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Wigan 0, Everton FC 1: Obdurate Blues springing into life
Feb 1 2010 by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
IT was just like old times at the DW Stadium on Saturday. Here was Everton, proving obdurate and stubborn on a tricky afternoon on which even the officials seemed to be lining up in opposition. Here was Tim Cahill, quiet for the most part but popping up on cue in the closing moments to earn his team an unlikely victory. And here was David Moyes, revelling in another long unbeaten run while trying to play down the hopes and expectations of the jubilant travelling support. If anyone still doubts whether Everton are returning to their recognisable selves, the weekend produced compelling evidence. Their winter revival has slipped under the radar of many outside Merseyside, but it’s amazing what a forthcoming derby can do to focus the minds of the previously ambivalent. Now, after the joys of January, the Goodison outfit face a frantic February that will effectively shape the remainder of their campaign.
While admitting European football is essential to match the ambitions of both himself and his players, Moyes has been at pains to maintain a realistic approach to securing qualification this season. Everton’s disappointing, injury-hampered first half of the season has left them with plenty of ground to make up, even allowing for Saturday’s narrow win at Wigan Athletic that ensured they haven’t lost a Premier League game since entertaining Liverpool in late November. This weekend’s Anfield return will be the first real test of Moyes’s reawakening side, before Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur provide further examinations later in the month.
Everton certainly won’t be short of confidence, having now won four of their last five top-flight games, each while keeping a cherished clean sheet that proved so elusive before Christmas. And they possess a reinvigorated Cahill. After netting just twice before the New Year, the first serious doubts were being raised about the Australian’s effect in the Everton team. Three goals inside a month have quelled such concerns. Having set Moyes’s side on their way to midweek victory over Sunderland, Cahill lived up to his manager’s tag of being the ‘Johnny on the spot’ by powering home a trademark header with six minutes remaining to give Everton a hard-earned success.
And hard-earned it was. Make no mistake, this was not a vintage performance from the Goodison outfit, coughing up possession too cheaply, spluttering going forward and outplayed in central midfield where Wigan youngster James McCarthy, a summer signing from Hamilton Academical making only his third Premier League start, was hugely impressive. Indeed, Moyes was largely indebted to the shortcomings of Scotland for the three points. Jason Scotland, that is. Twice the hapless Wigan striker found himself clear on goal in the first half, only to lose his composure and fire horribly over the crossbar into an unforgiving away support. It was the kind of finishing that highlighted why Scotland has not yet scored in 20 Premier League appearances for the club, and should perhaps pursue a goal-kicking career with their rugby league bedfellows. Scotland, though, wasn’t alone, Hugo Rodallega spurning an even earlier chance by striking straight at a grateful Tim Howard and then wasting one dangerous break after the interval by seemingly attempting to send his shot out of the stadium. Wigan could easily have been out of sight by the break. But Everton dug deep, steadied the ship and finished the stronger during the decisive final quarter.
Of course, having deserved more from recent draws at Sunderland and in particular Arsenal, Everton won’t have too much sympathy for the Latics, particularly given some of the decisions that went against them.
But Moyes’s men will know an improvement is needed if forthcoming engagements are to be successfully negotiated.
With Sylvain Distin injured, Philippe Senderos came in for his debut appearance after arriving on loan from Arsenal last week, his first Premier League outing since lining up for the Gunners at Sunderland in May 2008.
Senderos had played only two Carling Cup games this season before moving to Goodison, and ring-rustiness was understandably apparent at times during the first half before warming to his task after the interval. The Switzerland international was ably assisted by centre-back partner John Heitinga, who is assuming the leadership qualities that have at times been lacking from the heart of Everton’s defence this season. Heitinga was the best on show here, although hearts were in mouths shortly after the interval when the Dutchman sent Charles N’Zogbia sprawling to concede a free-kick on the edge of the area with Wigan screaming for a penalty. The officials got it right then, but quite what referee Lee Probert and his assistants were thinking at other times is anybody’s guess. Everton had strong claims for a penalty of their own on the half-hour when Wigan defender Gary Caldwell seemed to bring down Louis Saha, but their main gripe came on 74 minutes when, after Cahill’s shot was only partially saved by comedy goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic, the Australian retrieved possession and passed the ball back for Marouane Fellaini to tap home into the unguarded goal. Everton’s celebrations were cut short, however, by the assistant referee flagging for what television replays confirmed was a mystery offside. As wrong decisions go, it was one even John Terry might think twice about before making. Stojkovic was an accident waiting to happen from the moment he made a hugely unconvincing save to keep out Leon Osman’s mishit effort in the third minute.
But a Saha header and a Leighton Baines free-kick apart, the visitors struggled to put the Wigan goalkeeper under any concerted pressure until Cahill’s run allowed him to lose the attentions of Maynor Figueroa and head home a Baines corner from the left with six minutes remaining. There was still enough time for N’Zogbia to rattle Howard’s crossbar from 20 yards, a reminder, if one were needed, that Everton hadn’t had it all their own way on the afternoon. But then few find as much triumph in the face of adversity as Moyes and his players.

