A dozen members of Everton’s first-team squad may have linked up with their respective national teams – but assistant manager Graeme Jones has revealed that work on the training pitch will continue at Finch Farm over the next fortnight.
Phil Jagielka, Steven Naismith, James McCarthy and Kevin Mirallas are among the players that will be involved in friendlies and Euro qualifiers around Europe before the Blues return to action at West Bromwich Albion a week on Saturday.
Everton will travel to the Hawthorns determined to respond from the disappointing 6-3 reverse suffered against Chelsea at the weekend.
And Roberto Martinez’s trusty sidekick Jones says the coaching staff will ensure that those who haven’t reported for international duty will be fully prepared for the clash with Alan Irvine’s Baggies.
Jones told evertontv: “There were many good things on Saturday but when you concede six goals there is clearly an area you need to work on and that’s what we have been doing the last two days [Monday and Tuesday].
“In training, we never just work on a starting XI – we always treat everybody the same. We have a squad of 25 players and everyone gets the same experiences.
“Non-internationals this week, there are Antolin Alcaraz, Sylvain Distin, Leon Osman, Joel Robles, Bryan Oviedo, Tyias Browning, Gareth Barry – they are all important and there isn’t a first or second 11.
“There are certainly some things that we can work at that will help us in the West Brom game.”
The fact that Everton conceded an uncharacteristic six goals overshadowed another slick attacking performance – prior to facing the Blues, Chelsea’s defence had been breached just once in their opening two games.
Steven Naismith continued his excellent record of scoring in every game this season, while it took just six minutes for Samuel Eto’o to register his first for the Club.
The Blues have notched seven goals so far this season and Jones has taken particular satisfaction with how they been scored.
He added: “Chelsea pride themselves on their back-six and back-eight work and, in a lot of cases, their back-11 work. They work hard and do try to keep clean sheets.
“We cut them open time and time again, so from an attacking point of view there are huge positives.
“The majority of our goals have been from free play – Samuel Eto’o’s has been the only one from a set-piece. Six goals from free play is a great reward and how we try and prioritise our work.
“Time and time again we asked questions of Chelsea but that was tarred with the amount of goals we conceded at the other end.
“You have to work on the balance but we always pride ourselves on being an attacking team – that’s our philosophy on the game.”