Ronald Koeman was grilled by the press in his pre-match comments ahead of Everton’s trip to Middlesbrough about the future of Romelu Lukaku as well as his own links to Barcelona.
But in between all that, he was also asked about the speculation surrounding the future of midfielder James McCarthy. His name came up multiple times leading to and during the January transfer window, but Everton rebuffed any approaches for the player.
“All of that speculation is just that, speculation. From the beginning he has been an Everton player, and I did not change my mind.
“He was not fit in the beginning and that’s why he could not show his qualities.
“The situation is no different now than it was, he was never on the list to leave Everton. All the rumours are in the press but not inside (the club).”
Was the Arsenal game a turning point for the player?
“It starts always with the fitness of the player and he had a difficult time.
“He’s working hard to get to the fitness required to play at the high level of the Premier League.
“He has showed when his fitness is good he is an important player. Most of the time he starts games. As a player, that is the best you can show yourself to a manager, when you get to start.”