Pickford To Start In Slovakia

Ronald Koeman has confirmed Jordan Pickford will make his competitive Everton debut in the second leg of the UEFA Europa League third round qualifier against MFK Ruzomberok.

The Toffees carry a 1-0 win into Thursday’s contest, after Leighton Baines’ 20-yard strike earned a slender victory at Goodison Park last week.

And, after arriving in Slovakia on Wednesday evening, Blues boss Koeman held a pre-match press conference at the Štadión pod Čebraťom, where he revealed Pickford - a summer signing from Sunderland for a potential Club-record fee rising to £30million – will be included in his starting line-up after being named on the bench for the first leg.

“We know we need to make decisions on the team and it is not only about the goalkeeper,” said Koeman when asked about who would start in goal. “It’s still the pre-season but we can’t call it pre-season because we’re playing in an important game tomorrow.

“Pickford will start the game.”

Koeman also explained Wayne Rooney is fit and in contention for a starting berth after overcoming a minor groin problem.

The 31-year-old made his first appearance for the Club in 13 years in the first leg after rejoining this summer from Manchester United - and could make his second Europa League appearance of the campaign against Norbert Hrnčár’s side.

“Wayne had some groin issues in the past few days but he trained normally yesterday and this morning,” added Koeman.

“He is fit to play tomorrow.”


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