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EVERTON are monitoring Polish teenage goal-grabber Arkadiusz Milik – after the 18-year-old became the youngest leading scorer in Europe.
The 6ft forward has netted six times in eight games for Polish top-flight side Gornik Zabrze, and already has two full international caps for his country after making his debut against South Africa at the start of October and then facing England in the 1-1 draw in Warsaw.
Milik, who is being chased by Lyon, Udinese and Anderlecht, began with career with Rozwój Katowice, where he scored twice on his debut at the aged of 16.
His form earned him trials at Tottenham and Reading in 2010, and while neither followed up their interest the teenager has developed quickly in Poland, where he has been compared to Borussia Dortmund hot shot Robert Lewandowski.
Milik could cost around £1m and is more a long-term potential prospect for the Blues, rather than a priority in the January transfer window.
Meanwhile, Blues defenders Shane Duffy and Seamus Coleman have been named in the Republic of Ireland squad for their upcoming friendly against Greece.
The duo were included in Giovanni Trapattoni's provisional 26-man squad ahead of the game in Dublin on November 14. Coleman has been in impressive form at right-back for Everton in recent weeks, while fellow defender Duffy has proven to be a goal-scoring skipper for Alan Stubbs' Under-21 side.
The squad will be shortened to 23 players before November 11.
Evertonians have the chance to score a Goodison Park hat-trick with a special offer on tickets to the Blues’ next three home games.
Fans can attend the matches against Sunderland (November 10), Norwich (November 24) and Arsenal (November 28) for a combined price of £90 for adults. That figure drops to £60 for over-65s and £45 for kids.
Call 0871 663 1878 or visit the Park End box office for details.
REPUBLIC of Ireland captain Robbie Keane will miss next month’s friendly against Greece as manager Giovanni Trapattoni assesses other players.
The Los Angeles Galaxy striker, the country’s record goalscorer, is not included in the provisional 26-man party Trapattoni has named for the match at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on November 14.
Trapattoni, who is under pressure after a disappointing Euro 2012 and a 6-1 hammering by Germany in World Cup qualifying this month, has said he intends to “try out new players”.
The latest squad does contain experience in the likes of John O’Shea, Paul McShane, Keith Andrews, Glenn Whelan, Aiden McGeady and Kevin Doyle.
But there are also 12 players who have made less than 10 appearances, including uncapped Everton defender Shane Duffy and Chelsea midfielder Conor Clifford.
Trapattoni said: “As we have a break from competitive games for a few months, I am using this fixture as an opportunity to try out new players and view their potential. Greece will provide a very difficult opposition.”
Everton’s Seamus Coleman is also inlcuded in the squad.
REVENGE will be the aim for Everton’s U-18s when they travel to West Brom on Saturday hoping to make amends for their undeserved defeat by the Midlanders on the first day of the season.
The return trip is the first of three straight away fixtures for Kevin Sheedy’s side and a chance to show how they have progressed since August.
He said: “They were fortunate to beat us with a long ball and goal against the run of play so we’d like to go there and win.
“We missed numerous chances back in the first game but our finishing has improved since then and we go there an improved side.”
Sheedy added that he wants his side to play a passing game. “We play from the back and had twice as many passes as West Ham last weekend. We always encourage the lads to play from the back and through the midfield and it’s nice to do that and get results. We enjoy playing that way.”
EVERTON supporters are to face a long Monday night trip to Southampton in the New Year after the Blues' trip to St Mary's was moved to 21 January (kick off 8pm) for TV coverage.
Sky Sports announced their schedules for the first today and, while only one of David Moyes' side's games has been switched, it is the 239-mile trip to the South Coast.
The Blues beat the newly-promoted Saints 3-1 at Goodison at the end of September.
Birmingham's England starlet Jack Butland admits he is powerless to control his future with the club in takeover limbo.
The cash-strapped Championship side need new owners, with current president Carson Yeung facing money-laundering charges.
Tycoon Yeung's assets have been frozen in Hong Kong and he has not put any cash into City since their relegation from the Premier League almost 18 months ago.
Blues face having to sell players in January unless a takeover is completed soon - former QPR chairman Gianni Paladini is fronting an Italian group bidding for the club, and a Hong Kong consortium is also in the frame.
Keeper Butland, 19, and winger Nathan Redmond, 18, have been earmarked for sale if negotiations do not end in a deal.
Everton like Butland, while Stoke and Man City and Stoke rate the skillful Redmond.
"You can talk about it, but there's nothing we can do about it as players," said Butland, who was in England's Euro 2012 squad and played for Great Britain at this year's Olympics.
"We can only control what we do on the pitch and what we do on the training ground.
"What happens with the board, with the owners and a possible takeover is meaningless until something actually does happen."
