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Everton transfer rumours: Blues to battle Liverpool for Denis Cheryshev, Arsenal latest club linked with Stones
1 Dec 2015 December 1 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Joe Rimmer
A round-up of transfer gossip and speculation from around the web
There's nothing more intense, nerve-wracking or exciting than a Merseyside derby.
When Everton take on Liverpool, it's always a tense occasion - and today's rumour mill is no different.
Why? Because the Blues are said to be going head to head with the Reds for Real Madrid winger Denis Cheryshev. The Russian winger is unhappy at the Bernabeu after making just two appearances for Madrid this season. Cheryshev has spent this last two seasons on-loan at Sevilla and Villarreal, but returned to Madrid this summer in the hope of breaking into their starting XI. It hasn't quite worked out for the 24-year-old, and with the European Championships looming, he's is said to be looking for a new club in January.
The Premier League has been mentioned, with both Goodison and Anfield said to be possible destinations.
And finally, not a day goes by without John Stones linked with a new club, and today it's Arsenal's turn.
Arsene Wenger is said to be "happy" to pay upwards of £30m for Stones, which is nice for him, but Everton are expected to give them little encouragement and fighting off Chelsea's advances in the summer. Stones has also been linked with both Manchester clubs and even Barcelona in recent weeks.

Middlesbrough v Everton FC: Blues will have to be at their best to beat us - Downing
1 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Kristian Walsh
“If I was Everton, I’d be wary,” says former Liverpool midfielder
Stewart Downing has warned Everton they will have to be at their best to progress into the Capital One Cup semi-finals tonight. Boro moved into the quarter-finals thanks to their penalty shoot-out win over Manchester United in the previous round, and the winger is confident of pulling off another Premier League scalp this evening. The former Liverpool man is in confident mood, warning the Blues to be “wary” ahead of the game. “If I was Everton, I’d be wary,” he said. “I know they are in good form, but they will need to be at the top of their game to beat us. “We have got some really good players here and we have already shown we can mix it with the best. Manchester United had plenty of their so-called stars out on the night and we had chances to win the game in normal time before we beat them on penalties. “We missed chances to win it. We’ve proved we can do it.” The Championship side are currently second in the league, and amongst the favourites for promotion. Moving into the Premier League is their main objective this season, but Downing admits it would be a mistake to not treat this game as important. The winners of the tie will be just two games away from Wembley. “It would be a shame to come all this way and not go for the win,” he added. “I’m sure the manager sees it that way. I don’t know, he might make a few changes, but whoever comes in will have the quality to really go for it.
“No matter who we are playing, we have proven we can match them. We’re really going to go for it to get the win, I’m sure that’s how the manager feels.” The former England international, now 31, recognises the importance of the game for both clubs – writing off the Blues' Champions League prospects in the process. He added: “I know Everton will see it that way, they will put out their strongest side because they probably aren’t going to get into the Champions League places and for a club like Everton,this is a great opportunity for them to get to a final and into Europe.
“It will be difficult, more difficult than the Man United game.”

How Romelu Lukaku could equal Everton record of American legend... Joe-Max Moore
1 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Kristian Walsh
The big statistics ahead of the game at the Riverside against Middlesbrough
The teams have met four times before in this competition: Everton winning 2-1 away in 1977/78, 3-2 away in 1998/99 and losing the last two, on penalties at Boro after a goalless draw in 2003/04, and 1-0 at Goodison in 2005/06.
Everton have won three of their last four visits to the Riverside, the last being 1-0 on Boxing Day 2008.
The last meeting between the two clubs was Everton’s 2-1 victory at Goodison in the FA Cup quarter final in March 2009.
Romelu Lukaku has 25 goals for Everton in 2015, the most by an Everton player in a calendar year since 1984, when Adrian Heath scored 28 and Graeme Sharp 26 times.
The Belgian has scored in the last four Everton games; the last to do so in five successive matches in all competitions was Joe-Max Moore in Feb 2000.
Ross Barkley has seven goals in 17 games for Everton this season, against two in 36 last season and seven in 38 matches in 2013/14.
Everton have lost just one of their last 10 away games in all competitions: P10 W5 D4 L1, including two away wins in the Capital One Cup.
The Toffees have scored 14 goals in four matches, equalling their best sequence since 15 were netted in Sep-Oct 1990.
The Toffees though have kept only four clean sheets in 17 matches this season.
Surprisingly, this is Roberto Martinez’s first management fixture against Middlesbrough.

Middlesbrough v Everton team selector: Changes for the Capital One Cup tie?
1 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Kristian Walsh
We choose our teams for the big game at the Riverside - and you can too
Joe Rimmer: What to do with the Capital One Cup? Play a strong team? Or rotate and rest? It's a tired old argument, and one that holds no water here, for me.
There's no doubt about it, Roberto Martinez needs to go into this with the strongest side possible and look to get his team to the semi-finals. Therefore I'd go with a starting line-up as close to the one that drew at Bournemouth, with a couple of tweaks here and there.
We know Joel Robles will start, and I'd bring Leighton Baines in at left-back - provided he's fit enough.
In midfield, if neither James McCarthy or Gareth Barry make it I'd go with Darron Gibson and Tom Cleverley.
Other than that it's as you were.
My team (4-2-3-1): Joel; Baines, Coleman, Funes Mori, Stones; Gibson, Cleverley, Deulofeu, Barkley, Kone; Lukaku
Kristian Walsh: It has been a case of 'play it again, Roberto' in recent weeks after the same 11 demolished both Sunderland and Aston Villa, but the Blues' 3-3 draw with Bournemouth - combined with the issue of a midweek cup fixture - presents fresh problems.
So there should be changes. We know Robles will start and I agree with that, while I would look to bring Baines back - if fit and confident - in place of Galloway. The rest of the back four remains the same.
A dilemma in midfield given the question marks over Barry and McCarthy. I would steer towards keeping Barry in, as his injury doesn't seem as serious as McCarthy's, to me, and drop Cleverley alongside him.
Deulofeu, Kone and Barkley can line up behind Lukaku - who should have too much for this defence.
My team (4-2-3-1): Robles; Coleman, Stones, Mori, Baines; Cleverley, Barry, Deulofeu, Barkley, Kone; Lukaku.

Everton FC striker Romelu Lukaku named England's most dangerous player so far
1 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Dubas-Fisher
The Belgian's figures have been incredible so far this season
Romelu Lukaku is the country's most dangerous player, having been directly involved in more goals than any other player in England's top four divisions this season. The Belgian forward has scored 12 goals for Everton in all domestic and European competitions and assisted another four, 16 in total.
Ross Barkley has been involved in 13 of the club's goals, scoring seven and assisting six.
Gerard Deulofeu has been directly involved in 10 goals, Arouna Kone nine and Steven Naismith four.
Eight other players in the football league have each been directly involved in 15 goals for their respective clubs. Leyton Orient's Jay Simpson has scored 15 goals with no assists and is the top scorer in England this season. Jamie Vardy has scored 14 for Leicester and has also provided one assist.
Scunthorpe's Paddy Madden has scored 13 and assisted two while Fulham's Ross McCormack has scored 12 goals and assisted three for the Cottagers this season.
Josh Windass, son of Bradford and Hull legend Dean Windass, has scored 11 and set up four for his Accrington Stanley teammates.
Mesut Ozil has assisted 11 goals for Arsenal and scored a further four.
Romaine Sawyers of Walsall has scored six and assisted nine, while Kevin De Bruyne has scored seven for Manchester City and assisted eight.
A further nine players have been directly involved in 14 goals for their clubs this season.
They include the likes of Leicester's Riyad Mahrez, Walsall's Tom Bradshaw and Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez.

Santa Dash Liverpool 2015: Everton stars back world's biggest festive fun run
1 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Dan Kay
Liverpool beat Las Vegas last year to take the world title and now the race is on to keep the Santa trophy in the city
Past and present Everton legends have thrown their support behind this year’s Medicash Santa Dash Liverpool – the world’s biggest festive fun run.
Manager Roberto Martinez and captain Phil Jagielka were joined by players John Stones and Romelu Lukaku , first team coach Duncan Ferguson , and club ambassadors Graham ‘Diamond’ Stuart, Ian ‘Snods’ Snodin and Francis Jeffers to invite Santas to be part of the World Santa Challenge this Sunday (6 December) to keep the title in the city.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez shows his support for the 2015 Santa Dash
Liverpool beat Las Vegas last year to take the world title and now the race is on to keep the Santa trophy in the city. This is the 12th annual Liverpool Santa Dash, and after blue Santa suits were introduced in 2010 due to popular demand, 1,000 blue Santas will take part this year to complete the now-customary colourful spectacle around Liverpool city centre.
The BTR Liverpool Santa Dash 2014. Upto 10,000 Santas make their way over the Churchill Way flyover.
The Blues’ legends took time out of their busy training schedules to support this year’s event and encourage Santas to Dash and raise cash for the five official BTR Footsteps Fundraisers charities – one of which is the club’s official charity, Everton in the Community.
The other four BTR Footsteps Fundraisers partner charities are Radio City’s Cash For Kids, Claire House Children’s Hospice, Jospice and Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
Santas are encouraged to fundraise and all monies raised will be split equally between the five charities.
Blues legend and Everton in the Community ambassador Graham Stuart will help to start the Santa Dash before taking part himself.
Paul Francis Cooper
Everton's Graham Stuart and Santa
Graham said: “Everton Football Club is delighted to be supporting the Medicash Santa Dash Liverpool 2015. It’s such a fantastic festive spectacle and I’m thrilled to be waving everyone off before I join in and Dash with 1,000 blue Santas.
“Good luck to everyone raising money for the BTR Footsteps Fundraisers, your efforts will make a big difference to Everton in the Community and the other four partner charities. Have a great day and see you on Santa Dash Day.”
The Medicash Santa Dash Liverpool starts at 9.30am from Pier Head Liverpool, taking Santas on a 5K route through the city centre before a festive finish outside Liverpool Town Hall. This is followed by a 1K Mini Dash starting in Castle Street for youngsters aged 12 and under.
Everton captain Phil Jagielka shows his support for the 2015 Santa Dash
The event is open to all, wheelchair participants and prams are welcome.
The Medicash Santa Dash Liverpool is organised by BTR Liverpool, the leading independent organisation for creating, managing and delivering headline race events in Liverpool City Region.
You can start fundraising at or collect a sponsor form from BTR and there is still time to enter this year's Santa Dash by calling into BTR Liverpool, 23 Hatton Garden, Liverpool, L3 2FE. The shop is open daily 9am to 5.30pm, Saturday 9.30am to midday. No entries on the day.

Middlesbrough v Everton team news: McCarthy misses out but Blues go strong at Riverside
1 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Only three changes from draw with Bournemouth as Leighton Baines makes return on the bench
Everton midfielder Gareth Barry has recovered from a shin injury to face Middlesbrough in tonight’s Capital One Cup quarter-final. James McCarthy (hip) has not been passed fit and is replaced in the starting line-up by Leon Osman . And in the second of three changes made by Blues boss Roberto Martinez, Tom Cleverley starts on the left-hand side in place of Arouna Kone, who has dropped to the bench. Leighton Baines is on the bench alongside Tim Howard as Joel Robles retains his place in goal for the League Cup campaign. Seamus Coleman, John Stones, Ramiro Funes Mori and Brendan Galloway line up in front of Robles.
Barry partners Osman in the middle with Cleverley, Ross Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu provide the support for Romelu Lukaku.
Middlesbrough have made six changes from the side that defeated Huddersfield at the weekend.
EVERTON (4-2-3-1): Robles; Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Galloway; Barry, Osman; Deulofeu, Barkley, Cleverley; Lukaku. Subs: Howard, Baines, Gibson, Kone, Mirallas, Lennon, Naismith.

Middlesbrough 0-2 Everton full-time report: Deulofeu steals show as Blues reach semi-finals
1 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
Lukaku also on target as Roberto Martinez's side earn Capital One Cup quarter-final victory
Gerard Deulofeu stole the show as Everton cruised through to the Capital One Cup semi-finals.
Deulofeu scored a spectacular opener then demonstrated dazzling footwork to create the second for Romelu Lukaku in a 2-0 win at Championship side Middlesbrough in their quarter-final clash.
It's only the second time since 1988 the Blues have reached the last four of the competition and moved them just a two-legged tie away from a Wembley final. And it was no less than Roberto Martinez's side deserved with a dominant performance that justified the manager's decision to field a strong starting line-up. With Leighton Baines making his long-awaited first appearance of the season as a second-half substitute following an ankle injury, there were plenty of positives for the 5,000-strong travelling support to savour.
Only three changes were made from the team that drew 3-3 at Bournemouth at the weekend, with Joel Robles, Tom Cleverley and Leon Osman starting in place of Tim Howard, Arouna Kone and the injured James McCarthy. Having weathered a brief early Middlesbrough storm, Everton went ahead on 20 minutes with a brilliant goal from Deulofeu. The in-form Spaniard, picking the ball up in a central area, embarked on a jinking run beyond opposing defenders before clipping a fine finish to the bottom right of Boro goalkeeper Tomas Mejias. Everton doubled their advantage eight minutes later when Deulofeu turned provider, ending a flowing move – 28 passes were counted – with a succession of stepovers before crossing the ball for Lukaku to head home his 13th goal of the season. And that was more or less that. The Blues kept Boro at arm's length during the second half – Robles making one decent stop from Stewart Downing then and grateful to see Christian Stuani's header float on to the roof of the net – and there was little sign of a collapse similar to that at Bournemouth.
MIDDLESBROUGH (4-4-2): Meijas; Nsue, Ayala, Gibson (Friend 83), Amorebieta; Clayton (Adomah 73), Leadbitter, Stuani, Downing; De Pena (Forshaw 46), Kike. Subs: Stephens, Agazzi, Nugent, Zuculini. BOOKINGS: Amorebieta.
EVERTON (4-2-3-1): Robles; Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Galloway (Baines 73); Cleverley, Barry; Deulofeu (Mirallas 81), Barkley, Osman; Lukaku (Naismith 86). Subs: Howard, Gibson, Kone, Lennon. BOOKINGS: Stones, Baines. GOALS: Deulofeu 20, Lukaku 28.
REFEREE: Roger East.
ATT: 31,628.

Middlesbrough 0 Everton 2, match report: Gerard Deulofeu masterclass seals dominant display
Middlesbrough vs Everton: Roberto Martinez's side are through to the semi-finals after winger proves too hot to handle
By Luke Edwards, Riverside Stadium
01 Dec 2015 Telegraph
An English cup quarter-final, which brought an intriguing face-off between two Spanish managers, was settled by two moments of brilliance from a young Spanish forward who is not deemed to be good enough to get into Spain’s national team. This is modern English football, as cosmopolitan in the Championship as it is in the Premier League. Everton won on cruise control, after their former Barcelona prospect Gerard Deulofeu, scored one classy individual goal and created a second with his dancing feet for Romelu Lukaku.
Aitor Karanka said before the match that he looked up to Roberto Martinez
The damage was done inside the first half an hour, but Boro finished the game strongly enough to take the defeat with their pride and confidence intact. Promotion from the Championship was always the main objective and Aitor Karanka’s side remain on course to achieve that ahead of Friday night’s trip to Ipswich Town. As for his compatriot, Roberto Martínez has already won the FA Cup with a Wigan Athletic side that is not nearly as good as the Everton one he now leads. They have all the attributes needed to win knockout competitions, particularly as players like Deulofeu add flair and incision to their manager patient passing game. “He can be as good as he wants to be,” said Martínez. “He still needs games at this level, but in terms of natural talent, he has everything. “The things he did tonight, did not impress me, because I’m fortunate enough to see them every day in training. He is one of those players you would happily pay to watch, but the big thing is he feels at home at Everton. He is adding consistency, which is extremely hard for a goalscoring wide player.”
Karanka spoke freely of his admiration for Martínez before the game and the two sides in different divisions played in almost identical styles. The crucial difference was the quality of players at their disposal. Boro’s best chance was a Stewart Downing free-kick that was prevented from curling inside the post by the hand of goalkeeper Joel Robles. From the resulting corner, Downing did put the ball in the net, but he had jumped into the goalkeeper before heading it past him. Three minutes later, Everton took the lead in scintillating fashion. Deulofeu picked up the ball midway inside the Boro half, turned and drove towards the two centre backs, before beating both of them. Having made enough room to get a shot away on the edge of the area, he drilled it perfectly into the far corner. There is a reason Barcelona inserted a £6m buy back clause in their former academy star’s contract and the Spain international also created Everton’s second goal. Poor Fernando Amorebieta will still be feeling dizzy as Deulofeu left him standing, after six stepovers had bamboozled the left back, before crossing perfectly for Lukaku to send a glancing header inside the far post. The tie felt over, even if there was more than an hour still to play, although Boro rallied before half time. Cristian Stuani had a shot saved by Robles and Karanka’s side went even closer moments later as a delicate chip from Kike dropped the wrong side of the post. It was a sobering 45 minutes, yet an early Boro goal would have made things uncomfortable for Everton, particularly given their failure to hold on to a lead at Bournemouth last weekend.
With just over half an hour remaining, Downing forced another good save from Robles with a shot from the edge of the area and Boro had a loud penalty appeal for handball against Ramiro Funes Mori turned down, but Everton looked comfortable. To their credit, Boro continued to push forward and Stuani should have got a header on target, but failed from six yards. Boro’s chance of launching a fightback had gone and Everton’s happy evening was complete with the sight of Leighton Baines coming on as second half substitute after a long injury lay off. “They were better than us,” said Karanka. “We beat Manchester United a month ago, but we knew this would be tough because Everton have excellent players and an excellent manager. They proved that tonight. I hope they go on to win it.”

Middlesbrough 0-2 Everton player ratings: Geri on cloud nine but who scored a five?
1 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Greg O'Keeffe runs the rule over the action at The Riverside... and was impressed with (nearly) everybody
Joel Robles 7
Solid and composed, the Blues' Cup keeper once again underlined his credentials with an impressive display. Occasionally over-played it, testing John Stones' considerable composure to the hilt by rolling the ball to the defender in very tight areas but otherwise strong.
Brendan Galloway 7
The fans chanted his name as he was replaced in the second half, recognition of another confident performance from the teenager. What a revelation he has been.
Ramiro Funes Mori 7
Some timely interventions as the hosts toiled to turn the tide after the break. The Argentine's growing understanding with Stones is a pleasure to watch. There is still the odd blip here and there, but as they continue to refine this partnership even further they hint at a truly golden pairing.
Tom Cleverley made an impact on his return to the first team
John Stones 8
When's a risky pass not a risky pass? When it's delivered by the right boot of John Stones. He does some things as a centre half - clipped balls across his own six-yard box, dropping the shoulder and going past lurking attackers - that have hearts in mouths but he's that good we should know by now. There's no ruffling him. He's sheer, unadulterated class.
Seamus Coleman 6
As tireless and threatening as usual but all the while just lacking that little bit of accuracy with his final ball. Coleman is still a fraction off regaining the levels we all know he's capable of but he's dependable as ever in the meantime.
Tom Cleverley 7
If James McCarthy is to be out for a prolonged period, then the return to fitness of Cleverley is fortuitously timed. Covered every blade of grass and can take huge credit for the way the Blues won the midfield contest.
Ross Barkley wasn't quite at his best
Gareth Barry 8
To think it was touch and go whether he'd recover from a nasty shin injury in time to play. Barry was sensational. Whether it was defending in his own area, where he was relentless and a massive aerial presence, or breaking up Boro's play to start blistering counter-attacks, the veteran was on top form.
Leon Osman 5
A rare start for the 34-year-old and he ticked over in the first half without making any meaningful contributions before tiring as the game wore on. Completing the full 90 minutes should help him.
Ross Barkley 7
Not vintage Barkley but still plenty to trouble the home defence. His intent and movement was superb with some unrewarded runs which deserved a pass but overall it was an evening of minor frustration by his high standards.
Gerard Deulofeu 9
He's magic and nobody in a red shirt had any sort of answer, short of physical violence, to his web of spells. Step-overs, nutmegs, beguiling finishing; this was sumptuous stuff. Look away please Barca, he's ours.
Romelu Lukaku 8
Rom's remarkable scoring form continues in tandem with his understanding with Deulofeu. Intelligent running and a cool head in front of goal has really helped him take his game to another level. The execution of his first-half header was flawless and even if everything he tries doesn't always come off, the big man remains a young striker with the world at his gifted feet. Can he fire the Blues to Wembley?
Leighton Baines (for Galloway 73)
Quickly got on the front foot and won a free-kick for his efforts. Picked up a booking too, but it was good to see him back in action and regaining confidence in the strength of his ankle.
Kevin Mirallas (for Deulofeu 81)
Couldn't get into the game. He needs longer than this to make an impact.
Steven Naismith (for Lukaku 85)
If he had looked up and found the run of Barkley with five minutes left the Blues would probably have wrapped this tie up with a third. Couldn't find his rhythm.

