What The Papers Say - 12 January
Swansea's visit to Goodison previewed in Saturday's papers.
The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton
EVERTON must cope without the attacking prowess of Kevin Mirallas again today, as they bid to stay in the mix for Champions League qualification.
The exciting Belgian forward scored his only in the Premier League so far against this afternoon’s opponents, Swansea, at the Liberty Stadium in September, but has been unable to recover from a hamstring problem in time to face Michael Laudrup’s side in the return fixture at Goodison.
David Moyes knows the 25-year-old will be vital to his chances of overtaking Chelsea, who are currently in fourth place and two points ahead of the Blues, but is prepared to remain patient as he bids to coax his £5.5m summer signing from Olympiacos back to full fitness.
While Mirallas has missed Everton’s last six games, he is showing signs of progress in treatment, and the Blues will at least be able to call upon Leighton Baines against Swansea, with the England left-back likely to shake off an ankle injury he has carried in recent weeks.
Moyes is also quietly confident that Marouane Fellaini, who hit headlines in the week after it emerged that he has a buy-out clause in his contract, will stay at Goodison in January.
The Everton boss responded to speculation about Fellaini by reiterating he is not looking to sell players in the current transfer window.
Everton are understood to have had no inquiries about their inspirational midfielder from other clubs so far, and Moyes said: “The plan is to keep all of our players.
“I wouldn’t be talking about anyone’s contracts if I can help it, and I won’t do it now.”
Regarding potential incoming personnel, Moyes added: “We are trying – we will look around and see what we will get.”
As exclusively revealed in yesterday’s ECHO, one midfielder who is certainly remaining with Everton for the time being is Thomas Hitzlsperger.
Hitzlsperger, 30, having been a free agent since leaving Wolfsburg last summer, signed a short-term contract with the Toffees in October that saw him through to this month.
The former Aston Villa, West Ham and Germany player has made seven appearances for Everton so far and Moyes added: We have decided Thomas is going to stay until the end of the season.
“He has played a few games for us now, and he has been around the block a few times.
“He knows what is required.”
DAVID MOYES insists his Everton side will not solely rely on tried and trusted methods to beat in-form Swansea today.
The Blues boss is yet to be defeated by the Welsh club since their promotion to the Premier League, and has out-foxed his opposite number at the Liberty Stadium in consecutive seasons when Everton’s high-tempo game knocked Swansea out of their rhythm.
But with Michael Laudrup’s ever-improving side making the trip to Goodison this afternoon, Moyes is wary of being predictable against opponents buoyed by the form of prolific Spanish striker Michu.
He said: I don’t know what their approach will be. They’ll have their philosophy. We might decide not to go and press them this time.
“There are different ways of doing it but I would expect Swansea to come and do what they do. It’s their philosophy.”
Former Rayo Vallecano striker Michu has been dubbed the bargain of the season already, scoring 16 goals in 24 games snce his £2m switch in the summer. And Moyes was full of praise for the forward, who will be assessed by Spain manager Vicente Dwel Bosque today.
“We knew about michu but we didn’t know enough about him,” said Moyes. “I think that’s where the knowledge from your background comes into it.
“I came in with the knowledge of the Championship, which allowed me to look at Cahills and Lescotts and Andy Johnsons who had been around those leagues. Michael Laudrup has come from La Liga and he will know all about players from there.
“Spain has always been an interesting market. But you also hear people saying ‘we don’t want loads of cheap foreign imports – or why aren’t you giving young British boys a chance?’
“If Michu had come and not done so well, would he have fitted into that bracket? It’s a debate and double-edged sword.
“Some work and some don’t, but he is the bargain of the season.”
Laudrup is expecting a tough afternoon on Merseyside: “We got there after two very hard physical games this week,” said the Dane.
“They did not play on Wednesday and they are a very strong team physically, they put everyone under pressure.
“They will do the same to us.
“We know what we did wrong against them last time, we told the players not to make many fouls because they have Baines, Fellaini and others but then we gave away seven fouls in the first 10 minutes.
“They will put us under pressure from the first minute and if we are unlucky we could be two goals down very quickly.”
David Moyes insists that he does not expect Marouane Fellaini to leave Everton this year despite Chelsea’s interest in signing the player.
The Chelsea hierarchy have identified Fellaini as the player they want to replace Frank Lampard and are ready to try to exploit an exit clause in the Belgium midfielder’s contract in the summer transfer window.
But in a recent interview, Fellaini indicated that he could remain at Everton for the remainder of his present deal, which does not expire until June 2016, and those comments have given his manager confidence that Chelsea’s advances could be spurned.
“I’m quite cool with it [the speculation] and I’m quite confident he’ll be here even longer than this season,” Moyes said. “So I’m not concerned.”
Everton have extended Thomas Hitzlsperger’s contract until the end of the season and are close to finalising new deals for both Leon Osman and Sylvain Distin. Ross Barkley has been allowed to join Leeds United on a month-long loan deal.