While the weather patterns across the Mersey can often be unpredictable, they never throw up anything like Superstorm Sandy, the hurricane that has swept so devastatingly through New York.
They tend to blow over rather quickly, and are generally a brief swirl of hot air, followed by the odd bout of precipitation, which clears almost as soon as it starts. And so it proved in Liverpool again this week.
After the derby at the weekend, you could have been forgiven for thinking the storm brewing this side of the Atlantic was the more serious, such was the outpouring of grief and recrimination.
Yet the reality was that Steven Gerrard's words, which inspired so much reaction, were merely the result of no little frustration and anger after seeing Liverpool denied a famous derby victory by the incompetence of a match official. A Mersey squall, no more.
He and his team-mates went into the game smarting at all the talk beforehand that Everton were the better team - no, make that MUCH the better team. They wanted to prove otherwise, and would have done, but for a linesman's staggering call.
So it was no surprise the captain responded in the way he did as the adrenalin still pumped, and it was even less of a surprise that Everton reacted with a few jibes of their own.
It is the beauty of the derby, and all this being nice to each other in recent years has been boooooring in the extreme. They should despise each other - in a healthy way - they should be desperate to win what is still the most important fixture of the season, and gutted when they don't.
That's why David Moyes' comments before the game were an amusing change from the usual claptrap, and Luis Suarez's response in diving in front of the Everton boss was a brilliant response in the magnificent tradition of Robbie Fowler's 'sniffing the line', still the greatest single moment in the history of the fixture.
Gerrard's comments too, should be taken in that context, as should Phil Jagielka's reply. They are entitled to make jibes, they are entitled to joust, because this should be one of the most passionate fixtures on the calendar, not just another Premier League game.
Gerrard was wrong though, because Everton are far from a long ball team (and don't get me started on the implied criticism of Stoke, because the brilliant Tony Pulis deserves nothing but immense praise for the team he has produced to put this important football city back on the map).
David Moyes has done an equally impressive job at Goodison, in using all the tools he has available to craft a side that consistently punches well above its weight. Pound for pound, he is now as good as any manager in the league.
He has produced a balanced team who can play through the skills of Osman, Baines, Pienaar and Mirallas, or go more direct through the qualities of Fellaini and Jelavic... which surely is the ideal in the varied world of English football.
And this idea that Fellaini is just a lumbering giant towards whom the ball is launched is nonsense. He is one of the most skillful midfielders in the league, as his performance combining with Mirallas in the first half against Southampton proved.
Equally though, it is rubbish to claim Liverpool spend half an hour aimlessly passing the ball around without the thought of an end product. That is an idea propagated by people who have no grasp of the tactical nuances of football, and the plans behind what Brendan Rodgers is trying to achieve.
Watch Liverpool, and they are capable of mixing things up just as Everton are. With the pace of Sterling and Suso, Gerrard's passing has such a range they can hit long and early just as well as they can build slowly, and both Daniel Agger and Nuri Sahin add extra dimensions when their captain darts forward.
Sure, Rodgers has jettisoned Andy Carroll and therefore abandoned the long ball template Kenny Dalglish adopted, but they play with pace and inventiveness, while the idea behind their tactical approach is always to work openings for their wingers to move swiftly onto at an angle.
It worked well against Everton, with Sterling in particular showing such impressive movement that only his lack of experience denied him the chance to take match-winning glory, when he fluffed a second half opening from exactly that tactic.
They have created so many chances using that approach this season, it seems churlish to say they lack an end result to all their passing. In fact, what they lack is experience in their forward positions, with Sterling, Suso and Shelvey - all tasked with the job of converting alongside Suarez - boasting an average age of a fraction over 18.
That is reflected in the goals tally of the trio, but each passing game gives them more experience and Liverpool more potency. Give them a couple of seasons, and with Suarez and Gerrard still there, it could be one of the most dangerous forward lines in European football.
So Jagielka is wrong about Liverpool, who are a work in progress, not a study in aimlessness. And Gerrard is wrong about Everton, as he was honest enough to admit today.
The point is though, it's far more interesting - and appropriate - than both saying nice things about each other, even if it is a minor storm across the Mersey.
Goodison Park had risen in unison, both blue and red, to recognise Kevin Sheedy’s ultimate performance.
As a man whose place in the pantheon of Everton greats has long been secured, there was nothing new about Sheedy receiving a thunderous ovation, but this time the emotion behind the applause was markedly different.
Heartfelt and poignant, the performance that everyone was so eager to acknowledge had come not on Goodison’s lush grass but on Ward Four of Aintree hospital.
To see Sheedy ‘home’ at last Sunday’s Merseyside derby was proof that his ordeal with bowel cancer was behind him.
Before the applause had reached a climax, though, Sheedy briefly waved then turned to retreat from the limelight. He is a private man who does not wish to be a burden. It is why, for so long, he was reluctant to reveal he was in danger.