Wayne Rooney and Everton FC - letters special
February 4, 2010. Liverpool Echo
AGREE with Paddy Shennan, it is time to bury the hatchet with Wayne Rooney.
I have a dream Rooney will sign a new agreement with Manchester United for a further three years and make so much money he won't need anymore.
Then he will walk away a free agent and return to the place he belongs for a mere £40, 000 per week.
Anthony Tully, L18
Time is great healer
TO be honest reading your piece in the ECHO (Yes, we can be friends again, February 2), I feel exactly the same. I’ve had a season ticket for 13 years and have supported Everton since I can remember. Time is a great healer and although I hated him when he left, I watch him now in awe. What a player. We knew he would turn out like this but to see it, albeit for a different team, is fantastic. I watch with a heavy heart but proud of the player he has become. I am jealous of the Manchester United supporters when he scores and plays as he does. He is the ultimate all round player, he gives his 110% in every game, covers every blade of grass and has the heart of a lion. His passion is obvious for all to see, his touch, his passing, tackling, shooting, scoring... I truly believe he is one of the best players in the world. And he is only 24. He still has time to improve... frightening. When United play at Goodison I will join in with the abuse and barracking and hope that he gets wound up enough to be sent off or lose his cool as his passion bubbles over. But on the inside I just wish he was still playing for us. No one player is bigger than a club... we are bigger than Wayne Rooney. And I would rather have David Moyes over Wayne Rooney. The banner for Figo is perfect...We hate you so much because we loved you so much.
Jo Jones, via email
Go easy on Rooney
WITH regard to the article in Tuesday’s ECHO by Paddy Shennan.
He argued a case for excusing Rooney for his apparent disloyalty in abandoning Everton to pursue a career where he stood a better chance of wealth and medals – a choice, incidentally, which now seems fully justified. The problem is that most supporters are schizophrenic in demanding loyalty from their players, while at the same time demanding a huge budget to buy top players from other clubs, and Evertonians are no exception. The days are long gone when we expected to do well with home grown players, and we are also well past the time when we could refer to football as a sport. Professional soccer is primarily a business, with business knowledge and clout the deciding factors. I would challenge even the truest blues to look into their hearts and imagine they had to make the same career choice for their own son. We found Wayne, we nurtured him, and sold him for a great deal of much-needed money. We should be content with that. So please, go easy on the barracking when he walks out at Goodison – he is still a son of Merseyside of whom we can all be proud. And remember, as Shennan points out, Rooney himself says: 'Everton is still a big part of my life and my family's life’.
Chris White, Kirkby
City should be proud
I WOULD just like to say a few words in reply to the article about Wayne Rooney.
I’m a big Evertonian myself, just like Wayne Rooney and his family, and I think the abuse he gets from a large section of Evertonians is way over the top. What a fantastic footballer Wayne is, a great header of the ball, great with both feet, scores loads of goals, brilliant balance, and England’s number 9. In my opinion he is the greatest talent this city has ever produced. And where was he nurtured? Yes, Goodison Park.
Not one of Fergie’s fledglings but one of Moysie’s and his backroom staff.
Someone with Wayne’s talent was never going to stay at Everton because we had no financial backing, and still don’t. This city should be proud of the footballers it’s produced and stop giving them stick.
John Cox, via email
Betrayal of history
WHEN Rooney left I was angry at first. Angry over the fact that a club with the history and tradition of Everton found themselves in that position.
When he scored those goals in the Euro championship I realised we would not be able to hold onto him and yes, he would not have won what he has with Everton.
But deep down he will always be an Evertonian , it never leaves you. Once a Blue always a Blue. There is another saying I remember from the 60s; Evertonians are born, Liverpudlians are created.
Mary McCabe, via email
I can’t forgive Wayne
OH PADDY, Paddy, Paddy what made you write this article on Rooney being forgiven? I've supported Everton for 40 years and have never felt so let down as when Rooney left. He could have stayed another two or three years to see if Everton improved. We actually did improve the following season and qualified for the Champions League. We could have done with him in Villareal and he may have been able to help the squad to push Everton into a Champions League place every season whereby the money collected would have only improved us again.
But he chose to leave the club which had nurtured him at 17 and chase medals and megabucks. He could have still done that at 20 or 22 if Everton hadn't lived up to his expectations. However he betrayed us and having moved to Man Utd kissed the badge and rubbed our noses in it. If this article and the recent Everton TV interviews are supposed to soften us up for a return in the future then he can forget it. I, for one, will never accept Rooney back and if I see him at Wembley I'll tell him so.
Gary O'Neill, Greasby
Don’t attack Moyes
NO, NO, NO, how many times do you want to hear it, he will never be forgiven, not for being a good footballer. We all knew that when we watched him play.
Let’s put it into perspective. If it was my lad or yours and someone offered to double his wages to come and work, or play for them you would say "get in there" and quite right. However, as young as he was it does not give him the right to put the boot in to people who nurtured and protected him (David Moyes) and sang his praise into the England team. He was adored by every Blue nose on the planet. They made songs and chants about the boy as though it was the second coming, and looking for three wise men arriving from the east – yes it was that good. The one slogan said it all, "ONCE A BLUE ALWAYS A BLUE". But within days of him signing for United he stated in the press he always wanted to play for Man Utd which does not say much for the slogan above. I have been a Blue for 55 years and will be Blue till I die and nothing would persuade me to slag off David Moyes who has done so much for this club.
So ask again and again, the answer is still no never forgive him.
G. Warriner, Kirkby

Wayne Rooney - is it time for Everton FC fans forgive him?
February 4, 20101, By Paddy Shennan, Liverpool Echo
COULD some Evertonians be learning to love Wayne Rooney again – or, at least, be learning to like or begrudgingly respect him? And could Liverpudlians ever . . . no, scrub that. Whisper it quietly, but some Blues – including yours truly – are beginning to look at the new, improved Wayne Rooney in a new light and entertaining some previously impossible thoughts: Yes, he did wear that home-made “Once a Blue, Always a Blue” T-shirt before going on to stab us in the back (and front) – but come on, he was only a kid at the time. Yes, he moved to the dark side (it could have been worse, it could have been Anfield) – but would this intensely-ambitious, motivated-by-medals talent have won three League titles and a Champions’ League trophy at cash-strapped Everton by the time he was 24? Yes, he turned his back on us and we still wish he hadn’t – but what a player he is and what a season he’s having.
Yes, you may have no interest in the national team, but who deserves to be England’s captain more – John “Sleazebag” Terry or Wayne “Roy of the Rovers” Rooney? (yes, the latter has also been on the front pages for all the wrong reasons, but he was much younger then and at least he saw the error of his ways). It’s been a rollercoaster of a relationship – and it’s still unclear how it will pan out. But here’s the love/hate/what next? story so far.The ECHO celebrated the arrival of Everton’s Great Blue Hope with a three-part series at the start of the 2002/2003 season, before the then 16-year-old had even kicked a ball in the Premiership – but his name would soon be on everyone’s lips. I was proud to shake the young Rooney’s hand in the living room of his family’s former Croxteth council house as I interviewed his mum and dad (we had asked manager David Moyes if we could speak to Wayne – “Yes . . . when he’s 37,” came the reply). And, like thousands of other Blues, I was on cloud nine – somewhere above the Main Stand at Goodison Park – when he scored his first Premier League goal against Arsenal (and I was relieved when, two days later, amid frenzied speculation linking her son with an immediate move away from Goodison Park, his mum, Jeanette, told me: “He’s going nowhere.”) The following March, I felt privileged to be among hundreds of happy Evertonians as Rooney was named Young Blue Nose of the Year at the annual Gwladys Street Hall of Fame dinner at the Adelphi Hotel (the award was picked up by his mother to a chorus of “Rooney’s Mum, Rooney’s Mum, Rooney’s Mum”). And then he went from hero to zero. He kicked us where it hurt, stabbed us and then twisted the knife – by looking so pleased with his new life and new love. Having made so many Evertonians feel so alive, it was as if Wayne Mark Rooney was now suddenly dead to them. To others, though, he WAS very much alive – and someone to be targeted at every opportunity. And this feeling of antipathy seemed mutual – Blues abused him (you had to admire the simplicity of the brutally dismissive “Fat little ****head, you’re just a fat little ****head” chant) and he responded by kissing his Utd shirt or, if his beloved new team was winning, reminding us of the score. It was open season and both Rooney and his critics were having a field day- it was like a mutual non-appreciation society.
I was more than happy to join in. Asked to suggest to ECHO readers possible alternative uses for a new toy – the Wayne Rooney doll – I wrote: “Get the thing down on the deck . . . and kick hell out of the little b*****d. You see if you don’t feel better.” But in our more considered moments, some of us would reflect on how depressing it had all become, and we were reminded of the forlorn Barcelona fans’ banner directed at Luis Figo, after he left for Real Madrid: “We hate you so because we loved you so.” Could we ever feel positive about Rooney again? After last season’s FA Cup Final, I wrote: “It was heartwarming to see Evertonians embracing ex-players from across the eras at Wembley . . . but a sobering case of what might have been when Wayne Rooney hurried into the stadium. “Those who arrived on the Everton Former Players’ Foundation coach were again reminded that the passing of time does not diminish the affection in which they are held by fellow members of the People’s Club. “But the contrasting reaction of some fans to Rooney brought to mind that graffiti on a wall by Goodison Park after he left for Man Utd: ‘Could have been a god, but chose to be a (red) devil.’” And yet, looking back, the reaction was nowhere near as hostile as it perhaps would have been just a year or two earlier. There were plenty of Blues around, but just a few muffled insults, including: “‘Once a Blue always a Blue my a**e!’” Man Utd head to Goodison Park on February 20 and only a fool would claim the player will escape his usual barracking, while he may even give as good – or as bad – as he gets. And yet . . . could things be changing on both sides of what has been a great divide? There are certainly signs that Rooney has grown up recently at a rapid rate – and there are also signs that, in response to this, some of his previously harshest critics are beginning to change their views. I’m one of them.
I concluded that post-Cup Final column by saying: “Maybe he still sees himself as an Evertonian, but that doesn’t mean he’s ever going to be revered again . . . Time isn’t THAT great a healer, is it?” Revered? No, that may never happen. But, little by little, he is earning respect – and it could get even better for him. A few things happened at the weekend which have caused some Evertonians to consider this married, 24-year-old, father-of-one’s new-found maturity. In an interview, he again affectionately name checked his old Everton hero Duncan Ferguson – and said: “The club (Everton) is still a big part of my life and my family’s life . . .” Meanwhile, regarding his former manager, David Moyes, he said: “Things haven’t been good between us. I’ve said a few bad things in the past about him, but when I look back, I see what he did for me. He helped make me the player I am today.” I still think Rooney could and should go further – perhaps apologising to Blues for the manner of his departure – but I also think I’m among many people who are beginning to change the way they look at this hero turned villain. I have little interest in the national team but, with no apologies to John Terry, if England win the World Cup this summer, Wayne Rooney could and should be the player who goes up to lift it first. There, I’ve said it.

