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What The Papers Say - 10 September

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

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The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.

Liverpool Echo



EVERTON FC officials were today baffled and dismayed by Marouane Fellaini’s reported admission in a Belgian newspaper that he wants to leave next summer.

The 24-year-old is even understood to have said he would be open to departing in January, during a press conference after training with his national side in Anderlecht on Saturday.

Fellaini, who only last November signed a five-year contract which made him Everton’s highest earner on £75,000-per-week, apparently has his heart set on a move despite his current club’s impressive start to the Premier League season.

Last night the player issued a statement on his Facebook page insisting he was happy with the Blues, and would not seek a transfer in January – although he made no further comments about his plans next summer.

“I have started my fifth season at Everton,” Fellaini reportedly told Het Nieuwsblad. “This will be one of my last seasons. I have seen everything.

“In January, or at the end of the season, I will look for another club or league.”

Fellaini also expressed disappointment that his Belgian team-mate Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe had been denied clearance from FIFA to complete a loan move to Everton from Club Brugge.

He added: “Unfortunately, Vadis hasn’t joined us at Everton. Maybe he can come later.”

It is likely David Moyes will ask the midfielder to explain his remarks when he reports back to Finch Farm for training later this week, following Belgium’s clash with Croatia in Brussels on Tuesday.

Fellaini was also reported to have spoken about his preference for a different remit than the attacking role he has been deployed in by the Blues in recent games.

“At Everton I always have to play as a number 10,” he added in the press conference with Belgian football reporters.

“It has worked out and I have no problem with it but it is not really my game. With the national team I play as a number eight, box to box midfielder and that is a position that suits me.”

Fellaini has enjoyed an impressive start to the new Premier League season, scoring twice in three appearances.

Speculation has previously arisen linking the former Standard Liege player with moves to Chelsea and Real Madrid, but retaining his services this summer has contributed to the upbeat mood around Everton so far this term.

Fellaini referred to that positive mood in his Facebook statement. He wrote: “I was very surprised to read in some newspapers that I will leave Everton very soon and perhaps next January.

“Let me remind you that I am very happy in Liverpool and our start of the championship was good. Kevin Mirallas and some other good players joined us to make a better squad.

“So with Everton, I am ready to play all the season and to reach our goals of this season.”

Meanwhile, Everton will seek legal advice before deciding whether to appeal against FIFA’s decision on Friday not to allow their loan move for Odjidja-Ofoe to go ahead.

Liverpool Echo


THE TIMING was baffling - the words deeply disappointing.

When Marouane Fellaini told journalists in Anderlecht on Saturday that he wants to leave Everton FC in the summer or even in January, he was naive in the extreme if he thought his comments would not find their way back to Merseyside.

What a way to dent the feel-good factor which has built up around Everton in recent weeks, since Fellaini himself helped the Toffees start their season with a scintillating victory over Manchester United.

Most perplexing is why the 24-year-old decided to go public with his intentions now?

The transfer window has just closed and for the best part of 16 weeks at least he will be an Everton player.

If he is set on engineering a move away from Goodison to a supposedly bigger club such things can be done discreetly, patiently, and not via the media when the ramifications can be damaging for morale.

Evertonians are not stupid. They have watched the towering midfielder at his finest and realised it is likely he will leave eventually to play Champions League football if that goal cannot be achieved on Merseyside.

His growing emergence as a main-stay for an impressive Belgian team, coupled with his knack for thriving in high-profile games (but not always in less demanding fixtures) has earned him a deservedly glowing reputation.

But this is a young man who only last November signed a five year contract to make him Everton’s highest-paid player on £75,000 per-week.

That alone should prompt more respect to his current employers.

Added to that of course is the prospect of genuine success for David Moyes’ side this season, when they arguably have their strongest team yet during his reign - with Fellaini a major part of it.

Perhaps he will deny saying what Het Nieuwsblad have reported him as saying. Perhaps the well-worn ‘misquoted’ line will be proffered in mitigation.

