The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.
EVERTON will not be lulled into a false sense of security at Elland Road tonight despite Leeds United boss Neil Warnock claiming his side will struggle against them in the Capital One Cup.
The colourful former QPR and Sheffield United manager insists the Blues are overwhelming favourites against his injury-hit outfit, but Everton assistant boss Steve Round has laughed off his remarks.
The Toffees are likely to make only a few changes from the side which impressively defeated Swansea on Saturday, with David Moyes targeting success in the League Cup as a priority.
“I can’t see a dull game. I just hope we don’t get a pummelling,” said Warnock. “Everton would be very, very high on the list of potential favourites for this competition. Teams like them and Newcastle have a great chance of winning it.
“I spoke to David early doors because I was after one of their players at the time. I said, ‘it is a fabulous tie’. I wasn’t surprised it was picked for television. The atmosphere at Elland Road and the players they have got now augur well. There will be bags of excitement.
“Everton are quite capable of inflicting a heavy defeat on us. But, at the same time, we are quite capable of beating them.”
But Round insists no amount of flattery from the man in the home dug-out will prompt the Blues to let their guard down this evening.
He said: “That’s just Neil Warnock being Neil Warnock. Neil’s okay. He’s a lively character.
“We’re certainly taking it seriously with the squad we’ve picked and I’m sure when you see whatever team we pick out of that 18, it’s going to be strong. Those are the players we’ve got available to us.
“I don’t think Neil will be taking it lightly. Any home game for Leeds, and any Leeds-Everton game, is a big fixture.
“The gaffer might make one or two changes, but we’ve kept the same squad as for Swansea.
“Nikica Jelavic is fit so he comes into the squad and the only ones we’re without are Tony Hibbert and Darron Gibson.
“The gaffer hasn’t picked the team yet, but it will be a strong one.”
Round added that the Blues are continuing to ponder offering trialist Thomas Hitzlesperger a contract, but must first be convinced that the former German international midfielder can remain injury free.
He added: “He’s been here a week and he’s here for one more. He’s a way off playing because he’s just come back from a serious injury.
“He seems a really good lad – in fact I’ve not seen him yet without a smile on his face.
“It must be terrific to come here with the way the mood is in the place. He seems to be loving it and just wants to play football again.
“He’s certainly got the history of playing at the highest level and we’ll just have to see whether we feel it’d benefit us.”
FEBRUARY 29, 2004 will always remain a special date for Steve Round.
That was the Sunday afternoon when, as assistant manager to Steve McClaren, he helped Middlesbrough end the club’s 128-year wait for a trophy, and sealed his enduring affection for the League Cup.
The competition is still derided and undervalued in some quarters, although increasingly its worth grows by the season, yet for the man who would go on to become David Moyes’ assistant at Goodison it will always be significant.
By beating Leeds United at Elland Road tonight the Toffees can take another step towards a first of their own, in this case winning a piece of silverware that has eluded them throughout their successful history.
And Round sincerely hopes he can get another taste of the glory he felt at the Millennium stadium eight years ago.
“I’ve been there and won it with my previous club,” he says ahead of tonight’s third round tie.
“I’ll tell you now it means a lot when you’re standing there in the dressing room with the trophy having pictures taken with it is a momentous thing.
“It’s means a tremendous amount to the fans and everyone. I enjoy the competition and think it’s something we should cherish and never lose.
“We are going to try and win it that’s for sure.
“At the start of every season David says the target is to finish as high as we can and win a trophy.
“It starts with a small step like beating Leyton Orient (in the previous round at Goodison) and the closer to the final you get the more momentum it gathers.
“But you have to beat the earlier teams first and get through, which in the past we haven’t when the fates have gone against us and we’ve been disappointed.”
Round is sceptical over whether it’s possible to prioritise a cup, but insists Everton’s schedule will allow them to field a strong side in Yorkshire – with the Blues taking the same 18-man squad which left Swansea’s Liberty Stadium in high spirits after Saturday’s impressive 3-0 win in the Premier League.
“I don’t think you can prioritise a cup – you have to assess where you are at that current moment in the season, how fit your squad is and at this stage of the year you are taking every game as it comes really.
“We’re not in Europe so haven’t got added pressure and games. We can run the team as much as we want to an extent.
“We have a game on Saturday but after that there’s another break and although the players will have international duty in most cases we hope they’ll get a break at some point during that period.”
Victory at Elland Road would put Everton into the last 16 of the Capital One Cup and Round insists the game will be treated with the respect it deserves.
He said: “I know the manager is very serious about the competition and you saw that with the performance and the team he picked in the last round.
“We want to do well in it as Everton should be up there winning trophies. The manager won’t be taking this game lightly and you’ll see that with his team selection.
“He wants to win trophies for this club – that is our history and tradition. This is another opportunity to do that and it is a good opportunity. It also provides another route into Europe.
“It is a competition that might not get the credence it deserves early on but later on, when you get to the quarter-finals and semi-finals, you are certainly glad you are in it.”
The latest obstacle in Everton’s path is a Leeds United team who have made an patchy start to their Championship campaign.