The Jury: Everton FC fans give their verdict on the Mersey derby clash against Liverpool
February 4, 2010. Liverpool Echo
THE banter is flying around the offices, the Red half of the city are getting nervous – there must be a Merseyside derby coming! The Blues must come out on the attack and they can certainly win the derby on Saturday. It is a test for us, but one which we can certainly overcome to continue our run for a European place again this season. We have to compete in midfield and a few early tackles flying in will set the tempo.
Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini are the key men; if they can control the midfield then the Blues have a great chance. Tim Cahill is also a danger man; he is back to his best now and managing to chip in with some goals too. He loves scoring in the derby too and can be the match-winner. Let’s hope the Blue half of the city are smiling on Saturday night; let’s get stuck in and win, boys!
COLE FRASER, Litherland
IT’S a bonus to be heading into the derby having finally left our poor early-season form behind us; though I'm sure those loveable neighbours of ours will argue that they've done the same. (We know they haven't really!). I'd like to see David Moyes keeping faith in the same XI that won at Wigan, although I'd be happy to see either Distin, if available, or Senderos partner Heitinga at the back. Moyes has to resist the temptation to rush Arteta back into the fold. Everybody wants their best players to play in the big games but Mikel isn't ready to be thrown into the heart of the action just yet. We're playing with a winning formula at the moment and I don't think Liverpool offer enough threat to give us any reason to try to change anything around. Having a winning mentality could be the key to us reclaiming the bragging rights.
THE gritty win over Wigan confirmed that the Everton of last season are definitely back and it is noticeable that our upturn in recent weeks has come at the same time as Tim Cahill’s form has improved. He is a True Blue who never gives less than 100% and I despair at the sound of so-called ‘fans’ giving him stick recently.
Turning to the derby game, I think our biggest selection problem is in attack.
Saha looks like he wants to be elsewhere but his sheer ability to turn a game in a second must mean that he starts, preferably with Cahill playing behind him in that roaming role he is so effective in. Arteta will hopefully feature from the bench but the key to the game for me will be the impact of Fellaini. If he can hit the heights of recent weeks and keep his composure then we have a good chance of redressing the robbery at Goodison earlier in the season and helping other teams get that coveted fourth spot!
I HATE derby week.
Far too much pressure and far too much at stake to enjoy anything about the build-up to Saturday’s game! It is far too long since we won at Anfield, but despite the fact Liverpool’s results have improved lately, so have ours. We may not have played well in the last two games, but we did win them and kept two clean sheets to keep our momentum going. The two performances against Arsenal and City have inspired confidence though as they were both games where we have lifted our performances for matches against stronger opposition, something we will need to do again on Saturday. Last season’s league meeting was the first time in years I have seen Everton go away to Liverpool and approach the game like we were better than them.
This must be the approach again on Saturday.

Forget Manchester and Glasgow, Merseyside is the biggest derby in Britain - Mickey Thomas
February 4, 2010. By David Randles, Liverpool Echo
MANCHESTER was the place to be last week. Or so we were told.
It may have escaped the notice of those beyond Merseyside that another match took place on the night United and City locked horns for the second leg of the Carling Cup semi-final. While Everton were beating Sunderland 2-0 at Goodison Park, most eyes were fixed 35 miles east on what one excitable commentator described as ‘the biggest derby in the country.’ Gary Neville and Carlos Tevez’s public tiff provided the fuel that fed the frenzy. The rest was left to the usual suspects who drooled over, what in fairness, wasn’t a bad game of football. But the biggest derby in the country all of a sudden? ‘There’s nothing like it in London and there’s certainly nothing like it in Liverpool anymore,’ enthused the ‘expert.’ If we ignore United’s £700 million-plus debt, Manchester may now lay claim to two of the richest clubs in the world.
But, according to a man who knows a thing or two about derby games at both ends of the East Lancs Road, that doesn’t necessarily equate to claiming the kind of bragging rights suddenly being bandied about. As a boyhood Everton fan who grew up to play for the club – albeit briefly – Mickey Thomas enjoyed the best days of a long and colourful career at Old Trafford. You might expect him to jump on the cream of Manchester bandwagon therefore, but the outspoken radio pundit is having none of it.
“So just because City have got a few bob they’re suddenly up there at the top?’” queries Thomas. “United have bigger games against Liverpool and Everton. They certainly provide a better, more hostile atmosphere than City. “I’m sorry to say it but City simply aren't in the same league as Everton or Liverpool in that respect.
“United’s games against Liverpool and Everton are a different proposition. They present hostile situations that are different to the Manchester derby. “But the Merseyside derby is renowned for its awesome atmosphere. “I don’t care what people say about the Old Firm derby. They’ve lost a lot of what made that special. As for London derbies, they don’t compare. “For me, the Merseyside derby has got to be right up there at the top.” In other words it takes more than big bucks to make a big club. With cash scarce on both sides of Stanley Park, that’s just as well.
Supporters at another of his former clubs, Chelsea, will disagree but, for Thomas, it’s tradition and, crucially, success that make derby games special. “Because a club acquires vast amounts of money they suddenly believe they have the right to go out and behave like a Man United, Everton or Liverpool? Clubs with real history.
“You’re not just entitled to that. You have to earn it. “You don’t just get that in one or two years. You get it because of your history. Liverpool, Everton and Man United are in the same sort of league in terms of that history. “You can’t buy heritage and history. I’ve got little respect for that approach. “Go back through Liverpool’s history to Bill Shankly. It’s phenomenal. “You get that from being successful and winning trophies over time. That goes right back through your Shankly’s, Fagan’s and Paisley’s.”
Everton versus Liverpool may be the biggest derby in the country for Thomas but it doesn’t necessarily equate to the biggest game. Blues may want to look away now.
“It’s got to be Liverpool-Man United for me,” he admits. “You can forget about Chelsea and Arsenal too. “Both clubs have a massive history of being successful.
“Liverpool and United are both on that level. “Having something to go back and look at gives you that credibility. It’s all there to be seen.” Thomas played in Manchester, Midlands and London derbies but never a Merseyside derby. After Howard Kendall took him from Old Trafford to Goodison Park in 1981, the Wales international’s Blues career was cut short when he refused to turn out for the reserves after just 11 first team appearances. “That was a massive regret for me,” reveals Thomas.
“I was about seven days away from playing against Liverpool for Everton.
“But I took the wrong road and received the ultimate punishment when I refused to turn up for that reserve game. “That was pretty much my time up at Everton before it had really begun. “Because of that I never had the pleasure of getting involved in a Merseyside derby. “So, yes, it was one of my biggest regrets. I would have loved to have played for Everton against Liverpool. Even now when I speak to Sharpey (Graeme) and he tells me just how fired up everyone used to get for the derby, I know I’ve missed something special.” Work commitments will find Thomas at United’s game against Portsmouth on Saturday. But that won’t stop him keeping abreast of events at Anfield. “I grew up supporting Everton,” he says. “They were my team and I’ve still got a lot of time for them. I always look out for them. “What David Moyes has done there is incredible. “They were unlucky not to win the last derby in November but will feel they can get a result at Anfield. “Merseyside derbies are often very tight and both managers have a reputation for organising their teams well.
“I can’t see a lot of goals in the game. It’s a hard one to call and could even be a goalless draw. “But I don’t see Everton losing if they play the way they have been recently. “Liverpool need to win though. They’ve had their problems this season so maybe a derby win can see things pick up for them.”

