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What The Papers Say - 28 October

by Daniel Alston @efc_danalston

Everton v Krasnodar

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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.  

Sunday Mirror

Everton boss David Moyes is stepping up his chase for Leeds' young right-back Sam Byram – as he looks to sort out a problem position, writes The People.

Moyes made a personal check on the young defender last week and knows he is fighting several clubs, including Mersey rivals Liverpool, for the kid’s signature. Moyes is looking for a new full-back with Tony Hibbert and Phil Neville sharing duties and Seamus Coleman better suited to attacking.

Byram could be interested in the move to the top flight if Leeds decide to cash in during the new year sales.

Moyes is also watching Barnsley right-back John Stones closely, but his valuation is high.

The 18-year-old has caught the attentions of several top-flight clubs, including Man City and Chelsea.

But it is Everton who are doing the running as they ready themselves for a £2million bid in January.

Barnsley manager Keith Hill is desperate to hang on to Stones, but a big-money offer would prove difficult to turn down.

Sunday Mirror

Phil Neville won the Champions League, six Premier League titles and the FA Cup three times when he lived his dream of playing for Manchester United.

But, as his 36th birthday approaches, the ‘Mancunian’ who became an ­adopted Scouser insists that winning a trophy for Everton would be the pinnacle of his career.

Neville is in his eighth season at ­Goodison Park and every May he has been left with the same gut-wrenching feeling of failure.

With his contract up next summer and David Moyes once again punching well above his weight when it comes to ­building a team on limited ­resources, Neville is desperate to ensure that the next time he does a lap of honour it’s for the right reasons.

“I want it so bad,” said Neville. “Not just for myself, but for the gaffer and our supporters.

“I really do feel that if I leave at the end of this season and I haven’t won a trophy or had some kind of success, then I’d see myself as a ­failure. When I was at United, at the end of every season you usually had a trophy to show for your hard work

“The years you don’t win a trophy, you get an empty feeling. And I have felt exactly the same at the end of every season at Everton.

“Last season, we were unbelievable from January onwards and everybody finished the season on a high.

“But I had an empty feeling in my stomach – and it’s that empty feeling that motivates me and keeps me going.

“It is horrible when you’re doing a lap of ­honour at the end of the season and you haven’t won anything.

“I know it is right to thank the fans for their support at the end of the season, but for me a lap of honour is for people who’ve won trophies and won medals.

“Every time I have done one with ­Everton it has been for nothing and that’s what I hate. It’s an empty feeling that lives with me all summer. It’s like a churning in my belly.

“So winning something with Everton would be my greatest achievement.

“Without a shadow of doubt. It has been much too long since I won one.”

Everton start today’s ­Merseyside derby as 17/10 ­favourites with ­Ladbrokes – they have only been favourites for three of the last 24 league meetings.
 
But captain Neville has left his team-mates in no doubt that they will have to put themselves on the line if they are to emerge victorious from a fixture that has generated more reds cards than any other in the Premier League.

He said: “This is a unique game and, to be honest, it is all about having the ­belief and also the balls to go out there and win the game.

“Last season, when we lost to Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final, we went into the game on a good run of form.

“We were the better team for 60 ­minutes but then we conceded an equaliser that drained all of our confidence.

“I’ve played in perhaps more than a dozen Merseyside derbies now and ­Liverpool have been better than us – apart from two or three games.

“There’s that something extra that you need to produce in these types of games.

“In the games I have played, someone like (Steven) Gerrard has produced that little bit extra for Liverpool, or perhaps ­(Fernando) Torres. Last season at ­Wembley it was (Luis) Suarez. They have always had that one player who has won it for them. We believe we’ve got that now. We need to perform more consistently on the big occasions.

“We have to have belief in ourselves.”

Neville, who has been sent off twice
in Merseyside skirmishes, added: ­“Discipline is key to a game like this.

“Sometimes we get messages posted on the wall of the dressing room and before one game against Liverpool one of them read: ‘The most important thing today is to keep 11 men on the field’.