But either way the timing of this seemingly candid admission is almost inexplicable.

And David Moyes - who showed with Mikel Arteta last summer that he is not in the business of preventing restless players from chasing their dreams elsewhere - may have two messages for his £15m signing at Finch Farm later this week.

Firstly, perhaps to stick with him and see what can be achieved this term before making his mind-up.

And secondly to keep his mouth shut in future.

Liverpool Echo


FINISHING above Liverpool FC in the Premier League last season might have left some Evertonians satisfied, but it left Phil Neville feeling empty.

While the Everton FC skipper realises that Everton’s seventh place finish secured those all-important bragging rights in some respects, he still feels there should perhaps be more ambition on the blue half of Merseyside.

Many 35-year-olds might be secretly happy just to be keeping retirement at bay while playing in the top flight, but not Neville.

Neither is the former England international content with aiming for a top six finish. Instead he is hungry for more.

“It's something that rankles with me, something I've not bought into at all,” he says. “If one team finishes seventh and the other is eighth, you get the bragging rights but with nothing to show for it.

“Liverpool have been so successful over the years and Everton have to had to swallow it. I totally understand that and I can relate to Evertonians when it comes to derby day, but how great it would be if we actually won a trophy. I'm not sure Liverpool have the same outlook. They probably look at the bigger picture, they want to win the League, the FA Cup and the League Cup, and that's the mentality we should have. Last year Kenny Dalglish won the Carling Cup and got the sack, so it shows what the expectations are.”

Neville was able to ponder his dreams for this season during the weekend, with the pause for the international break providing time for reflection.

One thing’s for sure – he isn’t ready to even consider hanging up his boots.

“I want to keep playing for as long as I can,” he says.

“At least one more year at the top level if I can. I still have ambitions. For instance, I've always wanted to sample playing abroad, a different culture and different life-experience for all the family. Time's running out, I know, and if the gaffer comes to me in January and wants me to stay another year then the decision's made for me.”

If Neville is offered a further year-long contract extension it would mean a ninth season at Goodison, and a chance to continue trying to exorcise some lingering demons.

The time at Everton FC he has been closest to winning a trophy on Merseyside was in the 2009 FA Cup, and the 2-1 defeat by Chelsea continues to hurt.

“The cup final defeat was my lowest time at the club,” he says. “It was when I questioned myself all summer as to whether as captain I was good enough to win something with Everton, because we had probably the best team I've played in here.

“We'd beaten Liverpool, Villa, Middlesbrough and Man United and it was like being in the big time again, living on the edge with the sort of pressure I love. But the final was just one game too many.”

A fresh season means Everton have two potential opportunities to win a trophy again however, and it remains Neville’s burning ambition at a club which sometimes has to temper its own targets.

“Finishing fifth or sixth for us is almost like winning the League. Getting into the Champions' League is almost a miracle. So it's an unbelievable achievement to finish in the places that we do,” he says.

“But the worst bit for me is at the end of the season when we finish fifth or sixth or seventh and there's a real sense of satisfaction round the club. But for me success is winning trophies and medals.

“Finishing in that position gives me a sense of achievement but there's still an emptiness inside me because we haven't got anything to show for it. If I leave Everton at the end of my time and haven't got a medal then as captain I'd see that for myself as a failure.

“As I say, finishing fifth is like winning the League and yet it gripes me all summer.”

Liverpool Echo


EVERTON’S strong start to the season so far has been built on a summer of stability, something Phil Neville has gone on record to call for in previous years.

And while Marouane Fellaini’s long-term future may be subject to further speculation, the Belgian’s presence still gives Neville hope that the Blues can repeat their opening game upset against Manchester United when the other top four clubs come to L4.

“When he joined us he wanted to be a defensive midfielder, but with his sheer size and physicality in a free role he’s been at times unplayable,” he says.

“Steven Pienaar’s back and he’s been a shining light, the one that gives us a bit of real quality.”

After that triumphant evening in August when Alex Ferguson’s side were left reeling, Neville was interviewed live on Sky by his older brother Gary.