Marouane Fellaini: Liverpool beware, I'm in the best form of my career - Everton FC latest
February 4, 2010. Liverpool Echo
MAROUANE FELLAINI has warned Liverpool he is in the best form of his career ahead of his Anfield derby debut. Fellaini has played an integral part of Everton’s charge up the Premier League table with David Moyes’s side having constructed a nine-game unbeaten run in the top flight. The Goodison outfit can move to within six points of their neighbours with a game in hand should they prevail in the 213th Merseyside derby this weekend. Fellaini will be making his first trip across Stanley Park as an Everton player having missed both the Premier League and FA Cup derbies at Anfield last season through suspension. His recent performances have drawn praise from Goodison manager Moyes, who labelled the Belgian as "the best midfielder in the country" on current showings. And Fellaini said: "Things are going well, and if pushed I would probably say it is the best form of my career. But the main thing is that the team is playing well at the moment not just me, so that’s good. "You come here for the big games like this. It’s a derby, it’s a great game, there’s a lot of spark and crackle about the occasion and tension going into it. You can feel the build up, it’s great. "We are going in to it positively but I think the main thing we’ve got to do is concentrate on putting in a great performance. We’ve got to make sure we turn up and put on a good show. If we give a good account of ourselves then who knows?
"It would be great for our confidence for the rest of the season if we get a result."
Fellaini’s consistently impressive performances have reportedly attracted the interest of a number of clubs. Chelsea have been linked with a summer move for the Belgium international, but Fellaini insists his focus is on ensuring a successful end to the season. "I’m really happy at Everton," said the midfielder. "I have three years left on my contract and everything is going really well. "I’m just focused on doing my best for the club. Doing my job here and doing what I’m being paid to do. Whatever happens in the future? Well, all I’m concentrating on is the present and Everton.
"We made things really difficult for ourselves at the start of the season and now we’re out of both cup competitions, but we’re still in Europe. "So the aim now is to get as far as we can and win as many games as we can between now and the end of the year." Meanwhile, on-loan duo Philippe Senderos and Landon Donovan have been included in Everton’s squad for the remainder of the Europa League adventure.
But John Heitinga is not eligible to play because former club Atletico Madrid are now in the competition after dropping out of the Champions League. Everton could face the Spaniards in the next round should both sides progress.

Swiss manager Ottmar Hitzfeld: Philippe Senderos' Everton career will be a success - Everton FC latest
February 4, 2010. Liverpool Echo
PHILIPPE SENDEROS has been backed to be a success at Everton by the man who will decide the defender’s World Cup fate this summer. Senderos moved to Goodison last week from Arsenal on a loan deal for the remainder of the season, making his debut in the 1-0 win at Wigan Athletic on Saturday. The centre-back was keen to leave the Emirates in search of the regular first-team football he required to feature for Switzerland in the forthcoming World Cup finals. And the 24-year-old’s switch has delighted his national team coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, who had warned Senderos that any further time in the cold at Arsenal would threaten to scupper his hopes of appearing in South Africa. The defender had played only twice for Arsene Wenger’s side this campaign but is now in line for an outing in Saturday’s Merseyside derby against Liverpool at Anfield. And Hitzfeld said: "I usually do not cap players that do not play very regularly at their clubs. But with Philippe I have created some sort of exception – due to some exceptional facts – and he never disappointed when he was on the pitch.
"Of course, I was pleased when he moved to Everton. "Philippe could have gone to Glasgow (Celtic) as well, it might even have been easier for him to install himself as a defender, but the fact that he has chosen a team which has got some very good defenders already shows me his sheer will to make up for anything he has been missing. "He wants be in good shape when it comes to the FIFA World Cup 2010 in June." Switzerland will face Spain, Honduras and Chile during the group stage in the finals, and Hitzfeld acknowledges his team will be better off with the inclusion of a fit and sharp Senderos. "What are his strengths? First of all his personality," said the Switzerland coach. "He is a true leader of any team. He is the one who opens his mouth not only during games, but also in training sessions. "He simply is unable to accept defeats, he cannot lose. He’s very strong in the air, and he knows how to read the game. "He is a great character both on the pitch and outside. He is not a person, he is personality."

Robert Elstone hopes economic upturn will help new Everton stadium chances
February 4, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON chief executive Robert Elstone is hoping the economic upturn will boost the club’s chance of building a new council-assisted stadium in Liverpool.
The Blues have previously insisted that the only affordable option for their new ground was the ill-fated Kirkby Project. But since a Government inquiry ruled against the Kirkby plan, the club have entered into further talks with Liverpool council including a positive meeting last month. Council bosses offered the same potential stadium locations which the club have previously ruled out, including sites in Scotland Road, Speke and Aintree, but without the support of a developer like Tesco none were considered financially viable. But Elstone now hopes the national recovery from recession could make it easier for a scheme to secure financial support from elsewhere. He said: “To date, several sites have been identified. All are familiar to us and all had been assessed previously, but this doesn't mean we'll come to the same conclusions as circumstances change. “The economy, in all respects, changes from day to day and we have to refresh our conclusions and look for new opportunities. I hope we are able to report progress in the near future. “There are many examples of council-led or partnered stadium developments in football over the course of the past decade and we hope, between us, we can create a scheme which, in the first instances passes our basic test of ‘affordability' and, ultimately, becomes a reality.” Mr Elstone added that the club have continued to re-assess the complicated option of remaining at Goodison Park. He said: “In addition to these meetings, we've met with developers and land-owners and we've also commissioned a fresh look at Goodison Park with a highly-recommended architect who had no involvement in Kirkby or our previous reviews of Goodison. “He's currently looking at previous plans alongside developing his own ideas. Of course, the well-reported challenges remain; roads, shops, houses, a school, a church, a pub, a garage most of which will need to be addressed in one way or another for us to go forward in a way that makes commercial sense. “The challenges of working with a stadium footprint housing 50% more fans than The Reebok in pretty much the same space remain.” Meanwhile, midfielder Marouane Fellaini has declared he is in the best form of his career ahead of Saturday’s Anfield derby. He said: “Things are going well, and if pushed I would probably say it is the best form of my career. “But the main thing is that the team is playing well at the moment not just me, so that's good. “You come here for the big games like this. It's a derby, it's a great game, there's a lot of spark and crackle about the occasion and tension going into it. You can feel the build up, it's great.” Everton target Andras Gosztonyi, who had a trial with the Blues last month, has joined Serie A side Bari on loan until the summer.