“You think to yourself, ‘what a stupid thing to say’, but in these games... well, you cross that white line and the message on the wall just vanishes from your mind.

“We probably shade it in terms of ­experience now. But we are facing a ­Liverpool team that have a new ­manager, they’re building a new journey.

“I think this is a time when our team is probably at its peak.

“Now have to produce something or win something and end the season with some kind of genuine success. There are no excuses.”

Mail on Sunday

The record books show that Everton-Liverpool has produced 20 red cards in the past 15 years, more than any other Premier League fixture.

And Everton manager David Moyes and his counterpart Brendan Rodgers have already cranked up the pressure on referee Andre Marriner for Sunday's encounter.

Moyes suggested on Friday that he was worried about the antics of Luis Suarez and that his history of 'diving' was turning supporters off football, while the Liverpool boss has urged the official to 'stay calm and not get excited'.
 
Everton captain Phil Neville, who has has been sent off twice against the red mob from across Stanley Park in comparison to just one other dismissal in 288 games, admitted it was hard to keep calm when the tackles started flying in between the two great local rivals.

He said: 'You sometimes get these messages on the dressing-room wall and one of them is, "The most important thing today is to keep 11 men on the field".

'You think to yourself, what a stupid thing that is to say. But it is true. Discipline is key. I've been sent off twice in derby games so I've suffered that. It's funny how you go over that white line and the message on the wall just vanishes!'

Everton suffer more than Liverpool in league derbies when the red mist descends. Liverpool have won the past 10 when a man has been sent off.

Cup competitions can be different. Moyes preached discipline to his team before an FA Cup fourth-round replay against Liverpool in 2009 and benefited when Lucas was sent off and Everton scored a late winner through teenager Dan Gosling.
 
But Liverpool famously gained revenge in last season's semi-final at Wembley when they came from behind with goals from Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll.

Mail on Sunday

Phil Neville does not need statistics to know how spiky the Merseyside derby can get. While the record books show that Everton-Liverpool has produced 20 red cards in the past 15 years, more than any other Premier League fixture, the Everton captain also has personal experience to draw upon.
 
Twice he has been sent off against the red mob from across Stanley Park in comparison to just one other dismissal in 288 games for Everton.

Aged 35 and one of the most experienced campaigners in the country, Neville will be asked by manager David Moyes to lead by example at Goodison Park today, ensuring passions do not boil over into something more sinister.
 
The only problem is that Moyes and his counterpart Brendan Rodgers have already cranked up the pressure on referee Andre Marriner. Moyes suggested on Friday that he was worried about the antics of Luis Suarez and that his history of 'diving' was turning supporters off football, while the Liverpool boss has urged the official to 'stay calm and not get excited'.
 
As Neville candidly admits, there are absolutely no guarantees when the tackles start flying in between the two great local rivals.
 
'You sometimes get these messages on the dressing-room wall and one of them is, "The most important thing today is to keep 11 men on the field",' said Neville.
 
'You think to yourself, what a stupid thing that is to say. But it is true. Discipline is key. I've been sent off twice in derby games so I've suffered that. It's funny how you go over that white line and the message on the wall just vanishes!

'You can drum things into players all you want, but when something happens on the pitch, it's like the blue touchpaper being lit, you just get carried along by all the emotions and it's win at all costs.
 
'I can't have any complaints about my red cards against Liverpool. The first was for two stupid tackles, the second I made a great save on the line from Lucas!'
 
Certainly, Everton suffer more than Liverpool in league derbies when the red mist descends. Liverpool have won the past 10 when a man has been sent off.
 
Cup competitions can be different. Moyes preached discipline to his team before an FA Cup fourth-round replay against Liverpool in 2009 and benefited when Lucas was sent off and Everton scored a late winner through teenager Dan Gosling.
 
But Liverpool famously gained revenge in last season's semi-final at Wembley when they came from behind with goals from Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll.
 