Middlesbrough 0-2 Everton analysis: Ruthless Blues, Cleverley done and other things learned
1 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Greg O'Keeffe also discusses a Leighton Baines bonus and why he hopes Barcelona simply forgot the match was on
Three shots on target, two goals, one semi-final place secured before half-time.
Everton are developing a timely ruthless streak this season, and with one of the top-flight's most formidable attacks they can genuinely cause any defence problems. Their tails-up, Boro represented a glaring potential banana skin here on home turf but the Toffees had too much for them in every department.
Aitor Karanka, with considerable good grace, put it best afterwards.
"Really good players with a really good coach," he said. "When you lose against a team which is just better than can see the difference." Now the challenge for Everton, when they may well draw one of the Premier League's top five in the next round, is to translate all that to the highest level when it counts.
Clever capture proves his worth
His reception as a free signing in the summer was relatively muted, even if a few decent clubs were in the race for the former Manchester United man. Picking up a bad ankle injury at Tottenham in August didn't help Tom Cleverley build any momentum either, but his return to the starting line-up here in the place of the injured James McCarthy was a pivotal step in paving Everton's way into the semi-finals.
Cleverley did his best McCarthy impression in terms of non-stop running, and building a platform for the creators in front of him, and his ability to step so convincingly into the boots of a player who has become a key man shows his intelligence and reliability.
There's obviously a reason Roberto Martinez was so keen to work with him again, and we're seeing it now.
Meanwhile, at Camp Nou...
How we all fervently hope Barcelona aren't watching. It's business as usual for the Catalan giants over in La Liga; top of the table and treating their fans to some stellar footballing masterclasses courtesy of Messi, Neymar & Co.
John Stones continued his imperious form
Let's keep fingers and toes crossed that they're happy with what they've got.
Because with speculation that John Stones is learning Spanish, and evidence that Gerard Deulofeu has a chance of fulfilling the potential which saw him marked as top of the class in Barca's La Masia academy, the suitor list for those two vast talents has a distinctly Catalan ring to it right now.
Bainesy Bonus
Six long months have passed since we've seen Leighton Baines on the pitch doing his thing.
Leighton Baines was back in action at The Riverside
The passage of time has been made that little bit less damaging by the emergence of Brendan Galloway, but for all the teenager's confidence and athleticism he can't quite replace the dead-ball brilliance or forward flowing finesse of Baines.
Galloway has been tireless and terrific so far - but is it time to give him a rest against Crystal Palace on Monday and hand Kirkby's finest a long-awaited return to the first team?
Same old brilliance
With tongue possibly slightly in-cheek, Roberto Martinez initially declined to drool over Deulofeu's performance too much in his post-match press conference.
"Unfortunately, or more like fortunately, I see that every day," he said.
The Magician is a captivating performer. He's scored seven goals in his last seven games in all competitions for club and country. He believes he can do anything on the pitch with the ball at his feet, and the growing evidence is that maybe he can.
Witness those step-overs, six dizzying ones, before the cross for Lukaku's header. He's imperious, and he's got pace to go with the theatrics. Can he wave his wand and light up Wembley? We can only hope.

Middlesbrough 0-2 Everton the verdict: Deulofeu taking Blues nearer Wembley in style
1 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
The joy of six step-overs and much, much more leaves Riverside purring as Martinez's men become semi conscious
Everton 's jubilant supporters, packed into a corner of the Riverside Stadium, told anyone who cared to listen they are on the march with Bobby's Army. But Roberto Martinez 's players aren't just marching closer to Wembley after booking their place in the last four of the Capital One Cup.
They edged ever nearer with a performance full of style, panache - and six step-overs thrown in for good measure. Those were delivered by the brilliant Gerard Deulofeu after another virtuoso display helped inspire the Blues to the semi-finals of this competition for the first time since 2008. Everton's two goals, one scored by the Catalan and the other set up by the Blues wing wizard, were superbly crafted and clinically finished. The near 5,000 fans who had made the trip to Middlesbrough still sang his name late into the Teesside night air as they patiently filled out of the ground after their side had produced an archetypal away performance.
Gerard Deulofeu fires home an 'improbable' first goal for Everton
For far too long in this competition, Everton haven't had the magic that resides in Deulofeu's boots, for far too long this has been a miserable place, full of disappointment. But not so this season.
The Capital One Cup has been full of thrills and spills for the Blues, plenty of brilliance from Deulofeu and maybe, just maybe, a fairytale ending waits in store.
Everton's wretched run in the League Cup will always see the fans err on the side of caution but with the match-winning capabilities of Deulofeu at their disposal, perhaps they will allow themselves to dream this time. Substituted late on, the 21-year-old made sure to salute the fans who sang his name at full-time and after he waved at his adoring public, he beat his chest, the badge and roared in delight.
Together, they know anything is possible in this competition.
Martinez's side were confident, positive and ruthless
An all-Premier League semi-final is now guaranteed but what is there to fear?
That has to be the mindset when Everton approach their first semi-final in the competition in eight years in the New Year, as it was here. Ross Barkley said it would be a “waste” if this talented team don't fulfil their potential and bring silverware back to Goodison for the first time in more than 20 years but concerns that Everton would do what Everton have so often done, and shrink in such occasions, did not come to pass. Instead of being negative, nervy and doomed by their own inhibitions as they have been on too many nights like this, Martinez's side were confident, positive and ruthless. And unlike on Saturday at Bournemouth, where Everton surrendered two leads, they finished the job after establishing a two-goal advantage. Everton hadn't started any of the previous three rounds of this competition as well as they did here and had relied on Deulofeu to drag them back into the Capital One Cup.
The winger produced another man-of-the-match display, but this time it was no rescue job.
After Stewart Downing's free-kick was excellently saved at full-stretch by Joel Robles and the home side had a goal disallowed for a foul on the Everton keeper, the Blues struck – and with real style.
Deulofeu wriggled, weaved and worked his way past two Boro defenders and, with sensational technique and vision, fired past Tomas Meijas into the bottom right-hand corner of the home goalkeeper's net. To find that corner of the net seemed improbable, it didn't seem the logical thing to do given the angle with which the winger faced the goal. But Deulofeu doesn't do the ordinary does he?
As the fans say, he does the magical, and his sprinkling wherever the competition takes him.
Lukaku and Deulofeu are telepathic The 21-year-old was now brimming with belief and eight minutes later he turned provider after bamboozling a hapless Fernando Amorebieta with six step-overs, he stormed to the byline and chipped an inch-perfect cross for Romelu Lukaku to head home the Blues' second. If there is an more in-tune duo in the top flight – or English football for that matter – then they need to make themselves known because the crown currently belongs to these two.
To say Lukaku and Deulofeu are on the same wavelength almost does their understanding a disservice.
It's telepathic.
Romelu Lukaku and Gerard Deulofeu celebrate as Everton reach the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup
But as Everton walked off at half-time, comfortably in the lead, they needed to show they had learned their painful lesson from the weekend. They were 2-0 up at Bournemouth and like here on Teesside, they were cruising, but on the South Coast they gave up two leads to be pegged back 3-3.
Middlesbrough, as expected, start the second half with renewed intent and Robles denied Downing for a second time, tipping over his long-range drive, before Christian Stuani wasted a good chance, nodding over when unmarked.
But Everton, anchored by the classy performance of John Stones playing in cruising control, were never truly in danger.
Hopefully Barry is starting to be fully appreciated
Stones was at his flawless best, never flustered, troubled or in danger of making the wrong decision.
The same could well be said of Gareth Barry, the man who was rated as a major doubt for this game, played as pivotal a part as anyone in royal blue.
James McCarthy's absence with a hip problem was not felt as many feared it would with Tom Cleverley deputising well but hopefully now Barry, a player who has so often divided the fanbase, is starting to be fully appreciated.
The love for Deulofeu is in no doubt, however, and as he was replaced with nine minutes remaining the sound of nearly 5,000 Everton fans chanting his name pierced through the Boro boos after a tempestuous second period. Deulofeu, their chief tormentor, had become the pantomime villain but when the home fans see a replay of tonight's game, they'll realise how roughly treated he was.
First Amorebieta, the defender who was left in a daze in the first-half, took retribution for being made to look like a fool by crudely hacking down the Everton winger. He was booked but somehow Daniel Ayala escaped censure despite whacking Deulofeu with an elbow after the Blues' man had nut-megged him.
Deulofeu, down on the floor for some time, eventually got to his feet.
The winger had done the same to the Everton fans with his moments of magic.
MIDDLESBROUGH (4-4-2): Meijas; Nsue, Ayala, Gibson (Friend 83), Amorebieta; Clayton (Adomah 73), Leadbitter, Stuani, Downing; De Pena (Forshaw 46), Kike. Subs: Stephens, Agazzi, Nugent, Zuculini. BOOKINGS: Amorebieta.
EVERTON (4-2-3-1): Robles; Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Galloway (Baines 73); Cleverley, Barry; Deulofeu (Mirallas 81), Barkley, Osman; Lukaku (Naismith 86). Subs: Howard, Gibson, Kone, Lennon. BOOKINGS: Stones, Baines. GOALS: Deulofeu 20, Lukaku 28.
REFEREE: Roger East.
ATT: 31,628.

Gerard Deulofeu's maturity more impressive than his magic says Roberto Martinez
2 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
I see those tricks every day says Blues boss
Gerard's Deulofeu's maturity was more impressive than his magic as he eased Everton into the League Cup semi-finals, insisted Roberto Martinez. The Everton manager is no stranger to the winger's array of skills, step-overs and nutmegs galore which wowed watching Evertonians during the Capital One Cup quarter final win over Middlesbrough. Deulofeu, 21, scored the Blues opener and then created the second with a pin-point cross for Romelu Lukaku after six step-overs left the home defence bamboozled in the build-up. But afterwards Martinez insisted he takes more pleasure from the former Barcelona starlet's grown-up attitude and consistency since he re-joined the Blues for £4.2m this summer.
Asked what he thought of the wide-man's tricks, Martinez said: "I don't get impressed because I see that every day. It's his maturity that impresses me. "Two years ago when we had him first we knew he was a young man with an incredible natural talent but now although he's young in age he's very mature. He has a big role for us and "He's been very consistent which is difficult for a wide player. That's what impressed me the most. "Football is not an individual game and as a player you're never too old or young to learn. He's young and needs a lot of games but as a natural talent he's as good as it gets. He has a talent you dream to have and anyone would buy a ticket to watch him. "Also he feels at home at Everton. He decided to come here and it started from that desire to join us. "When Geri expresses himself the end product comes with it. When you play in the street as a kid that's what you do; you try to take people on, you have a shot. "He enjoys what he does and has a desire to score. but his work-rate impresses me too. We need to keep pushing him and have the work-rate with a big smile to match." Deulofeu's brilliance reduced Boro, most notably former Liverpool defender Daniel Ayala, to nefarious attempts at stopping him; including an elbow to the face which saw the Boro defender lucky to escape any punishment. "I thought in the second half we kept the ball really well and so it was just a natural reaction," said Martinez of the hosts' frustrations boiling over. "Middlesbrough's players had to get tighter. "There were a couple of nasty challenges and picking up an injury in a way like that is the last thing you want. Neither team has a malicious way of playing but there were two or three challenges in the second half that could have been dangerous and someone could have been hurt."
Overall the Toffees boss was pleased with the manner in which his side marched into the semi finals of the League Cup for the first time since 2008. "It was a very satisfying performance," he said. "We knew it would be special atmosphere and the home crowd made an incredible environment for them and our away supporters were delightful. "They represent what we are as a football club. "We scored two magnificent goals from open play which is always the hardest thing to do in football. Then it was an internal challenge. "After what happened at the weekend the challenge was to manage the game well with a two-goal lead and I was extremely impressed and satisfied with how we did it. It was a perfect way to get through to the semi final."
After that, then, can his men go all the way?
Martinez refused to get carried away.
He said: "At the moment we can only hope for a good draw; with the second game at home and be as good as we can be."

Irish star slams Aiden McGeady - one football's enigmas
2 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
Tony Cascarino believes Aiden McGeady must act
Former Ireland striker Tony Cascarino believes it is "disgraceful" that Everton winger Aiden McGeady has not nailed down a regular place in the Irish national team alongside clubmates Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy. And the former Celtic and Aston Villa forward has said that the 29-year-old needs to "act to turn it around." McGeady has started one match for the Toffees this season - and was hauled off at half-time against Barnsley. Cascarino rapped: "McGeady is one of football’s enigmas.
"He has so much talent, yet he has not been a regular starter for a team since his Celtic days, before his 2010 move to Spartak Moscow. He has had a bad time with injuries, but even still, the 29-year-old hasn’t even nailed down a first-team berth for Ireland, which is disgraceful considering how much talent he has." "I’m sure he has made a shed-load of money but in every other respect his career has been a waste of talent. His game is nosediving and he needs to act to turn it around." Aiden McGeady enjoys one of his better Everton moments McGeady joined Celtic from Queen's Park at the age of just 15 and made his way up through the ranks at Celtic Park before he became a first-team star. With 37 goals and a whopping 83 assists in 252 games for Celtic, McGeady was regularly linked with a move to the Premier League. Instead, he made the shock decision to join Russian side Spartak Moscow in August 2010.
He joined Everton from Spartak in January 2014, but he has been a bit-part player ever since.
And the stellar performances of Gerard Deulofeu this season and the signing of Aaron Lennon in the summer mean that his chances have become ever more limited.

There's no doubt Everton can lift the League Cup' - Middlesbrough fans impressed with Blues after Cup defeat
2 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Joe Rimmer
Plus, tweets from Middlesbrough fans - who were very impressed with the away fans at the Riverside
Middlesbrough fans praise Everton
It wasn't just Everton fans left purring after Gerard Deulofeu and Romelu Lukaku helped the Toffees move into the semi-finals of the League Cup. Indeed, Everton's vanquished opponents, Middlesbrough, were suitably impressed with Roberto Martinez's men. So much so, that the Teeside Gazette lavished them with praise after the game. Dominic Shaw, the Gazette's Boro reporter, says that, while the Championship side did not disgrace themselves, they were outclassed by their Premier League counterparts. He wrote: "Disgraced? Absolutely not. Boro's heads never dropped despite being second best to an outstanding Everton side who stand a good chance of going on and winning this competition.
"But Boro's historic wins at Manchester City and Manchester United were built on the foundations of clean sheets. As soon as the magical Gerard Deulofeu stroked Everton into the lead at the Riverside, there was a hill to climb. "The hill became a mountain when the twinkle-toed flanker crossed for Romelu Lukaku to head home the second soon after. "That, in all honesty, was that. Everton strolled through the second half with a feel that they'd always be able to up it a gear or two if required."
Geri & Rom leave lasting impression And Dominic just couldn't help but pick out Everton's other star performer, and goalscorer, Lukaku for special praise.
He wrote: "Everton looked every inch Champions League hopefuls here.
"In Lukaku, they possess a powerhouse of a striker at the top of his game and are armed with a raft of other attacking options to boot.
"There's no doubt that this Everton side can go on to lift the League Cup for the first time in their history this season."
And the Boro fans had a lot of good things to say about their opponents..

Spectacular Supplier: How Deulofeu became a comic book hero for Everton FC
2 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
You've read The Punisher, watched The Hulk and thrilled to The Wolverine - now read the new comic book to hit the shelves ... The Supplier
He was a mild mannered winger struggling with feelings of rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness in Seville. Then Gerry Deulofeu bit on a radioactive toffee. He was transformed into a superhero - the man known simply as The Supplier. With his sidekick, Big Rom, Deulofeu became a one-man goal creating machine. Against Middlesbrough on Tuesday night he created an incredible TWELFTH goal this season - four of them in the Capital One Cup. And he scored another superb goal, his third of the season and second in the same competition. His mentor Martinez always advised that with great power, must come great responsibility, and after Deulofeu's latest rescue act he said: "I don't get impressed because I see that every day. It's his maturity that impresses me." Read the latest issue of The Supplier .... Teesside tamed.

Everton "prepared" for Capital One Cup semi-final draw says Leighton Baines
2 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Blues full-back says there are "no easy rides" left but Everton can handle it
LEIGHTON BAINES insists Everton are “prepared” for whatever tonight’s Capital One Cup draw throws at them. The Blues booked their place in the semi-finals of the League Cup for the first time since 2008, with a 2-0 win at Middlesbrough. Gerard Deulofeu and Romelu Lukaku did the damage at the Riverside Stadium in front of nearly 5,000 away fans. Manchester City and Stoke City also booked their place in the last four with Southampton and Liverpool meeting in this evening’s other semi-final clash. Baines replaced Brendan Galloway with 17 minutes to go last night to make his first appearance his May after back-to-back ankle operations. “We’re excited about where we are at the moment and we’re looking forward,” Baines said. “This (Capital One Cup) run is something we’re all excited about - you could see that in the way we played and the support we brought up here. “There are no easy rides and we are prepared for that. “We are made up to be in the semi-final draw and the chance to put our feet up tonight to see who we get and look forward to that tie. “We’re not far off from where we want to be in the league as well. “We’re a few good results away from getting back in the mix for the European positions and there’s no better time to hit form than now over the Christmas period.” Baines played in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Preston during the international break before getting 45 minutes under his belt for Everton’s under-21s, late last month. But last night’s late cameo against Middlesbrough was his first competitive senior game since May 9. “It was great to get back out on the pitch,” he added . “It has been a long time for me, it’s getting on for seven months now since I last played any competitive football so it’s nice to be involved and back out on the pitch.”

Everton defender Tyias Browning has surgery on knee injury
2 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Operation a success but academy product faces spell on sidelines
TYIAS BROWNING has undergone surgery on his injured knee.
The 22-year-old picked up the problem playing for Everton’s under-21s earlier last month in a Lancashire Senior Cup tie with Blackburn Rovers. Browning was forced to pull out of the England Under-21 squad and has since missed Everton’s games with West Ham, Aston Villa and Bournemouth. And now the Academy product faces an extended spell on the sidelines after undergoing keyhole surgery on the injury. The operation has been deemed a success by Everton’s medical team but for Browning, who had made his first-team breakthrough this season, it comes as a set-back. The Toxteth-born defender has made six appearances for Roberto Martinez’s side this season, including four starts. Browning won high praise from the Everton boss after he deputised for the injured Seamus Coleman at Swansea City and shackled Jefferson Montero, one of the Premier League’s trickiest wingers. Everton have yet to put a timescale on Browning’s return.