Everton into the last eight of the FA Youth Cup with 3-0 victory at Preston North End
February 5, 2010. Liverpool Echo
GOALS from Shkodran Mustafi, Shane Duffy and Ross Barkley put Everton through to the quarter-finals of the FA Youth for the first time in eight years as they beat Preston 3-0 at Deepdale. Neil Dewsnip’s youngsters won away for the third round in a row in the Youth Cup and stretched their unbeaten run to eight matches in all competitions. They will again be on the road with a last-eight clash at Ewood Park with Blackburn Rovers, whom they face tomorrow in the FA Premier Academy League. Everton were in impressive form and with Dominic Comrie going close early on from a his free-kick. Preston, though, hit back and Everton were glad that Neil Dougan’s effort was ruled out for offside, while the Preston forward headed against the woodwork. Everton skipper Jose Baxter fired over. But the visitors took the lead on the half-hour mark, when Adam Forshaw’s free-kick was headed towards goal by Duffy to and German centre-back Shkodran Mustafi fired home. On 37 minutes Baxter had a free-kick tipped over by Comrie, while at the other end Everton keeper Adam Davies saved from Proctor. In the second half Everton pressed to seal the tie and with 20 minutes left they grabbed a second from the penalty spot. Hallum Hope got in on the end of a James Wallace through-ball, but was brought down. Duffy fired home the spot kick. Six minutes later Craig's corner deflected off Wallace and fell perfectly for midfielder Barkley to slam home into the top corner.
Sam Hart hit Everton’s bar with a free-kick with seven minutes left, but Everton held on for victory. Hopes of a first Youth Cup final since 2002 grow, but Academy League Group C leaders Blackburn now stand in the way of a semi-final spot.
EVERTON YOUTH: Davies, Nsiala, Bidwell, Mustafi, Duffy, Barkley, Forshaw, Wallace, Hope, Baxter (Orenuga 83), Craig.

Liverpool FC Superstore beats Everton Two in pre-derby showdown at Liverpool One
February 5, 2010, By Amy Salter, Liverpool Echo
THE Liverpool One football stores held a pre-derby derby – but blues supporters will be praying the result was not a premonition for Saturday. Staff from the Liverpool FC Superstore and the Everton Two shop battled it out in a round of table football, with the toffees taking a 5-0 hammering. Lisa Parsonage, supervisor at Liverpool FC superstore, said: “It was brilliant fun. A small crowd gathered to watch us and I’m sure there were more reds than blues, because we could hear them shouting for us.”
Neil Greig, manager at Liverpool FC Superstore, added: “It was a fantastic result and I’m sure the boys will match our result and win 5-0 on Saturday.”
Defeated Everton Two store manager, Simon Gibson, said: “I’ll give them that result as they will be the ones suffering after the match this weekend.”

DAVID PRENTICE: Time for Leighton Baines to cross the England bridge, plus watch Alan Ball beating Man Utd
February 5, 2010. By David Prentice
THERE’S a simple answer to the problem of John Terry’s unrestrained libido – take Leighton Baines to South Africa instead of Wayne Bridge. He’s a better player, he’s in better form and – unless this weekend’s ‘revelations’ tell us differently – he’s never shared a shandy with John Terry in the Goodison players’ lounge. Of course that doesn’t solve the captaincy issue – which for me is a more complex problem altogether. All the columnists, the phone ins and the message board posters have so far focused on the morality of John Terry’s behaviour. Which misses the point.
It’s not a question of morality – because the majority of modern footballers don’t possess any. I’ve been in the company of footballers discussing a team-mate’s infidelities – and the security of their personal situation – some might say arrogance – shone through like a beacon. There was sympathy for the player’s ‘plight’ (like Terry, he’d been caught; unlike Terry, the story never made the newspapers) followed by the conclusion “She’ll stick with him, of course. They always do. They don’t want to lose the lifestyle.” No, it’s not a question of morality, it’s a question of trust.
Would you trust a man to lead you into battle, when he clearly can’t be trusted with his mate’s missus? That’s the dilemma Fabio Capello must try and fathom in today’s meeting with his captain. Can Terry still command the respect of his team-mates?
Can he rely on his skipper’s indiscretions not to become an issue some time next summer? It’s a tough call, and perhaps one not to be made until after England’s friendly international with Egypt next month? After that gathering, the squad dynamics, the attitude towards the skipper and the respect or otherwise for John Terry will become clearer. Top level football is a ruthless business, and I suspect the man whose footballing ambitions will suffer most in this whole tawdry saga is not John Terry’s, but Wayne Bridge’s. But for every door that closes, another swings wide open – which is where we came in. Let’s start the Baines for England bandwagon right now!
Who was the greatest of them all? See little curly Alan Ball destroy Manchester United FOR those of you who like these sort of things (hands up) this is an absolute gem. It’s a video which shows Ball, Harvey and Kendall eclipsing Charlton, Best and Law. It’s a black and white reminiscence of the Golden Vision finding more gaps in the Manchester United defence than Nobby Stiles had in his gums – and it comes complete with vintage commentary from the legend that is Kenneth Wolstenholme: “Those Everton fans are as happy as sandboys!” It’s the full, unedited Match of the Day

HOWARD KENDALL: Everton FC have their best chance in years of beating Liverpool FC at Anfield
February 5, 2010. Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have got the best chance they’ve had in a long time of getting a result at Anfield tomorrow. Their form has been good but make no mistake they will have to reach the same levels as in the games against Arsenal and Manchester City if they want to end their poor record on the other side of Stanley Park. It’s no use looking to Liverpool’s poor form as an indicator of how the game will go. Saturday will be totally different. A lot will depend on how Everton’s new boys react to the atmosphere and the challenge. At least Landon Donovan and Philippe Senderos have got good experience of playing in big games for the USA and Arsenal. That will be a big help in terms of adapting to the pace of the game on Saturday. It is not like they are a pair of youngsters coming into the fixture when it’s possible to be overwhelmed by the occasion. But for the entire Everton squad, these are the games you really want to be involved in. What’s more, the fear factor of going to Anfield has been eroded a bit for away teams over the last few seasons. Give them credit over the years, they have created a fortress, but that’s not the same now. It’s the same way that the unity of Merseyside derbies has changed. I think it’s very important to get away from the nastiness when it comes to chanting between both sets of fans. The city’s reputation was boosted by the notion of the friendly derby during the 80s – I recall red and blue scarves hanging from windows of vans and cars going to Wembley. I wonder if it will ever be the same? No news is good news on transfer deadline day
IT WAS a quiet transfer window for Everton and most other clubs with very little in the way of big signings. But I don’t think David Moyes really had any need to do much business other than the loan deals of Philippe Senderos and Landon Donovan which were done with the minimum of fuss. David knows that the players he has coming back from injury like Mikel Arteta and Phil Jagielka are better than any last minute loans he could have made. Some supporters forget that loans still cost a club money. As well as paying the player’s wages, the club often have to pay an initial fee to the player’s club – particularly when they are abroad. Sam Allardyce was adept at working the loan market when he was the Bolton manager. He knew how to make a little go a long way in terms of his budget and had to be creative. It’s the same way David Moyes has had to operate. But it really does look as if the days of big money transfers are coming to and end, and that can only be a good thing. We may even get a level playing field.
Strange man-of-the-match choice to give David Bentley award over hat-trick hero Jermain Defoe
l SEEING David Bentley get the man of the match award against Leeds on Wednesday made me wonder what Jermain Defoe felt after scoring a hat-trick.
It must be the same surprise Geoff Hurst felt after the 1966 World Cup final when he also scored three, and Alan Ball got the award. Or the 1953 so-called Stanley Matthews Cup final when poor Stan Mortensen was so overshadowed despite his hat-trick. What do the readers think? Did Bentley deserve his award?