But Round is expecting a tough test against one of the traditional big names of English football.
“This is a difficult game, make no mistake,” he said. “I was there the other week and we have watched every game they have played in the past few weeks.
“You never get an easy game at Leeds, that’s for sure. They are a really big club and this really should be a Premier League fixture given the size of Leeds and the great support they get.”
For his part Leeds manager Neil Warnock feels the pressure is off his threadbare squad, which bounced back from two successive league defeats to inflict a first defeat in the npower Championship this season on Nottingham Forest at the weekend.
“There’s no pressure now for us in this competition because everybody will expect Everton to win, so we can go out and enjoy it,” said the former QPR and Sheffield United boss.
“To be on television against a Premier League club, I’m going to ask one or two of the lads who I was probably going to leave out if they want to play because if they do I’ll play them.
“I’m not going to say nobody can play even though we’ve got one or two other knocks as well, so we’ll have a meeting and see, if there’s anyone who I might have rested, if they want to play.”
Everton have a poor record at Elland Road, winning only twice in 42 visits going back to 1953, but Warnock says the Toffees could win the competition if they can get past his side.
“Everton are very high on my list of potential favourites to win this competition,” he said.
“Teams like Everton and Newcastle have got a great chance of winning it this year, so they will have a very strong side out.
“But I think we can give most Premier League teams a run for their money. We’re missing a few, but on Saturday we showed no matter how many are missing, if you’ve got the right attitude and you’ve got good players as well, then with the fans here anything can happen.”
Warnock said he was full of admiration for Everton players Phil Jagielka, who he managed at Sheffield United, Steven Pienaar, Leighton Baines and in particular Marouane Fellaini.
But when asked how his players would handle the Belgium international, Warnock added: “It’ll be interesting to see how Everton handle (Leeds’ Jamaican midfielder) Rudy Austin for me.”
Phil Jagielka can step in to cement a regular place in the England team following John Terry's decision to retire from international football, according to Everton assistant manager Steve Round.
The Toffees centre-back now has a chance to become a first team regular under Roy Hodgson after spending years being behind the likes of Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Joleon Lescott in the pecking order.
"Without doubt it is a chance for Phil to stake a claim, it is a terrific opportunity, it really is," said Round.
"He has speed, awareness, and is a very good defender one versus one - which is very important in international football.
"He is also starting to show the composure now which has taken him a while to come to terms with: being able to become really comfortable on the ball, taking the ball from the goalkeeper and building from the back.
"He was starting to show that for Everton and he was starting to show it for England.
"There will be one or two thinking they have an opportunity, like (Gary) Cahill at Chelsea.
"It is great opportunity for Jags and if he gets it he will take it.
"He is ready for it - I know that - and he feels he can step up that level.
"He certainly has the talent and ability, he just needs to get in now and establish himself."
Ahead of Everton's League Cup trip to Leeds on Tuesday, United boss Neil Warnock echoed Round's views.
Warnock gave Jagielka his debut as a teenager at Sheffield United 12 years ago, then sold him to Everton for £4million when the Blades were controversially relegated from the Premier League in 2007.
He said: “I have seen Jags develop down the years and there is no doubt in my mind he now has the authority to carry off the Terry job for England.
“As a young lad, he didn’t say much. But he has really come out of his shell now and Terry calling it a day means Jags should get more opportunities and blossom even more.
“He didn’t know what his best position was for a long time. He played everywhere – centre-midfield, right-back, centre-half.
“But now he has settled down in central defence, he’s become one of the top players in England.”
England manager Hodgson expressed his disappointment at Terry's decision to quit England.
The announcement also came as a shock to Round, who has previously worked with the defender in the international set-up.
"I was surprised, like everyone else. I worked with him at England for a couple of years and I found him a terrific captain, whole-hearted and 100% every day, every game," said the Toffees assistant boss.
"I couldn't fault him on any issue when I worked with him personally.
"Obviously he feels it is something he has to do but I can't comment on the reasons why he has done it.
"He will be missed because he's a top player and a top defender."
STEVE ROUND is convinced Victor Anichebe can take the Premier League by storm — now the striker is finally starting to believe in himself.
The Everton ace followed a goalscoring display against Newcastle with another in Saturday’s 3-0 romp at Swansea.
And he is out to make it a hat-trick in tonight’s trip to face Leeds at Elland Road.
Assistant boss Round said: “Victor’s a player who thrives on confidence.
“I think he’s showing it more with his body language and emotions now.”
FIFA last night opened disciplinary proceedings against Scotland star Steven Naismith over his apparent elbow on Serbian opponent Srdan Mijailovic during the goalless draw at Hampden on September 8.
Television pictures seemed to show Everton forward Naismith, above, lashing out at Mijailovic off the ball.
The incident was missed by Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson.
However, FIFA have decided to take action and Naismith’s fate is likely to be decided ahead of the national team’s crucial away clashes against Wales on October 12 and Belgium four days later.
If the 26-year-old is found guilty of misconduct, sanctions available include a suspension of up to three games, a fine and a warning.