Why Everton star Gerard Deulofeu is even better than the stats say
2 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
Thirteen assists for Gerard Deulofeu is unlucky only for defenders
EVERTON fans certainly know.
“He’s magic, you know, Gerard Deulofeu ...” goes the song.
But he’s even more magic than many know.
He didn’t start his first Premier League match this season until September 28, but already he is second in the Premier League assists table with six, behind Arsenal’s mercurial goal-maker Mesut Ozil.
That’s the ‘official’ Premier League chart, compiled by Opta. But we think Opta underplay Deulofeu’s goal creating expertise. We reckon the Spanish winger - nicknamed The Supplier by the man who has already plundered EIGHT goals from his passes, Romelu Lukaku - has directly created 13 goals this season!
Here’s how Gerry has missed out.
OPTA only add up Premier League assists - they don’t include Capital One Cup ties, a competition in which Deulofeu has sparkled.
They don’t include crosses which are converted by panic stricken defenders into own goals - and twice Deulofeu has forced defenders into forcing past their own keeper. And they explain in a 2010 blog that being hacked down for penalty kicks doesn’t count either. They explained: “Opta set down its definition in 1996 in conjunction with former Arsenal and England coach Don Howe when the company was formed and it is simply ‘the final pass or pass-cum-shot which directly leads to a goal scored by recipient of the ball.’ “Others have sought to expand the definition, as if a goal isn’t somehow ‘complete’ unless a player has set it up. “So, now some suggest winning a penalty is an assist. The flaw in this is that you could win the penalty and step up to score it, thereby assisting yourself. “Also, if winning a penalty is an assist, then why not winning the free kick on the edge of the penalty area for a direct free kick goal?
“Some suggest that deflected passes should be given as assists, but no matter how good a player is it is unlikely that he intended to do so, so how does this constitute an intentional pass?
“And now, some people have started logging free kicks that rebound off the woodwork or the goalkeeper as assists for a player who scores on the follow up!”
Opta don’t.
In fact their definition is intransigent.
“It seems everyone has an opinion and that opinion changes over time,” they add. “And that’s where Opta differs. We have been collecting data since 1996 and our definition has remained consistent.”
So according to Opta Mesut Ozil is top of the Premier League table for assists with 11, with Deulofeu, Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez and David Silva all trailing on six, but ahead of Ross Barkley on five.
We disagree.
And here’s why ....
v Barnsley. After a minute at Southampton and four minutes against Manchester City, Deulofeu was finally given an extended run at Barnsley in the Capital One Cup. Introduced at half-time, just 13 minutes later he dropped his shoulder, jinked past two defenders and lofted a cross in from the right for Steven Naismith to head home. Most definitely his first assist of the season.
v Barnsley. Same game, same position, same end result. This time an early cross from the right and Romelu Lukaku swept in to make it 3-3. It wasn’t the first time we’d see that combination in action.
v Barnsley. Some stats sites wouldn’t claim a hat-trick of assists for Deulofeu because Marc Roberts dashed in front of Lukaku to hack his firm side-footed cross past goalkeeper Davies. We do, as did Deulofeu’s delighted team-mates who dashed to congratulate him.
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v West Brom. Two crosses from the right, two ecstatic finishes from Romelu Lukaku and two more assists - his first in the Premier League - for Gerard Deulofeu.
v Liverpool. Some sites did not credit Deulofeu with the assist because Emre Can hacked the young Spaniard’s cross into Martin Skrtel before it fell for Lukaku. Understandable, but with no cross, no panic stricken reaction from Can and no goal. So we’ve given it to him.
v Arsenal. This one underlines the murky world of assists. Deulofeu’s crossfield pass was penetrating but hardly anticipated a goal. But Ross Barkley drifted left, attracted three defenders to him and saw a looping shot deflect off a defender and past Petr Cech. This one definitely did count as an assist.
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v Sunderland. A cross which should have counted as an assist, but didn’t. Deulofeu’s cross was so inviting Lukaku even flicked his head in anticipation - but Sebastian Coates stretched out a boot which got their first and deflected it past the goalkeeper. Many fans went home thinking Lukaku had scored. But whoever got the final touch the assist surely had to be Deulofeu’s?
v Sunderland. No doubt about this one. A stunning, defence splitting pass for Lukaku to run onto and score Everton’s sixth.
v West Ham. It worked the week before so Deulofeu tried it again. And it worked once more. A wonderful defence splitting pass, another Lukaku goal and another Deulofeu assist.
v Aston Villa. Deulofeu’s assist was exactly what Don Howe might have termed “a pass-cum-shot which directly led to a goal scored by recipient of the ball.” Ross Barkley was the benefiary at the back post.
v Bournemouth. Deulofeu and Lukaku were into the routine by now. A pass from deep by Deulofeu, a fine finish by Lukaku.
v Middlesbrough. The best of the lot so far, but one which isn’t counted by Opta because it came in the Capital One Cup. At the end of a 28 pass move Deulofeu produced not one, not two but four step overs before crossing for Lukaku to angle a fine header into the Boro net.
Thirteen assists for Gerard Deulofeu - and unlucky only for the defenders he has faced.
Opta Assists
11 Mesut Özil.
6 Kevin De Bruyne, Gerard Deulofeu, Riyad Mahrez, David Silva.
5 Ross Barkley, Christian Eriksen, Wes Hoolahan, Sadio Mané.

Manchester City: Former Blues winger wants to see John Stones move to the Etihad
2 Dec 2015 Manchester Evening News
By Rob Pollard
Trevor Sinclair, who played for City between 2003-07, thinks the Everton youngster is a supreme talent.
Trevor Sinclair says he would like to see Manchester City tempt John Stones away from Everton.
The former Blues winger believes the 21-year-old is a star in the making and wants City to make a move to secure his signature. Stones was the subject of a number of bids from Chelsea in the summer but Everton stood firm and held on to their prized asset, despite the youngster handing in a transfer request. Sinclair feels Stones is more than just a defender, claiming his ball-playing ability means he can also start attacks effectively. “Stones is potentially one of the best ever,” Sinclair said.
“The way he is playing, he is going to inspire a new generation of centre-halves who want to play, who don’t want to just hoof it, who want to get the ball down and have the confidence and the ability to get themselves out of tight situations and start attacks.
John Stones against Samir Nasri earlier this season
“It would be great if they [City] could get someone like John Stones. [But] I’m sure Everton don’t want to let him go and I’m sure there will be a lot of big teams in for him because he is top drawer.”
City were put off by Stones' transfer fee in the summer, but having paid big money for Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne, it would hardly be a surprise if they decided to sanction a move for another promising young player who fits the club's profile, particularly if his performances continue to improve for the remainder of the campaign.

Merseyside Capital One Cup final still on as Liverpool FC and Everton avoid each other in semi-final draw
2 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
Reds take on Stoke City while Blues must overcome Manchester City to reach Wembley
Brendan Galloway and Emre Can could yet clash at Wembley in February
The possibility of an all-Merseyside Capital One Cup final remains alive after Everton and Liverpool avoided each other in the draw for the last four. Roberto Martinez 's Blues have been drawn to face Manchester City in the two-legged semi-finals, while Jurgen Klopp 's Reds will take on Stoke City.
Everton will host City in the first leg before travelling to the Etihad in the return.
Liverpool, meanwhile, go to Stoke's Britannia initially before then entertaining the Potters at Anfield in the second leg. Everton reached the last four with a 2-0 win at Championship side Middlesbrough on Tuesday night and were followed 24 hours later by their neighbours, who recorded an astonishing 6-1 win at Southampton. Howard Kendall and Joe Fagan lead out the two teams in the all-Merseyside League Cup final back in 1984 Everton have faced City twice before in the competition, winning at home 2-0 in 1987-88 but losing 2-1 away in 1969-70. Liverpool have been paired with Stoke on four previous occasions in the League Cup and have never lost, winning 2-1 and 8-0 away en route to lifting the trophy in 2011-12 and 2000-01 respectively, earning a 2-1 triumph at Anfield in 1994-95 - when they again went on to win the League Cup - and then winning 3-2 away in 1991-92 after a 2-2 draw at Anfield.
The first leg of the ties will be played on the week beginning January 4, with the second legs taking place on the week beginning January 25. Incidentally, the final will take place on Sunday, February 28 - the same weekend for which the Anfield Premier League derby is scheduled.

Everton comment: Why the John Stones and Ramiro Funes Mori partnership is surprise package of Blues season
3 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Phil Jagielka's absence has helped forge a new centre-half partnership in double quick time
EVERTON captain Phil Jagielka was in the perfect position to cast a critical eye over his team-mates’ performances on Tuesday night. Sat in the commentary box, high up in the West Stand of the Riverside Stadium, Jagielka had great view of the action as Everton faced Middlesbrough for a place in the Capital One Cup semi-finals. From what he saw, Jagielka could have been nothing other than complimentary as a Gerard Deulofeu inspired Blues eased into the last four. But the skipper will not have just eulogised about goal-scorers Deulofeu or Romelu Lukaku. For sure, Jagielka will have reserved praise for the man playing in his absence - and the partnership he has forged with John Stones. The speed of Ramiro Funes Mori’s adaptation to the British game has been remarkable and the Argentinean has scoffed at suggestions he would be a flop with a string of dominant displays. He too has carried the weight of being Everton’s most expensive ever defender without it looking like it has ever been a burden and since Jagielka went off with medial knee ligament damage against Arsenal in October, Funes Mori has had mighty big shoes to fill. Not only the ones belonging to Everton’s captain but also their Player of the Year and one of the Premier League’s very best central defenders.
But Funes Mori has never looked like cracking under the pressure.
Credit must go to his temperament but also to the work of Roberto Martinez and his coaches for helping make the transition from Argentina to the argy bargy of the Premier League so smooth.
But also to Stones because the pair, only a partnership across six league and cup games, have struck a level of understanding that should have taken much longer to forge. And if Saturday’s 3-3 draw was a chastening experience for the Stones and Funes Mori axis, then the clean sheet at Boro will have felt extra sweet. Stones was effortlessly brilliant and while Funes Mori wobbled on the odd occasion, his composure with and without the ball cannot be underestimated because in those stakes, most would look inferior to the England man. Much like Jagielka, there is boundless bravery about the way Funes Mori defends and so he and Stones, who played in cruise control against Boro, complement each other well. Martinez will have known that, but the speed with which they have gelled may have even surprised him.

Everton transfer rumours: Blues linked with Bordeaux striker, Keane targeted
3 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Joe Rimmer
A round-up of transfer rumours and speculation from around the web
Everton have today been linked with by Bordeaux striker Diego Rolan, and the Blues are said to be in the hunt for the forward alongside West Brom. The 22-year-old Uruguayan is said to have been watched by a number of English scouts, and Everton are said to have kept an eye on his progress this season.
Despite just one goal this term, Rolan struck 18 times last season and is highly rated in France.
Rolan moved to Bordeaux in the summer of 2013 from his homeland, he's gone on to make 15 appearances for his country, scoring four times. Elsewhere this morning, Ladbrokes reckon Everton will snap up Burnley centre-back Michael Keane, who has been an instrumental part of the Clarets' success this season, helped them five clean sheets. A move to Goodison Park wouldn’t be his first experience of the top-flight, having made 17 appearances for the Lancashire side in the Premier League last term.
Keane moved to Burnley from Manchester United in January 2014, having struggling to make the breakthrough at Old Trafford.

Everton Football Club launch Christmas shoebox appeal
3 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Alexandra Genova
The boxes will be distributed to vulnerable people across Merseyside in the lead up to Christmas
Everton Football Club has launched a shoebox charity appeal to help vulnerable people across Merseyside. The Blues are asking Everton fans to get behind the BlueCrimbo Blue Box Appeal by simply filling a shoebox with essential items which will help someone in need have a happier Christmas this year. Through the Club’s official charity, Everton in the Community, the Blues are looking to deliver the donated boxes to underprivileged children and children in care, low income families, homeless people, the elderly and individuals who often have to make a choice between buying food or paying bills at Christmas time. Everton Captain Phil Jagielka said: “I’d like to encourage as many people as possible to get behind our Blue Box Appeal and do their bit to help their fellow neighbours have a BlueCrimbo this year. It doesn’t cost much to get involved and your support will go a long way in bringing some festive cheer to those in need this December in Liverpool.”
Random acts of kindness
People of Liverpool help stranded fan
B&M Bargains angel makes boy's Christmas
Joy for Jake as Simba blanket found
It is believed that around 13 million people live below the poverty line in the UK - with Merseyside being the food bank capital of Britain. From April 2014 to March 2015 more than 60,000 people were provided with three days of emergency food by The Trussell Trust’s food banks, a figure expected to rise for the year March 2016 as food bank usage numbers reach a record high. As well as those people in need of food banks, there are an estimated four million Brits who spent Christmas alone in 2014.
How do I get involved? Simply wrap an old shoebox in Christmas wrapping paper and fill it with items suitable for a child, family and/or the elderly and make sure the lid is removable. Then, print out the form available at and state who your box is suitable for and take to a collection point at Everton One. If you would like to back the BlueCrimbo Blue Box Appeal but are not able to fill a Blue Box then you can still donate individual items by dropping them off at our collection points. All donated items will be used to make up additional boxes to help even more people this Christmas. You can also support the Appeal by nominating someone you know to receive a Blue Box from Everton Football Club and its official charity by visiting
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Suggested Items:
For children (suitable up to 18 years old)
- Small toys
- Jigsaws
- Colouring book and crayons
- Small puzzles
- Stationery
- Toiletries
- Wrapped sweets or chocolate
- Scarf, hat and gloves
For families
- Toiletries
- Stationery
- Scarf, hat and gloves
- Small sewing kit
- Household essentials
For the elderly
- Shampoo and shower gel
- Soap and flannel
- Wrapped sweets
- Small games (Playing cards/dominoes)
- Wrapped sweets and chocolate
Do not include any used or damaged items, alcohol, sharp objects, medicines, anything of a political, racial or religious nature and war related items such as toy guns, play soldiers or knives.

Matty Foulds training with Everton ahead of January move
3 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Everton will complete transfer in January for Bury defender
Matty Foulds is already training with Everton ahead of his January move to the Blues.
The 17-year-old will officially complete his £225,000 transfer from League One side Bury when the window opens next month.
But Foulds is working with the Blues now.
Bury boss David Flitcroft said there were a number of clubs interested in the left-footed defender but Roberto Martinez and Everton led the chase. “It has been difficult because there are quite a few clubs interested,” Flitcroft told the Bury Times.
“Everton really sort of drove the bidding war and wanted him.
“Once the player knows and understands that a club like Everton and particularly Roberto (Martinez) wants him, once he spoke to Roberto about his pathway and his development there was no holding him back and it’s a fantastic deal for the club. It’s a good deal all round and I’m delighted for the kid.
David Flitcroft hugs John Stones while he was the manager of Barnsley
“He has trained with the first team ever since I have been here really.
“I have spoke to him since and he has gone in at Everton and he is quite enjoying it.
“The club has acted very well in protecting the interests of Matty Foulds and I’m really plotting his career and rooting for the kid because he could be a fantastic player.”
Everton are understood to be paying £225,000 up front with the deal for Foulds including a number of add-ons. “It is undisclosed,” Flitcroft said of the four-year-deal the teenager has signed.
“There is money up front. “A good sizeable money up front and add-ons and depending on how he does and how he plays the game.
“I think in the early stages people didn’t [put clauses in contracts] but now you know there are a lot of caveats in there to meet all eventualities. “It is too complicated to go into but you do look at those things and make sure that you get everything boxed off. “You just don’t know what will happen, so it’s very important that you get everything nailed. “We took our time with it and we didn’t panic, we made sure we got it right for the club and that’s why it took so long.”

Why Everton should undoubtedly have the Premier League player of the month for November
12:33, 3 Dec 2015
Liverpool Echo, 3 Dec 2015
By Greg O’Keeffe
They are the dynamic duo who have helped Everton's attack become one of the most feared in the top flight.Now Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku are vying to become the Premier League's player of the month for November. The award, which is likely to be announced tomorrow, should go to one of the Blues exciting pair according to statisticians at . Barkley and Lukaku were Oulala's top Premier League points scorers in a month when the Toffees went unbeaten. Roberto Martinez's men were certainly in impressive form, registering victories over both Sunderland and Aston Villa, while also picking up draws against West Ham and Bournemouth . And in their four games, the side scored a total of 14 goals - with Barkley and Lukaku putting away eight of them.Barkley scored three goals and provided a further two assists. The England international completed an average of 55 successful passes per game at an accuracy of 90 per cent. Futhermore he created 11 chances and converted 33 per cent of his shots into goals. In fact, the 21-year-old registered 186 points over the four games and was Oulala's top Premier League points scorer for the month.Lukaku was almost as impressive.The club's record signing was the Premier League's top goal scorer in November with five goals. He had 17 shots, with 75 per cent on target. He also completed 82 per cent of his attempted dribbles, created six chances and registered two assists.While his passing accuracy averaged 80 per cent, Lukaku tallied a total of 179 points on Oulala in November, just seven points fewer than his team-mate.Remarkably, the last Everton player to win Player of the Month was Marouane Fellaini in November 2012. Three years on, Oulala predict that's finally about to change. Fantasy football game say they have the most sophisticated scoring matrix in fantasy football, which comprises 70 different statistical criteria sourced straight from Opta. The ideal platform in identifying the overall performance of a player.On-fire Leicester striker Jamie Vardy was named the Premier League Player of the Month for October after netting five goals in four games.

Everton offer fans Boxing Day treat by slashing ticket prices for Newcastle away
13:35, 3 Dec 2015
Liverpool Echo, 3 Dec 2015
By Greg O’Keeffe
Everton have cut cost of an adult ticket to watch Blues at St James' Park to just £25
Everton are handing their away fans a festive lift - by cutting prices for the Boxing Day match at Newcastle United.The club's Christmas spirit is set to extend beyond December 25 with £11 taken off the price of an adult tickets for the trip to St James’ Park.That means fans can pack their turkey butties and head to the North East for just £25 , while the prices of concession tickets have also been cut, with over-65s and students paying £10 and under-18s just £5. In total, Everton have received an allocation of 3,200 tickets.The club say that the reduction is aimed at rewarding its travelling fanbase for their unwavering and loyal backing, and supports their commitment to the Premier League Away Fan Initiative - which has been championed by the Everton Fans’ Forum and other groups.Newcastle fans will benefit from a reciprocal offer when the Magpies visit Goodison Park on Wednesday March 3.Tickets for the Newcastle United away fixture go on sale to 2015/16 Season Ticket holders with six or more away credits from the 2015/16 season on Tuesday 8 December at 8am.Alternatively, tickets can be purchased online, over the phone on 0151 556 1878* (option 2), or in person at the Park End box office.

Everton hope striker Leandro Rodriguez finally over injury problems
14:00, 3 Dec 2015
By Phil Kirkbride
Liverpool Echo
Uruguayan forward on the mend after hamstring problems hampered Everton progress
Everton hope striker Leandro Rodriguez is finally over the hamstring problem that put the brakes on his first-team dream.The 23-year-old summer signing made a flying start to his Blues career, scoring in his first two games for the under-21s, but hopes of a senior breakthrough have since been hampered by injury.Rodriguez picked up the hamstring issue in late October and though he returned for Everton u-21s’ games with Blackburn and Middlesbrough last month, the injury had not fully healed.But Roberto Martinez believes the £500,000 buy from River Plate Montevideo in Uruguay, is now on the road to recovery.Rodriguez could feature for the Blues’ second string before Christmas but Everton will make sure to handle his return with care.Plans are in place to secure the forward a Football League loan before the end of the season with Martinez hoping that a strong pre-season, next summer, will see him pushing for first-team inclusion at the start of the 2016/17 campaign. “He is training well now,” Martinez said.“He lost the best part of six weeks and that happens, when you are coming in from abroad and you haven’t yet got the body to cope with the physicality and intensity of the British game.
READ: What is it with Everton and hamstring injuries?
“He has been working for a few days now and has worked well.“So in the next three or four weeks I expect him to be back playing a few games for the under-21s.“He got injured, came back against Blackburn game, the same game in which Tyias Browning got injured, and then felt it again against Middlesbrough. “It has been giving him trouble but now he is back in training.”Rodriguez’s father was staying with the striker but had to return to Uruguay.
READ: How Everton are using cutting edge tech to stop hamstring curse
However the forward’s girlfriend has been flown over to Liverpool to be with Rodriguez.Martinez had originally planned to sign Rodriguez in January but decided to press ahead with the move in the summer window in order to give the player more time to adapt to life in England.