Playing for Everton FC against Liverpool FC is one to tell the grandkids says Landon Donovan
February 5, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
LANDON DONOVAN is so excited at the prospect of playing in a Merseyside derby, he imagines proudly telling his future grandchildren about the experience.
The 27-year-old Californian is not only a professional footballer, he is also a fan, and has watched derby matches on satellite TV back home. Now the Toffees’ loan signing is preparing to pull on a blue shirt and run onto the Anfield pitch tomorrow, but although he is thrilled at the prospect - it will not be his first time on the other side of Stanley Park. “I have actually played at Anfield before for Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League,” he says. “That gives me a bit of an advantage. But saying that, this is one of the biggest and most famous derbies in the world so to have the chance to look back at the end of my career and say I played in it is really great.”
Donovan is steadily building on an impressive start to his three and a half month Everton career, and has already spoken of Goodison Park already feeling like home.
Now the USA’s all-time leading goal scorer has Rafa Benitez’s men firmly in his sights, and his team-mates have explained the intensity which lies in store.
He said: “It’s pretty clear in this city that you’re either on one side or another. There’s no middle ground – and a lot of the guys here have explained what it’s going to be like. “I don’t want to walk in and be awed by the singing and noise. I want to have visualised it already, and then I can just get on the field and play. That’s what I’m good at. I spoke to Tim (Howard) a lot about it to try and understand as much as possible what it’s about so I could be prepared as possible. “There are a few lads here who have grown up Everton fans, so they’ve told me about it too.” Donovan is not a complete stranger to derby rivalry, having played for the USA against Mexico and for LA Galaxy against arch rivals Club Deportivo Chivas USA. “The most comparable would be the US-Mexico match, but the difference is that their rivalry has only been real for 10 or 12 years, and this has gone on for more than a 100 years,” he says. “I’ve watched some of the Mersey derbies on ESPN, and although we don’t get it to the same extent in the US we can understand what a derby means. “With the Mersey derby there are people in the stands who have been to 100 of these. It’s huge. But at the same time I’ve got to remind myself it’s another game in a season. The importance is to try to get a result, and we’re in a good way now and want to keep it going.”
While Saturday’s result will allow half of the city to hold bragging rights for a while, Donovan does not have to worry about Mexico fans gloating any time soon.
“We were fortunate to play them in a World Cup,” he says. “It’s massive when you meet your bitter rival in that setting, and then we won. “It’s possible that could never happen again, playing them in a World Cup, so to have that to hold over them is going to be special. “It’s exciting for the players and we want the bragging rights too. In LA we have Los Angeles against Chivas. It’s only a new thing, but we share the same building which is a bit awkward. “For a few weeks afterwards if you won, you can walk around with your head held high. But in this case nobody should overlook the fact that Everton has European ambitions, so beating Liverpool is huge for us.”
Last Saturday’s trip to Wigan’s DW stadium might not have produced much in terms of attractive football, but it helped remind Donovan of the bruising nature of some premier league games ahead of the most physical fixture of them all.
He said: “In that way I think the Wigan game was very helpful because that was physical. I was sore, picked up a few knocks and generally got beat up a bit.
“It was hard and I assume Saturday is going to be the same. I’m expecting it to be intense. “I don’t get too nervous before games. I get very excited and motivated. I’m going to try and not get over excited. I need to make sure I stay calm and realise what the job is. “In any big game you have to balance the aggression wisely. Being tough, getting after people, making contact, fouling them if you have to, but you have to balance that with being smart. “Be aggressive and smart. If you are a young player coming into a game like this you can get out of control, but I’ve played quite a few big games and I can cope.” The USA’s Major League soccer has made great strides in attracting a wider audience since its formation in 1993, but as its poster-boy before America had ever heard of David Beckham, Donovan hopes the MLS can absorb more traits of the British game. He said: “It’s all about passion. People care about their team and we want more of that in America. “When the crowd feels that tension you can tell. You pull into the stadium, and you can feel the atmosphere in the air. That energy makes the team better. “I like the clever chants. In England they tend to do a good job of being clever. They’re not as creative in the States yet but hopefully we’re getting there.” For now though, all thoughts of home are secondary to the task of beating Liverpool at Anfield for the first time since 1999, and Donovan can feel his goal-scoring instinct returning. “It was nice to score finally against Sunderland,” he says. “When you’ve been off for a while the comfort in front of goal is usually the last thing to return, after fitness and tactical awareness, so it was good to score.
“It’s exciting that my time here coincides with so many big games, but as I’ve said before I don’t just want to treat it as an experience. “There’s a job to do and this team demands you put a shift in every time you step on the field and I don’t take that lightly.”

Yakubu hands Everton boss David Moyes Mersey derby selection headache
February 5, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
YAKUBU is hoping to hand David Moyes a derby day selection headache after returning to full training. The Nigerian striker was put through his paces at Finch Farm yesterday alongside team-mate Joseph Yobo, following their safe return from the African Cup of Nations. Both players have been on international duty with Nigeria throughout January, but are desperate to prove they are fit enough to figure in the squad for tomorrow’s Anfield showdown. Their return has come as a timely boost for manager Moyes, who saw Louis Saha limp off against Wigan Athletic last Saturday, and was also missing centre-half Sylvain Distin at the DW Stadium.
The Super Eagles missed out on a place in the final in Angola but finished third in the tournament after beating Algeria 1-0 in the third-place match. Neither of the Everton pair featured in that match, both remaining on the bench. Yobo limped out of the Group C match with Mozambique early on in the competition and did not play again for his country due to a hamstring strain. Moyes will give both men the chance to prove they are full fit, as he also waits on fitness updates on Mikel Arteta and Jack Rodwell. Meanwhile, Everton’s skipper Phil Neville insists his side must finally overcome their 11-year wait to beat Liverpool at Anfield. He said: “It has been a long time since we won a game at Anfield and everybody knows it is one of the most difficult places to go to and actually win a game. “It’s been like that for the last 11 years for Everton, so statistics are thrown in front of you, they can be daunting, and you can be scared of them, but for this team we’ve just go to go for it and make sure it is not another year on top of that till we can win a game at Anfield. “I think their season has mirrored ours in a way. “The first half of the season I think both teams can be really disappointed with their own performances, ourselves and Liverpool.
“I think both teams are looking forward to the second half of the season, so I think we are probably catching each other when we are both on the way up now but Saturday’s game will look after itself. “It is going to be a fantastic game of football and an unbelievable atmosphere.”

