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Manager talks about Everton squad

Injury updates, and starting spots up for grabs

Barnsley v Everton: Pre-Season Friendly
Ronald Koeman

Everton manager Ronald Koeman updated the squad status ahead of Saturday’s Premier League game at Crystal Palace. He fielded various questions from the media during the press conference, but zeroed in on some topics like injury updates, competition for starting spots, and expectations on youngsters in the squad.

On the subject of the last game, a 4-0 drubbing at Goodison Park of Manchester City -

“I was impressed by the whole team last weekend. We did a really good job, and we have some positions in the team with a little more competition than other positions. That’s the kind of decisions we need to make for the weekend.

“We have new signings like Morgan and Lookman, and we have players back from injury like James McCarthy, and we have the competition for the (starting) goalkeeper. That’s what you want as a manager, and after that you have to make decisions.

“That’s the first thing I mention to the players.”

On the higher level of competition in the squad -

“In several positions yes, with the new signings and the improved development from the young players in the squad. It makes it difficult for other players not really involved with the team.

“At the moment we have a strong squad and that is what we need.”

On the injury status of various players -

“The situation is a little similar to last week. The same long-term injuries for Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Muhamed Besic, and Yannick Bolasie. Leighton Baines is struggling a bit with a rib injury, but he will be available for the weekend.

Maarten Stekelenburg is fully fit. I won’t say anything (about who will start). Last week he was not 100% to start the game, yes now he is a 100%, but that is a decision I have to take.”

On Tom Davies being in the spotlight after his wonderful goal last weekend -

“I hope good. It’s only one game, he’s only really been involved for three weeks. He needs to deal with that attention, I think it’s positive. He’s a young player who took his chance in the first team.

“As the manager and the rest of the coaching staff, we need to deal with that situation with the young players. Even with Lookman and all the attention after he got his first goal, we need to keep their feet on the ground and that’s the most important thing.

If the young players are not really that focused on the game because they think they are the big men now at Everton, we will take care of that and bring them back to the ground.”