Why Everton FC's Stones-Mori partnership will have even surprised Martinez
16:49, 3 Dec 2015
Daily Post
by PhilKirkbride
The Blues' most expensive ever defender's adaptation to the British game has been remarkable
Everton captain Phil Jagielka was in the perfect position to cast a critical eye over his team-mates’ performances on Tuesday night.Sat in the commentary box, high up in the West Stand of the Riverside Stadium, Jagielka had great view of the action as Everton faced Middlesbrough for a place in the Capital One Cup semi-finals.From what he saw, Jagielka could have been nothing other than complimentary as a Gerard Deulofeu inspired Blues eased into the last four.But the skipper will not have just eulogised about goal-scorers Deulofeu or Romelu Lukaku.
For sure, Jagielka will have reserved praise for the man playing in his absence - and the partnership he has forged with John Stones.The speed of Ramiro Funes Mori’s adaptation to the British game has been remarkable and the Argentinean has scoffed at suggestions he would be a flop with a string of dominant displays.He too has carried the weight of being Everton’s most expensive ever defender without it looking like it has ever been a burden and since Jagielka went off with medial knee ligament damage against Arsenal in October, Funes Mori has had mighty big shoes to fill.Not only the ones belonging to Everton’s captain but also their Player of the Year and one of the Premier League’s very best central defenders.But Funes Mori has never looked like cracking under the pressure.Credit must go to his temperament but also to the work of Roberto Martinez and his coaches for helping make the transition from Argentina to the argy bargy of the Premier League so smooth.But also to Stones because the pair, only a partnership across six league and cup games, have struck a level of understanding that should have taken much longer to forge.And if Saturday’s 3-3 draw was a chastening experience for the Stones and Funes Mori axis, then the clean sheet at Boro will have felt extra sweet.Stones was effortlessly brilliant and while Funes Mori wobbled on the odd occasion, his composure with and without the ball cannot be underestimated because in those stakes, most would look inferior to the England man.Much like Jagielka, there is boundless bravery about the way Funes Mori defends and so he and Stones, who played in cruise control against Boro, complement each other well.Martinez will have known that, but the speed with which they have gelled may have even surprised him.

Everton View from the Gwladys Street: 'This is our most potent strike force in recent history'
18:17, 3 Dec 2015
By Liverpool Echo
This week David Downie from Radio City's popular Blue Room waxes lyrical about Mirallas, Deulofeu and the League Cup semi-final
Robles or Howard. Has Joel finally done enough to keep his place next Monday?
Absolutely. This has been the case for a long time for Joel. His attitude and form have been exemplary, particularly for a young man who has consistently been knocked back down to earth despite doing enough to earn his place in the team when compared with Tim Howard.However, Joel could've scored both goals and saved a handful of penalties against Middlesbrough and would apparently still not trouble his manager's thinking for Monday - such has been the poor handling of the situation from Roberto Martinez for far too long.
Captain Fantastic. Was it a surprise to see Leon Osman take the armband ahead of Gareth Barry? And how did he fare?
I don't think it was a surprise given Osman's stature and time at the club. You probably also have to consider Barry's influence on the side and conclude the team see him as a captain in every sense of the word regardless of him wearing the armband or not. I had no issues with Osman starting the game providing it was going to be in a withdrawn role.It certainly started that way but has the game went on his lack of game time caught up with him and he found himself meandering towards the final third whilst offering very little. I don't think he can help the team much in an attacking sense these days, other than in the form of cameo appearances from the bench.I was stunned not to see him substituted and you can only speculate as to the affect this has on some of the other lads on the fringes of the squad at the moment. A penny for Kevin Mirallas' thoughts anyone?This is my issue with Martinez at the moment; he has proven himself to be a very hands on manager who deals exceptionally well with players.That's clear to see with Deulofeu, Lukaku and Stones looking like they believe in him and the club. But take into account the goalkeeping situation and now the discontent regarding Mirallas seems to be materialising then I can't help but question his ability. With that in mind it'll be interesting to see how Martinez handles Brendan Galloway with Leighton Baines no returning to the fold.Were you as disappointed as some that Kevin Mirallas didn't figure for longer at Middlesbrough?I'm very disappointed Kevin Mirallas hasn't featured for meaningful amount of time for so long. But his situation is two fold.We all know what a great talent he his and on his day he can be lethal in our attack, but his attitude really doesn't appear to be the most proactive in terms of trying to win a place back in the side.I would've expected more from him to gain favour with Roberto Martinez and everyone associated with the club by working hard . Reading between the lines it's fair to assume he's not taken kindly to a spell out of the team.All of the above makes him signing a contract not so long ago all the more baffling. His body language at the end of the game the other night reveal a lot about how he sees his current predicament. The current form of Gerard Deulofeu also increases the incline of the work rate he must show to get back into the team.
Just HOW excited are you by Gerard Deulofeu and Romelu Lukaku?
It's been a long time since I've been excited about Everton's attacking prowess. In fact, I think it's impossible to think of a more potent strike force in our recent history.It's a very rare site in football to find two players that just simply understand each other and almost telepathically have the presence of mind to know the movements of each other - these two appear to have that.Deulofeu's decision making has been the key to it all. He seems to have found the awareness in his game to know when to fire a ball in to Lukaku early or to take his man on before delivering. Again it's very rare to find a winger who can beat his full back consistently and also provide a fantastic end product whether it's a shot or cross - see Aaron Lennon.At the same time, Lukaku's finishing and movement is second to none at the moment and his touch has improved greatly in recent months. Add the likes of Barkley, Kone, Cleverley and hopefully Mirallas to that mix and there's no reason Everton can't continue to score freely.
Does Gerry's reputation go before him now - and is that why Boro were allowed to assault him unpunished?
I'm certain it does and it always seems to be the case with these younger players who cry wolf.He's no Ashley Young, but there's times when his theatrics do make you cringe a little. Then inevitably when he does get roughed up, referees tend to turn a blind eye to it all.Deulofeu is an immense talent and he doesn't need to resort to any antics, but at the same time players like him do need some protection when many players see injuring him as the only way of stopping him.
Funes Mori and Stones. has Jagielka actually NOT been missed?
I would've said he hadn't been missed too much at all until about 97 minutes into that shambles at Bournemouth last weekend. It's great testament to Stones and Mori that Jagielka's absence hasn't been the massive blow it may have seemed at the time he was injured. The two young lads really seem to have forged an understanding which is an excellent marker for the future when considering an Everton without Jags. Of course the partnership is rough around the edges. We all know Stones is different class, but I'm delighted Mori has embraced the challenge of both Everton and the Premier League.
Any Other Business?
Like any Blue I'm delighted we've made the Capital One Cup semi finals. Manchester City will be a very tough challenge over two legs but it's the sort of challenge I want the club having to overcome on a regular basis.The manager needs be positive in his approach to the tie and ignore any of the tactics that saw City come away with the most comfortable of 2-0 wins at Goodison earlier this season.I've wanted Martinez to be tested for a long time given how indifferent his management has been in the last 18 months and this tie will give us a good idea of what he's learned from his defining games in charge.

Kevin Ratcliffe: Once you’ve tasted cup glory with Everton you want more
3 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
by Liverpool Echo
Blues have tough semi-final draw but this is still a great opportunity
There’s no denying that Everton have been handed a tough draw in the Capital One Cup semi-final against Manchester City but then they’re all going to be tough games at this stage of the competition.
Let’s look at things from the other side of the coin, we’re playing well ourselves and City could be thinking themselves they could have done with a better draw. It’s always going to be difficult against a team of their class over two legs with the quality that they have in their side but this is still a great opportunity for Everton. I remember in 1984 when we got to the League Cup final, it was the start of something big for the club. Although we lost the replay to Liverpool, we ended up winning the FA Cup later that season and it was the time when things really took off under Howard Kendall. When you get that taste of winning a cup and you know what it’s like then you want more. There’s a big difference in the feeling of winning a trophy with Everton than just winning a league game. A great excitement and pride goes with it and you can see just what it means to the supporters who have been travelling all over to watch you - not just this season but in other seasons. Those fans have had to wait a long time now to see Everton win a cup and we just hope they can put that right this season. When I look at the talent that is in this Blues side I think we’re not too far away from achieving something. One thing about the Capital One Cup semi-finals that has annoyed me though is hearing that the two legs are actually three weeks apart from each other. That’s just ridiculous. How are you supposed to get any sort of momentum with the games being so spread out?
We showed our class by getting at Boro from the start
I was really impressed with how Everton went about their game at Middlesbrough on Tuesday night.
It helped that Roberto Martinez fielded a strong side and I think not having the Crystal Palace match until next Monday helped him with that. This competition is one in which the further you go, the stronger the team you pick. After some sluggish starts in all of the earlier rounds against Barnsley, Reading and Norwich we came out of the blocks quickly at the Riverside and showed that when a Premier League team is firing on all cylinders there’s still a massive difference from the Championship.
We looked sharp from the start and there seemed a real intent in our play which Boro just couldn’t deal with.
Pacy Palace cause lots of problems
After a couple of Premier League games against sides below us in the table, we’re now coming up against a Crystal Palace team above us. They’ve caused Everton a lot of problems in their games at Goodison over the last two seasons and like a lot of teams at the moment they actually seem better away from home. They’ve got a lot of pace in their side with Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha and although some of their lads have been there for a few years now, all of a sudden they seem to be fulfilling their potential now. Yohan Cabaye has been a great buy. He’s given them that little bit of extra quality and would probably get in most Premier League sides and they could be in with an outside chance of an European place.

Revealed: Why Mason Holgate picked Everton over Premier League rivals
3 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
EXCLUSIVE: Teenage defender Holgate penned five year deal with Blues in August - but only after late call from Martinez
Mason Holgate chose to sign for Everton over other Premier League clubs - but only after an eleventh hour phone call from Roberto Martinez. The 19-year-old joined the Blues from League One side Barnsley in August in a deal worth an initial £500,000. Holgate put pen to paper on a five-year-deal and rejected the advances top flight clubs, including Bournemouth, to sign for Everton. And the young defender was headed to the south coast club for a medical when a last-ditch Martinez call convinced him to join the Blues. Holgate was impressed with the manager’s attention to detail and is hoping to follow in the footsteps of John Stones, who also came through the ranks at Barnsley, and Brendan Galloway who swapped League One for Everton in 2014. “After speaking to the gaffer and seeing Stonesy and Brendan, there wasn’t really a decision to make,” Holgate told the ECHO. “As soon as you speak to him, you just know.
Roberto Martinez has the gift of the gab
“I spoke to a few managers and they all sounded good but as soon as I spoke to the gaffer here I just knew I had to come to Everton. “I’m only young but it felt like some of the managers didn’t know a lot about me, they were asking what my position was but Roberto rang me and he knew everything.”
“It just happened really fast,” he added. “I was on my way to Bournemouth and it was then that I first heard about Everton’s interest. “But he rang me as I was going down and so I turned the car around.
“We were by Birmingham on the motorway and just turned around.” Holgate is a regular with Everton’s under-21s this season but has also named in the matchday squad for three of the first-team’s games.
“I’ve trained most days with the first-team,” Holgate revealed. Mason Holgate in action during the Everton v Liverpool Barclays U21 Premier League game in August “There’s a lot more detail in the training as you step and the it’s a faster pace. “But it’s good, it’s just getting used to it - there was a lot of running around at first! “I’ve settled in now and I’m getting used to it.” “I’d been at Barnsley since I was seven and so it was all I’d known so it was weird not playing for Barnsley anymore,” he added.
“It was a big decision but I felt like it was the right time. “It’s not just moving team, it’s moving out of my house with mum and dad and living by myself but most people my age go to uni, so it’s the same as that. Holgate scores Barnsley's winning goal in a pre-season win over Huddersfield
“It was hard early on but it’s not that far away so I get home quite a lot.”
Doncaster-born Holgate made his Everton u-21s’ debut in August’s opening mini-derby of the season.
After giving away a 12th minute penalty, the Blues newboy found his feet to produce a man-of-the-match display as David Unsworth’s men recovered from 3-0 down to draw 3-3. Everton travel to St Helens’ Langtree Park on Sunday (2pm) for the return game with the Reds’ second string.
“It’s a big first game,” he said.
“I didn’t feel that nervous but I was looking forward to it and you can tell what it means to everybody and all the staff. “It was a bad start with the penalty but everyone got back together and we played well. “We went 3-0 down, got it back to 3-3 and could’ve gone on to win the game in the end.”

Everton podcast: Why fan power can take Blues to Wembley
3 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Do Everton fans need to embrace a new positive mentality despite tough draw for Cup semi-final?
Is it time Blues became eternal optimists?
It was the great lyrical philosopher of our age Jon Bon Jovi who once said: "With an iron-clad fist I wake wake up to French kiss the morning." No, wait. Not that one. Yeah, sorry, New Jersey's finest also said: "Success is falling nine times and getting up ten.” Now, we reckon arl Jon embraces the mantra of the positive thinker, namely; think good things and good things happen.
But Jon hasn't spent a life-time watching the Toffees has he?
Bon Jovi performing at the Etihad stadium
Bon Jovi perfors at the Etihad stadium - but will Everton? You've got to believe.
He hasn't got a list as long as your arm full of Clive Thomases, Pierluigi Collinas and Sylvain Distin back passes. Us Blues have fallen over and got up more times than Jon has had top 10 hits. He hasn't been an optimist only to wind up broken hearted by 11 men in royal blue so many times that you become more than a little jaded every time has he?
And yet.
The reaction by Blues when Roberto Martinez's men drew Manchester City in the League Cup semi-final on Wednesday was sort of defeatist. Some on Twitter effectively conceded our chances of winning the trophy there and then. So is it time that Everton fans started to believe this really is their time, 21 years since they last saw silverware success? We discuss. ( There's no more Bon Jovi talk either. Promise ).

Why an all Merseyside cup final is something to relish for Liverpool and Everton
4 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
Dave Prentice column: Liverpool and Everton could meet at Wembley in February
FOR years we were convinced FA Cup draws were fixed.
In an age of football hooliganism, stadium vandalism and riots, Everton and Liverpool were consistently kept apart every time they got past the quarter-final stage. In 1971's semi-final they were drawn together. It happened again six years later. In 1980, when the balls were finally kept apart (maybe the Everton and Liverpool balls had been kept out of the fridge too long) we were finally handed the mouth watering prospect of a first Merseyside Cup final.
And we both blew it.
That year's Cup Final was an all-London affair instead.
But famously, four years later, it finally happened.
Liverpool beat Walsall and Everton edged past Aston Villa. We had a first all-Merseyside Cup final – and while the authorities flinched, fearing the fighting other derby matches usually provoked, we celebrated.
And how.
The 1984 Milk Cup final was a party - a civic celebration of all things Scouse.
The street parties on Merseyside were matched by Mersey mates who travelled down to Wembley together and had a laugh. The Daily Post wrote: “A combined lap of honour in front of a sea of blue and red was confirmation, should it ever have been needed, that whatever divisions may exist in Liverpool the proud people of a much maligned city are united by their common love of sport.” Everton's streetwise Scouse full-back John Bailey declared: “The moment I'll take to my grave is when I walked out of the tunnel. The noise, the cheering, the red and blue everywhere, no segregation. You couldn't see that anywhere else in the world. “At the end of the game I ran around the ground with Alan Kennedy, with a blue scarf and a red scarf tied together above our heads. I remember the fans singing and it still brings a lump to my throat thinking about it now.”
It wasn't a one-off.
Perhaps it was coincidence, but after Everton and Liverpool fans had proved they could enhance a Cup Final occasion, rather than ruin it, they started to be kept apart in semi-finals more regularly.
Everton's Gary Lineker (c) celebrates scoring the opening goal
They met in the 1986 Cup Final. And again in 1989. And twice met at Wembley in Charity Shield curtain raisers. Every occasion was memorable. And in 1989, for obvious reasons, it was poignant.
Two scarves tied together at Goodison Park
Finally, 26 years after they last met in a major final at Wembley, Everton and Liverpool have the opportunity to do it all again. Everton have the tougher task, just like they did in 1984, but they're capable of upsetting Manchester City. While Liverpool have showed that they can demolish anybody in the Premier League at the moment.
An all Mersey cup final is something to savour.
They're rare beasts, but if it comes off it will be something to celebrate. Again.
Cartoon ahead of the 1986 FA Cup final between Everton and Liverpool
Andy's blue sky thinking
What on earth was Andy Hinchcliffe thinking?
No, not pulling his two former clubs out of the League Cup hat together. That's just pot luck.
But the man who wore sky blue, royal blue and then blue and white stripes during his distinguished playing career, wearing a red tie for the League Cup semi-final draw?
“It was Liverpool v Southampton,” he explained. “They both wear red.”
As excuses go, it's marginally better than the dog ate my homework.
Only marginally mind.

John Stones is not a January transfer target for Arsenal, says Wenger
4 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Arsenal boss denies wanting to sign John Stones from Everton to boost his defence
Wenger insists he's not interested in John Stones
John Stones won't be targeted by Arsenal as they look to give their Premier League title credentials a boost in January, says Arsene Wenger. The Everton defender has no shortage of admirers, both in the English top flight and Spain, but the Emirates club are not among them, insists the Frenchman.
Pressed on his potential targets when the transfer window reopens in the New Year, and particularly Stones, Wenger was clear with journalists at his club's Colney training ground this morning.
He said: “I ask my players to focus on tomorrow’s game. I did not ask the board anything. It’s not the board who buys the players anyway. “We are not after John Stones, if that’s what you want to hear. We are focused on tomorrow’s game.” Wenger is currently facing an injury crisis with 10 Arsenal first-team players potentially out of this weekend’s game against Norwich. At his pre-match press conference he was asked whether he would enter the transfer market in January to reinforce his squad for the second half of the season. “At the moment, I’m more focused on responding tomorrow,” he said. “I gave the answer last week in the press conference that we will be of course open and look outside.
John Stones tackles Arsenal's Olivier Giroud during the Barclays Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium. Sunday March 1, 2015. “At the moment, what is more important is to show how strong we are mentally with what happened to us, and that we respond in a very positive way. We are at the beginning of December. December is a very important month for us. “Your phone is busy every day from people who propose players, so that’s an aspect. We have a team inside our club who select what’s coming in, what we see. We are well organised on that front. The most important thing for us is the competitive side of our games and to win football games.” The Gunners were frequently linked with another Blues defender, Phil Jagielka, in the past but Wenger seems to be looking beyond Goodison Park at the moment.

Everton won't give up on James McCarthy being fit to face Crystal Palace
4 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Everton midfielder McCarthy could yet recover in time for clash with Pardew's men
Everton have not ruled out having James McCarthy fit for Monday's game against Crystal Palace.
The midfielder sat out the Capital One Cup victory at Middlesbrough in midweek having picked up a hip injury at Bournemouth. He will now be assessed over the weekend ahead of the visit of Alan Pardew's Eagles. In his pre-match press conference on Friday, Roberto Martinez said: "We're not going to find out until Saturday or Sunday if he will be available for the squad or not. "It's nothing too serious but it was serious enough to keep him out of the quarter-final and for a player like James McCarthy, it shows you there is something." Martinez also updated on the progress of Leighton Baines following his return to action at the Riverside. Baines was a late substitute during the 2-0 victory, his first appearance of the season following an ankle injury. And the Catalan explained his plan to give the left-back similar outings as he recovers his sharpness. "He had a very good introduction on Tuesday night and now we need to see how he is recovering," added Martinez. "He'll need two or three days to get back to normal and then we'll make a decision on that. "We need to give him little introductions before he can get full fitness for 90 minutes, but with his experience it's a lot easier to get to that point very quickly."

Ramiro Funes Mori is justifying Everton's 'Big Investment' says Roberto Martinez
4 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Everton £9.5m record defensive signing Mori has helped team cope with injuries to key men
Everton are starting to see why Ramiro Funes Mori became their costliest ever defender, as the Argentina international continues to settle in quicker than hoped, says Roberto Martinez.
The Blues paid a club record £9.5m to bring the centre back to Merseyside from River Plate in the summer, with differing external opinions on whether he was suitable for the Premier League.
But Mori, 24, has found his feet faster than predicted and in the absence of injured captain Phil Jagielka, has formed a flourishing partnership with John Stones at the heart of defence.
Martinez said: "Centre halves arriving into the new league need support and guidance and Ramiro was clearly thrown into the situation and John has helped him.
"We can't wait to have our captain back but to see Ramiro enjoying his football and adapting so quickly to the English game is great. "He's a starter for Argentina now and he's still a very young man. It's been a massive step forward in his career but that what we want and why we made such a huge investment.
"We've got a large amount of attacking threat but we've coped well when we had five defenders out. Every day they push each other. "They have developed a very strong partnership but we want Phil (Jagielka) back as soon as possible because we need to be as strong as we can and every individual is vital for that."