Delight for Everton FC as Louis Saha agrees new two-year contract
February 5, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
LOUIS Saha was today set to sign a new two-year contract with Everton.
The French striker has agreed a 24-month extension to his current deal, which was due to expire in the summer, and will now be tied to Goodison until 2012.
Saha’s decision ends months of speculation over his future, and will be a major boost for David Moyes ahead of tomorrow’s Merseyside derby at Anfield.
The 31-year-old, who has already scored 13 times for Everton this season, wanted to remain with the Toffees despite interest from Spurs and a rumoured inquiry from Arsenal. Saha was able to talk with foreign clubs from last month, and Turkish club Besiktas had also expressed their interest in the former Manchester United man.
Discussions between the player’s representatives and Goodison officials have been ongoing for two months, but despite struggling to compromise on wage demands David Moyes was always confident Saha would stay. The Frenchman netted eight times last season, including his record-breaking FA Cup final opener against Chelsea in May. Saha may yet miss tomorrow’s Anfield clash after being taken off injured in the 91st minute of last Saturday’s 1-0 win at Wigan Athletic. Meanwhile, Yakubu is hoping to hand David Moyes a derby day selection headache after returning to full training. The Nigerian striker was put through his paces at Finch Farm yesterday alongside team-mate Joseph Yobo, following their safe return from the African Cup of Nations. Both players have been on international duty with Nigeria throughout January, but are desperate to prove they are fit enough to figure in the squad for tomorrow’s Anfield showdown. Their return has come as a timely boost for manager Moyes, who saw Louis Saha limp off against Wigan Athletic last Saturday, and was also missing centre-half Sylvain Distin at the DW Stadium. The Super Eagles missed out on a place in the final in Angola but finished third in the tournament after beating Algeria 1-0 in the third-place match. Neither of the Everton pair featured in that match, both remaining on the bench. Yobo limped out of the Group C match with Mozambique early on in the competition and did not play again for his country due to a hamstring strain. Moyes is also waiting on fitness updates on midfielders Mikel Arteta and Jack Rodwell.

Louis Saha signs new two-year contract with Everton FC
February 5, 2010. By James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
LOUIS SAHA has signed a new two-year contract with Everton.
The French striker, whose deal was due to expire in the summer, is now tied to Goodison until 2012. Saha’s decision ends months of speculation over his future and is a major boost for manager David Moyes ahead of tomorrow’s Merseyside derby at Anfield. The 31-year-old, who has already scored 13 times for Everton this season, opted to stay with the Blues despite interest from Tottenham, Arsenal and Turkish side Besiktas. Discussions between the player’s representatives and Goodison officials had been ongoing for two months. A sourse close to Saha said: "It has genuinely never been about money with Louis. You hear that often in football contract talk - but in this case it’s true. "He has always wanted to stay at Everton, despite the fact he could have earned more elsewhere. "There was genuine interest in Louis from at least three other clubs, two of them big, big names. "But he’s very happy at Everton. He is settled with his young family in the area and has enjoyed his time with the club so far.
"That desire to carry on playing for the club and David Moyes has over-ridden everything else."

Barry Horne: Only fools predict derby matches, so here goes!
February 6, 2010 by Barry Horne, Liverpool Echo
ONLY fools predict the result of derby matches, so here goes!
Evertonians have not been as confident going into an Anfield derby for a long time, and similarly Kopites are very quiet at the moment. We are certainly coming into form and there must be a great feeling around Finch Farm at the moment, especially with the resurgence of Liverpool’s Anfield thorn, Tim Cahill. Nevertheless, if the papers are to be believed and Rafa Benitez does decide to release the shackles on his team as an attacking force, there is no doubt that Liverpool will clearly be a threat. But regardless of Liverpool’s tactical approach, I don’t think we will come away from Anfield empty handed, as we did when we were the better team at Goodison Park.
The key area for me would be Everton’s left flank. If we can dominate down the left, as we have done on so many other occasions this season – especially with the combination of Steven Pienaar and Leighton Baines providing amm- unition for Louis Saha, Tim Cahill and Marouane Fellaini – we can come away with something.

Royal Blue: Sean Doherty looking to rebuild at Marine
February 6, 2010. Liverpool Echo
IT IS interesting to see that former Everton youth player Sean Doherty has joined local semi-professional outfit Marine this week.
Evertonians may recall how Doherty unexpectedly rejected a new Goodison deal in 2001 and signed for Fulham. It was a blow for the Toffees at a time when Doherty was being touted as a player with huge potential, and his father Mick, an Everton Youth Academy scout, also left the club. Things did not go to plan at Craven Cottage for Doherty, but he still went on to play in the Dutch Eredivisie and Belgium’s Jupiler League. Now Doherty is hoping to help Marine achieve promotion, before going to university in September to study sports science. He said: “I have been injured for the best part of seven months with shin splints after I came back from Ireland where I have been playing in the Southern League. “I have now been back training a month and coming to Marine is just about being given the chance to start playing games again and get myself back to where I want to be. He said: “It didn’t work out at Fulham for a number of reasons, nothing in particular, but the club could have done more and I could have done things better but I don’t regret going there.”

Royal Blue: Loyal Louis Saha only has eyes for Everton FC
February 6, 2010 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
THE Premier League would be a poorer place without the mercurial temperament of French footballers plying their trade across the channel. Imagine being deprived of Eric Cantona’s legendary eccentricity – from seagulls following trawlers to his Kung-Fu moment of madness. Or missing out on the highly-strung excellence of David Ginola, or the so-mercenary-it’s-almost-funny attitude of Pascal Chimbonda?
Louis Saha may not possess the same headline grabbing volatility of such players, but he certainly possess the same thoroughbred ability. That’s why Evertonians will be thrilled at the news that King Louis has committed his future to the Blues. I say long-term, because a two-year deal is significant when you are a 31-year-old forward harbouring a quiet desire to play for your country again. But while Saha is perhaps not liable to launch into vaguely profound or long-winded diatribes about the media a la Cantona, he is capable of enigmatic flashes. An outsider could even interpret his decision to stay at Goodison as typical of a wilful man who does what he wants.
Make no mistake, the former Manchester United man could have earned more money elsewhere. Spurs’ interest in him was serious, and Arsene Wenger was monitoring the talks between Saha and the Goodison board with avid interest. Both clubs could have significantly improved on whatever Everton have offered. Turkey’s Besiktas would have moved heaven and earth to get him too. Yet according to those closest to him, Saha simply wanted to stay put above anything else. He is settled in Merseyside and feels at home at Everton, where he is held in particularly high esteem by his team mates. The Everton squad’s regard for Saha is so high that they still use the nickname ‘King’ for him. But more importantly, Saha feels that he still owes a degree of emotional debt to David Moyes and Bill Kenwright. The striker knows that Everton took an element of risk when they signed him from Manchester United.
True to his chivalrous nature, he stunned Bill Kenwright – not to mention his own agent – when he offered to play for nothing during the talks over his initial transfer in 2008. Such was Saha’s desire to prove he could find form and fitness once again, he was willing to forego a weekly salary in the meantime. Since then Mick Rathbone and Everton’s physio team have excelled in ensuring Louis Saha played as much as his body would allow for Everton. And when the striker has graced the turf, goals have inevitable followed – 13 already in a season when he has at times looked capable of notching the much sought-after total of 20. He has already ensured the Toffees’ place in the records books thanks to his goal after just 25 seconds in last May’s FA Cup final. Roberto DeMateo and Bob Chatts’ previous record efforts looked like sluggish Wembley strikes by comparison. Saha’s decision is far from just an altruistic gesture though. He clearly recognises that Everton are a club going places, and is relishing the prospect of playing in a fully-firing team with Mikel Arteta and Phil Jagielka restored to its spine. And there will still be plenty of time, 24 months at least, for Saha to show his flamboyant Gallic side more often. He has already proved to one foolish supporter that he is not a man to be messed with. When the persistent pest waiting outside the players’ car park at Goodison tried to grab his hat and bag after the Manchester City game, Louis took a step back and put him on his back side. For now Everton supporters can rest easy that their number eight is here to stay. Let’s just hope he can continue to push himself for the Blue cause.