Since then, Liverpool have changed managers and are a team in transition, with new boss Rodgers letting Carroll and other Kenny Dalglish signings leave, while bringing in younger players like Raheem Sterling and Joe Allen.
 
In contrast, the spine of Everton's team is vastly experienced with players like Tim Howard, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Leon Osman and Neville himself, even though Steven Pienaar is suspended.
 
It means Everton are in the rare position of being favourites this afternoon - they are the 6-4 favourites with Ladbrokes for this fixture for only the second time since 2004 - and Neville makes no apologies for saying that his team should go out and grab the chance of becoming top dogs on Merseyside.
 
'We probably shade it in terms of experience now,' he said. 'Liverpool are coming into a derby with a new manager, building a new journey, whereas our development has probably been more consistent.
 
'This is a time when our team are at their peak and we have to produce. There are no excuses for us. It's now or never if we want success.

'We have a lot of players at their peak years like Jags [Phil Jagielka] and Baines. In the past, Liverpool have always had that one individual who could win them the game, like Steven Gerrard or Fernando Torres. Luis Suarez made the difference with his equaliser at Wembley, but we have those types of players now.'
 
International strikers Nikica Jelavic and Kevin Mirallas spring to mind, so too Marouane Fellaini if he's recovered from a knee injury.
 
Neville was spoilt for success at his first club Manchester United, winning multiple titles and cups and sitting on the bench when the team won the Champions League in Barcelona in 1999.
 
He came to Everton in 2005 to play regular first-team football, and though the move has been successful in many ways, the lack of a trophy still haunts him. Qualifying for the Champions League would be a terrific consolation, though, given the restricted budget manager Moyes has to work under.
 
'I want it so bad, not just for myself but for the gaffer and the supporters,' said Neville. 'I said last year - and people weren't happy - but I do feel if I leave at the end of this season and I haven't won a trophy or had some kind of success, I'd see myself as a failure.
 
'At United, there was usually a trophy to show for your hard work in a season. If you didn't win, you'd have an empty feeling in your stomach, and it's that empty feeling that motivates me and keeps me going.
 
'It's a horrible feeling going on that lap of honour at the end of the season without being successful, I hate it.'
 
For once, Everton are the more fancied team going into the derby. They are above Liverpool in the table and most people will expect them to win to continue their surprise challenge for a top four place.
 
Neville has been around too long to be complacent, though. 'The formbook goes out of the window,' he stressed. 'It's a one-off and it sounds awful, but it's all about having the balls to play.'
 
On a personal note, Neville wants to continue playing beyond the end of his current contract in the summer. Whether that is at Everton or elsewhere remains to be seen.
 
The priority is to stay on the field for 90 minutes today and lead his club to a famous victory.

The Observer

Phil Neville knows what it takes to win a derby when there is not much to choose, football-wise, between the neighbouring teams. "It takes balls" is the Everton captain's pithy assessment, by which he means your senior, most experienced players have to stand up and be counted and not be intimidated by the occasion or the opponents.

As far as cojones go, Everton under David Moyes are up there with the best the Premier League has to offer. Feisty, combative and hard-working, everyone admires the spirit in the Everton side and the reputation they have deservedly gained for punching above their weight, although club officials have recently been at pains to point out that with the ninth highest wage bill in the division the commonly held view that they are as poor as church mice is a little outdated.

While money is still tight at Goodison there appear to be 11 clubs where it is tighter and each of them would envy Everton's ability to find value in the transfer market, bring through quality players of their own and open the season with a victory over Manchester United.

The only weakness in Everton's bold facade, the one that keeps showing the view from the back of the film set rather than the front, is a recurrent loss of nerve against their neighbours. Far too often the fight and conviction that have characterised Moyes's 10 years at the club have been conspicuous by their absence against Liverpool.

Last season was a case in point. Everton finished higher in the table than their Merseyside rivals, yet did not manage to beat them in three meetings; and the last of those encounters, the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, produced such a limp, lifeless performance that people began to suspect some sort of collective inferiority complex was at work.

