Next Match:

Arsenal (A) Sun 1 Mar 2015, 14:05, Barclays Premier League

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

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 said they have received no contact from Russian club Zenit St Petersburg over their reported interest in a January move for Marouane Fellaini.

A spokesperson for Zenit said: “The management team expect to strengthen the midfield during the winter transfer window.

“The signings will be players of very high quality. For example, the Belgium international Marouane Fellaini is on the list – he has proved himself in his games for Everton.”

David Moyes will urge his board to shun any offers for the 25-year-old and the player himself has insisted he wants Champions League football, something the wealthy Russian club, who are already out of this year's competition, are not guaranteed next term.

Zenit, who are bankrolled by Russian gas giants Gazprom, flexed their financial muscle in September when they signed Fellaini’s compatriot, midfielder Alex Witsel, from Benfica for £32m and splashed out an identical fee on Porto striker Hulk.

Liverpool Echo

GOALS might be his main target for Everton – but Steven Naismith has some other festive aims on Merseyside.

The Scotland international is determined to make a difference, and not just to the Blues ongoing mission to break into the Premier League’s top four.

Naismith is already a committed charity supporter north of the border, and now he wants to continue that work in his adopted city.

Shortly before Christmas the 26-year-old will host a lunch for people sleeping rough at city homeless support charity the Whitechapel Centre.

The former Rangers player began funding a similar event in Glasgow last Christmas, and will continue that sponsorship back home this month alongside the new event in Liverpool – all paid for out of his own pocket.

Naismith, who hopes to make the yuletide lunch an annual event, said: “I support the homeless in Glasgow through a charity called Loaves and Fishes.

“They are similar to the Whitechapel Centre in the work that they do in feeding the homeless and trying to get them into their own accommodation. I am delighted to help the Whitechapel Centre in what is my newly adopted city.”

David Carter, chief executive officer of the Whitechapel Centre insists it is a very welcome gesture on several fronts.

“We would like to thank Steven for sponsoring this Christmas dinner,” he said. “In addition to the money, which is very much needed and welcome, there is the other benefit of the awareness of the work done here.”

The Loaves and Fishes event in Glasgow was in danger of being cancelled before Naismith stepped in last winter, and the former Kilmarnock player is even working towards setting up a trust when he retires.

Naismith, whose father is a social worker and whose mother works in a supermarket, was brought up in Stewarton, Ayrshire, and has said his charitable instincts did not come from any religious upbringing.

“I am an observant person rather than a big talker and I tend to notice things,” he said.

“It does not take long before you realise there are people who need help,” he told reporters in Scotland last Christmas.

“I do not feel special because I am a footballer.

“I feel lucky. I was an average student. I had dyslexia. I was terrible at reading.”

The Whitechapel Centre was set up in 1975 to address the growing numbers of homeless people around inner city Liverpool.

The charity employs more than 60 staff and helps up to 1,800 people in the region each year by helping them meet basic needs such as breakfast, shower and laundry facilities, along with preventing people becoming homeless by giving free housing and welfare rights advice.

Staff also support people with mental health, drug and alcohol issues to stay in their own home.

Liverpool Echo

LEIGHTON BAINES is Everton’s unstoppable driving force, says Tim Howard.

The England defender overcame a hamstring injury to play an influential part during the Blues impressive draw with Manchester City last weekend, providing the cross for Marouane Fellaini’s first half goal.

David Moyes feared he might have been without his normally ever-present left-back, when the 27-year-old felt a twinge during the previous 1-1 draw with Arsenal, but Baines was determined not to miss out.

The Blues boss has spoken previously this season of his concern that opposition teams will become accustomed to Baines’ threat, but his goalkeeper believes that won’t be a straight-forward task for rivals.

He said: “Every other team knows he is our go to guy. They try and stop him but most teams struggle because he’s so clever, and has an amazing engine. He just keeps going and going.

“We wouldn’t have let him not play (on Saturday).

“We would’ve dragged him out there and stuck a shirt on him and kicked him over the line regardless.

“He was brilliant as he is every week.”

The USA goalkeeper insists modest Baines is becoming more comfortable with being regarded as one of the best attacking full-backs in Europe.

Baines has become an England regular under the stewardship of Three Lions coach Roy Hodgson and is also the first player in Europe's top five leagues to reach 50 chances created this season.

And Howard has noticed a positive change in his team-mate. He added: “I think he seems comfortable as one of the top players now.

“That comes with consistent performances. People can say it about you and you can brush it off, but eventually you have to belief it because the evidence is there week in, week out.”

Liverpool Echo

EVERTON have already lifted a trophy this year – but don’t pinch yourself it happened more than 7,000 miles from Goodison Park.

The Mersey Blues are shaping up for a good season under David Moyes after a strong start to the current Premier League campaign, but for fans of ‘the other Everton’ in Chile it’s time already to reflect on their success.

Supporters of Everton Vina Del Mar – named after the Toffees when the club was founded in 1909 – are still smiling after their club clinched promotion back to Chile’s top flight via a nail-biting play-off final last month.

The ‘Ruleteros’ became one of the first Chilean sides ever to play in the UK when they visited Goodison in August 2010 to contest the inaugural Brotherhood Trophy – but a 2-0 defeat by their English hosts sparked a run of poor results which saw them relegated that term.

Now manager Víctor Hugo Castañeda has put the club back where it belongs, and outgoing President Antonio Bloise is making a special return trip to L4 to celebrate before Sunday’s home game against Spurs at Goodison.

