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Everton have stepped up their pursuit of Vegard Forren after David Moyes led a high-profile delegation to watch the Norwegian defender.
The Everton boss went with assistant Steve Round and coaches Andy Holden and David Weir to see Forren, 24, in Molde’s 2-1 defeat by FC Copenhagen on Thursday.
Moyes also saw Forren play for Norway against Hungary 10 days ago. When asked about the trip, Moyes said: 'I get to a lot of games, don't I?'
David Moyes says the form of Everton keeper Tim Howard left him with no choice but to loan John Ruddy out an incredible nine times in five years.
Ruddy, now a star for Norwich and a full England international, returns to his former club on Saturday determined to show Moyes what he missed out on.
The 26-year-old saw just 80 minutes of top-flight action for Everton under Moyes due to the form of Howard.
Ruddy was borrowed by (deep breath) Walsall, Rushden & Diamonds, Chester, Stockport, Wrexham, Bristol City, Stockport again, Crewe and Motherwell between 2005-2010 before joining Norwich full-time, and has not looked back.
His form brought him to the attention of England manager Roy Hodgson, who played him in the Three Lions' August friendly against Italy and has had him in his squads consistently this season.
Ruddy returns to Goodison on the back of three straight top-flight clean sheets.
Moyes said: "It was always going to be difficult for John to get games in front of Tim Howard.
"But he's done great. You rarely put young keepers in the team and when he went to Norwich it looked like a chance for him.
"He's progressed under Paul Lambert and now Chris Hughton. He's in and around the England squad, so good luck to him."
PHIL JAGIELKA has the right credentials to help Everton cope with the loss of skipper Phil Neville, says David Moyes.
The England defender will wear the captain’s armband against Norwich at Goodison today as Neville faces a potential two-month spell out recovering from knee surgery.
And while Moyes admits any side would miss the inspirational presence of the 35-year-old, the Blues boss is content Jagielka can step up and provide vital leadership.
He said: “I see Jags as Phil’s natural successor. Jags has got that and he’s actually maturing a bit. At times he could be a bit scatty but he’s improved a lot and the England situation has brought a lot of maturity to him.
“At the moment I see him trying to step up. He recognises Phil’s not about for now and he’s taking it on and he needs to. I can see by his body language and the way he’s going about things at the club that he’s trying to do that.
“I think there is a bit of it that comes naturally to him. In his own way he’s a real leader. He’s always been coming up – from Sheffield to Everton then to the England team.
“With all those situations he’s grown into them – certainly as a key man for Everton – and he’s going in the right direction for the England team.”
Moyes is likely to need every bit of experience at his disposal today, with a number of injuries to his squad, and the Scot has urged his senior players to echo Neville’s commitment.
“I do think I’ve got leaders in his absence – not just Phil Jagielka but Leon Osman as well,” he added. “John Heitinga is a really experienced player with Holland, so I feel I have players who can take on the mantle and would probably feel disappointed if they weren’t seen as leaders.
“It’s just that Phil (Neville) brings something different. He’s an excellent leader who will always put the team before himself.
“Everything he does would be for the team getting a result rather than Phil Neville looking good or getting recognition, and that’s something special about him.
“Leadership can come in many ways. It can be leading by example, the way you speak on the pitch, or taking responsibility during a game.
“Probably Phil's biggest leadership quality is the responsibility he takes prior to the game and during it. It’s his determination to be the best he possibly can.”
DAVID MOYES senses it’s that time of year again. No, not when you can’t walk into a shop in town without being prematurely subjected to Slade or Shakin’ Stevens, but the period when injuries pile-up, the temperature plummets, and his players need the Goodison crowd at its fiercest best.
Nobody is panicking at Finch Farm, even if just one victory in their last six Premier League outings suggests the Blues’ momentum has slowed - but Moyes knows home comforts could be essential to ensure three much-needed points against a buoyant Norwich City today.
“We’ll have our work cut out and it will be another tough game,” says the Blues boss who is likely to have to contend with a string of injuries amidst his defensive ranks this afternoon.
“We might have to be patient and wait. We will need the crowd to think that way as well.
“We’ve told the players to keep doing what they are doing, convert more of our opportunities into chances and more of our chances into goals.
“Goodison is a great place to play and that’s why it’s important the supporters are there and make the difference.
“Against Sunderland in the last home game, we got to 1-1 and then we scored our next goal three or four minutes after.
“I thought that was because of the crowd’s enthusiasm. They realised the team were right at it and they knew that we hadn’t played that badly.
“It looked like a game that was going against us, so we will need that support again now we have got two games at home.”
Over the last six games Everton have scored 10 goals but conceded just as many, and Moyes is keen to get the balance right to ensure his side get the results they deserve.
“There’s been a couple of games where we maybe should have scored more but we’ve also got to make sure when we’re not scoring that we don’t concede.
“Our play has been good enough to have merited more goals and everybody’s got to make sure they chip in, the goals have got to come from all departments.
“I’m going out to score and I’m going out to try to win. The best teams get the balance exactly right. But I would still quite happily settle for winning games 1-0, because the job is to win, that’s always the priority.”