“We are hopeful there will be a deal [new contracts] with Osman and Distin,” Moyes said. “You have to make sure you have within your group players you can rely on, and with those two, we have that. We have done well in ensuring we have a group of players here we can rely on.”
Osman will mark the 10th anniversary of his Everton debut today by lining up against Swansea City having been showered with praise by Moyes, who believes that the midfielder is getting better with age.
“I think this has been his best season and he fully deserved his recent England call-up,” Moyes said. “I have always been asked if he could play for England, and in the past thought maybe he was just below that level, but now he is there by right.
“We are giving him a new contract because he is such a valuable player who can play two or three roles, and if he stays free of injury he can go on for some years yet.”
EVERTON are keen on 6ft 5in South Korea striker Kim-Shin Wook, 24, at Ulsan Hyundai.
David Moyes believes Leon Osman's emergence as an England player illustrates perfectly how football has changed during the midfielder's decade in the Everton team.
Ten years after he made his debut, Osman, now 31, faces Swansea at Goodison Park on Saturday on the verge of signing a new contract and being hailed by manager Moyes as 'as good a central midfield player as anybody in the country right now'.
But at 5ft 8in, Osman has needed his battling spirit to establish himself.
Moyes said: 'When he first came in 10 years ago the Premier League was a more physical place and there was more emphasis on physique.
'Look at the champions then, Arsenal. They had Bergkamp and Henry, but their midfield was Vieira and Petit, with Sol Campbell and Toure at the back.
'We sent Leon out on loan as a kid to try to develop the physical side - I think he went unnoticed a lot, but he made himself a career by being very combative and tough. If he had to mix it, he wouldn't shy away from that.
'Football has evolved over the time Ossie has been around. Barcelona have changed things with how they've done so well with small, talented footballers.'
Everton have extended Thomas Hitzlsperger's contract for the rest of the season. The German had attracted attention from Eintracht Frankfurt but Moyes said: 'We've needed him and we will continue to need him with the games we have got in the second half of the season.'
Everton have also loaned midfielder Ross Barkley, 19, to Leeds, whose manager Neil Warnock said: 'He had four other clubs after him but I've wanted to sign him for a long time.
'He's got a great attitude and I have no doubt that he will end up a top player.’
Leon Osman will celebrate the 10th anniversary of his Everton debut this weekend by signing a new three-year contract.
According to manager David Moyes, the little midfielder is playing better now than at any time during that decade as a transformed Premier League becomes less of a wrestling match.
Moyes confirmed Osman will get a contract extension - and, in the eyes of the Toffees' boss, there is no one more deserving.
“We are giving him a new contract because he is such a valuable player to us,” said Moyes.
“If he stays free of injury, he can go on for some years yet. There are different types of players coming into the Premier League now, and it is a far less physical place - and that helps. He could survive in the other style of football and have a career, but now he is thriving.
“He was already here when I walked in the door, and there was always a talent there which we really liked. But I would honestly say that this is his best season so far for us, he just keeps developing and maturing, and adding to his game.”
Despite suffering a serious knee injury as a teenager, Osman made his Everton debut on January 12 2003 against Spurs at Goodison.
Moyes though, twice sent him out on loan to acclimatise him to the physical demands of the Premier League.
Eventually, in 2004 he made himself an Everton regular, and has progressed each season until he won his first England cap earlier this season, and Moyes believes the influence of Barcelona on football has allowed his midfield star to develop into one of the country’s best.
“I think Ossie is perhaps the example of how there has been a big style change in the Premier League over the past 10 years,” he said.
“When he first came in 10 years ago the Premier League was a more physical place. You even look at the Champions at that time, Arsenal, and yeah they had Bergkamp and Henry, but they had Vieira and Petit, Campbell and Toure, and they were a physically imposing unit.
“Some of the laws have changed, there is less tackling and no tackling from behind. It is more about covering now and positional play. The back pass law has changed things too.
“Barcelona perhaps have changed things with how they’ve done so well with small, talented footballers, and that has paved the way for smaller guys to thrive in this league... and that’s helped.
“Early on, Ossie had the skills, but he did what he had to, so he could get a game, and he developed a competitive edge. If he had to mix it, he wouldn’t shy away from that.
“We looked after him, played him off the side and also further forward at times, but for me, now in this climate he is as good a central midfield player as anybody in the country right now.”
Sylvain Distin will also get a new Everton deal, and he and Osman will play against Swansea on Saturday afternoon.
Moyes is supremely confident that midfield star Marouane Fellaini will also remain at Goodison until at least the end of the season.
The Belgium international has been strongly linked with a move to Chelsea or Arsenal because of a clause in his contract allowing him to go for a trigger price.
The figure in the clause, however, is higher than the £22million that has been widely quoted and so far Everton have not had a single enquiry about the player, which leaves Moyes certain that he will honour his word and stay.
That would be a major boost to the Blues as they look to underpin a top four challenge by defeating Swansea,
The Everton boss won’t be able to call on star striker Kevin Mirallas for at least another week, though, despite the Belgian's return to training.
Moyes also confirmed that German midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger has agreed a deal that will keep him at Goodison until the end of the season.