What The Papers Say - 15 December
A round-up of the day's papers.
The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.
TIM Cahill is unlikely to be granted his wish for an Everton loan return in January, says David Moyes.
The 33-year-old Australian international has made no secret of his desire to temporarily rejoin the club he left for MLS side New York Red Bulls in the summer.
However, the ECHO revealed on Thursday that Moyes is not convinced by the merit of a third approach for another MLS star Landon Donovan, and Cahill falls into the same category.
The Blues boss is reluctant to completely rule out the possibility, but when asked ahead of today’s clash with Stoke at the Britannia stadium, he admitted it was not a priority.
“I wouldn’t think so, no,” said the Scot. “We have not made a decision yet, but if you are asking today it wouldn’t be what we are doing today.
“Could I revisit it? Yes, I could do, but I'm not doing it today.”
Cahill left Goodison Park in July to sign for Red Bulls in a £1m move, but is keen to stay fit after his new club’s campaign ended last month with defeat to DC United in the play-offs.
But the Socceroos forward has already acknowledged that the odds are stacked against his hopes of a Toffees reunion.
“I know I have a lot more to offer,” he said last month. “The main thing is that I get to enjoy the MLS but I also get the chance of joining back up in the Premier League and playing in the best league in the world.
“There is no shadow of a doubt, I am eager to come back. Hopefully something can be done (with Everton). It would be nice but it is not down to me.
“I have to respect that sometimes the ship has sailed.”
DAVID Moyes insists he will not sell players in order to fund the transfer business he wants to do in January.
Losing forward Kevin Mirallas and defender Tony Hibbert to injury for “a few weeks”, and the club’s current hold on fourth place, has not changed the Scot’s view about the forthcoming window.
Everton have habitually sold in order to buy, but Moyes stressed that would not be the case in January, despite speculation suggesting he was willing to offload defender John Heitinga in order to raise money to buy Paris St Germain striker Kevin Gameiro, Toulouse youngster Wissam Ben Yedder and bring back Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott on loan.
“I’d like to (strengthen), but we know I’ve got a very small amount I could do anything with and I don’t think it will probably be enough to make a difference in what we would want to bring in,” he said.
“We will probably look and see if there is anything out there but I don’t think the situation with Mirallas and Hibbo would change that.
“We wouldn’t be letting anyone go, but we would like to add to it if we can, but we can only do that if the players were available and it was the right deal for us.”
Losing Mirallas, arguably Everton’s most impressive attacking player this season, for an extended spell is a significant blow to the Toffees.
The Belgium international only made his comeback from a hamstring injury in last weekend’s win over Tottenham after missing four matches but lasted just 45 minutes.
Even in that time he was Everton’s best player and Moyes knows his absence considerably weakens his side.
“It looks like we’ll lose Kevin for a few weeks,” said Moyes. “It’s a really big blow, anyone who watched the game last week can see that.
“His hamstring isn’t right so it looks like we’ll have to take more time over it so it will probably keep him out for a while.
“We thought we had managed it because it was quite a mild hamstring injury which we gave extra time because I was expecting him to be available for the midweek Arsenal game.
“I then didn’t use him in the Manchester City game in the hope he would be right for the Tottenham game so we gave him extra days to make sure it was right.
“We now will have to take even more time for us unfortunately and it will be a big miss for us because he gives us a different attacking dimension from what we have and he’ll be a loss.
“Tony Hibbert has a recurrence of his calf injury so he is going to have an operation on Monday which will keep him out for a while.”
Moyes reckons Mirallas’ injury problems could be part of his adjustment to the rigours of the Premier League, which he joined from the Greek SuperLeague in the summer.
“That is a factor,” he said. “I also think around this time of year there are some players who come in from abroad and their bodies are used to having a winter break. That wasn’t the reason why he pulled his hamstring originally four weeks ago, but I do think adapting to the Premier League and the rigours that are required could sometimes take a toll on players.
“He has done really well for us the times he has played, we need him because he has goals in him. We have had lots of shots and attacks but our conversion rate needs to be higher than it is. He might be one of the ones who helps us do that.”
Tim Howard will make 200th consecutive Premier League appearance for Everton this weekend, with his manager backing him to reach many more Toffees milestones.
The keeper has, by his own lofty standards, endured some indifferent form in the early part of the season, but boss David Moyes has insisted the American remains his undisputed number one.
Yet even as the manager offered such a ringing endorsement, he did admit the search for a long term replacement for the 33-year-old starts now.
Moyes wants to bring in a young prodigy to learn from his veteran keeper, but insisted he has no plans for a succession just yet. “Tim has been incredible for us - to find a keeper like him you can trust implicitly is not easy.
“I think he is very conscientious about his work and how he goes about it. He has helped us in so many games and he is a big part of what we do. He is a big voice in the dressing room as well.
