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STEVEN PIENAAR has joined Everton FC team-mate Darron Gibson on the international sidelines.
But Blues officials have described the decision by the South Africa skipper to withdraw from his country’s friendly matches against Brazil and Mozambique with a thigh strain as ‘precautionary’.
Pienaar completed the 90 minutes of Everton’s 2-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion but will miss the trip to Sao Paulo on Friday and then the clash with Mozambique in Nelspruit, South Africa the following Tuesday.
Everton’s next game is against Newcastle United on Monday, September 17.
Midfielder Gibson is also nursing a thigh strain, although his problem is more concerning after the Irishman was forced to limp off just 20 minutes into the Hawthorns match.
The pair will both receive treatment at Finch Farm.
But Gibson’s international exile has nothing to do with his injury.
The Everton midfielder refused to take part in this Friday’s qualifier in Kazakhstan, and the friendly that follows against Oman four days later, as he is still suffering from the disappointment of being completely overlooked during Euro 2012.
Gibson has put in a series of fine displays since moving to Everton in January, but the former Manchester United man was left disillusioned when he did not make it off the bench during Euro 2012.
Trapattoni said yesterday that he respects Gibson’s decision, but also insisted that the Republic will be able to cope fine without him should his self-imposed exile continue.
“In the past we were frightened about missing players, but now we already have a squad,” Trapattoni said. “He can think about it or we go with other players. We have David Meyler, Marc Wilson, then there is Glenn Whelan, James McCarthy.
"All can play (in midfield), and coming back we also have (Keith) Andrews.
“When we come here, if there are players who are not coming, we build the other team.
“We have been watching also new players, maybe we will discover a new Irish player. He has to decide whether he wants to play or not.”
Leighton Baines, meanwhile, is set to win his 10th England cap after Ashley Cole was ruled out of England’s World Cup qualifier with Moldova.
England boss Roy Hodgson has named three left-backs in his 24 man squad for Friday’s clash, including Chelsea’s Ryan Bertrand, but Baines will be favourite to step in.
KILMARNOCK boss Kenny Shiels claimed Everton FC had “pickled” the mind of talented young teenage winger Matthew Kennedy.
A series of excited tweets, however, seem to show that the 17-year-old starlet is loving the adventure of his move to Merseyside after signing for the Blues on transfer deadline day for £250,000.
And he can’t wait to get started at Finch Farm and follow in the footsteps of compatriots like Steven Naismith.
Pictured in the back of a car holding up his Everton shirt, a cut-price copy of the DVD ‘Big Match Revisited – Everton’ at his feet, he declared: “Y’all know what this is #livingthedream.”
After a series of welcoming messages from fans he added: “Moving To Liverpool Tomorrow #EvertonBound #scousers” and “Buzzin to see what the cracks like in Liverpool.. #everton.”
Naismith’s arrival at Goodison earlier in the summer is particularly timely for the youngster, with both players having started their development at Rugby Park, home of Kilmarnock.
“It feels brilliant to be an Everton player because it’s a massive, massive team,” he said.
“Obviously I’ve followed in Naismith’s footsteps. He started at Kilmarnock as well so it’s good for myself to follow in his footsteps.
“I’ve watched him since I was a young boy, since I was about 10. I’ve always watched him and I think he’s brilliant.
“I can’t wait to move down and get started now.”
Like Naismith, Kennedy is a wide player, but a spate of injuries at Kilmarnock saw him forced into an auxiliary striker’s role and he flourished with a series of impressive pre-season performances earning him a place in Killie’s Scottish Premier League line-up for the start of the new season.
“I’m an attacking player and I like to take players on,” said Kennedy. “I can lose the ball at times but I like to take players on and create a lot of chances.
“I got my opportunity as a striker because of injuries but the gaffer said I took my chance. I was the top scorer in pre-season for Kilmarnock so that was brilliant.
“Now obviously I’ve come here and it’s not just Scousers and English lads, there are people from back home who can support me and bring me on as a player.”
After returning to Scotland following his transfer on Friday, Kennedy arrived back on Merseyside yesterday but was not pitched straight into Alan Stubbs’ under-21s side for last night’s game at Arsenal.
Instead, the youngster was given more time to settle and put a whirlwind week behind him.
He added: “I first found out before pre-season (about Everton’s interest) but it was nothing serious. It wasn’t until the last week that there’s been more and more interest.
“I got up on Friday morning, went to training, didn’t know what was going on, didn’t think I was going to be an Everton player by the end of the day. But it’s brilliant for myself to get it over and done with and I can’t wait to get started now.”
JOHN HEITINGA has had a pop at David Moyes for leaving him out of the team — and warned the Everton boss he expects a swift first-team recall.
The Dutch defender, voted the Toffees’ player of last season, has yet to start a Premier League game this term.
Centre-back Heitinga hit out as he prepared for Holland’s clash with Turkey on Friday.
He said: “I’ve felt better reporting for international duty. The Everton boss’ decisions feels bad.
“It’s a bullet I must bite every year. I was also left out for most of our early games in the two previous seasons.
“But I was soon in the side. I don’t expect to wait long to get into the starting line-up.”