The popular businessman is stepping down as chairman of the club he supports, and will be presented with a silver platter on the pitch by members of the Merseyside-based Ruleteros Society in recognition of his achievement, and his dedication to strengthening the links between his club and their Premier League counter-parts.

“He’s having a bit of a farewell tour and this was something he felt he really wanted to do,” said Ruleteros president Tony Heslop.

“President Bloise was very proud when he bought his club to Goodison in 2010, and it’s been a special season for the club he loves.

“Everton Vina Del Mar are the fourth biggest club in Chile and it was very disappointing when they were relegated two years ago.

“They didn’t win a match for the rest of that campaign after they came and played Everton during our pre-season. But they responded the right way by reaching the play-offs the following campaign and then going one better and getting promoted this season just gone.

“Luckily they managed to keep together their squad and are hoping to compete again next time around.

“The Chilean season runs from February to November so they are still basking in the glow of getting back into the Primera Division.”

The Ruleteros society celebrated its 10th anniversary in July after being formed in 2002 in Hardman Street’s Valparaiso Restaurant.

And after playing an instrumental part in bringing Everton Chile to Goodison, the society would now like to arrange for David Moyes’ side to make the trip to South America in the future.

“We would love to see the Blues play the next Brotherhood Trophy at the Estadio Sausalito,” said Goodison season-ticket holder Tony.

“Obviously it would be a big trip but the Blues have gone to Australia in pre-season before so you never know.”

Liverpool Echo

DUNCAN FERGUSON has the potential to be a top manager, according to Kevin Sheedy.

The former Everton striker has been helping prepare Everton U18s this season, and stepped-up his role when Sheedy was away from Finch Farm undergoing treatment for bowel cancer.

Although Ferguson is still in the process of becoming a fully-qualified coach, Sheedy has been very impressed.

“Duncan has done very well and worked extremely hard,” he said. “In my opinion he is a good manager in the making.

“He’s a very committed and passionate guy who loves being out on the training ground working with the lads who certainly think very highly of him. My era as an Everton players was a long time before them but they can really relate to him as a Blue icon so he’s very well respected but it’s as much for his ability as a coach as for his playing reputation.”

Liverpool Echo

EVERTON U18s ensured they will compete against the best in the country next year by clinching a third place finish in the first stage of their league campaign.

Kevin Sheedy’s side beat Norwich City 3-0 at Finch Farm on Saturday to make the grade, meaning they will face the clubs that also finished in the top three of the other two Barclays U18 Premier League groups.

Goals from Wales youth international Gethin Jones and a brace from Callum Dyson put the Canaries to the sword in a game they dominated.

Sheedy said: “It was a good performance and now we will be where we want to be when the competition moves into its second phase in the new year.

“Obviously we wanted to finish first but we were playing catch-up after losing our first three games to make it difficult for ourselves.

“In our last eight games we have only lost once so it shows how far we’ve come, and we have been difficult to beat.

“Full credit to the players they have stuck at it and it’s good that they can continue testing themselves against the best sides now.

“It will mean a lot more travelling to away fixtures in the new year which is a useful experience for the lads and stands them in good stead for their future careers.”

The young Blues were even more youthful than normal against Norwich a result of injuries, suspensions and several of their ranks being involved with the Under-21s squad.

Four Under-16s started and finished the game, with two Under-15s also appearing from the bench.

And it will have been a satisfying experience for Sheedy's players, as they started brightly and maintained their disciplined performance throughout the contest.

Daily Star

EVERTON are set for a January battle with ­Liverpool for young England keeper Jack Butland.

Toffees boss David Moyes wants competition for current No.1 Tim Howard and has identified ­Birmingham stopper Butland, 19, as the man.

Blues manager Lee Clark is desperate to hold on to Butland but the club may be forced to sell their prized asset to ease their cash woes.

Butland is one of England’s brightest prospects.

He has starred for the Under-21s and Team GB at the Olympics and made his senior England debut in the friendly against Italy last August.

He has also been linked with Manchester rivals United and City, Arsenal and Southampton, who bid £6m for him last summer.

But Liverpool and Everton have emerged as the leading contenders for his signature in the new year.

Starsport understands the Reds are currently in pole position as Everton will need to sell before they can buy.

Kop boss Brendan Rodgers has declared his faith in current keeper Pepe Reina and sources say Butland would be for the long term.

Daily Star

MAROUANE FELLAINI is a £25m transfer target for Zenit St Petersburg.

The Everton star hit his eighth goal of the season in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Manchester City.

Russian champions Zenit now plan a January swoop for the 25-year-old.

They signed his fellow Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel from Benfica for £32m in September.

A Zenit source said: “The management team expect to strengthen the midfield during the winter transfer window.

“The signings will be players of very high quality. Fellaini is on the list - he has proved himself.”

Fellaini, Everton’s £15m record buy from Standard Liege in 2008, has also been linked with Chelsea.

The Sun

MONEYBAGS Russian club Zenit St Petersburg are after Marouane Fellaini.

The Everton midfielder is on Chelsea’s hitlist for next month’s transfer window — and Manchester City are long-time admirers.

Now big-spending Zenit, who splashed £32million to sign Fellaini’s fellow Belgian Axel Witsel from Benfica in September, are also keen.

Coach Luciano Spalletti wants Fellaini, 25, to form the heart of his midfield, with Konstantin Zyryanov, 35, and Sergei Semak, a year older, nearing the end of their careers.

A Zenit source said: “The management expect to strengthen midfield. The signings will be of high quality.

“Belgium international Marouane Fellaini is on the list. He has clearly proved himself for Everton.”

Daily Mail

Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson will have trials at Everton and Stoke.

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