What The Papers Say - 31 August
A round-up of Friday's local and national newspapers.
The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.
Everton want to beef up their midfield with a deadline move for Blackburn rebel Steven N’Zonzi.
The Frenchman has not appeared for Rovers since a fall-out with boss Steve Kean last season and is training with the reserves. The tough tackling midfielder has also been linked with a move to Norwich City.
Everton chief David Moyes wants to take advantage by pinching N’Zonzi on the cheap, or on loan.
EVERTON are set to beat West Brom in the battle to sign FC Copenhagen left-back Bryan Oviedo in a £5m deal.
JOHN HEITINGA can still be a vital part of Everton’s bid for success this season according to David Moyes – who will reject any transfer deadline day bids for the Dutch international today.
The 28-year-old has not started the Blues first two Premier League games so far and has previously been linked with a Goodison exit this summer, but played the entirety of Wednesday’s 5-0 Capital One Cup win over Leyton Orient.
Moyes admits he has spoken to Heitinga about the need to hit the ground running with the Toffees after a disappointing Euro 2012 campaign with Holland, but has reassured him he will get plenty of opportunities to play his way into a regular starting place for Everton like he did last term – eventually being named the club’s player of the season.
Moyes said: “Everybody needs to fight for their place but it’s only two games into the Premier League schedule. We might change the team. We did it quite a lot last year and altered the centre halves around at different times.
“We’ve only got three which in truth is probably not enough, and there’s Shane Duffy who I’d like to get some games out on loan.
“They’re all going to play. Sylvain’s found himself playing a few times at left- back when required. If you judge the team selection on the first two games it’s probably way off the mark because I’ll tell you by November the teams will be completely changed.
“I think John expected to go further with Holland in the Euros than they did. He’s tended not to be the fastest starter with us at the beginning of the last few seasons, and I spoke to him about that before he went.
“He knows that he’s coming into it and he’ll play his part. He’s starting to pick himself up. He’s not played an awful lot of 90 minutes which we need to make sure we get as well.”
ROMELU LUKAKU is hungry – but Kevin Mirallas hopes his Belgian international team-mate’s feeding frenzy can wait until after Everton’s trip to the Hawthorns.
The Goodison new boy knows all about the qualities which Lukaku brings to a forward line, and has noted his impressive form since joining West Brom on loan this summer.
Indeed David Moyes once coveted the former Anderlecht striker before his £18m switch to Chelsea in 2011, and Mirallas is fully aware that the 19-year-old he describes as being keen to ‘eat up’ games has the potential to give Everton’s defenders a headache tomorrow.
Of course Mirallas is focusing solely on maintaining his own bright start in English football, fresh from bagging a brace on his full debut against Leyton Orient on Wednesday, but the £5m man is pleased he chose to move to a club where he will be able to play and flourish unlike Lukaku’s stalled spell at Stamford Bridge so far.
“He made a good choice for himself moving to West Brom, because at that age you just need to be getting games under your belt,” says the former Olympiakos forward who has 28 caps for Marc Wilmots’ side.
“He already has a goal this season and the fact he’s playing games already shows it’s going well for him. But let’s hope it doesn’t go so well on Saturday for him.”
Perhaps Lukaku’s experience at Chelsea so far provides proof why Mirallas was right to opt for David Moyes’ men ahead of offers at Champions League clubs such as Arsenal and Porto.
“It’s probably a similar situation,” says the 24-year-old. “It’s not just the fact that I thought I would feature in a lot of games and play on the field, but ever since I’ve been a youngster it’s about getting support, and ever since I met him the manager has set his stall out to get me at the club.
“He made it clear he wanted me. Other clubs were interested, but I’m happy I am here.”
Mirallas nearly scored during his first taste of Premier League action for the Toffees against Aston Villa last weekend, only to be denied by an offside flag, and he was impressed by Lukaku’s debut goal for Steve Clarke’s men during their opening day win over Liverpool.
“Romelu is a big lad and is very strong,” says Mirallas. “In one-to-one aerial battles and individual battles, he will really tough it out.
