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Wayne Rooney among those left out of Everton squad for Lyon tie

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Unsworth says he wants to “freshen up” his selection for Europa League tie

Everton FC v Apollon Limassol - UEFA Europa League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

David Unsworth has confirmed Wayne Rooney, Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka have been left out of the travelling squad for their Europa League tie against Lyon.

The Toffees have arrived in France ahead of Thursday’s Group E match, which Everton have to win if they are to have any chance of reaching the knockout stages.

With a crucial game against Watford in the Premier League also to come on Sunday, Unsworth has chosen to rest three of his most experienced (also read=old) players.

Speaking at the Groupama Stadium in his pre-match press conference, Unsworth said:

“We wanted to freshen it up, with one eye on Sunday as well. Those lads have played a lot of games.

“It's a great opportunity for some of our lads and a chance for them to give me a [selection] problem ahead of Sunday.”

Unsworth also confirmed Ashley Williams will captain the side in France in the absence of the Jags, Baines and Rooney.

Michael Keane misses out as he continues his recovery from an infection, meaning Academy defender Morgan Feeney has stepped up in his place.

When asked about the inclusion of 18-year-old defender Feeney, Unsworth said:

“He's there on merit because he's been outstanding. We're a little bit short in that area. He'll be involved, but it'll probably be from the bench.”

Despite travelling to France with what looks like a makeshift defence against the strongest team in the group, Unsworth insists he is not conceding the match in order to focus on Sunday.

“I want to win the game. We've got an uphill task but it's not impossible. I certainly want to go for it tomorrow and win the game.

“We're absolutely focused on winning the game. It's a great opportunity for our lads to come to a great stadium against a great team and win a game of football.

“I can assure you we will give it everything to win the game.”