Sport Soccer

Friday 23 February 2018

Jagielka and Stones out of Everton friendly

Everton's Phil Jagielka, right, and John Stones will miss the first pre-season friendly at Barnsley
Everton's Phil Jagielka, right, and John Stones will miss the first pre-season friendly at Barnsley

Defenders Phil Jagielka and John Stones will miss Everton's first pre-season friendly through injury.

Toffees captain Jagielka struggled with a hamstring problem towards the end of last season but Everton have not specified his current issue or that of Stones, who has been dogged by speculation for several weeks linking him with a move to Manchester City.

However, internationals Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy, Aiden McGeady, Ross Barkley, Ramiro Funes Mori and Shani Tarashaj are all in line to feature for 45 minutes at Barnsley on Saturday after returning to Finch Farm this week to start their pre-season programmes after involvement in the European Championship.

"We have the players back from the Euros and they will play 45 minutes, and that is good because they need to work," new manager Ronald Koeman told evertontv.

"It is always tough against English teams, we need those kind of friendlies to prepare for the Premier League season.

"For them to play a Premier League team is a nice challenge for them to look forward to. It's not always the result that is the most important thing - what you like to see is the team improving technically and physically."

Everton's transfer business this summer has been limited to Fulham goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg.

However, following the arrival of Steve Walsh from Leicester to assume the role of director of football, activity is expected to pick up with the club continuing to pursue Zenit St Petersburg's Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel.

"My expertise is that of recruitment and that is the first point of call as far as that's concerned," said Walsh, who was assistant manager and head of recruitment for the Premier League champions.

"It had to be a massive opportunity (to leave Leicester) and I think that is the case here.

"It is primed and ready to go and hopefully we will be able to achieve the success we had at Leicester.

"The expectation (replicating Leicester's success) doesn't weigh on my shoulders. It took a long time to put the team together at Leicester, it wasn't done overnight.

"I was at Leicester on and off for eight years so it was putting those foundations down and making sure you are bringing the right age and the right attitude of player to buy into what the manager wants to do.

"Mr Koeman certainly knows what he wants and I am going to try and fulfil that with the players that he desires in the positions he wants."

Press Association

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