The Blues failed to get the balance right at the Madjeski stadium last weekend, as Moyes admitted he had never been angrier with a result. And even though seven days has passed, he still stands by that assessment.
“I was angry because it was a game we should have won,” he says. “I’ve been far more disappointed with games and results I’ve had in my career but I was mad because it was a game against Reading when we had numerous opportunities and as well as that we had a couple of penalty kicks denied.
“I felt if we’d gone two nil up, I wouldn’t say we were home and dry but we were certainly going to be in a much more comfortable position.
“We abused that opportunity by not taking our chances and that was why I was angry. I think we’ve played well but maybe just making the cross or the pass is the problem. We’re making opportunities.”
Everton are definitely without captain Phil Neville after he had a knee operation last week.
Striker Victor Anichebe (hamstring) and defender Tony Hibbert (calf) are still struggling but winger Kevin Mirallas (hamstring) and midfielder Darron Gibson (thigh) could play some part.
Gibson’s return to fitness is particularly welcome given he has missed the last 10 games, while the Toffees will also be without key midfielder Marouane Fellaini through suspension.
The Belgium international has been one of the players of the season so far but Moyes is confident others will step into his shoes.
The Toffees boss said: “I don’t think we need to plan any differently. The team’s been playing very well, I know they’re in a good rhythm.
“Obviously Felli’s been an integral part of that so we’ll miss him but we’ll try to find a way of winning with the players we have available.”
Today’s skipper Phil Jagielka was quick to echo his manager’s call for clear heads and a clean slate after last weekend’s frustration.
While he’s aware of the threat that Chris Hughton’s team pose, Jagielka is confident the Blues can return to winning ways following the slip at Reading.
He said: “We can’t get hung up on results - Reading is a hard place to go, we should have done better but we didn’t.
“There are plenty more games left in the season and we have still got a decent platform to kick-on from.
“Norwich had a fantastic result at the weekend. We struggled against them last year and drew so we know it’s going to be a really tough game.
“We’ve obviously got a few injuries and Felli is suspended. It’s going to test the squad but I’m sure the boys will be up for it and step up to the plate come Saturday.”
THE family of a Liverpool bar worker who went missing a week ago were desperately hoping the Everton fan might turn up to watch his team today.
Tom Burns, 25, has not been seen since the early hours of last Saturday and left his home in Rosalind Way, in Kirkdale, without his phone, coat, money or ID.
Today an appeal was being made at Goodison Park, where Blues supporter Tom would normally be due to watch the club’s match against Norwich.
His aunt Johanna Lee, from Maghull, said: “He was a season ticket holder and we hope he’ll be in his seat at the match.
“His photo will be going up on the big screen in the stadium and they’ll be able to bluetooth it to people as well.”
Tom was last seen by his sister Caitlin when he arrived home at about 5am last Saturday after finishing a shift at city centre bar Popworld.
Johanna urged people to think back to what they were doing last week and try and remember if they saw Tom.
She said: “If people can just try and think where they were from 5am last Saturday, if they were in the Kirkdale area or getting the train.
“We are just asking people to stop and think what were you doing last Saturday and did you see Tom?”
She said the family have been doing everything they can in a bid to find Tom.
She said: “Tom’s dad Danny has been walking the streets every night to see if he can find him and his mum Joan just sits looking out of the window just in case Tom comes to the top of the road.
“There are campaigns on Facebook and Twitter as well. We are just desperate for some news.”
She added: “We’re a very, very close family. Tom lived with my mum, who passed away earlier this year, but for the past year we’d been round every day to see her and speak to Tom. He was a very caring person, he went to live with his grandma to care for her.
“This is so out of character for him.”
Tom is about 5ft 11ins tall, and has short, dark hair, as well as a small amount of facial hair.
He was last seen wearing a light grey Nike hooded top, light blue jeans, a black T-shirt with a Batman “Dark Knight” motif and the word “Rise”, and white trainers.
Anyone with information should contact Merseyside Police on 0151 777 4065.
DAVID MOYES will resist the urge to plunge Ross Barkley into the Everton first team after the teenager returned from his loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday.
The Blues boss has taken the precaution of recalling the 18-year-old from the Championship side as cover in the wake of mounting injuries, but admits he could send him back out again in January.
Barkley has enjoyed a productive two months scoring four goals in 13 appearances for the Owls, but Moyes believes he is still learning and will benefit from further experience.
He said: “Because of the injuries I felt we needed to get him back in the squad. Ideally I would probably have liked to have left him longer to get more games, and if I don’t get him the games I want I’ll probably look to put him back out on loan maybe going into the new year.
“But we’ll see how he does while he’s here. He needed the games and he still does. He's a an 18-year-old player and we’ll continue to grow him. I’ll have a good look at him and see where he is exactly and where his development is.
“It’s really important that we keep that development going and, from what I’ve seen, he’s matured a bit and come on a bit with the games he’s had at Sheffield Wednesday. With young players the games make a big difference.”