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What The Papers Say - 8 July

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Everton v QPR
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The Mirror

 

 

Andy Lonergan wants to sign for Everton after snubbing a move to Leeds.

The Preston keeper had the choice of being the No.1 at Elland Road, but has opted to be a squad man for his former Deepdale boss David Moyes.

Lonergan, 27, will cost Everton around £200,000.

Daily Post

 

 

FIT-AGAIN striker Louis Saha says his passion for playing remains the motivation to keep on coming back from the injuries that have dogged his career.

The French international, who turns 33 next month, has not kicked a ball since March when he limped off against another former club Fulham with an ankle injury but he is now raring to go.

He said: "You are always really down the first few days when you get injured but after that the passion comes back and you are like a kid again, you just want to be out kicking the ball.

"It is that passion that keeps you going and makes you come back."

Saha reckons he is about 10 days away from returning to full training and will be available to play a part in the club's six pre-season fixtures.

He is currently being put through a programme of running and cycling as he ups his fitness and strengthens the ankle he damaged last season.

The next step is full contact training and he said: "I am feeling really good and it is nice to be back with the boys and we are all smiling and working very hard.

"I was up walking during the summer and now I am able to go out and train with the team and try and make sure we are all ready for the new season.

"I am not doing the full training with the boys just yet but I think I should be able to in about 10 days. That will be really good as my injury was quite a serious one - I am just really enjoying being back involved."

While his team-mates did ball work on Wednesday for a two-hour session of intensive drills, Saha worked on sprinting before mounting a bike and powering around the track circling the pitch.

But like the rest of the squad the Parisian banked some invaluable fitness, and he believes that if there is a good time to rehab, then it is in pre-season.

He said: "It is perfect coming back from an injury at this time because you can get the same workout as the rest of the boys. That is what gives you the strength and fitness you need to sustain your level in the season.

"Pre-season here is harder than anywhere else I have been but it is not just about having the level where you are ready to play, it is about having the level where you can fight for the team. The manager wants to see that and is always testing the players' ability."

Liverpool Echo

 

 

TONY HIBBERT is refusing to set himself a goal target for next season - as long as he carries on saving goals at the other end.

The Blues defender has made 273 appearances for the club - and famously scored no goals - but insists he would be happy for that drought to continue if he is still doing his primary job well.

"I'm honestly not bothered about scoring," he said.

"I'm a defender and when I think about the amount of times I've saved a goal, I must have cleared about 100 goalbound shots off the line in my career. No-one ever talks about them!

"Not having scored a goal really doesn't bother me."

There have been times, however, when Hibbert has gone close.

And the closest he has come to breaking that deadlock has been, surprisingly, against neighbours Liverpool.

Kevin Ratcliffe, the most successful captain in Everton's history, only scored twice in his Goodison career - and one of those came in an Anfield derby match.

Hibbert can vividly recall the times he almost followed suit.

"The closest I've come was in derby matches," he added.

"One fell to me on the edge of the penalty area and I didn't half catch it sweet. It went straight at Pepe Reina but if I'd slightly mishit it, maybe shanked it, it would have flown in either side of him.

"Then there was a header at Goodison against Liverpool. I'd come on as a sub and when I connected I thought ‘this is going in!'

"But it wasn't to be.

"I'm obviously saving it up for a derby match! I honestly have no idea what I'd do if I do score. People always ask me if I've got a celebration lined up and I haven't. I'd probably just look out for Ossie (Leon Osman) and I think he would probably be more excited than me."

Team-mate Louis Saha, is no stranger to goal celebrations - and while he is out in Austria with with Hibbert at the Blues pre-season training camp he is still 10 days away from taking part in full training.

But he admits he is relishing the pre-season schedule as he currently undergoes a programme of running and cycling.

Saha's season ended last March when he injured his ankle against Fulham, but he explained: "I am not doing the full training with the boys just yet but I think I should be able to in about 10 days.

"That will be really good as my injury was quite a serious one - I am just really enjoying being back involved.

"You are always really down the first few days when you get injured but after that the passion comes back and you are like a kid again, you just want to be out kicking the ball. It is that passion that keeps you going and makes you come back."

He added: "It is perfect coming back from an injury at this time because you can get the same workout as the rest of the boys. That is what gives you the strength and fitness you need to sustain your level in the season.

"Pre-season here is harder than anywhere else I have been but it is not just about having the level where you are ready to play, it is about having the level where you can fight for the team.

"The manager wants to see that and is always testing the players' abilityDaily Post

 

 

EVERTON captain Phil Neville is targeting a return to European competition next season.

Neville, 34, joined the club in 2005 after they had secured a place in the Champions League qualifiers and also represented the Goodison Park outfit in continental combat during the 2007/08, 2009/09 and 2009/10 campaigns on the back of sixth, fifth and fifth place finishes in the Premier League.

Despite recovering from a slow start to last season to secure seventh spot - one place higher than the previous campaign - Everton will now be without European football for a second consecutive year.

However, Neville, currently at Everton's pre-season training camp in Austria, is optimistic about his team-mates' chances of getting back in next season.

He said: "We finished seventh last term when everyone thought we were average.

"My aim this season is to get Everton back into Europe."The Daily Star

 

 

EVERTON crock Louis Saha says he is on the verge of coming back stronger than ever.

‘Sicknote' Saha's career has been hampered with a succession of injuries and last season ended with him being carried off against Fulham in March.

But the urge to prove his doubters wrong and get scoring for the Toffees is now driving him on.

And although he is not yet back in full training following his ankle complaint, he insists he is going to be a force to be reckoned with next term.

He said: "I am feeling really good and it is nice to be back with the boys and we are all smiling and working very hard.

"I was up walking during the summer and now I am able to go out and train with the team and try and make sure we are all ready for the new season.

"I am not doing full training with the boys just yet but I think I should be able to in about 10 days.

"That will be really good as my injury was quite a serious one.
           
"You are always really down the first few days when you get injured but after that the passion comes back and you are like a kid again, you just want to be out kicking the ball. It is that passion that keeps you going."

And Saha reckons boss David Moyes cracks the whip on his pre-season players worse than any other Premier boss.

He added: "Pre-season here is harder than anywhere else I have been. But it is not just about having the level where you are ready to play, it is about having the level where you can fight for the team."

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