Andy Gray: I wish I had taken chance to become Everton manager
4 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Former Everton striker regrets staying at Sky Sports when offered chance to become Blues boss in 1997
Everton legend Andy Gray has spoken of his regret that he never became Blues boss when he had the chance to take charge at Goodison 18 years ago.
Following Joe Royle's departure in the spring of 1997, then chairman Peter Johnson spent several months trying to find a suitable replacement. Everton sounded out several high-profile candidates, including Sir Bobby Robson, before eventually offering the inexperienced Gray the manager's job.
The Scot looked set to accept at one point but eventually decided to stay with Sky TV after they offered him a lucrative new deal and the Blues turned to Howard Kendall for a third time. Speaking to talkSPORT about Gary Neville being appointed as Valencia boss, Gray admitted that he now wishes he had taken the opportunity at Goodison. He said: “I'm delighted [that Neville has taken the Valencia job]. I've said before many times, we're losing too many of our professional footballers who have been great players. “I'm hoping this will be an example to people like Jamie Carragher, like Steven Gerrard and like Frank Lampard. The great players of the Premier League who have so much knowledge and have won so much. “I hope they get inspired by Gary and say 'you know what, yes, we should have a go.
Gary Neville has joined brother Phil at Valencia, where he has been appointed as manager until the end of the season.
“It's something that I wish I'd done when I had an opportunity.
“You can always go back to TV. Television will always be there.”
Gray, who turned 60 on Monday, added: “My chance was at Everton. I felt it was the wrong time but I think now it's something I wish I'd had a go at because I could have always gone back to TV.
“What Gary doesn't know, what Jamie, Steven and Frank doesn't know, is how good a coach they could be. “I'm absolutely delighted that Gary has jumped in and said 'I'm going to do it'. I hope it's not just for five months. “If the juices start flowing, he can carry on at Valencia or come back here.”

Everton: U21s and U18s gear up for two mini-derby clashes against Liverpool this weekend
4 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Adam Jones
Mason Holgate shares his excitement for his second mini-Merseyside Derby experience on Sunday
The Everton first team might not be playing until Monday night, but this weekend's offering of two mini-Merseyside derby fixtures is enough to keep Bllue pulses racing until then.
Everton's Under-18s face up against the Reds on Saturday at 11am at Kirkby Academy, with the prospect of a win cementing their place at the top of the Barclays U18 Premier League table. Then, Under-21s play Liverpool on Sunday, travelling to Langtree Park with the hope that they can secure their third win of the season and start to climb from their current position of ninth in the U21 Premier League Divison 1 table. David Unsworth's men fought back from 3-0 down the last time the two sides met in August to take a 3-3 draw at home to their rivals. After the Toffees found themselves 3-0 down in the first half, strikes from Joe Williams, Conor McAleny and substitute Tom Davies salvaged what looked like an unlikely point. Mason Holgate made his debut in a blue shirt in that match and has admitted that, whilst he has mixed feelings over that game, he is ready to go for Sunday's fixture. He said: "The preparations have been the same as every other game. Everyone is looking forward to it – there are a lot of Scousers in the Under-21s! They all love the derby and just can’t wait. “The one in August was my first game. I was obviously excited about that but I gave away a penalty in the first five minutes! It wasn’t a great start for me, and we found ourselves 3-0 down. “But in the second half we came back, managed a 3-3 draw, but we could have won the game. “That shows what we can do, so hopefully this time we can start strong and get the victory.” “Everyone knows what it means to everyone here so they don’t need to tell me just how important this game is,” he added. “But we are all ready for it. It would mean a lot to win it, and I feel like we can do it.” The Under-21s go in to the fixture off the back of a resounding 8-0 victory away to Widnes in the Liverpool Senior Cup. Nathan Broadhead, Michael Donohue and Delial Brewster in action for Everton u-18s - but crucially striker Brewster was missing on Saturday Everton's Under-18s side also contested an 8-0 fixture in their last game out; but in contrast they were on the wrong end of the score-line against a strong Wolverhampton Wanderers team at Finch Farm. Before the game against Wolves, John Doolan's side found themselves in a rich vein of form, having been unbeaten in their previous eight games including a run of seven straight victories. That run of form has seen the young Blues climb to the top of the Barclays Under 18 Premier League, with a three-point gap between themselves and Manchester City in second place. The last time Everton's Under-18s faced up against Liverpool, they looked to have the tie in the bag thanks to an own goal from Liverpool's Herbie Kane, before Conor Masterson was sent off for the Reds in the 83rd minute. However, an equaliser in injury time from Adam Phillips agonisingly snatched victory from the hands of the Blues.

Everton jury: Bring it on! A Merseyside derby at Wembley would be great
4 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Our Everton fan jury have their say on the League Cup, Manchester City and Lukaku
Our fan jury will welcome another Wembley derby
David Taylor (St Helens)
So it’s on. You can’t help but feel that an all-Merseyside cup final is due after a 27 year wait (is it really that long?!). With the second league Derby also scheduled for 28th February we may as well have it at Wembley and throw in a shiny cup for the victors. Having said that I would prefer to play Stoke, we need to get past the billionaire Citizens first and I don’t think my nerves could take it but there is a feeling of inevitability around it all. And we owe them one (and then some). We navigated a Boro-shaped banana skin well despite taking our foot dangerously off the pedal in the second half, again.
We dispatched and created our goals nicely too – the deadly duo of Deulofeu and Lukaku, ably supported by Barkley, have the potential to be the making of this team providing the Club can match their ambitions and start to make real progress on the pitch; a February Cup win would do no harm at all.
Connor O'Neill (City Centre)
The biggest test of the season so far was passed with flying colours.
Going into Tuesday game it was undoubtedly Roberto’s biggest since being in charge at the club. Having not won a trophy for twenty years, the League Cup is a trophy we should be taking very seriously. And thankfully we did that on Tuesday, and by doing so we produced one of the best performances under Roberto.
Martinez's men were rampant at the Riverside
Looking ahead to the semi-finals, Manchester City will be a tough game, but it is certainly a winnable one. After Bournemouth it’s now important we respond with victory over Palace, especially considering they have become somewhat of a bogey team at Goodison over the last few years.
George Gibson (Northwich)
I can't be the only one who expected Everton to 'do an Everton' last night, especially after Saturday's drama. Pleasingly however, our young side looked to have found a maturity that was lacking at the weekend. We got the job done with a strong first-half performance marked by two good goals from our most in form players at the moment. Gerard Deulofeu has been a revelation since getting back to fitness and his directness, clever balls and unpredictability is giving us an edge that we missed last season.
It isn’t a coincidence that Deulofeu’s performances have come alongside a rejuvenated Romelu Lukaku, who looks a different player from last year. He is a threat every time he is around the penalty area, and his impressive goal return is just what we need if we are to mount a European challenge this term.

Everton v Bournemouth pitch invasion - Three fans avoid stadium bans after Blues' bosses offer second chance
4 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Luke Traynor
Reprieve' decision will be reviewed as season progresses, say Goodison management
Three Everton fans at risk of being slapped with banning orders after invading Bournemouth’s pitch at the end of last weekend’s 3-3 draw have won a reprieve. Supporters spilled onto the turf at The Vitality Stadium when Ross Barkley netted what appeared to be a 95th minute winner for the Blues. But amid crazy scenes, the Toffees had three points snatched from their grasp when Junior Stanislas’ levelled in the seventh minute of stoppage time. A handful of the 1,200 Everton faithful surged onto the pitch after going 3-2 up, sparking a joint probe between Merseyside Police and Goodison Park bosses.
Those identified on CCTV and TV pictures were sent letters from ex-cop and Blues’ head of stadium security Dave Lewis, warning of the possibility of an interim ban. Only those arrested at the Cherries’ venue received letters, it is understood. But despite the correspondence talking of temporary bannings until the end of the season, Everton chiefs have relented and softened their stance. Two of the three Blues supporters were spoken to by Toffees’ bosses, whose explanations were accepted that the sudden surge was behind them encroaching onto the pitch. Everton said those fans were welcome to attend Goodison for Monday night’s game against Crystal Palace. But their attendance will be ‘reviewed’ as the season progresses, the Blues added. An Everton FC spokesman said: “While we would emphasise to supporters that coming on the pitch is a criminal offence and may result in a football banning order, we have also listened to fans to understand the circumstances around this particular incident. “As a club, we have to demonstrate to the FA what we have done to prevent these kinds of occurrences and what we will do to prevent them from happening again. “In this instance, we have spoken to some of those arrested and, having reviewed the circumstances, the fans in question will be allowed to come to the game on Monday night and we will further review the situation going forward.” Reaction to the pitch invasion was mixed, with some suggesting the invasion contributed to the added time which cost Everton a last-gasp victory. Goalkeeper Tim Howard also hinted at his frustration that the over-exuberant celebration had proved Everton’s downfall. He said: “Once the celebration went on too long you kind of got the feeling the time would be added on. “You want to take time celebrating but you don’t want to take too much time. I think it added some time on unfortunately. “We just lacked a bit of composure. We cause chaos for other teams but let ourselves down.”

Everton boss Roberto Martinez hopes to have Phil Jagielka back for crucial month
4 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Blues boss expects captain to return in time for the New Year
Everton manager Roberto Martinez is hoping to have captain Phil Jagielka back for the month that could define the Blues season. In January, Everton face Manchester City three times (twice in the Capital One Cup semi-finals), Tottenham, Chelsea and Swansea City plus an FA Cup third round tie – to be drawn on Monday – and potential fourth round clash. Jagielka picked up a medial ligament injury at Arsenal on October 24 but while Martinez is unsure over exactly when his skipper will return, he expects him to be in contention by the turn of the year. He said: “It’s difficult to put a timescale on Phil. He’s started off because he hasn’t got the brace and the recovery now needs to be monitored day by day then gradually we need to how quickly we can build him up. “I expect him to be back before the end of 2015 which would be a major, major boost.” Ramiro Funes Mori in action during their Capital One Cup Quarter Final at Riverside Stadium During Jagielka’s absence, new signing Ramiro Funes Mori, a £9.5million purchase from River Plate, has forged a new centre-back pairing with John Stones. The Argentinian netted his first goal for Everton last weekend in the 3-3 draw at Bournemouth and Martinez is delighted with how he has been integrated into the squad. He said: “Ramiro was a very important player for us. At 24 he’s someone who is very good in the air with an exceptional leap and he’s an out and out defender.
“He’s also left-footed that gives us a very good balance. Our squad needs to grow all the time, window by window. “The way Ramiro has settled in with his temperament, he fits in as a proper Evertonian. You need to look around and see how the other players have helped him to do that. “That’s why we’ve got such a strong team in that respect. Everyone is prepared to help the new players to come into the group.”

Roberto Martinez: Everton youngsters are all leaders now
4 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Blues aces taking responsibility
While Everton’s ‘Fab Four’ are providing the youthful energy to fuel the Blues side, Roberto Martinez is also delighted with how they have taken on responsibility in their own individual ways. Ross Barkley, John Stones and Gerard Deulofeu are all 21 while Lukaku is the elder statesman at the group at 22.
Martinez said: “The young players have to become leaders themselves. This comes from different reasons. “Romelu Lukaku came to our football club on loan and all of a sudden he was given that number nine role in such a significant position in the history of our football club. “The way he has grown into fulfilling that potential with incredible pride is remarkable. “Ross Barkley has had to come through two difficult injuries and going out on loan and finding consistency then becoming an icon for everyone at Everton in the way he represents our football club.” He added: “Gerard Deulofeu had to leave the club where he started as a little boy. He found it difficult last season and never played a game since January. He’s come back to the club where he feels like home and he feels comfortable and there is responsibility with that. “With John Stones it’s noticeable that he’s a player who has been given a very quick path in the first team. “Since he arrived from Barnsley he has developed immensely. He had to go through such an emotional transfer window. “The way they are all performing at the moment they are clearly all becoming really strong leaders.”
Getting the perfect blend
While the young stars are tending to grab the limelight at Goodison, Martinez believes that having the right blend of youth and experience in the dressing room is essential and the role of the wise old heads in the Blues camp cannot be underestimated, even when they’re not on the pitch. He said: “It’s not just important, it’s vital. I can guarantee you that any young player needs direction and guidance through tricky moments. “Those tricky moments could be between games, they could be in training or they could be in the game. “It’s essential having Tim Howard, Phil Jagielka, Gareth Barry and Leon Osman who has been another important source of experience. “Even when they’ve been injured, having the around the camp is important. We also have the experience of Steven Pienaar and Tony Hibbert.
“It’s invaluable for us to get young players to step up probably quicker than any other football club in the first team environment.”
Stiff competition
Martinez has been able to name a settled starting line up in recent weeks with three unchanged teams against West Ham United, Aston Villa and Bournemouth before the Capital One Cup trip to Middlesbrough. The consistent selection policy has left the likes of Kevin Mirallas, Aaron Lennon and Steven Naismith all struggling for minutes but the Catalan is unconcerned about squad members getting overly frustrated over a lack of playing opportunities. He said: “As a player you want to be as good as you can and you want to be involved with the best team you can. “In the modern game there is a real understanding that you need to be at your best to play and there is competition for places.
“I think every single player at Everton is desperate to be part of the team to play but in the same manner to understand that degree of competition is helping the team to reach the levels that we have on the pitch. “We have to make sure that everyone knows their role and making sure everyone knows their next step.”
Left field appointment
With Leighton Baines’ return to fitness, Martinez could soon have a major selection dilemma in the left-back berth between the experienced England international left-back and teenage replacement Brendan Galloway who has impressed so much as his understudy this season. Martinez said: “In those situations it’s very much a common sense approach. “First of all you need to get everybody fit and try and give the best match fitness experience for everyone. “Once you get that ideal situation, you just allow football to make that decision. “That could be with training, it could be with games, to develop a healthy competition for places. “Nobody is given a starting position lightly. Nobody can take it for granted.
“We work in a professional world and that’s where we need to find ourselves at Everton to push the standards to a different level where we can compete against the best.”

Royal Blue: Young Everton fans have been starved of success - but now they can help change that
5 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Chris Beesley urges Everton fans to realise the difference they can make in helping Blues reach Wembley
Young Everton fans in the stands.
The League Cup – in all its various guises over the years – has never been kind to Everton but rather than wallow in self-pity, now is the time for Blues to do something themselves to change that. For those of you who haven't heard the ECHO's latest Everton podcast , it's well worth a listen as Greg O'Keeffe and Phil Kirkbride discuss how the fans can genuinely make a difference when it comes to the club ending their long wait for a trophy that will soon go into a 21 year.
This isn't just a cheap trick to try and butter up the supporters.
When it comes to big games like this, when the major prizes are at stake, the role of the crowd has, and always will be a factor and it's up to those in the stands to increase that significance. Let's make no bones about it, after riding their luck in all the previous rounds against Barnsley, Reading and Norwich City before Tuesday night's comprehensive victory at Middlesbrough , Roberto Martinez's men have been drawn against the toughest of semi-final opponents. While it's true that there are never any pushovers at this stage of the competition, we all know that Stoke City were the ball everyone was hoping to get in the last four. The merits or otherwise of a potential two-legged semi-final with Liverpool can be debated at length, but the hard facts are that with Everton drawing City, it's now Jurgen Klopp's Reds who appear to have a more palatable route to Wembley. Liverpool's win at St Mary's earned them an easier semi-final draw against Stoke City Martinez likes to talk about certain characteristics being in Everton's 'DNA' but while previous generations of Goodison-goers were brought up on a diet of the golden eras of Harry Catterick and Howard Kendall, the youth of today has been starved of success. In less than three-and-a-half years between March 1984 and August 1987, the Blues played at Wembley no fewer than eight times but since the demise of the Twin Towers, it's been slim pickings. Everton have yet to beat an opponent at the rebuilt national stadium, with a penalty shoot-out success against Manchester United following a goalless draw in the 2009 FA Cup semi-final as good as it got for them to date with the 2-1 final defeat to Chelsea being followed by the semi-final heartache against neighbours Liverpool in 2012, when the Blues were again beaten 2-1 after taking the lead.
Everton's Tim Cahill (left) and Phil Jagielka (right) celebrate reaching the FA Cup Final in 2009
In Martinez, they now have a manager who has won a major cup final at Wembley, indeed beating Manchester City in the process, but the supporters themselves need to believe if Everton are to head south again on February 28. Quite rightly, the Blues are proud of having considerable numbers of youthful supporters at Goodison Park for home games as it secures the club's future with the next generation well-versed in the match-day experience.
Roberto Martinez with Dave Whelan
Everton have a manager who knows how to beat the odds and win a trophy
But these young fans now need to rise to the occasion of a big game to help pull their side through – along with their older counterparts who have been fortunate enough to witness their beloved Blues being the best. For a long time, opponents City were in a similar boat having gone 35 years without winning a trophy between 1976-2011. Indeed their plight had been much worse with regular relegations out of the top flight and a spell in the third tier in 1998/99. Their fans have had to learn to win again, but with the embarrassment of riches at their disposal it's been a much smoother process and the kind of noise that used to be generated from the Kippax in City's 'bad old days' has not been a major prerequisite to success.
Everton have it all to do if they are to make Wembley
Disappointing crowds at certain Champions League fixtures suggest a somewhat blasé approach from spoilt City supporters these days but Everton can't afford such luxuries. Make no mistake, Manuel Pellegrini is taking this competition seriously and there won't be any European distractions in January when these two sides meet. The Blues are going to have to give everything, both on and off the pitch, if they're going to get through this one. It's certainly possible but in the same way the supporters expect their players not to let them down, they've got to do everything in their powers to make it as difficult as possible for City, both at Goodison and the Etihad Stadium.
Good guy Goodlass still going strong for charity
Former Everton winger Ronny Goodlass has held a 10th anniversary Sportsperson's Dinner for his charity Health Through Sport. Liverpool-born Goodlass, 62, founded Health Through Sport in 2005 to improve fitness and eating habits among young people who comes from some of the most deprived and marginalised communities of the city. The dinner took place at the Devonshire House Hotel with former Wales international striker John Hartson – once the most expensive teenager in football – as the guest speaker. Ronny Goodlass at one of his events with Alan Ball's son Jimmy at the Winslow Hotel next to Goodison Pat Labone presented the Brian Labone 'Corinthian' award to George McKane while Liam King received the Alan Ball 'Ball of Fire' award from Jimmy Ball. Goodlass said: “The evening was a great success and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who attended and supported the event. “John Hartson was excellent and I would like to also thank Pat Labone and Jimmy Ball who presented the awards. “Our next Sportspersons Dinner is in May and I hope to see you all again. Your support is greatly appreciated.” Health Through Sport is working to achieve the outcomes of 'Every Child Matters'; to be healthy, stay healthy, enjoy and achieve and to make a positive contribution and achieve economic well being with its overall aim to help youngsters participate in an enjoyable activity in a safe and friendly environment. Goodlass said: “I firmly believe that playing sport leads to a much healthier and active lifestyle in an age when there are so many other, less desirable attractions.”
Blues want to help youngsters in care have some festive cheer Everton are urging local people to help ensure children in care across Merseyside have a truly BlueCrimbo this year. On December 1 the club launched its BlueCrimbo campaign which this year includes a Blue Box Appeal to support some of the most vulnerable and underprivileged members of our community, including children in care. There are currently more than 1,000 children in Merseyside in foster care or other placements , either as a result of court proceedings because they are at risk of harm or with the agreement of their parents.
And Everton are asking people on Merseyside to help by simply filling a shoebox with essential items which will help a child in care have a happier Christmas.
Blues skipper Phil Jagielka with his Blue Box
Among those set to receive a Blue Box to brighten up their Christmas are participants from Everton in the Community’s Breathing Space programme. Launched in April, the programme works to engage and inspire young people aged between 14 and 19 who are in the care system or at risk of entering the care system. One young person who is currently on the Breathing Space programme is 16year-old Sarah.
The eldest of three children, Sarah has suffered neglect and abuse during a difficult childhood before entering the care system a year ago. After moving into a foster home, Sarah was told about Everton in the Community by her Social Service key worker. Sarah said: “I wasn’t sure if I could do it as I’ve never really taken part in anything before but I now have something else to focus on and people to talk to that listen and understand me. "They don’t judge me or blame me, they have helped and encouraged me to realise that I can have a positive future.”
WATCH: Why Everton want to help children in care this Christmas
The charity provides a safe and nurturing environment for participants whilst working with them to develop their skills and confidence, helping them to gain accredited qualifications and offering vital volunteering opportunities as well as one-to-one mentoring. The Club’s BlueCrimbo Blue Box Appeal will provide not just give children in care a much needed boost this Christmas. They will also support low income families, homeless people, the elderly and individuals who often have to make a choice between buying food or paying bills at Christmas time. Fans are also invited to nominate someone they know who would benefit from the gift of a Blue Box by clicking here. Simply wrap an old shoebox in Christmas wrapping paper and filli it with essential items suitable for a child, family and/or the elderly and drop it off at Everton One, Everton Free School, Weightmans on Old Hall Street or the Matchday Hub for the games against Crystal Palace on Monday December 7 or Leicester City on Saturday December 19.
To learn how you can get involved in Everton’s Christmas campaign, visit

Everton transfer rumours: Blues target another wing man with Mirallas attracting interest
5 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Joe Rimmer
Nothing escapes the all-seeing gaze of the transfer rumour mill, not even Everton's scouts as they go about their daily business. The Blues have scouts watching players all over the world, but who they are watching is anybody's guess.
Except it isn't, not in the days of social media.
The Blues scouts have reportedly been watching a number of players in recent weeks, and Sporting Witness have decided to analyse the type of players the Toffees have been keeping an eye on, and they reckon they're after a wide man. They claim that last night Everton watched Rennes take on Marseille and 18-year-old talented winger Ousmane Dembele was in action for the French club.
They also say Benfica duo Gonçalo Guedes and Nico Gaitan have been watched, as has young Spaniards Matías Nahuel and Samu Castillejo.
The catch to all this? Kevin Mirallas is off.
Well, according to a few internet rumours, anyway, so don't go throwing your shirts away or taking your posters down just yet. They say that the lieks of AC Milan are circling with regards to Mirallas, who has struggled for game time this season after poor form, suspension and the form of Gerard Deulofeu. And with the European Championships looming, it's reported that Mirallas is eyeing the exit.