‘When I found out, I didn’t tell anyone,’ says Sheedy, sitting in an office overlooking Everton’s training ground Finch Farm where he returned to work as an academy coach.
‘People don’t know what to say to you, they find themselves in an awkward position. But it got to the stage where I was missing matches and that is something I never do. People were wondering, “What is wrong?”, so I felt it was right to make it public. It really helped.’
When Everton dominated the English game in the mid-1980s, winning two league titles, a European Cup-winners’ Cup and the FA Cup in four glorious seasons, Sheedy was a key player. While he lacked searing pace, he won over Evertonians, following his move from Liverpool, with his glorious range of passing.
Sheedy had a left foot comparable with that of Arsenal’s Liam Brady. A return of 97 goals in 369 matches from midfield was remarkable.
It is why there was such a response when Everton announced the news in August that Sheedy required surgery. Emails, letters and cards flooded in from all over Merseyside and beyond, given he also played for Newcastle, Blackpool and Hereford.
‘Knowing so many people were rooting for me was really humbling,’ said Sheedy, a former Republic of Ireland international who had coaching spells at Hartlepool and Tranmere.
‘One letter stood out from a grandmother. She told me to fight it and not be scared. It brought tears to my eyes.’
His world had been turned upside down, however, long before that. He married his second wife, Joanne, in May, aware that there could be something seriously wrong and spent the preceding months harbouring an almost unbearable burden.
‘You are walking around, functioning but not functioning,’ said Sheedy. ‘I was going to the toilet more than I should have been. I was aware of the bowel cancer campaign and when I noticed that I was passing blood, the alarm bells started ringing.
'I put myself in that situation and didn’t bury my head in the sand. A couple of days before I went on honeymoon, I had some blood tests done, got the results straight away and they were fine. I was relieved initially because I thought if something serious was wrong, it would have shown up.
‘But then my GP said I had to go in for a camera test. That didn’t take place until mid-July. That was the most frightening moment. You are lying there and you can see what they are doing and what is going on. If I’m honest, I probably knew all through that period that I had bowel cancer.’
Sheedy recalls: ‘When they officially told me, it was difficult to comprehend. Joanne was asking different questions but everything was going over my head. I lost my mum, Jean, two years ago to bowel cancer. They detected it too late for her. I watched her go through all the pain. I experienced the worst possible case.
‘My father, Michael, had the operation seven years ago but he is alive and fine. He successfully overcame it. I had seen both sides of it. What I didn’t realise was that it is in your genes and there is a good chance you will get it.’
What he didn’t expect was to ‘get it’ aged just 53. Sheedy, who scored against England at the World Cup in 1990, has been in football since he was 15, a fit and active man.
That helped him recover from the operation, but in many ways he is still trying to piece together the ordeal.
‘I went in on a Thursday for an operation on the Friday,’ he said. ‘My room didn’t have a television, so I went into the communal room to watch Liverpool play Hearts in the Europa League. I was with five other lads. One lad had lost his bowel; another was in having a major operation.
‘Yet they were trying to say they were sorry for me. I said, “No, no, not a bit of it”. After that, we had a good bit of banter. I got through the night, had the operation and it went as well as it could have done.
‘The surgeon, Paul Skaife, then told me everything was positive and you realise your life has been saved. A couple of days later, you feel as if you have been reborn.’
Cancer has had a profound effect on Everton as a club. Reserve team coach Alan Stubbs was successfully treated for testicular cancer when he was at Celtic but Gary Ablett, a former coach and player, lost his battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma earlier this year.
That Sheedy is able to tell his tale is down to early detection and he has a clear message.
‘I had seen poor Gary at close hand and it was heartbreaking to see someone so big and strong fall away like that,’ he reflected. ‘Stubbsy said to me that it was something you would never understand until you had gone through it.
‘Early detection is crucial. People bury their head in the sand thinking it will go away but it won’t. Just go to the GP and get the treatment that you need.
‘It doesn’t matter whether you are young and fit. Cancer can get anyone.’
Teenage England goalkeeper Jack Butland has admitted that he has no control over his future given the uncertainty surrounding his club Birmingham at the moment.
The Blues have been left in financial limbo since money laundering charges were first brought against their president Carson Yeung last summer and his assets were frozen.
And 19-year-old Butland - a regular for England Under 21s who made his full debut in August after starring for Great Britain during the Olympics - has told the Daily Mirror that Lee Clark's squad are unsure what the future holds.
'You can talk about it, but there’s nothing we can do about it as players,' said Butland, who is Birmingham's most prized asset and likely to be the first player sold should the club need to raise funds, as expected, in January.
'We can only control what we do on the pitch and what we do on the training ground.