The FA Cup is one of the few trophies that Everton are in with a chance of winning these days; to reach the final at Liverpool's expense would have been the stuff of supporters' dreams and Moyes's team were in better form than their rivals back in April. Yet no sooner had blue Merseyside dared to dream than the big day out foundered on an unrecognisably timid display.

So the question has to be, as Everton go into the first derby of this season at home, in form and well above Liverpool in the table: are they ever going to make superiority count in this fixture? Will it be vibrant blues or shrinking violets?

When Moyes first arrived on Merseyside Liverpool had all the best players, plus the tradition and the more recent success. The roles have not exactly reversed in 10 years but there are quite a few Everton players that Liverpool might fancy now, and not as many Anfield names that would automatically get a game across Stanley Park.

"There have been occasions when we have fluffed our lines in the past," Moyes says. "We have been the team in better form and we have not managed to produce it in derby matches, I accept that. The difference from 10 years ago is that now we have a few game-changing players of our own. Liverpool used to have so many good players it was hard to work out how to stop them. And maybe that's still how we see them but the two teams are much closer now.

"We have always managed to compete in derby matches. We have never suffered a really heavy defeat even when playing really strong Liverpool sides but I accept we probably haven't won as many as we should have done. We are improving all the time, though. We are stronger this season than last and, when opponents look at us, they can see we've got some good players."


Moyes came to England with first-hand experience of Old Firm derbies in Glasgow and recognises that the Merseyside version is neither as intense nor as all-consuming. "You are looking to give your fans the result they want but the derby result isn't going to define our season," he says. "Finishing above Liverpool in the league doesn't count for anything in the long run either. I would far rather finish in Europe. Trying to finish above Liverpool is a big ask and, if we are favourites going into this game because we are currently higher in the table than Liverpool, I am happy to take the compliment, but we can't just judge ourselves by our rivals. I would like to finish above Manchester United and Manchester City too and I very much doubt if Liverpool set out every year hoping they will be able to finish above Everton."

Last season's Goodison derby was marred, from an Everton point of view, by the harsh dismissal of Jack Rodwell, a red card that was later rescinded when it became clear that Luis Suárez had somewhat over-dramatised a ball-winning tackle. Still fuming at the injustice even now, Moyes has warned that football will drive away its supporters if it does not do something to stamp out cheating, diving and going to ground too easily, and he personally supports a system where incidents could be reviewed retrospectively and bans handed out to players who attempt to con referees.

"People want to see the game being played correctly, they won't stand for players going down too easily," he says. "I think players should stay on their feet and, if I had a player who was diving regularly, I would have a word. It's not the way to play, though I must be honest and admit this is a tricky area. A penalty to win a tight game once in a while might be a different matter."

Sunday Telegraph

When Everton and Liverpool resume hostilities at Goodison Park it will be a temporary sideshow compared to the ongoing battle for supremacy at youth level on Merseyside.

For years, the rivals clubs have indulged in a turf war spread across city boundaries, opposing scouts diligently hunting the next Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard, emblems of a the clubs superior network of talent spotters.

The walls in the office of academy director Alan Irvine are testimony to the Everton academy's success over the last decade.

They are decorated with over 30 youth products who have progressed into the senior ranks. Derby week is often said to be about the pursuit of 'bragging rights' and Everton have been entitled to theirs.

"Of the eleven Premier League players who made their debut at 16-years-old, six of them come from Everton. That's a terrific record we're very proud of," says Irvine.

"People just need to look at the records and see the number of players who come through for the first team. The biggest thing we can offer at Everton is opportunity. This is a club where you will get your chance, whether you go on to make 250 appearances here or, as others have done, enjoy a long professional career elsewhere."

Wayne Rooney, Jack Rodwell, James Vaughan, Francis Jeffers, Jose Baxter and Jake Bidwell (currently on loan at Brentford) make up the six. If he hadn't broken his leg a week after first being named on the bench in 2010, Ross Barkley would have been number seven.