Liverpool U18s 2-1 Everton U18s: Young Reds continue unbeaten run in difficult conditions at Kirkby
5 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Paul Philbin
Goals from Ben Woodburn and Adam Phillips were enough for the young Reds in windy conditions at the Academy
Adam Phillips of Liverpool celebrates after scoring
Liverpool Under-18's extended their unbeaten run to 13 games and closed the gap at the top of the table after a 2-1 win against rivals Everton. First-half goals from Ben Woodburn and Adam Phillips were enough to claim the three points despite Delial Brewster pulling one back for the Blues in the second-half. The wind at Kirkby played its part in the game - with both sides playing the better football when playing against the wind. The home side took the lead after two minutes after some brilliant link-up play between Toni Gomes and Ben Woodburn down the right side.
Gomes played in the winger who fired the ball past the helpless Ciaran O'Loughlin.
The Reds' number nine was involved in everything Liverpool did in the first-half, causing the Blues plenty of problems.
Liverpool nearly had a second in the 12th minute.
Conor Masterson's header was cleared off the line by Steven Kinsella
Gomes had a chance to double the lead six minutes later after finding himself through on goal, but he fired wide. Neil Critchley's side had a second goal just before the half-hour mark, after a wonderful cross by Trent Alexander-Arnold was met by Adam Phillips, who finished from close range. Two minutes before half-time the Everton goalkeeper produced two wonderful saves to keep the score at 2-0. Firstly he denied Phillips from close range before Liam Coyle's curling effort was tipped over the bar. Eight minutes into the second-half the away side pulled a goal back.
Former Liverpool academy player Brewster hammered the ball home from close range.
Michael Donohue, who caused the Reds plenty of problems in the second-half, nearly found the equaliser nine minutes later, but his shot struck the post from the edge of the area. A couple of minutes later Liverpool nearly had a third in bizarre circumstances. Philips put in a left footed cross aiming for Gomes, but the wind took the ball towards the goal and clipped the post. In the latter stages of the game the wind was having a bigger impact and both teams were unable to take control of the final moments. The Reds' focus now turns to the FA Youth Cup on December 16 when they host Ipswich Town at Langtree Park. Liverpool: Shamal George, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kris Owens, Conor Masterson, Corey Whelan, Liam Coyle, Ben Woodburn, Herbie Kane, Toni Gomes (Lennon 75), Adam Phillips (Alves 75), Ovie Ejaria (Lewis 90).
Subs: Brooks Lennon (Gomes 75), Caoimhin Kelleher, Kane Lewis (Ejaria), Paulo Alves (Phillips 75), Mich'el Parker
Eveton: Ciaran O'Loughlin, Callum Lees, Spencer Myers, Joseph Yarney, Matty Foulds, Jack Kiersey, Michael Donohue, Jack Bainbridge, Delial Brewster, Nathan Broadhead, Steven Kinsella (Holland 81)
Subs: Arron Jones, Shane Lavery, Nathan Holland (Kinsella 81), James Yates, Danny Bramall

Everton: Roberto Martinez can't wait to put on a show for home fans
5 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Blues boss delighted to be back at Goodison after two long trips
Roberto Martinez says his Everton side can’t wait to put on a show for their supporters against Monday night after their long trips to Bournemouth and Middlesbrough. The Blues fans clocked up 824 miles in the space of four days last week with return journeys to Dorset and Teesside. Martinez said: “The confidence that we get playing in front of our own fans at Goodison is easy to see.
“We were desperate to come back to Goodison after the two long treks that are away fans had to endure and we’re looking forward to paying them back with a good performance. “We’re playing with a lot of threat, we’re a stylish team to watch and we can score goals. “But we’re facing a really tough team. The last two times Crystal Palace have come to Goodison they’ve been really difficult games.” He added: “This group of players at Palace have been together for a long time, they’re very competitive. “They’re a really good group of players who bring a lot of pace and power and they’ve got exceptional counter-attacking individuals and are very strong in dead ball situations. “They finished 10th last season so they know the Premier League inside out. “There’s a lot of experience and know-how so we’ll be have to be at our very best.” Everton fans at the Riverside Stadium. Can you spot yourself? Martinez is pleased with the attacking options he n
ow has it his disposal though.
He said: “What we’ve got as a squad is real strong competition for places. “It’s great to see Gerard in the form that he’s showing and Romelu and Ross. “You look at the players we’ve got, they’re pushing a lot on a daily basis in training.
“That’s the key of having players at their very, very best.
“With Aiden McGeady, Steven Naismith and Kevin Mirallas, Arouna Kone, Aaron Lennon and Steven Pienaar coming back from injury there is a long list of attacking threat that pushes those standards that we really enjoy as a squad. “We’ve got a really focused group of players that are desperate to play and be as good as they can and that’s a great position to be in.” The Catalan added: “We’re delighted with the balance that we have in the side. When you look at the experience we had on Tuesday, Leon Osman and Gareth Barry were sensational on looking after that young, brave talent.
“It’s getting the balance all the time and making sure we use it in the right manner.”

Everton's latest great double act: The Rom & Geri show
5 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Lukaku and Deulofeu combining to devastating effect
When it comes to successful partnerships it's often said that opposites attract and that's certainly the case with Everton latest great double act, Rom & Geri.
Although they were born just 10 months apart – exactly – Romelu Lukaku on May 13, 1993; and Gerard Deulofeu on March 13, 1994; the pair have taken quiet different paths to Goodison Park.
Growing up in Antwerp, the largest city in Flanders which is home to over a million people, Lukaku was also always very large.
A man-child who towered over his team-mates as a junior footballer, 'Big Rom', the son of former Zaire (now DR Congo) international striker Roger Lukaku who spent most of his professional career in Belgium, made his first team debut for Anderlecht in a Championship Play-Off against Standard Liege in 2009 just 11 days after his 16 birthday while still a schoolboy.
Deulofeu in contrast hails from the tiny Catalonian village of Riudarenes – which boast a population of just 2,183 – and has always got by on his fancy footwork rather than size and strength.
As a result, despite being immensely gifted, his development has been more of a gradual process and he did not make his first official appearance for Barcelona until he was 18.
But for all the differences in their respective styles of play due to their respective physiques – Lukaku is a hulking 94 kilograms (14st 11lb) of pure muscle on a 191cm (6ft 3in) frame while 175cm (5ft 9in) Deulofeu tips the scales at 73 kilograms (11st 7lb) – they've been dovetailing magnificently for Everton in recent weeks.
Fresh supply line revived Rom
Although he netted 20 goals in all competitions for the Blues last season, Lukaku went backwards in Premier League stakes with only have of those efforts in the competition.
While it took him 34 Premier League games to to record a tally of 10 goals in 2014/15, the Belgian international has matched that total already this term in less than half the number of matches – a mere 14 to date. It seems no coincidence that Lukaku's impressive upturn in form has coincided with the blossoming of Deulofeu's talents. Such is the Spanish Under-21 captain's potency when providing a regular supply line for Lukaku from the wing that seven of Lukaku's 13 goals in all competitions this season – including four out of his last six – having come from Deulofeu assists.
And while it doesn't official count as an assist in the record books, the former Barca man also provided the cross in the Merseyside Derby that led to Lukaku's equaliser against Liverpool.
Barnsley chop was just the start Starting with his first meaningful run-out of the campaign – coming on as a half-time substitute at Barnsley in August for Matthew Pennington – after one-minute and four-minute cameos against Southampton and Manchester City, Deulofeu has been busy setting up Lukaku all season. Having already teed-up Steven Naismith for a first equaliser at Oakwell, Deulofeu's right wing cross for Lukaku to sweep home sent the tie into extra time in which the Blues' class would finally tell as they eventually triumphed 5-3 on a cup run which has now brought them to within a two-legged semi-final from Wembley Stadium. Everton's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring his sides third goal of the match during the Capital One Cup, second round match at Oakwell, Barnsley. That was just the start though. Deulofeu's magic helped to inspire another comeback victory a month later in the Premier League as Everton again recovered from 2-0 down to win, this time against West Brom
wich Albion at The Hawthorns. A lofted in-swinger from the right by Deulofeu found Lukaku's head at the back post to begin the fightback and after Arouna Kone had drawn Roberto Martinez's men level, Deulofeu turned provider again with a lower, whipped-in cross from the right that Lukaku stabbed home.
Threading through the eye of a needle
Against Sunderland and West Ham United, Deulofeu showed another string to his bow as he displayed his ability to execute a perfectly-timed through-ball. The tricky wide man had endured mixed fortunes against the Black Cats before his pinpoint pass for Lukaku, netting his first Premier League goal of the season but being booked for an embarrassing piece of simulation in the penalty area.
Deulofeu's defence-splitting pass was a thing of beauty
But if those two incidents had displayed the contrasting aspects of Deulofeu's game – he had already been denied an assist when his right-wing cross bound for Lukaku's head was inadvertently put in his own net by Sunderland defender Sebastian Coates – his football genius shone through with a defence-splitting pass from within his own half which Lukaku latched onto without breaking his stride before rounding Costel Pantilimon to score.
Six days later he repeated the trick on Everton's last ever league trip to the Boleyn Ground as he picked out Lukaku from the centre-spot with the confident striker again running straight through to glide past West Ham keeper Adrian and earn the visitors a share of the spoils.
On the cusp of greatness Last weekend at Bournemouth, it was the same combination but this time Deulofeu fed Lukaku with an inviting forward pass from the right flank which he smashed into the net with his right foot. With Deulofeu having opened the scoring himself with a low drive from just outside the area against Middlesbrough, the pair combined again at the Riverside Stadium to seal the Blues passage into the last four of the Capital One Cup, this time with a short right-wing cross picking out Lukaku's head at the near post. Having already matched Graeme Sharp's 26-goal tally in a calendar year from back in 1984, Lukaku is now hunting down some more Everton scoring records.
He needs two more strikes to equal Adrian Heath's total from that same year and as he prepares to make what would be his 100 appearance for the Blues against a Crystal Palace side he scored against both home and away last season, Lukaku is just one goal away from reaching 50 for the club.
If he does find the net then he'll become the first Everton player to register in five consecutive Premier League games and a one-in-two strike rate of a century of matches is terrific going by anyone's standards. And who'd bet against Deulofeu being the provider when Lukaku does bag his next goal?

Everton's Romelu Lukaku can be the next Didier Drogba says Alan Pardew
5 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
Blues striker tipped for greatness
Alan Pardew believes Romelu Lukaku is on course to become the next Didier Drogba.
The Crystal Palace manager is preparing his team to face Everton’s in-form striker on Monday evening when they visit Goodison in the Premier League. With an elegant touch and powerful finish last Saturday at Bournemouth, Lukaku, who has scored 13 goals this season including six in the past five games, again demonstrated he is in the finest form of his career. His timing seems particularly appropriate, given former club Chelsea’s problems with the underperforming Diego Costa this season and that Jose Mourinho sold him in the belief he was “not motivated” to fight for a first-team place. Pardew is more than wary of the threat he can pose. “Lukaku is an unusual player in that he’s naturally left-footed,” Pardew said. “I think for a striker that is an advantage. “Most defenders are defending right-footed players, and he gives them a slight (problem) which sets him apart.
“His all-round game has improved, he is the full No 9. We looked at the iconic one of the last 10 years, Drogba. “You have to say Lukaku does look like he could emulate that. I’m sure that would be his ambition.” Similarly to Everton, who use the width and creativity provided by Gerard Deulofeu, Arouna Kone and Ross Barkley to supplement Lukaku’s athleticism, Pardew will on Monday use Jason Puncheon, Yannick Bolasie and Yohan Cabaye to support Connor Wickham. Wilfried Zaha is suspended owing to a yellow card collected for diving in the recent 5-1 defeat of Newcastle but Pardew’s attack retains potential and the manager believes £7million signing Wickham is ready to highlight that. “Connor is a work in progress,” he said. “He needs to add goals, but he hasn’t had too many opportunities. This year is a big year. If he is to become what I hope he’s going to become then next year is his year. “He is (still) some way off Dean Ashton. Ashton was probably the b
est I’ve worked with, cut short by injury. I’ve had some very good strikers – Teddy Sheringham, Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, (Carlos) Tevez. “If I was to pigeon-hole him at the moment I don’t think he’s a 20-goal a season man. I think he can get 15 in the calendar year. Most managers would be quite happy with his all-round game. I’m targeting 15, 16 goals for him next year.”

Gareth Barry: Leader of Everton pack says Seamus Coleman
5 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
Barry is the conductor of Everton's own Fab Four
Young guns Rom, Ross and John Stones - with the ever so slightly older Arouna Kone!
THEY’VE been christened the Fab Four – Everton’s quartet of exciting youngsters all set to shake up the football world. For John, Paul, George and Ringo, read Rom, Ross, Gerry and Stonesy. And while The Beatles had their own experienced mentor in Brian Epstein, the young Blues have a guiding guru too. And like the undemonstrative Epstein, he is an understated but enormous influence.
Seamus Coleman has been thrilled by the progress of Lukaku (22), Barkley (22), Stones (21) and Deulofeu (21). But the Irish defender insists that the performances of 34-year-old Gareth Barry have been knitting it all together this season. “We have four very, very good youngsters – Ross, Stonesy, Rom and Gerry and then we have Gaz Barry in the centre of midfield,” he explained. “I don’t know if the fans or the media see it, but when we’re on the pitch with someone like Gaz Barry in your team, you know you’re doing something right. “Any time you get the ball, you can see why he has played at such a high level because he always wants the ball, no matter what. “There are times when you are not having a good game and you might not want the ball, but no matter how he is playing or how’s he doing, Gaz always wants the ball.
"Gaz always wants the ball," says Seamus Coleman
“He is teaching me and the younger lads everything that is right about football and how to handle yourself on and off the pitch. “Then you have Jags and Bainesy as well, so there is a good mix of youngsters and a great bunch of experienced lads.” While Barry has orchestrating a recent spell of six unbeaten matches and a run to the last four of the Capital One Cup in unsung fashion, Lukaku, Deulofeu, Barkley and Stones have been dominating the headlines. Lukaku has now scored in five successive matches, Barkley has celebrated three in his last three appearances, Deulofeu has been in magical form while Stones has been selected by Barcelona legend Gerard Pique to play alongside him in an imaginary World XI! All four have progressed significantly in the past two seasons, but it is the progress of wing wizard Deulofeu which has captured Coleman’s imagination the most – even if his displays have forced Coleman to curb some of his own attacking enthusiasm!
“Gerry has come back a lot better player than he was and he has added so much more to his game,” he added. “He is much more of a team player and he is a great lad to have around the place.
“It’s hard to overlap Gerry! So I do feel that with Gerry coming back my game has changed a little bit.
“The positions I take up are a bit different to last season because I feel the way Gerry is playing means I should just leave him be out wide. “Sometimes you have just got to take one for the team.
Gerard Deulofeu celebrates his goal during the Capital One Cup Quarter Final match at Middlesbrough. “I know that it’s not just about me bombing forward and setting up a goal or scoring a goal. “Gerry is doing well, so I let him do that. “Sometimes, when he does go inside, I will go on the outside but it depends on the game. “Gerry is a great player to be alongside. He put me in a couple of times against Middlesbrough, so we have a good connection. “It’s all about me picking the right positions to be in.
“Sometimes I can make a run knowing that I’m not going to get the ball, but what I am doing is making room for Gerry to use. “That’s what it’s all about. “It’s a great changing room to be in because we’re all friends with each other. Luckily, Gerry is on the other side to me at training!
“But what I like about these young lads is that there are no egos. They are all great lads.”
Coleman still plays with the freshness and dynamism of a youngster whose introduction to top level football in England came late. But at 27 he could now be considered one of the elder statesman of Everton’s defence – especially with England internationals Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka having spent large chunks of this season on the sidelines injured. Coleman, who is due to become a father for the first time early next year, said: “I suppose I’ve had to become more responsible. It wasn’t so long ago that I was one of the younger players. “It seems to have crept up on me, but at times it’s up to me to speak up and talk to the younger lads. “But they are all quite mature for their age. You can see that by the way they are playing. “I have tried though to be a bit more vocal, I have no problem with that. We are all pushing in one direction here. I feel, for instance, that myself and John Stones have a good relationship. I speak to him just as much as he speaks t
o me in games.
Seamus Coleman and John Stones arrive for the Premier League match at West Ham. "I speak to him as much as he speaks to me in games," says Coleman. “He has grown so much since he first signed. He signed long term to be a centre half but at first he was in and out of the team as a right back whenever I got injured. You could always see he was going to be a centre-back. He is very mature for his age. Football is the easiest part for him to be honest, he is a very talented player. “He’s learning all the time, always working very hard – a real modest lad. That’s a credit to his family.” Stones, and to a lesser extent Coleman himself, were at the heart of fevered transfer stories during the last transfer window – and with the January window only three weeks away speculation is sure to start again.
Coleman, however, has a novel way of dealing with the scrutiny.
He boils a kettle, makes himself a cup of tea and enjoys it!
Seamus Coleman showing the form which has seen him linked with Manchester United.
“It’s the world we live in,” he smiled “Twitter and everything. You can pretend you don’t see it but you do see it. You’ve just got to get on with the job at hand, try and put it to the back of your mind. There’s nothing you can do about the speculation. “I suppose speculation means you are doing something right for the team you are playing with. “You don’t want to take your eye off the ball because if you do you will get caught out. I’d like to think it didn’t affect me but it’s part and parcel of football. “The press, the TV they love the transfer window. On transfer deadline day I sit watching it all with a cup of tea. It’s all part of football. It’s exciting and it’s why everyone loves the game.”

