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Injury crisis an opportunity for Everton youngsters

Who among Holgate, Pennington and Kenny will get the call Sunday?

Manchester United v Everton - Premier League
Mason Holgate and Matthew Pennington
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Everton are facing a full-blown injury crisis in their defence, with Ashley Williams suspended for the Leicester City game on Sunday, and Ramiro Funes Mori and Seamus Coleman recovering after surgery from serious injuries. Club captain Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines are the only regulars still available to play.

Speaking today about the situation, manager Ronald Koeman said -

“The suspension of Ashley means there’s another problem we need to solve. We have Matthew Pennington, Jonjoe Kenny and Mason Holgate (as options) and it’s a decision we will make on Saturday.

“It’s an opportunity for young players to show their qualities, if they are on the level of their first team. To get experience you need to play and get minutes.”

On Kenny and central midfielder Joe Williams, who was in the squad that faced Manchester United midweek, he said –

“They are young players. That’s the reason why we use them in our training sessions as it makes the step into the first team easier.

“We had seven players aged 22 or under in our squad on Tuesday. That’s all about the injuries we have but it’s a good sign, good for the future of the young boys.

“It’s maybe too many at this time but it shows we have some good young talents coming through the Academy.”

Koeman knows the game on Sunday will be a challenge against the Foxes who are experiencing a resurgence with six straight wins. The Blues themselves have the same number of consecutive wins at Goodison Park this year.

“We face a strong Leicester team this weekend because they are back to how they were playing last year.

“It’s difficult to understand why the team now is so different to before they sacked their manager but the team now is like last season and the confidence they have. They still need some points to stay in the Premier League and everyone knows they are still in the Champions League. They have momentum but so have we at home and that’s what we want to keep on Sunday.

“I’m sure if we get six points from the next two home games then we can really fight the team in fifth place, and that starts for us on Sunday.”