“He has competition and in the main his play has been very good, he has had very few slip-ups and because of that we are really comfortable with Tim - he has not had many instances in his time here where he would warrant criticism.”
Howard has been a vital part of Everton’s enduring success in recent years, his reliability a platform on which their impressive defensive solidity has been built.
For almost the first time though, there were questions in the early part of the season about his form, though a recent revival has allowed Moyes to assure the keeper he will be given the chance to record even more milestones, after his double century is racked up against Stoke on Saturday.
Moyes though, is ever the pragmatist when it comes to management, and he revealed that after twice making enquiries for young England keeper Jack Butland he is keen to ensure he finds a talented youngster to take the flame from Howard.
“I’ve always said Nigel Martyn was the best buy we ever made because he was reliable, consistent and a great man to work with,” Moyes added.
“So when he was leaving to try and find a goalkeeper like that who you think most weeks you can trust was not easy, but Tim has been exactly that. Now though, we have to be planning for the next Nigel Martyn, the next Tim Howard.
“We have enquired a couple of times about Butland, but not recently. We are just looking out.
"Chris Woods is a big part of Tim’s because he works for the US national team as well now, but Chris also does a lot of work looking at the future goalkeepers for us.”
Moyes could mark Howard’s milestone by handing him the captain’s armband at Stoke.
Everton will be without talented playmaker Kevin Mirallas, out for at least a fortnight with another hamstring problem.
DAVID MOYES has hailed Everton keeper Tim Howard – but admits the search is already on to find his successor.
The 33-year-old Goodison star will make it 200 consecutive Premier League games for the club when he faces Stoke at the Britannia today.
But while Toffees boss Moyes has been delighted with the United States keeper, who signed a new fouryear contract in March, he knows he will have to be replaced at some point.
Moyes enquired about Birmingham’s England Under-21 keeper Jack Butland in the summer and coach Chris Woods is monitoring Howard’s potential successors.
Moyes said: “You are always planning for who is the next Nigel Martyn, the next Tim Howard. You have to do that.
“We have enquired a couple of times about Butland, but not recently. We are just looking out. Chris Woods is a big part of Tim because he works for the US national team as well now.
“But Chris also does a lot of work looking at the future goalkeepers.
“It is a bit of a specialist job. We can all look at goalkeepers and say, ‘He comes and catches it’ or ‘He makes good saves, he has good distribution’.
“But to understand the technique is a bit more specialist really.” Moyes is delighted with Howard’s contribution since he arrived from Manchester United for £3m in February 2007.
Even the occasional blip – like for Norwich’s late equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Goodison – has not affected that admiration.
Moyes added: “He has not had many instances in his time here where he would warrant criticism.
“When Nigel was leaving, he was reliable, consistent and a great man to work with. To try and find a goalkeeper like that who you think you can trust was not easy.
“But Tim has been that. He has to be kept on his toes like everyone else – there are standards he has to get to.
“He is very conscientious about his work and how he goes about it. He has helped us in so many games and he is a big part of what we do. He is a big voice in the dressing room as well.”
Moyes has a worry over Kevin Mirallas. He is out with a hamstring injury and the manager can’t say when the forward will be back.
He said: “We are missing a really good player and someone who gives us a different attacking dimension.
“There are some players who come in from abroad and their bodies are used to having a winter break.
“That wasn’t the reason he pulled his hamstring originally four weeks ago, but adapting to the rigours of the Premier League could take a toll.”
DAVID MOYES has spent the past 11 seasons at the coal face of the Premier League with Everton. One of the game’s most articulate and forward-thinking managers, here, in his own words, he tackles a range of topics from combating diving to turning 50 and why he is desperate to have a winner at Cheltenham.
ONE way of stopping diving would be to fine players and make sure they pay out of their own pockets. The whole issue needs to be looked at retrospectively if it isn’t dealt with at the time and I think most people would agree with that.
Banning players is a good idea but if Fifa or Uefa wouldn’t allow that to be written into the rules, then we as clubs could maybe decide among ourselves to have an independent panel with the power to fine a player one week’s wages, for example, if he was guilty.
The fine would have to be paid by the player, not the club, and I wonder then if it wouldn’t take too long to stop it. If the player had to pay himself, that would stop him from going down too easily. If you ban players it is the club that would be punished.
We should not accept Premier League games not being sell-outs. The Premier League is such a global brand and I’ve seen empty seats at games which isn’t good for its image. Is that because of what we are producing, or is it too dear to go to the match?
You cannot make the Premier League elitist. You have to make sure football is affordable to everyone and that young children can still feel they can go to the game.
With the TV money that is coming into football from the summer, we should be able to encourage people to come to matches. We need to see why clubs aren’t selling out and price tickets accordingly so that most games in the Premier League are full.