Everton vs Crystal Palace: Toffees' young guns leave Seamus Coleman feeling his age
Roberto Martinez’s team are ideal blend of youth and experience
November 5 2015 Independent
Seamus Coleman is due to become a father in January but that is not the reason for the sudden sense that age is creeping up on him. Rather it is the fact the 27-year-old right-back, almost out of the blue, finds himself as one of the senior figures in an exciting young Everton side.
During last Tuesday’s Capital One Cup quarter-final win at Middlesbrough, Coleman was the third-oldest player in the starting line-up on an evening when the ‘Fab Four’ of John Stones, Romelu Lukaku, Gerard Deulofeu and Ross Barkley – all 22 or under – stole the headlines.
Two days later, sitting in his kit at The Toffees’ Finch Farm training ground, Coleman was happy to continue the discussion. “The manager made a big statement in the summer with John [Stones not joining Chelsea], meaning that he didn’t want to get rid of his best players. The four young lads are up there with the best young talents in Europe. I’m sure if there was a top 10, they’ would all be there or thereabouts.” It was almost enough to inspire a bout of reverie from Coleman as he speculated about what might happen “if we keep them together with our experienced lads. I’ve been here coming up seven years now and the years are flying by, and you do want to win silverware and that would be special to do it here.” The years have certainly flown by since this very day in 2009 when Coleman made his first Goodison appearance – as a substitute in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham. His debut proper had been a nightmare – trying to mark Angel Di Maria in a 5-0 Europa League d
efeat at Benfica – but against Spurs he shone with his raw energy down the right, crossing for both Everton goals. “My debut against Benfica wasn’t the best and I just wanted to do as well as I could and I kept getting up and down the line,” he recalled. “It was one of those things, it felt as though it was meant to happen and it gave me a kick-start in England.” There was something wonderfully unaffected about Coleman’s football, a legacy of his teenage years playing Gaelic football in the Donegal fishing town of Killybegs. He remains that way as a person – shaking the hand of every journalist at the start and finish of our interview – but on the pitch, with Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines absent, he has suddenly become the old man of Everton’s defence. “Over the years I was one of the young players but it has just crept up on me, with the injuries to Baines and Jags, being the older player. I’ve taken it on me to speak a bit to the younger lads and have
a word in their ear but they’re all quite mature for their age.” None more so than Stones. “He is not bad, is he?” he smiled. “He doesn’t need a lot of talking, he is very mature. Football is the easy part for him. He is a really talented player and is learning all the time and, as good as he is, he still doesn’t think he’s anything special.” If Stones was the name on people’s lips at the start of the season, when Everton host Crystal Palace tomorrow it will be that of Deulofeu. During a difficult second campaign at Goodison for Martinez, Everton were often accused of overpassing in midfield, yet Deulofeu – back on a permanent deal after his 2013/14 loan – has brought speed and directness to their attacking play. Lukaku, looking a better all-round centre-forward, has been the main beneficiary – his 13th goal of the season at Boro came after Deulofeu had befuddled a defender with six stepovers before crossing. “I remember when Cristiano Ronaldo broke on
the scene, that’s the kind of stuff he was doing. I was asking Rom earlier how many goals he [Deulofeu] has set up for him and Rom said seven. Geri has come back more of a team player.” Having Deulofeu ahead of him means Coleman must rein in his swashbuckling instincts. “It’s hard to overlap Geri, I’ll tell you,” he laughed. “I feel the way Geri is playing at the minute it is best to leave him be out wide because he is producing the goods.” If Everton are benefiting from the blossoming of their youngsters, and the absence of Europa League commitments, Coleman cites another factor: the enduring class of 34-year-old Gareth Barry. “I don’t know if the fans and the media see it but when you’re on the pitch and you’ve got someone like Gaz Barry in your team, you know you’re doing something right. You can see why he has played at such a high level because he always wants the ball. There have been times when you’re not having a good game and you might not want
that ball, but no matter how he is playing, he always wants it.” With Everton through to a Capital One Cup semi-final against Manchester City, hopes of a trophy have been raised. Coleman notes that “this team might be a bit better” than the side that finished fifth in 2014, although it is worth noting that the highest-placed team they have beaten to date are Southampton. “We haven’t done anything yet,” he adds, “but we definitely have great players capable of doing something.” However Everton’s campaign ends, Coleman has already achieved one goal – with the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2016 qualifying play-off win over Bosnia and Herzegovina. “It was such a great feeling. I missed out on the last European Championships [through injury] so I’ll be looking forward to the draw [next Saturday] and whoever we get, it will be great.” Even England? “I’d take England, yeah.” And the boy from Killybegs will not be lacking support in France. “A massive con
tingent went to the last European Championships so I’ll be disappointed if they don’t go to this one. I played football with all the lads growing up and we’re all still very close. I’m sure they’ll be getting their camper vans ready.” On the march, just like Everton.

Ian Snodin: Everton have set up a more appealing tie than Andy Hinchcliffe's
6 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
by IanSnodin
Reaching the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup was a significant landmark for this Everton team but now they need to go and finish the job. I’m delighted that we got through. It was a reasonably comfortable performance and whoever you get in the semi-final is going to be difficult.
If we believe in ourselves and the fans believe in us, hopefully we’ve got a good chance of getting to Wembley. My former Everton team-mate Andy Hinchcliffe is to blame for the draw anyway.
As soon as he came on I thought ‘come on Andy, do us a favour’.
Andy played for three teams in his career: Manchester City; Everton and Sheffield Wednesday who all wore blue yet he was wearing a red tie, I couldn’t believe it!
Andy Hinchcliffe: At this tie isn't red!
However, if you’re going to win it and we want to win it, you’ve got to beat whoever is in front of you. We’ve got to go out and do it. I just think there’s four good teams in it. The Capital One Cup has been good so far and it’s not a bad semi-final line-up. Often you get one or two lesser clubs sneaking in but this year it’s four decent clubs and they’re all capable of beating each other.
It’s difficult no question about it. Manchester City are a top quality side with top quality players.
Hopefully Goodison will be rocking for the first leg and we know we’ve got to be in the game when we go to the Etihad – it’s as simple as that.
I think the big teams are treating this competition seriously again.
In the first couple of rounds they tend to put out a few of the squad players but the further they progress they realise they’re getting close to Wembley and put strong teams out.
Everton have done that and we deserve what we’ve got which is a semi-final place.
There is plenty of quality in the squad now and even when the manager changes things around a bit there are international players coming in. I think Roberto Martinez has done ever so well with the team selections he’s been picking.
You've got to watch the ball not the man with Deulofeu
The Capital One Cup has been all about Gerard Deulofeu really. It’s been fantastic throughout and as well as scoring a great goal against Middlesbrough he provided a great bit of skill with the cross for Rom’s second goal. As an opposition full-back it’s obviously difficult when a winger like Geri or Cristiano Ronaldo is coming at you with quick feet. If you watch the ball itself it doesn’t actually move. I had a tendency not even to follow the players’ feet anyway. I was taught by a legendary man Billy Bremner in my early years and he told me not to watch anyone move really and to keep your eye on the ball. It’s easier said than done though when someone is jinking over the ball.
Geri has got that ability to take the ball quickly and he flicks it to the side.
He’s a great talent with plenty in his locker and I don’t care who the defender is, at times when he does things like that you can’t do a lot about it.
Win at Boro was one for the fans after late collapse at Bournemouth
I couldn't understand why Middlesbrough made so many changes on Tuesday. Yes they are going for promotion to the Premier League but they had a full house at the Riverside and were one step away from a semi-final. They obviously see their priorities as elsewhere but of course I wasn’t worried about what they did, just what happened with Everton. It was a great way to bounce back. Our lads would have been gutted because they thought they’d got three points against Bournemouth.
They were backed by thousands of fantastic supporters again.
The Evertonian away following are unbelievable. They’re a credit to the club.
They travel everywhere, the length and breadth of the country, selling out wherever they go, spending a lot of money. Some people I’ve been talking to were blaming them for not winning at Bournemouth when some were running on the pitch. Of course I’d never advocate any kind of aggressive pitch invasion but hey they’ve travelled all that way and as a player you’d have reacted like Ross Barkley because you thought you’d won the game and go over and slide in front of your fans. They’d come on because they were absolutely ecstatic. People have said ‘they shouldn’t be on the pitch’ but that’s the emotions of a football game. The adrenaline was buzzing and that’s what football is all about – excitement.
Be on guard for Palace
We can’t slack off on Monday night as Crystal Palace are a decent side and while they’ve not been as good at home, they’re dangerous away.
They’ve got plenty of pace out wide.
I really like the boy Yannick Bolaise, I think he’s a terrific player, while of course there’s Wilfried Zaha on the other side. They’re a good counter-attacking team and it will be a difficult game.
Palace have played really well when they’ve come to Goodison over the last couple of years
Our lads are hungry though and want success themselves.

Ian Doyle: Sorry Brendan, but it's better Leighton never for Everton FC
6 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
by IanDoyle
Leighton Baines needs to be first-choice for Blues... and has Arsene Wenger actually seen something?
Brendan Galloway. He just loves it, doesn't he?
The young left-back has demonstrated an appetite every fledgling talent should look to replicate, whether it's helping out in Everton's defence or bombing forward down the left flank. It's usually bombing forward down the left flank, though. The best evidence of that came during last month's 4-0 romp over Aston Villa in which Galloway, despite playing at the back, was stood unmarked in the Villa six-yard box for Everton's first two goals. He then took up the same position again a bit later on and was only denied a goal by the hapless Kevin Mirallas getting in the way.
Galloway faced something of a baptism of fire earlier in the season, and his travails against Manchester City did prompt many of us to fear the worst.
We needn't have worried.
Brendan Galloway has been outstanding for Everton this season
Galloway has since belied his tender years – it's easy to forget he is still only 19 and has only started 19 senior games as a professional – to ease the pain of Leighton Baines' absence. Baines, though, is now back available, having safely negotiated his comeback from the bench in the Capital One Cup win at Middlesbrough last week.
Now Everton boss Roberto Martinez faces a decision.
Does he recall Baines at left-back at the expense of Galloway? Does he reintroduce him on the left of midfield in place of Arouna Kone?
Or does he try Baines as a holding midfielder again?
It was something Martinez attempted with limited success last season having suggested the England man could follow the path of Philipp Lahm and convert from full-back to the position.
Indeed, Baines featured in the role for the under-21s last month as he regained fitness.
There perhaps could have been a chance Galloway could shift across to centre-back in place of Ramiro Funes Mori had the Argentina international not been in such excellent form himself.
Ultimately, Baines remains too good, too influential to Everton both in attack and defence not to be in the starting line-up when fully fit. So Martinez has a simple choice. Either select Baines out of position – or ask Galloway to continue doing his immediate learning from the bench.
After all, the youngster has already demonstrated he will be the long-term answer to whatever question Everton pose of his exciting talents.
Overreaction of the week award goes to Arsene Wenger.
You'll have all seen Alexis Sanchez sent tumbling into a television camera pit at Carrow Road by a nudge from Norwich's Ryan Bennett.
It could have been nasty. Wenger, though, didn't just end there.
“First of all it's dangerous to have a camera there,” he said. “He could've killed him. He didn't need to push like he did. I think the camera position was absolutely dangerous.”
Bennett, for his part, claims he didn't mean to push Sanchez and, to be fair, his initial reaction was hardly one of someone intent on injuring.
Anyway, so poor is his eyesight normally when asked about specific incidents, surely the Arsenal boss should be delighted so many cameras are in stadiums these days?
Give him his Pardew...
Thank goodness for Alan Pardew. He's always putting English football first and, in particular, the England national team.
“If you have one of the biggest jobs in the world, which the England manager is, you take it for one tournament,” said Pardew. “If you don't succeed, it's over.
'Your plan is rubbish, Alan'
“I might be misguided but if Roy Hodgson doesn't do well at the Euros, they should move him on, give it to somebody and say: 'Here's your tournament, win it'.”
Comments which of course have nothing to do with the fact Pardew would quite like to be England manager after Euro 2016.

Everton FC transfer rumours: Blues target rejects contract, Mirallas latest
6 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Kristian Walsh
The latest Everton FC transfer gossip from around the web
It's Sunday but that doesn't stop the rumours from coming in thick and fast for Everton, and we begin with a bit of Sam Byram. The Leeds United youngster was linked with a move to Goodison Park - as well as a whole host of other clubs - throughout last summer, and now the Yorkshire Evening Post suggest he could be on the move after rejecting the Championship club's contract offer. Byram’s current deal expires at the end of this season and the Whites were keen to tie the 22-year-old down for at least another year. But according to the local paper, the former England Under-21 international has turned down Leeds’ proposal, which would have seen Byram remain on his current £12,000-a-week salary.
The club are not expected to make him another offer.
The Blues and Sunderland are the two clubs most frequently linked with the right back, who would still command a compensation fee if he moves on in the summer. One out, one in? Maybe in this wacky world of transfer rumours. Kevin Mirallas has been linked in the Italian press with a £10m move to Serie A, and AC Milan. Italian website Calciomercato say the Milan side are looking at Mirallas, who has struggled for game time this season after poor form, suspension and the form of Gerard Deulofeu. And with the European Championships looming, it's reported that Mirallas is eyeing the exit. They believe Everton will demand a fee of around £10m for the 28-year-old and negotiations between the two clubs could start as early as next week.

Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu taking intensive English lessons
6 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
21-year-old Deulofeu to conduct all media interviews on English
Deulofeu: It's good to talk - in English!
Gerard Deulofeu is taking intensive English lessons as he looks to strengthen his rapport with Everton fans. The 21-year-old has been getting tutoring since last month and will conduct all media interviews in the tongue of his adopted country. Modestly, Deulofeu insists his grasp of the language remains basic but his progress is impressive. Deulofeu has been taking three hours of lessons a week alongside his girlfriend, Mari, but says he has been getting extra tuition from Evertonians on matchdays who sing about him. “It is incredible,” Deulofeu said, bashfully, when asked about ‘He’s Magic You Know’, the fans’ song for him. “It is amazing. “In the last game against Middlesbrough, to hear 5,000 Toffees sing this song, it is incredible.” He added: “I need to learn more English and I have lessons two days a week but my English is not very good. “When you ask me a question and speak slowly then I understand but if people speak to me fast then I don’t understand.” The importance of learning the language of the place where you live and work, particularly in football, has been highlighted recently with the contrasting fortunes of David Moyes and Gary Neville. Former Blues boss Moyes was sacked by Real Sociedad last month after an unsuccessful stint in charge of the La Liga outfit, and suggestions that he never tried to learn the language emerged quicklyafterwards. It's a fate Neville is determined to avoid, saying at his unveiling as temporary boss at La Mestalla last week: "I will certainly need help. "I am looking for a teacher, but I haven’t found anyone to come and give me lessons at six in the morning yet.
“Let’s be clear. I have to pick up some key phrases as early as possible, I am aware of the responsibility, what I need to do.”

Everton vs Crystal Palace: Roberto Martinez gets full benefit of Romelu Lukaku fitness
The Toffees host Palace in the final Premier League meeting of the weekend
By Tim Rich
December 6 2015 Telegraph
When Chelsea carry out the full inquest into their disintegration, it is likely some of the most damning phrases will be reserved for their transfer policy under Jose Mourinho. This is the club that imagined Kevin de Bruyne was surplus to requirements and thought his fellow Belgian Romelu Lukaku was not quite good enough for Stamford Bridge. While De Bruyne seems Jamie Vardy’s only serious rival for the title of Footballer of the Year, Lukaku goes into tonight’s meeting with Crystal Palace having scored six times in Everton’s last five matches. When his manager, Roberto Martinez, remarked that his fitness record gives Lukaku an edge over Sergio Aguero or Daniel Sturridge (another Chelsea striker who got away) it is not just managerial hyperbole. Lukaku is, at 22, younger than either, he averages a goal every other game for Everton and, unlike the other two, he stays fit. This season Lukaku, a striker Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew compares to Didier Drogba, has missed a bare 41 minutes of football.
“Any player who can stay fit gives you an incredible base to work on,” said Martinez. “Any foreign player when he arrives in the Premier League has to adapt to the physicality of the competition. For a player like him, with his frame, I don’t think he had the opportunity to play enough 90 minutes. When he was at West Brom he had an incredible scoring ratio [17 goals in 20 league appearances] but off the top of my head I think he completed a full 90 minutes seven times. “For a young player, until you get the full 90 minutes without losing the power and the pace in every action, it’s a long process. Now it is very rare you don’t see him finish the last 10 minutes with the same power, pace and control. On top of that, he can play three games a week, which is quite remarkable for a player of his size.”
One consequence of Chelsea’s downfall is that there will almost certainly be a Champions League place for someone outside English football’s big four. Everton and Palace are among the contenders.
Read more
Everton young guns leave Coleman feeling his age
Everton’s traditional weakness in the Premier League has always been the lack of a high-class centre-forward – the last Everton striker to manage more than 20 league goals was Gary Lineker in 1985-86. When the club last qualified for the Champions League a decade ago, Tim Cahill was their leading scorer with 11. But in Lukaku, Gerard Deulofeu, Ross Barkley and John Stones, Martinez has a core of young players around which to build for the long term. Next season Everton, like the rest of the Premier League, will have a greater media revenue than either Real Madrid or Barcelona. They will not have to sell. Barcelona do have a buy-back option on Deulofeu which they can exercise next summer for €9m, although it is unlikely the 21-year-old would want to swap a central role at Goodison Park for a walk-on part at the Nou Camp. Martinez said the player would have “a massive say” on whether that clause can be exercised. “It is a clause that only operates for 15 days in the summer transfer window,” said Martinez. “We could send him on holiday for those 15 days and turn off the fax machine...”

Explained: How Everton have been allowed to play Matty Foulds before he's signed
7 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Bury teenager Foulds played for Blues under-18s in mini-derby - but can't join Everton until January
Matty Foulds makes his Everton u-18s debut before even officially having signed
Everton can’t complete the signing of Matty Foulds until January - so why was he allowed to play for the under-18s on Saturday? The Blues will finalise the £225,000 transfer of the Bury teenager when the window opens on January 2. Foulds, a left-footed defender, has been training with the club ahead of the move but on Saturday morning, started in the mini-derby against Liverpool for Everton’s u-18s.
So how have the Blues been allowed to play him in a competitive game? Everton can field Foulds as a trialist in two games over the space of a one month period, before signing him. Bury need to give their go-ahead for him to play in either game but are highly unlikely to contest any request from the Blues.

Everton FC transfer rumours: Five players to boost Blues' Champions League hopes
7 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Joe Rimmer
A round-up of transfer rumours and speculation from around the web
It's getting towards the time of years when lists are being made and checked.
The time of year when big money is being spent and wishes are coming true.
The time of year when people up and down the country are getting excited.
No, not Christmas, it's the January transfer window, of course! So what more to get you in the mood than five 'bold' January transfers for Everton? Football Fancast have named five players they reckon the Blues could go for in January. First up is Real Madrid's Russian winger Denis Cheryshev. The 26-year-old has struggled to break into the team in Spain but is said to be keen on a move away to secure his European Championship hopes. Second is Jack Butland, the Stoke City goalkeeper who has been linked with a move to Merseyside in recent weeks with both Liverpool and Everton said to be interested.
Third it's our old favourite Andriy Yarmolenko, the Ukrainian winger the Toffees tried so hard to buy in the summer. Fourth we've got AC Milan midfielder Keisuke Honda. The Japanese international has been often linked with Everton as he struggles for a place in the team at the San Siro. And finally, we've got Bilbao forward Inaki Williams, who has this year emerged as an exciting starlet in Spain - where he scored the most wonderful of volleys against Espanyol earlier this year. So what do you think, Blues? Do any of these players get your pulse racing? Should the Blues push the boat out for any these players?