“But the biggest thing about him is that he’s hungry for success. He wants to live every moment and almost eat up every game. He spent a year not playing, so now he is so keen to succeed.”
Mirallas believes he is still recapturing full match fitness after a summer interrupted by a knee injury and his transfer from Olympiakos.
“The Orient game was only my fourth game, including my pre-season, so I am a long way from peak condition and there is a lot more to come from me,” he says.
“Training has been tough but I am getting there. I am not afraid of hard work. I am a hard worker myself and I know you need to put it in to get success.”
“I really enjoyed it and could not be happier. It was a dream debut to score two goals and was a night I will remember.
“When you score twice you start thinking about scoring three or four but it certainly wasn’t a night for frustration or being annoyed.
“I am very happy with how it went – it could not have gone much better.”
Everton’s travelling supporters will head to the Midlands tomorrow hoping to see the new signing make his first Premier League start after his exciting Capital One Cup display, but Mirallas insists Moyes will know when it is right for that to happen.
“As I have said, my physical condition is not perfect yet,” he continued. “I am tired after the 90 minutes (against Orient). Hopefully I can play some part this weekend (against West Brom) but the manager will know when it is the right time for me to start.”
EVERTON are in pole position to sign £5m-rated Costa Rican international left-back Bryan Oviedo from FC Copenhagen, and are hoping to agree a fee with the Danish club for the 22-year-old today.
Oviedo – who has also been linked with Manchester United – can play either left- back or left wing and would provide quality cover for Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar.
Meanwhile, David Moyes will ponder upping his offer for Kilmarnock forward Matthew Kennedy, after the Scottish club rejected an initial bid for the 17-year-old yesterday.
PHIL NEVILLE believes Everton’s Paralympic footballers could inspire a nation – starting with his own eight-year-old daughter.
Neville’s little girl Isabella has cerebral palsy and the Toffees skipper has long been a supporter of disabled charities, including the award-winning Everton In the Community disability sport scheme.
Now the 35-year-old is keen to chart the progress of the two Blues boys who will compete at the 2012 London Paralympics.
Roy Turnham, 27, who is visually impaired, and 17-year-old George Fletcher, a cerebral palsy sufferer, are set to join the action today and tomorrow at the games, which will see a record 4,200 athletes competing across 21 events.
“People were inspired by what happened at the Olympics but I think they will be even more inspired by what is going on in London over the next few weeks ,” said Neville.
“There are some great athletes who have a great opportunity to show off their talents and I think it is fantastic that, regardless of your disability or health, you get the chance to perform in such a major competition.
“I think it is so inspiring. My daughter is disabled and you think the opportunities won’t be there when you learn of the disability. But, when you look into it, there are some fantastic opportunities.
“My daughter cannot wait to watch the Paralympics. She sees it as an opportunity to be inspired.
“She has days when she is a bit down, when she thinks she isn’t normal when she is on the playground with her friends. But when she sees the Paralympic athletes she realises how lucky she is and how she still has an opportunity to take part in every sport available.”
For Roy and George, it was Everton in the Community that allowed a dream of playing football to become a reality.
The charity’s disability programme is one of the most revered in Europe, providing over 10,000 opportunities for disabled children and adults each year.
Currently there are 26 successful disability teams representing Everton, while Roy and George are just two of eight internationals proudly flying the flag for the Toffees.
“We are lucky here at Everton because we are the pioneers who promote the disabled athletes in the community,” continued Neville. “I am massively proud to be at a club which supports disabled athletes.
“I took part in a wheelchair football training session and a blind football match last year and I found it almost impossible. What struck me more than anything was the fact they all played with smiles on their faces.
“I think it just gave me a kick up the backside – these kids are in wheelchairs, they wear splints on their legs, some of them are blind, but they just go out and have fun, which is what sport is all about and maybe something, as footballers, we should take note of.”
Roy’s Paralympic journey begins against Spain on Friday (kick-off 3.30pm), while George can look forward to a glamorous opener against Brazil on Saturday (4.15pm).