The more senior Neville continues to impress with his new roles in coaching and TV punditry, a post-football career path for which his younger sibling also seems tailor-made.

Not yet though, insists Neville, who is under contract with Everton until next May and wants to keep his focus on the pitch.

“People think you’re preparing for retirement and start looking at you differently, but I want people still to look at me as a player,” he adds.

“I’ve always had long contracts in the past and coming to the last year you can be fearful, but I’m quite excited.

“The three days I had with the Under-21s were, well, life-changing. I really got the bug. My strength has always been in professionalism and preparation, and coaching is just an extension of that. It gave me a real insight into what I want to do.

“I’ve got my A licence now, I go to games and study methods and read a lot. I’ve always been into the fitness side, my [twin] sister’s a conditioning coach so I tap into that. I’m a long way short of being a coach or manager but I’m trying to learn all aspects of it. I think some managers go into it under-prepared, and I don’t want to be one of those.”

Daily Mirror



Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini claims he could leave the club as soon as the next transfer window despite being under contract for the next four years.

The Belgium international has been the driving force behind Everton's strong start to the Premier League season, and scored the only goal in the victory against Manchester United in their opening fixture.

The 24-year-old appeared committed to manager David Moyes' plans after penning a new contract through to 2016 in November last year, but Fellaini said he was now looking for a way out of Goodison Park.

"I am just starting my fifth season at Everton, this will be one of my last," he said.

"I have seen everything. In January or at the end of the season I will turn to another club or championship."

Fellaini joined Everton in a £15million move from Standard Liege in 2008 and has scored 22 goals in 130 appearances for the Merseyside club.

The Sun



MAROUANE FELLAINI has admitted he is coming to the end of his Everton career.

The Belgian midfielder, 24, is under contract for the next four seasons at Goodison Park.

But he said: “I am just starting my fifth season at Everton, this will be one of my last.

“I have seen everything. In January or at the end of the season I will turn to another club or championship.”

Fellaini joined Everton in a £15million move from Standard Liege in 2008.

He has scored 22 goals in 130 appearances for the Merseyside club.

The Independent



The Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini claims he could leave the club in January, despite being under contract for the next four years.

The Belgium international, who has scored 22 goals in 130 appearances at the Mersey-side club, has been the driving force behind Everton's strong start to the new league season and scored the only goal in the victory against Manchester United in their opening fixture.

The 24-year-old appeared committed to David Moyes' plans after he signed a new contract through to 2016 as recently as November, but speaking to a Belgian newspaper, Fellaini said he was now looking for a way out of Goodison Park.

"I am just starting my fifth season at Everton. This will be one of my last," Fellaini (pictured) said.

"I have seen everything. In January or at the end of the season I will turn to another club or championship."

The midfielder, who was born in Belgium to Moroccan parents, was linked with a move to Old Trafford last summer after Moyes admitted that the sale of midfielder Mikel Arteta to Arsenal could act as a catalyst for the club to lose a player they paid £15m to bring from Standard Liège four years ago.

The Independent



John Terry is out of England's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine tomorrow with an ankle problem, making it a total of 11 players now lost to injury by Roy Hodgson in this international break.

The England squad is well stocked for centre-backs and there is a good chance that Phil Jagielka will get the nod ahead of Gary Cahill tomorrow because of the understanding that he and Joleon Lescott developed playing together at Everton. There are no plans to replace Terry at this late stage and he has gone back to Chelsea to continue treatment.

His club face Queen's Park Rangers at Loftus Road on Saturday, a game which is not insignificant given the allegations that came out of the fixture last year that Terry had racially abused Anton Ferdinand. He was cleared of the offence in a magistrates' court in July but still faces a Football Association charge over the incident.

Terry's injury is not thought to be severe, although he is a doubt for Saturday's game. He joins club-mate Ashley Cole as well as Adam Johnson and Andy Carroll as players who have withdrawn from Hodgson's current 24-man squad. The England manager was already without Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Jack Wilshere, Gareth Barry and Scott Parker when he selected the group for the first two World Cup qualifiers.