Why Everton love Mondays and Lukaku is best since Royle: Everton v Palace stats
7 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
Everton's unbeaten Monday night record goes back to 2008
Romelu Lukaku of Everton scores Everton's winner at West Brom ... on a Monday night
By Gavin Buckland
Everton are unbeaten on their last 16 matches on a Monday, winning eight and drawing eight, since the last defeat against Wigan in November 2008. Romelu Lukaku has 49 goals in 99 Everton appearances. Even if the Belgian fails to score tonight it will be the eighth highest tally by an Everton player in their first 100 games for the club, and the best since Joe Royle netted 51 times in his first century of games in 1966-69. Lukaku is the first Everton player to score in five successive matches for nearly 15 years. The last player to net in six consecutive games was Peter Beardsley in September 1991. Peter Beardsley Football stands with Howard Kendall after signing for Everton FC The Belgian has 26 goals for Everton 2015, a total exceeded in a calendar year for the Toffees by only Adrian Heath (28 in 1984) and Bob Latchford (29 in 1978 and 34 in 1977) since 1970. This is the 13th Premier League meeting between the two teams, with Everton winning on six occasions with five defeats. Palace have won four of the six Premier League meetings at Goodison Park, with Everton victorious twice. The visiting team has won eight of the 12 Premier League meetings between the two sides. The two teams have played 41 times in all competitions, with Everton leading 17-12 on wins. Roberto Martinez is 5-4 in front on the head-to-head record between the two managers. Alan Pardew and Roberto Martinez exit the tunnel together before the start of the match at Selhurst Park The Spaniard’s first win in seven games as a manager against Palace came at Selhurst Park in January. The last hat-trick by an Everton player against Crystal Palace was scored by Bob Latchford in September 1980. Everton have scored 10 goals in their last two home games, 6-2 v Sunderland and 4-0 v Aston Villa. The Toffees have not scored 4+ goals in three successive home games since October 1961.

Pick your team for Everton v Crystal Palace
7 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
Use our team selector widget to pick your team for tonight's match.
Robles or Howard? Who would you pick to face Palace?
Will Leighton Baines make his first start of the season against Crystal Palace tonight?
Or will Brendan Galloway continue his fine form at left-back?
Will Arouna Kone come back in after sitting out the Capital One Cup win at Middlesbrough? Or would you go for the more defensive option of Tom Cleverley? Roberto Martinez has left-flank options for the visit of Alan Pardew's side, with perhaps the only certainties that Romelu Lukaku and Gerard Deulofeu will start.
Who would you pick to face Palace?
We asked some of our top team of writers for their line ups. Compare your team to theirs. We'll publish the most popular line up in the build up to kick off tonight on our dedicated live matchblog.
Robles; Coleman, Funes Mori, Stones, Baines; Barry, McCarthy; Deulofeu, Barkley, Cleverley; Lukaku.
It really was a toss up between Howard and Robles. I don't think Howard has been as bad as universally portrayed, but the Spaniard is presumably going to start the two Capital One Cup ties against Manchester City and will only benefit from more exposure. I think now is the time to expose him more - even if that leaves the back four with a very inexperienced look. I've loved Galloway's performances, but Baines is class. Tom Cleverley made an impressive return against Middlesbrough and I would keep him in, alongside Barry and McCarthy, if fit, to negate Palace's impressively pacy counters, while Deulofeu, Barkley and Lukaku can just carry on what they've been doing all season. Tearing up defences.
Palace will come to Goodison with a real intent of hitting the Blues on the break. Their front four will be quick, tricky and look to play on the front foot - so it's something for Roberto Martinez to think about.
Leighton Baines gets a start, with the back four completed as normal.
If McCarthy passes his late test then he is crucial in midfield, but let's say he doesn't, so the legs of Tom Cleverley will be vital next to Gareth Barry in cutting off the supply to Palace's front four.
Gerard Deulofeu, Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku are no-brainers. The final 'front four' spot goes to Kevin Mirallas, who will be able to take advantage of the isolated Palace full backs - and maybe his direct style will clip the wings of the Eagles' wide men, too.
My team: Howard; Coleman, Stones, Mori, Baines; Cleverley, Barry; Mirallas, Barkley, Deulofeu, Lukaku
Everton have had over a week to lick their wounds after dropping two Premier League points at Bournemouth, but you've got to think they will have been buoyed by the win over Boro in the Capital One Cup.
It was a solid enough performance by the Blues on Teeside, but I'd expect Roberto Martinez to make changes for a dangerous Crystal Palace, who have become something of a bogey side for the Toffees.
In between the sticks, I'm with Prenno. He's gone for Joel Robles and I think it's the right choice after a solid performance in midweek. Although I highly doubt Martinez will follow suit.
At left-back Martinez has a big choice to make, stick with the impressive Brendan Galloway or bring in Leighton Baines?
The make-up of my Fantasy Football team means Brendan gets the nod, although I have the feeling I may be in the minority on this one!
Everton have been at their best with Arouna Kone in the side this term, so he comes back in for Leon Osman. James McCarthy would also start, provided he's passed fit.
My team: Robles; Coleman, Galloway, Funes Mori, Stones; Barry, McCarthy, Barkley, Kone, Deulofeu; Lukaku

How Deadly Doug Ellis was linked with Hezbollah at Goodison Park!
7 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
BBC subtitle gaffe during Everton v Aston Villa match
FORMER ASTON VILLA chairman Sir Doug Ellis - nicknamed ‘Deadly’ - has been called many things during his colourful career.
But never a Hezbollah sympathiser!
The BBC apologised to the former Villa chairman and life president after a subtitler mistakenly linked him with Hezbollah during his visit to Goodison Park recently. As if watching his beloved Villa trounced 4-0 wasn’t bad enough, later that night the BBC made its bizarre gaffe during Match of the Day.
“Great to see Doug Ellis here in his Villa scarf,” said Match of the Day commentator Steve Wilson. However, those words were somehow misinterpreted by the subtitler and the sentence, “Great to see Doug Ellis here with Hezbollah” appeared on screen. The mistake was picked up by Gary Stark of Kettering, who wrote a letter to the Radio Times to highlight the gaffe and ended it with the sentence, “Let’s hope he doesn’t sue!” “Match of the Day is a live programme and to subtitle it we used a method known as ‘live respeaking’,” read a response from a BBC spokesperson. “The voice recognition technology misrecognised the word ‘Villa’ leading to the error. We apologise for any offence caused and are working hard to make subtitles as accurate as they can be.” Hezbollah is a Shia Muslim group and political party based in Lebanon.

Everton target Ron Vlaar signs six month contract at Alkmaar
7 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
Former Aston Villa skipper agrees deal until end of the season
ONE-TIME Everton target Ron Vlaar has signed a six month contract with Alkmaar.
The former Aston Villa skipper and Dutch international told AZ TV “I am going to give everything for the club. I hope I can do my part.” Everton weighed up a deal for the free agent following injury to skipper Phil Jagielka. But the Blues chose not to pursue a move for the 30-year-old, who has recovered from a knee operation after tearing his medial meniscus. The Alkmaar contract offer is subject to a medical.

Everton team news: James McCarthy not fit to return as Blues make two changes for Crystal Palace clash
7 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Tim Howard is also back in goal for the visit of Alan Pardew's side
James McCarthy is out of Everton's clash with Crystal Palace
James McCarthy is not recovered from his hip injury so Tom Cleverley wins a Premier League start against Crystal Palace. McCarthy limped out of Everton’s 3-3 draw with Bournemouth last weekend and missed the midweek win over Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup. Cleverley, back after an ankle injury sustained in August, impressed at the Riverside and retains his place in the starting line-up as Everton look to move up to sixth with a win.
Tim Howard comes back into the 11 after Joel Robles played in goal against Boro.
Leighton Baines, a second-half substitute that night, remains on the bench with Brendan Galloway keeping his place at left-back. Romelu Lukaku starts the game to make his 100th appearance for the club. The Belgian has scored 49 goals in his 99 previous games. Arouna Kone comes back into the Everton team after being dropped to the bench for the Boro game.
Everton: Howard; Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Galloway; Cleverley, Barry; Deulofeu, Barkley, Kone; Lukaku. Substitutes: Robles, Baines, Gibson, Mirallas, Lennon, Naismith, Osman.

Everton: Wayne Rooney back at Goodison to watch game
7 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Former Blues striker takes in Crystal Palace match with eldest son Kai
Everton FC v Crystal Palace FC at Goodison Park. Manchester United player Wayne Rooney and son Kai at the game
Wayne Rooney was back at Goodison Park to watch his footballing first love Everton tackle Crystal Palace in the Premier League. England’s record goalscorer who has now netted 51 times in 109 games for his country, was in the Main Stand with eldest son Kai to watch Roberto Martinez’s side take on the Eagles. Rooney’s club Manchester United are in action in Germany on Tuesday for a crucial Champions League encounter at the Volkswagen Arena where Everton triumphed 2-0 last year but the 30-year-old club captain will miss the game with an ankle injury. Boyhood Evertonian Rooney first rose to prominence with his performances in the club’s run to the 2002 FA Youth Cup final when he famously revealed a t-shirt emblazoned with the message “Once a blue, always a blue.” However, after making his breakthrough in the first team the following season as a 16-year-old, netting his first Premier League goal with a last-gasp strike against Arsenal and starring for England at the 2004 European Championship finals, Rooney quit for Manchester United while still just 18. Rooney’s early on-field returns to Goodison were marred by ill-feeling but with the relationship between the player and his once-adoring public thawing in recent years, the striker donned the royal blue jersey again for the first time in over a decade this summer as he made a cameo substitute appearance in Duncan Ferguson’s testimonial against Villarreal

Everton 1 Crystal Palace 1: Romelu Lukaku's 50th goal for the Toffees cancels out Scott Dann's late header
December 7 2015 London Evening Standard
Crystal Palace moved up to sixth in the Premier League with a 1-1 draw against Everton at Goodison Park.
Palace were on course for another win on Merseyside when Scott Dann headed them in front with 14 minutes left but Romelu Lukaku equalised five minutes later. Both teams pushed for a winner at the end of the breathless second half but Alan Pardew will be pleased with a point. Palace are among a pack of clubs chasing European football and sit just three points behind fifth-placed Tottenham.
This was impressive away display from the Eagles, who more than matched a good Everton side.
Palace made their intentions clear from the off and Connor Wickham had the first chance of the game after just 44 seconds when his shot was saved Tim Howard. Everton went close to going in front after seven minutes when Ross Barkley’s curling effort from outside the area went just wide of the far post.
Mile Jedinak, making his first Premier League start of the season, fired over and Wickham then forced Howard into more action. This time the Everton goalkeeper kept out his point-blank header with his chest as Palace pushed for an opener. But it was Everton who came closest in the first half. Lukaku struck a left-foot shot that hit the inside of the post and rolled across the goal with Wayne Hennessey beaten. Palace felt they should have had a penalty at the start of the second half when Jedinak was bundled over by Gareth Barry from a corner. Referee Craig Pawson waved play on but replays showed Barry was pulling his shirt. Yannick Bolasie tested Howard but Everton then came inches away from going in front when Wickham flicked a Barkley free-kick onto his own crossbar. Everton sensed a breakthrough as the game passed the hour-mark and only a wonderful save from Hennessey kept the scores level. Tom Cleverley’s half-volley looked destined for the top corner before Hennessey kept him out at full stretch. Pressure was building from the home side but it was Palace who went in front on 76 minutes. Dann was left totally unmarked from a corner to head home from close range and spark jubilant scenes in the away end. Everton almost mustered an immediate response when Lukaku hit the bar with a fierce left foot shot. But Palace were only in front for five minutes. Gerard Deulofeu got to the byline and crossed for Lukaku to tap home from a yard. Both sides pushed for a winner but it ended all-square.

Scott Dann haunts Merseyside again as Crystal Palace draw with Everton
Everton 1 - 1 C Palace
Andy Hunter at Goodison Park
Monday 7 December 2015 Guardian
Everton and Liverpool overlooked Scott Dann as a youngster growing up in their midst – but no longer. The Crystal Palace defender scored once again on his Merseyside homecoming but, unlike last month’s late header at Anfield, he was denied the match-winner’s glory by a more natural predator. Romelu Lukaku gave Everton a deserved point and Chelsea another reminder of what they have lost with his 50th goal in 100 games for Roberto Martínez’s side. Lukaku struck for the 14th time this season, for the seventh time in six matches and in the fifth Premier League game in succession – the first Everton player to do so – to puncture Palace’s resistance in an absorbing game at Goodison Park. Jamie Vardy’s goal streak and place at the top of the Premier League’s scorer’s chart remain in his sights. Lukaku’s overall display gave further credence to Martínez’s claim that the 22-year-old is an established elite-level player with more to come. But this was a night when the managers shared the positives as well as the points.
Alan Pardew bemoaned the officials’ refusal to award the visitors two penalties – for a shirt-pull on Mile Jedinak by Gareth Barry and Ramiro Funes Mori’s late trip of Jordon Mutch – but a hard-earned draw and sixth place in the table provided ample compensation. His 31st away point since returning to Palace in January, a tally bettered in that period only by Arsenal’s 35, was further evidence of his team’s commitment, discipline and organisation. “I think the pull on the shirt was certainly a penalty. I went to see the linesman on my side about that one,” said the Palace manager. “The second one I think is a penalty as well. He has gone to ground, he has not won the ball and has clipped Mutch. I can’t understand how he has not seen that from 12 yards. But I’m not going to moan about the result. That was a really high quality Premier League game with tough men out there.”
Martínez was more reluctant to distribute praise, harshly describing Palace as “not good on the eye but, with their power and pace, they have the perfect combination away from home”. The sight of Everton hitting the frame of the Palace goal three times may have fuelled the manager’s resentment.
He was rightly effusive on the form of his £28m record signing, however. “Rom has been very consistent in the last 12 months, that is 27 goals in the calendar year which is quite impressive,” said Martínez. “When you look at the overall development in the last 12 months, it makes you realise what a special footballer we have here. “We are not talking about potential now. We are talking about an established goalscorer who has a big responsibility in our team and can control the moment.” Lukaku’s goalscoring record over 100 Everton games is the best since Joe Royle’s 51 in the late 1960s.
The performances of Dann and Damien Delaney against the in-form Belgian were essential to Pardew’s game-plan. All three impressed, as did both goalkeepers and the woodwork from a Palace point of view. Lukaku struck a post with Everton’s best opening of the first half after exchanging passes with Ross Barkley and beating Wayne Hennessey in the visiting goal with a low left-foot drive from the edge of the area. Wayne Rooney was in the director’s box, along with his son Kai, to watch his boyhood team while Manchester United prepare for a crucial Champions League test in Wolfsburg without their injured captain. He will have been familiar with the long wait for a breakthrough. Gerard Deulofeu took a while to find his range but was central to Everton’s improvement once he did so. The home side’s threat increased gradually, Connor Wickham diverting a Barkley free-kick against his own crossbar, yet it was Palace who made the breakthrough after catching Martínez’s side on the counter-attack. Tim Howard produced a fine stop to deny Jason Puncheon after Wickham and Yohan Cabaye combined on the break but, from Puncheon’s subsequent corner, Dann always had the run on Barry and sent a towering header beyond the American goalkeeper. “Scott is having a great season for us,” said Pardew. “I keep giving him a nod towards England. Not only does he defend well but he is a big threat from set pieces.”
Everton almost struck back immediately but, remarkably, hit the woodwork for a third time when Lukaku beat Hennessey with a dipping left-foot shot from 25 yards only for the bar to intervene. The Palace keeper had earlier made a terrific save from Tom Cleverley’s volley towards the top corner but was beaten with nine minutes remaining when Barkley released Deulofeu down the right, the Spaniard drove a cross to the back post and Lukaku, inevitably and deservedly, converted.

Everton 1-1 Crystal Palace: Romelu Lukaku's 50th Blues goal rescues a point for Roberto Martinez's side
7 Dec 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Lukaku struck with nine minutes left after Liverpool supporter Scott Dann had nodded the visitors into a shock lead
Romelu Lukaku's 50th Everton goal on his 100th appearance rescued a point for the Blues at home to Crystal Palace. The visitors hit Everton with a sucker punch 14 minutes from time when Scott Dann shrugged off Gareth Barry and powered home a header from Jason Puncheon's corner. Everton had dominated the game and hit the woodwork through Lukaku in the first-half and then from Ross Barkley's deflected free-kick, but they trailed as the game entered the final stages. But five minutes after going behind Lukaku, who smacked the bar with volley moments earlier, found his reward and Everton's equaliser. Barkley put Gerard Deulofeu into space on the right hand side and from the winger's cross - dummied by Barry - Lukaku tapped home from a yard out. The game became an end-to-end affair as Palace, shaken from their earlier slumber, looked to hit Everton on the break at all times and had appeals for a penalty waved away from Jordon Mutch fell under a challenge from Ramiro Funes Mori.
Barry had to make a last-ditch tackle to deny Bolasie while Everton pushed for a winner as well but couldn't find the breakthrough. With the last kick of the game Arouna Kone's shot was deflected just wide. Everton were made to settle for a point and moved up to ninth in the Premier League table.

Everton 1-1 Crystal Palace player ratings: Five 8s on a night of frustration
7 Dec 2015 Liverpool Eco
By Greg O’Keeffe
What mark does Romelu Lukaku get on historic night
Made three decisive saves which ensured Palace couldn't complete yet another hit-and-run on Merseyside. The maligned shot-stopper stood tall and thwarted Connor Wickham, Yannick Bolasie, and most impressively Jason Puncheon as the Eagles looked a threat on the counter attack.
Brendan Galloway 7
Didn't put a foot wrong defensively and once again showed ludicrous levels of composure for one of such tender years. Sacrificed for the sharper attacking edge of the fit-again Baines but otherwise a satisfactory night for the teenager.
Ramiro Funes Mori 6
Certainly not his finest hour in a Blue shirt thus far; looked off the pace at times and his distribution was shaky. Fortunate to avoid conceding a penalty and rightly booked afterwards.
John Stones 8
As ever, made it look so easy. Glided past white shirts like Franco Baresi in the first half as the Blues dominated; then did his bread and butter work when Palace had our backs against the wall.
Seamus Coleman 7
Dealt confidently and comfortably with the considerable threat of Bolasie down his side and judiciously supported the raids of Deulofeu when he could.
Tom Cleverley 8
What a revelatory six days it's been in the burgeoning Everton career of this guy. Built on an impressive return to the starting XI against Middlesbrough with a display of tenacity, skill and intelligence. Only denied a stunning volleyed goal by the tips of Wayne Hennessey's fingers.
Gareth Barry 7
A fraction off what we've come to expect in recent weeks in terms of the quality of his final ball in advanced areas, but performed his organisational duties with usual dependability until blotting his copy-book by ball watching when Scott Dann got above him. Recovered to have a hand in Lukaku's goal and make a crucial last-ditch tackle on Bolasie.
Arouna Kone 6
Started brightly but as the game wore on became increasingly ineffective. For the second successive league game he looked tired in the last 20 minutes. Has playing an unexpected amount of minutes started to catch up with him?
Ross Barkley 7
Did everything he could to try and make the possession advantage count without ever losing his head or wasting momentum. His growing maturity continues to shine.
Gerard Deulofeu 8
No drop in standards from the magician and another assist for Lukaku. Always had the Palace defence on edge. Appears to grow in confidence (and let's face it he hardly lacked it in the first place) with every game.
Romelu Lukaku 8
Everton FC v Crystal Palace FC at Goodison Park . Romelu Lukaku
The wood-work at both ends will need reinforcing after the pounding he administered. Desperately unlucky not to have a hat-trick after striking the post and the bar but he kept plugging away and got the 50th goal of his Toffees career that he richly deserved.
Leighton Baines 6
It will take time for him to recapture his considerable best but his introduction certainly didn't effect the momentum of a game the Blues will be disappointed not to have won for all their dominance.




























December 2015 - Week 1 (1st - 7th)

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