'What happens with the board, with the owners and a possible takeover is meaningless until something actually does happen.'
Former QPR chairman Gianni Paladini - known best in footballing circles for his role in documentary 'The Four Year Plan' - is heading an Italian bid for the club which is set to rival that of a Hong Kong consortium.
As well as Butland, exciting young winger Nathan Redmond, 18, is also likely to be sold should a takeover not be completed by the New Year.
Southampton had a bid rejected for Butland in the summer but could come back in for the player rated at £8million. Everton are also interested, while Stoke and Manchester City have watched Redmond.
Steven Gerrard has backtracked on his claims that Everton play like Stoke, admitting he went too far with his comments.
Speaking immediately after Sunday's controversial 2-2 draw at Goodison Park, where Luis Suárez had an added-time goal wrongly ruled out for offside, the Liverpool captain told reporters: "There was only one team who came into the derby trying to play football.
"Everton are effective because they have some big physical lads in the team and are very direct. They are effective. But the only team who tried to play football was us.
"Everton are not better than us. I thought we stood up to a team that are very similar to Stoke. Every single time they got the ball to their goalkeeper it came in long. We had a young, small team and they were all men and stood together. We deserved the win."
But speaking to the Liverpool Echo on Wednesday, Gerrard said he now accepted he had overstepped the mark.
"Just to clarify I've watched the game again, and I've seen some of Everton's matches this season, and what I said in relation to their style of play went too far," he said.
"I was frustrated by the disallowed goal from Luis when I spoke and also some of the things [diving allegations] that have been said about Luis in recent weeks which haven't been fair in my opinion.
"As captain I have a duty to stand up for our players when I feel they are unfairly singled out. But it wasn't my intention to disrespect Everton or Stoke for that matter and I certainly didn't intend any disrespect to their manager or players.
"I have the utmost respect for David Moyes and Tony Pulis and the job they have done at their respective clubs. My main issue was with the goal that wasn't given and that Liverpool did not get the three points I felt we deserved in what was a fantastic derby match."
PHIL JAGIELKA admits Everton must rediscover the winning habit quickly to prevent their blistering start to the season from petering out.
David Moyes’ men travel to Fulham on Saturday afternoon having triumphed in just two of their last eight games in all competitions.
Last Sunday’s derby recovery at Liverpool was Everton’s third successive Premier League draw after similar returns at Wigan Athletic and Queens Park Rangers, a sequence that has seen the Goodison outfit slip out of the top four for the first time this season.
And while Jagielka acknowledges the resilience of Moyes’ men – who have still only lost once in the top-flight this campaign – he has warned the early-season momentum is under threat.
"It’s important for us to starting winning more games again," said the England international. "We made a fantastic start and while I wouldn’t say it has petered out, it’s become more of an okay start now.
"Having said that, our starts are normally horrific, so compared to that it has been terrific!
"It’s a long season and while we obviously go out to win every game, that doesn’t always happen.
"You have to hang on through a difficult period and come out with a point, and we’ve been able to do that."
Everton are now one point adrift of the Champions League qualification berths, although their return of 16 points from their first nine games matches their best since 2004.
And Jagielka believes Moyes’ men will be in a prime position to push on after Christmas if they can maintain their solid start.
"As long as we keep on picking up points like we have been doing, then the wins will come along," he added.
"That’ll keep us up to where we want to be. If we can get to the Christmas in the top five or top six, that’s somewhere where haven’t been in a long time.
"If we can do that, I’m sure the manager is confident enough the he can make us kick on again like he normally does in the New Year and we can finish higher up the league."
Leon Osman concurs with his team-mate over Everton’s faltering October form.
"We have started the league season well and have had a good few wins and just the one defeat," said the midfielder. "We are pleased with that compared to our usual starts, but we are always striving for more and trying to better ourselves.
"We are disappointed that we have not picked up more points to be honest," said Osman.
"But that just shows the mental attitude of us – we are striving for more and not happy with what we have got or what we have done. We want to achieve more."
Kevin Mirallas and Sylvain Distin, who both picked up knocks in the 2-2 draw with Liverpool, are expected to make the trip to Craven Cottage while Tony Hibbert may also be available and Steven Pienaar is free from suspension.
Meanwhile, Everton supporters are being urged to take advantage of special offer on tickets for the next three home games.
Fans can attend the matches this month against Sunderland (November 10), Norwich (November 24) and Arsenal (November 28) for a combined price of £90 for adults.
The cost drops to £60 for over-65s and a bargain £45 for kids, representing savings of up to £15.
Supporters wanting to purchase tickets are advised to go online to evertonfc.com/eticketing, call 0871 663 1878 or visit the Park End box office.
The three-match ticket can also be bought in the city centre ticket sales locations – the Ticket Quarter in Queen Square and the Everton Two store in Liverpool One.