I would like to see referees coming together and training more often, maybe spending three days a week at St George’s Park, for instance. We have had a few decisions go against us this season but this isn’t a knee-jerk response to that. It is a professional body which doesn’t practise refereeing regularly enough for me. I’ve also suggested to Mike Riley [head of Professional Game Match Officials] that they should spend three days at clubs during another week, providing that club agrees to have young players available to put on practice sessions and practice games. That way, free-kicks, corner kicks and other things in a game can be worked on.
THE TITLE RACE
The title might end up being a two-horse race but no one goes into a game thinking, ‘This is a gimme’. Realistically, each season three or four teams will think they have a chance of winning the league, which is hard for all the other managers.
But I don’t think anyone is saying they’re not enjoying the football or the action. Most people say they like the product and that the games are competitive. Manchester United, at the top, beat Reading, who are near the bottom, 4-3; we drew 1-1 with Manchester City. In the end, strength might come through but along the way you earn every single point in this league.
THE BIG 50
I am 50 in April but I’m surprised! I was looking through a Champions League magazine and I was amazed that there are only a few managers who are older than me managing in the competition: Sir Alex Ferguson (70), Arsene Wenger (63) and Mircea Lucescu (67) at Shakhtar Donetsk come to mind.
That’s what got me thinking, ‘Bloody hell, I’m getting on here’. But I do consider myself as a young manager still. I don’t see myself as one of the older ones and it is great clubs are giving young managers a job. It makes me evaluate where I am in my career. I am not frustrated, but I want to manage in the Champions League and I don’t want to get into a situation where I am too old for that.
But I am at a great club and I would love to try to get into the Champions League with Everton this season. Everton is run well within its means but I am always trying to push. Whatever club you are at – Manchester United, Manchester City or Everton – you are never, ever going to get everything you want. We’re in better shape maybe than one or two years ago when we sold Mikel Arteta. We were a bit down after that and it showed in our play for six months. Now we’re back on it.
We have to be careful that wages don’t spiral up again with the new TV deal. I would like to think that clubs will use the money to manage themselves a bit better, but I’m guessing the reason the money is coming in is that TV wants more signings and more action to keep generating the excitement.
For the real elite players it will continue to go up because you need those players to win you the games and make the difference, but a lot of clubs are trying to cut back a bit.
MY CHELTENHAM DREAM
I would like at least one winner at Cheltenham next year. Horse racing remains a hobby for me. My horse, Desert Cry, is at Donald McCain’s stables and he has gone on to the jumps this year.
On a day off, I’ll go along and watch them on the gallops and I like seeing the horses train. Being a trainer and a manager are different but there are some similarities. You are out there every day with the horse or the players, making sure you get the best out of them. You have the same thoughts, I suppose. ‘How’s he going? Is he at his level?’.
Desert Cry ran at Cheltenham last year and Everton will be going there next month in the FA Cup. I saw them beat Hereford on Tuesday in the replay. Managers are much more liable to take a gamble in an FA Cup game because the points at stake in the Premier League mean everything. But the FA Cup provides strange, strange results and we have to make sure we are not on the wrong end of them.
We went to the semi-final last season and we want another good cup run.
David Moyes was speaking to Paul Joyce on behalf of Barclays Ticket Office. Every 90 minutes throughout the season Barclays is offering fans the chance to win free tickets to Barclays Premier League matches by going to a Barclays ATM and requesting a receipt, or by visiting barclaysticketoffice.com
Phil Jagielka was once a reluctant centre half, utterly crestfallen when told by Craig Short, his former Sheffield United team-mate, that he could reach the very top if he moved into defence.
It was meant as a compliment, encouragement from a veteran for a promising youngster, but having been switched from centre forward to midfield in his teens and likened to Patrick Vieira by Neil Warnock, this seemed like the final insult.
'Centre back had never crossed my mind,' said Jagielka. 'I found it a little bit boring. You didn't get to run around as much or score and you'd have to jump in front of shots and make blocks. It was all a bit more painful.
'I was just gutted that a man with his experience, a great centre back himself, had told me I wasn't going to be a midfielder. We've had a laugh about it since because he was pretty much right.'
Over time Jagielka has embraced the role. Elite football has changed to a point where his pace, mobility and anticipation are arguably more important weapons for a centre half than muscle and aerial power.
At Stoke today, muscle and aerial power may be tested too, but he has learned to love the varied art of defending and protects its honour with the honesty he shows on the pitch for Everton and England.
This is why, while watching Wigan against Newcastle on TV, something started to eat away at him. It was a red card for Wigan's Maynor Figueroa, sent off by Mike Jones after a challenge on Papiss Cisse, and further evidence that contact is being airbrushed from the game.
'For me, that isn't a sending-off,' said Jagielka. 'It possibly isn't a foul, but it's given and then they don't rescind it. It's almost becoming impossible. If you can't go shoulder-to-shoulder with someone in the box and go in hard enough to barge them out of the way, it's going to be hard to tackle anyone without the risk of being sent off in every game.'