Terry picked up the ankle injury in the first half of the game against Moldova on Friday and Hodgson and his medical staff were aware of it at half-time of the match in Chisinau. By the time he landed awkwardly on the ankle in the second half, England had used up all their substitutions. Hodgson offered Terry the chance to come off with 20 minutes left but the defender rejected the suggestion.

Hodgson said on Friday: "I'd have liked to have taken him off, and we did suggest we'd play with 10. He's a warrior, though, so he pooh-poohed the suggestion he should come off with 20 minutes to go. He took a kick on the ankle in the first half and then twisted it slightly when he landed in front of the bench in the second half."

The FA has sold 61,000 tickets so far for tomorrow's Ukraine game at Wembley and is cautiously optimistic that interest in the next 36 hours will push the crowd closer to 70,000. Around 5,000 Games Makers from the London 2012 Olympics have taken up the offer to buy discounted tickets for £20.12.

There is also expected to be a significant number of Olympic medallists paraded on the pitch at half-time during the match. So far 15 have taken up the offer, including judo under-78kg silver medallist Gemma Gibbons and shooting's double trap gold medallist Peter Wilson, although there could be more following today's parade in London.

Having scored his first international goal in 32 caps on Friday night against Moldova, James Milner said yesterday that he hoped he would add a goalscoring dimension to his game, although he pointed out that he has been at his best in front of goal when played in his preferred central position.

"I am definitely capable of scoring more goals and that is something I obviously want to add," Milner said. "It wasn't really bothering me [not having scored] but I think I had done everything else, hit the side-netting, and inside the posts and keepers had pulled off good saves as well. It is one of those things. Hopefully now I have got that first one there will be a few more."

Daily Express (new)



MAROUANE FELLAINI claims he could leave Everton as soon as the next transfer window, despite being under contract for the next four years.

The Belgium midfielder has been the driving force behind Everton’s strong start to the Premier League season, scoring the only goal in the victory against Manchester United in their opening fixture.

The 24-year-old appeared committed to Everton manager David Moyes’ plans after penning a new contract through to 2016 as recently as last November, but yesterday Fellaini admitted he is now looking for a way out of Goodison Park.

“I am just starting my fifth season at Everton, but this will be one of my last,” he said.

“I have seen everything. In January or at the end of the season I will turn to another club or championship.”

Fellaini joined Everton in a £15million move from Standard Liege in 2008 and has scored 22 goals in 130 appearances for the Merseyside club.

Daily Mail



Everton star Marouane Fellaini has dropped a bombshell by claiming that this season will be his last at Goodison Park.

The all-action Belgian has emerged as one of the best midfielders in the Premier League since his £15million move from Standard Liege in 2008, and he has started the season in blistering form.

But, speaking to a newspaper in his homeland, the 24-year-old has revealed that he wants to leave the club at the end of this season, or perhaps even during the January transfer window.

'I am just starting my fifth season at Everton, this will be one of my last. I have seen everything. In January or at the end of the season I will turn to another club or championship,' Fellaini is quote as saying in Het Nieuwsblad.

Fellaini is contracted to the Toffees until 2016 but, as displayed by the recent sale of Jack Rodwell to Manchester City, manager David Moyes would be willing to cash in should a significant profit be made from the transfer.

Chelsea have been consistently linked with the 35-cap international over the last few years, while Real Madrid were also tracking Fellaini in the summer and could be tempted to make a move.

Fellaini later took to Twitter to clarify his statement:

He wrote: 'Guys, just want to remind you that I'm very happy in Everton and now very concentrated for national team game! Thanks.'

Daily Mail



Steven Naismith could face retrospective punishment for an apparent off-the-ball elbow on Serbia's Srdan Mijailovic in Scotland's goalless home draw on Saturday.

But Serbia boss Sinisa Mihajlovic refused to be drawn on the incident, saying only: 'This is football, not ballet.'


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