Since their golden period ended with Steven Gerrard's emergence in 1999, Liverpool's success has been intermittent in comparison, not helped by ten years of acrimony at junior level. Prior to ex-Academy chief Steve Heighway's exit in 2009, both Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benítez were frustrated by their lack of control over youth policy.

In the worrying absence of top class Merseyside-born talent post-Gerrard, Benítez was adamant Liverpool had to look beyond regional boundaries to recruit players.

It was a battle of wills he eventually won shortly before leaving the club and the purchase of Raheem Sterling (from QPR) and Suso (from Cadiz) in 2010, both likely to feature today, were the results of that shift. Under Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool are re-establishing their reputation as the club that gives youth a chance, but are also aware of the difficulties in ensuring their Scouse heart still beats once Gerrard and Jamie Carragher hang up their boots.

Liverpool's current academy director Frank McParland insists if there is a choice between a Merseyside-born player and another of the same level from elsewhere "we would 100 per cent always take the Scouse one". It was a significant reassurance for those who feared too many substandard overseas players were being added to the detriment of local talent.

Carragher raised the issue in his autobiography observing the route to the Liverpool first team "blocked by a combination of foreign recruits and political infighting". He spoke of the club's 'moral obligation' to focus primarily on developing Academy players from the Liverpool region.

Partially through choice and partially through financial necessity, Irvine says that has always been Everton's way. "We want the best local boys. We want Rodwells and Rooney coming from the Under 9s into the first team. It's part of the culture here," he said.

"We want to be regarded as excellent developers of young players. The Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) plays more into the hands of the clubs with money. It will mean those with the financial clout will buy more players in. That's great from their point of view, but the question is are they developing or are they buying?

"The new rules as part of the (EPPP) will allow us to recruit nationally, but I don't see us doing that, particularly.

"There will be no strategy change. We know we're in a fiercely competitive area and some of the clubs around us have much more money and resources. We don't have the financial clout of the Manchester clubs and Liverpool. It can be a problem or strength. It means we have to be selective and careful."

Where both Liverpool and Everton agree is a region such as Merseyside should be producing more Rooneys and Gerrards, but there is a danger the clinical, almost laboratory conditions are as much a hindrance as help.

"I have to say, I was ten years out of youth development. I came back over a year ago and I generally across the Academies I thought it hadn't moved on as it should have done," said Irvine.

"It was the same arguments. The foreigners are better technically than we are. I don't mean to be overcritical but we are still saying the same after every major tournament. We are not producing the right level of players.

"Will the new EPP plan address that? No, it won't. The clubs must address that. "Facilities are one thing – and they're superb – but sometimes great players come out of poor facilities.

"Academies are in danger of being sterile environments. It's unfortunate street football, where basic skills are learned, is dead.

"These magnificent facilities need to recreate street football. Part of the work we encourage is kicking the ball against the wall. It helps develop striking of the ball, two footedness, how to receive the ball and control. So why not continue that?

"Another thing is awareness. You want players to be aware on the pitch, then you give them bibs which means they can play with their heads down. We often play without bibs.

"One of the hardest things for a coach being paid to be a coach is to shut up.

"You want to create players who understand how to be good decision makers. If you never make them any decisions from a young age because they're being told what to do, how will they learn to make decisions for themselves?"

Leon Osman, Tony Hibbert and Victor Anichebe will fly the flag for Everton's Academy on Sunday.

Regardless of where Sterling, Suso and Andre Wisdom began their careers, their emergence has intensified the argument about where opportunity will knock most frequently in future.

Three years ago many parents on Merseyside, even the most fervent Liverpool supporters, were heading to Everton with their youngsters because they believed the route to the Anfield first team had too many hurdles. It appears be an equal playing field again.

"Possibly it is, but all we can do is put our case forward and nothing will change. You will still get opportunities at Everton," said Irvine. "If other clubs are creating that pathway, that adds to the competition."

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