What The Papers Say - 8 March
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.
MAROUANE Fellaini has revealed his burning desire to win a trophy with Everton FC – and believes they’re better equipped than ever before during his five-year Goodison spell.
The influential midfielder is his club’s top scorer with 12 goals this season and while he would like to score the goals which helps the Blues beat Wigan tomorrow and progress to Wembley, he cares only about keeping the club’s silverware dream alive.
Fellaini, 25, knows the relegation-haunted Latics will be no pushovers in Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Goodison, but feels the Toffees are more than capable of going all the way after reaching the final in 2009, and the semi-final last term.
He said: “I want to win something. It’s nice when I score but more important to me is winning something with Everton.
“I’ve been here nearly five years so it’d be more special. For me, the supporters, the staff – everyone.
“We were so close in 2009 but it was a difficult against a big team. This season it’s different because maybe we have a better team.
“I hope we can go all the way. Of course everybody wants to go to Wembley – not just us – so Saturday is the most important. It’s a big game and first we have to get through that.
“It’s a big chance for us. It’s why we work so hard. The motivation is clear.”
Speculation has mounted this season linking the Belgium international with a move away from Goodison in the summer.
But the man signed by David Moyes for £15m from Standard Liege in summer 2008 is focusing only one giving something back to the club which has made him feel at home in England.
“My form has been OK,” he added. “I’ve played more up front and had more chances to score goals. I’ve tried to concentrate when I’m in the box and it’s been good but I don’t have a target in mind about how many goals I can score. I’ll just keep going – we’ll see.
“I try to give my maximum for this club. They signed me when I was only 20 and now I’m 25. It’s important to me to give everything.
“In football you want to win something and I hope it’s this season.”
Tickets are still available for this Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final and Everton are urging supporters to get their tickets early.
Prices start from £31 for adults and half-price for juniors for the FA Cup quarter-final. And today is the final day for 2012/13 Season Ticket holders to take advantage of a £5 discount when purchasing their match ticket.
THOMAS HITZLSPERGER is working around the clock to convince Everton he is worth a new contract – and insists he is ready to help fire the Blues back to Wembley.
The 30-year-old German has only started four games since arriving at Goodison Park in October and is eager to prove himself to manager David Moyes.
Hitzlsperger has revealed that he stays at the Blues’ training ground, Finch Farm, after hours in order to make sure he stays in peak condition and is always ready if the boss calls on him.
A former Bundesliga title winner with Stuttgart, Hitzlsperger is hoping the be rewarded with an extension to his current deal at the end of the season and is itching to be given more chances to show what he has to offer.
Hitzlsperger, who earned a fresh contract in January, would love nothing more than to play a part in tomorrow’s FA Cup quarter-final with Wigan Athletic and help Everton return to the home of football for the fourth time in four years.
And it is Wembley which holds one of the Munich man’s greatest memories in football.
“To play at Wembley again, in a semi-final would be a great achievement for everyone,” he said.
“Some of the players have been there before and I’ve played there with Germany, when we beat England 2-1 in 2008.
“So, the Wigan game is massive for us.”
On his hopes of staying at Everton, he added: “I’ve enjoyed it here, I’ve not played an awful lot but everything I was told about the club before I arrived is true. It is a great club and it would be nice if I could stay beyond the end of this season. But who knows what is going to happen?
“I’m really happy that I am able to train every single day. My fitness is there. I’ve played a few games, which I’m pleased about but I want to play more.
“Every player wants to play week in, week out. But when that doesn’t happen the manager says don’t show your disappointment on a matchday, show it in training and work hard. I have to show the manager that I’m still here.
“I’m certainly fit enough, I’m working hard and when we get days off I come in to do extra training. I am fit enough to start a game.
“Players get injured, someone may be out of form and so I need to be there and showing the manager that I’m ready.”
Nicknamed ‘Der Hammer’ by Aston Villa fans for his powerful left footed shots, Hitzlsperger has yet to register on the scoresheet for Everton.
But having worked his way back to full fitness following an injury plagued couple of seasons with West Ham United and Wolfsburg, Hitzlsperger hopes he can revive his career with Everton.
“There was no way I could come into the club and demand a place in the starting line-up because of the injuries I’d had,” he admitted.
“But now I am fit enough and all I can do is show that to the manager in training. So far he has not seen a reason to change the team but I will still work hard.
“I’m a good professional and I will be fighting for my chance until the very last day. I am feeling very good now. I am working closely with the physios everyday. I have to put a lot of effort to stay fit now and invest more time because of my age. I prepare myself for training and warm down properly afterwards. There is more work involved but I know how good it feels when you are able to train everyday because I have been out for so long. I don’t want to have that again so the extra work is worth it. It is worth spending an extra half an hour in the gym or on the training pitch.
“You are not the only one in the gym all the time. Most of the players in the squad you will see in the gym.
“At other clubs through my career that has been less so. They know how important it is, especially when you get older.”
EVERTON fans can give fellow True Blues a day to remember by nominating them to receive the ultimate gift by VIP delivery.
As part of their season ticket promotional campaign, the club has launched ‘Make Their Day’, a series to reward deserving Evertonians with a 2013/14 season ticket hand delivered by a first team player.
To celebrate the opening of the early bird window this Monday, Everton are calling on supporters to nominate their fellow Blues.
So if you know someone who needs a pick-me-up, or has suffered a difficult time, now is your chance to reward them.
Toffees legend Graeme Sharp will sift through the entries to select the most deserving winner each week and then members of the first team squad will be out and about to deliver the surprise.
Each surprise will be filmed by hidden evertontv cameras so you can enjoy and share with Evertonians everywhere.
To nominate a supporter, visit evertonfc.com/ maketheirday to complete the nomination form.
The first delivery will take place in the week beginning March 18, so submit your nominations early for the best chance to be selected.
Season Tickets for the 2013/14 campaign go on sale on Monday with the Early Bird window open until midnight on Friday, April 19. Prices start from £427 for adults, £149 for juniors and all kids under 11 just £95.
Current Season Ticket holders can get a 25% discount, while the Early Bird period also offers up to a 20% reduction for new Season Ticket holders.
Season Tickets will be on sale online at evertonfc.com/eticketing, by calling 0871 663 1878 or by visiting the Park End box office or the Everton Two store.
Everton are planning a swoop for Porto's Christian Atsu this summer.
Toffees manager David Moyes has generally had to work on a shoestring budget, but he has proved to have an uncanny eye for a bargain, as shown by Kevin Mirallas who signed for £6m last summer.
Atsu was on Spurs' radar during the January transfer window, but the north London outfit were unable to force through a deal.
But now Everton could snaffle Atsu which would be a coup for him.
Reports in Portugal suggest that Everton are pondering whether to make a bid for him.
They also note that Atsu has a release clause of £8m.
Atsu has yet to get off the mark for Porto in the league this season.
He is contracted with the club until 2014.