It certainly was not like this when Jagielka, now 30, made his debut at 17 for Sheffield United against Swindon in May 2000.
'When I was starting out, in a game where there's a bit of needle, you'd want those balls that drop perfectly between you and your midfield opponent,' he said. 'You'd throw the kitchen sink in. If you got the ball and you took him out and he was in a heap, it was accepted.
'That was only 10 years ago. We're not talking back in the 1950s when people used to smash the hell out of each other.
'There were opportunities you were looking for and vice-versa. If you had a heavy touch and you saw the guy coming in, you'd brace yourself, thinking, "Here we go", but you wouldn't have people jumping out of the way, scared or rolling around six times after they'd been, you know, flicked on the ear.
'Football's moved on. It's harder to tackle people, especially with any sort of force. I don't want people to get injured. I'm not saying you should hurt people on purpose or try to put them out for any length of time. I'm not asking the ref to let career-threatening tackles go but they should recognise the difference between dangerous tackles and aggressive ones.
'It's like telling a dribbler you can't take a defender on more than twice because you're making him look bad. Different people have different skills. If you can win the ball and you're not studs-up, halfway up his leg, and your momentum takes the guy out and he ends up on the floor with a little bruise, then why shouldn't that be a legal tackle?
'I think we're going to miss tackling when it's pretty much ruled out in the next few years. It can make the atmosphere so much better. When we play at Goodison and someone puts in one of those tackles and the fans get revved up, there's nothing better.'
Multi-angle, slow-motion TV replays have altered the landscape and defenders tread a high wire where one tiny miscalculation can mean a penalty or a red card or both.
'You've got to put the brake on and that can put you in a worse situation,' said Jagielka. 'You try to nick the ball and it comes off the attacker and he's through and you concede a goal. A few years ago, you'd have taken the lot and it would have been fine.
'On television, they slow it down to every footstep, every inch. They can make the nicest of tackles look evil. They'll say, "He's gone in with his studs up", but has he really? If you look in quick speed, all he's done is trap the ball. Slow it down and it looks like he's trying to break the lad's shin.'
Strikers, being strikers, prey on these uncertainties. 'Some people panic and jump out of the way and don't appeal for anything and that's perfectly fine if you don't want any contact,' added Jagielka.
'And I know if you're running at full pace and someone clips your heel, that's all you need to fall flat on your face. But if you're stood still and someone flicks your heel and you collapse, it's not the same is it? My force hasn't caused you to fall but you've felt a touch and decided to throw yourself to the ground.
'If it happened in a normal workplace, you'd be laughed at. But sometimes in the box, you give someone the slightest of touches and that's it.
'It's never going to stop until something's done about it. And unless you can find an easy way of finding out which is which, this dive or no-dive debate is going to stick around for a long time.'
Jagielka talks straight, like he plays. He might be in his home town of Manchester on a photo-shoot for next year's adidas catalogue but no-one will accuse him of being one of football's posers.
He fought hard to rescue his own career after Everton rejected him at 16, learning to identify pitfalls with help from his brother Steve, who was four years older and spent six years at Shrewsbury before hopping around non-League.
Phil reflects on this big-brotherly influence as a key factor in his development. Steve would return from youth-team training sessions at Manchester City or Stoke and drag his younger brother outside to pass the ball and improve their weaknesses. 'I'd want to go to the park and play headers-and-volleys but we'd do some sort of long-range passing drill or work on our weaker foot,' said Jagielka. 'It wasn't something I wanted to do. I was 12, I couldn't wait to find my goalie gloves and dive around for an hour.
'But he gave me plenty of good advice. He didn't have the breaks I did. He did his cruciate early on and it didn't work out well, but he's always been there for me with advice and warnings. It has made a lot of my decisions easier just by knowing what he's been through.'
Sheffield United found Jagielka, nurtured him for eight years and sold him back to Everton for £4million. He has not stopped improving under the gaze of David Moyes, another from the union of centre halves.
The signed shirt from his England debut, in Trinidad in 2008, hangs framed in his home. 'The game may not have meant much but that was my first game for England and it's still a very proud day,' said Jagielka.
'I was gutted when I got home and realised it might not be allowed as an international because we had made something like eight subs instead of seven.'
There's less anxiety these days. The era of John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Ledley King and Jamie Carragher is over for England and Jagielka stands firmly among those competing to be Roy Hodgson's defensive leader.
For a reluctant centre half, his case is a good one. He continues to improve and shoulder responsibilities at Everton. He studies football, reads the game and his attitude is never questioned.
And he loves a tackle.
Phil Jagielka wears the adidas Predator LZ boots which are designed with five lethal zones to support perfect ball control. You can order yours by December 17 to get them in time for Christmas at www.adidas.com/shop.