-ball and dogs of war' approach quite recently (...), so although there is also pressing involved there, pressing is not a tactic unto itself!

As for playing with a slim squad, with the supposed addition of U23 players as needed, I was initially skeptic. But even if I'm not to familiar with the U23 team, there were several noteworthy names that did not go out on loan. So I hope that will suffice for our needs, as I would expect that teams had inquired about them first, but then was rebuffed without it being reported to the general public.

But yes, we really need to get in serious competition/backups for Baines and Coleman before next season.

Stephen Williams
9 Posted 03/02/2017 at 20:27:11
Victor Jones (4) – more like Victor Meldrew!

Cheer up lad, you never know, you might even like it!

We are clearly a work in progress that Koeman is determined to keep moving forward. We are barely 6 months into the new regime but already we are so much better and competitive.

I know we've had years of 'jam tomorrow' but let's show a bit of patience and perspective and I'm convinced that in time we'll be well rewarded.

Craig McFarlane
10 Posted 03/02/2017 at 23:27:45
I don't agree that cover for Baines and Coleman should be a priority this summer since we'll have Connolly, Browning and Galloway back in the squad. Possibly Garbutt too if he can get back to the form he showed when deputising for the injured Baines.
Drew O'Neall
11 Posted 04/02/2017 at 00:12:06
The idea we should be shopping for 'cover' for anyone is preposterous.

We're not champions of Europe, we're 7th in the Premier League.

We need better players than we have, starting in the weakest positions; GK, CB, FB, AMF and CF.

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