Captain Fantastic Phil Neville is real deal for Everton FC
February 6, 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
THE essential qualities of a true captain have been discussed at length in the wake of the John Terry scandal. As the national hand-wringing over whether Fabio Capello was right to strip Terry of the captaincy continues, David Moyes can relax safe in the knowledge that he has the real deal. In Phil Neville, the Scot has a leader of men who was schooled in one of the finest teams to grace the Premier League.
The 33-year-old has certainly secured the eternal admiration of his current manager, who views him as the complete captain. He said: “I think Phil Neville has learned from a great club looking at great captains in the past. “How they’ve conducted themselves - people like Bryan Robson and Roy Keane.
“He’s looked at these people and he’s thought that is how he should handle himself, and what he should demand from the team and prepare himself. He is completely focussed on his job but also takes responsibility for the team. “Phil continually takes the ball and won’t hide because he knows he has to be the one. “I’ve heard him say many times that if the supporters boo one of us, they boo us all. “That is Phil’s outlook. It sounds as if those lads from United have had a really good grounding, and it’s probably why they’ve been so successful. “They’ve had lots of Phil Nevilles in their group. Phil has the same effect at Everton in terms of players watching his commitment that Eric Cantona had at United.” Moyes believes the Neville Factor has been a big influence on other senior Everton players like Tim Cahill and Tim Howard.
“Phil has a great effect on other people,” he said. “ “He has a great effect on Tim Cahill, he has a great effect on Tim Howard and I can see his attitude rubbing off on Mikel Arteta and Leon Osman. “They are all beginning to take responsibility around the club and around the team. “Phil was a big loss while he was out injured.”
While the absence of players like Arteta and Jagielka has been much debated, the impact of Neville’s own three-month injury lay-off was under-rated.
He said: “I was looking for players to step up to the plate and one or two did. One or two found it difficult, but Phil’s professionalism around Everton has made my job easy. “If Dan Gosling and Jack Rodwell, James Vaughan and Victor Anichebe aren’t looking at Phil Neville there is something wrong with them. “They should be watching how he has got the caps he has, the amount of games he has, how he has stayed at the level he is at. “ If there was one role models to the young players it’s him and they should all ask him for help.” Now the Everton boss is hoping that Neville’s galvanising leadership can see Everton claim victory at Anfield today for the first time since 1999. And Moyes is aware that the Blues must seek to readdress the balance after being beaten at Goodison Park in November, if they are serious about catching the teams above them. He said: “We felt we could have got more out of the first game, no doubt about it. “They got the goals, but we definitely did much better, and things did turn around after that for us. We felt we could have got more out of the first game, no doubt about it. “They got the goals, but we definitely did much better, and thing did turn around after that for us. ”We left the game with a lot more positives.
“We weren’t in a great moment beforehand, but the players showed a great desire, there was an uplift in energy and the fans knew we gave it a real good go.
”It’s funny because the season before Aston Villa nicked a win against us and we kicked on from that. “This time Liverpool did it, and that made us realise we had to step up from the level we were at. “We’d maybe got bedded into a level which wasn’t good enough before that. ”I think the first derby helped free us up a bit.
“By that I mean that maybe we thought we had been doing okay, but afterwards we worked harder, showed a greater commitment and the players realised ‘okay we lost, but it was better than we had done previously.” Now Moyes believes the squad are facing the fixture full of confidence. “We are going there as a team with a lot of confidence. We played very well against City and Arsenal, been to Chelsea and did the same, so while we will go into it with great respect for them as a team, I feel we can give them a really good game.”

Everton FC match my ambition, says Louis Saha
February 6, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
LOUIS Saha today declared that he signed a new Everton deal because the club can satisfy his ambition. The Frenchman handed the Toffees a major pre-derby boost by signing a two-year contract extension at Goodison yesterday. Saha, 31, is tied to the club until 2012 and insists the decision to stay in Merseyside was not a hard one.
His contract was due to expire in the summer and after scoring 13 goals already this season, a host of top European clubs were on his trial. He said: “It was an easy decision. You always think carefully but it didn’t take me long to know I wanted to stay because I have enjoyed my time here and I want to be part of the future of Everton. “At certain stages in your career you look at where you are going and by staying at Everton I feel I am going up in my career. “It is a pleasure and an honour to stay here.” Saha added that the Everton support influenced his decision. He said: “I appreciate the way the Everton fans support the team and the way they support me all the time. “It is a pleasure to be here and see the way the fans work for the team, they help all the players. It feels like a family and I really feel a part of it.”
Everton have an almost fully-fit squad ahead of David Moyes’ 600th game as a manager, with Sylvain Distin and Louis Saha declaring themselves fit.
Yakubu, Jack Rodwell and Dan Gosling will also be available for selection, with only Joseph Yobo, Phil Jagielka and Tony Hibbert still missing. Moyes believes Everton are still not favourites going into the game, but predicts the Blues and Reds could soon become equals in financial terms. He said: “I still think we are underdogs. But they have had a decade of overspending and because of it we have found it difficult to match that. Now, though, maybe it’s changing for them. Maybe they’re going to have to be in a similar situation to Everton. “Look, they’re a really good footballing club with some great players. “I don’t know what the future holds for then, but for eight or nine years we have had to deal at a different level, yet be judged on equal terms on the pitch, and because of things changing, then maybe things are a lot closer now.”

Liverpool FC 1 Everton FC 0 - Dirk Kuyt's goal the difference for Reds amid red mist
February 6, 2010. By James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
TWO red cards, seven yellows and bags of controversy – the 213th Merseyside derby certainly lived up to its billing. Dirk Kuyt’s second-half header was enough to secure Liverpool a priceless victory in their pursuit of Champions League qualification and complete the league double over their neighbours from across Stanley Park.
The Reds overcame the sending off of Sotirios Kyrgiakos for a two footed lunge on Marouane Fellaini before the break with a performance full of grit and character.
Kuyt broke the deadlock when he nodded home Steven Gerrard’s corner and they endured few scares as Everton failed to make their numerical advantage count.
The visitors’ frustration boiled over in stoppage time when Steven Pienaar was given a second yellow card for a foul on Gerrard. The Blues haven’t won at Anfield since 1999 when Kevin Campbell got the winner and they will be kicking themselves about this missed opportunity to end that barren run. Defeat for David Moyes’ side ended a nine-match unbeaten league run stretching back to the 2-0 derby setback the Reds inflicted at Goodison back in November. Both managers had pleaded for cool heads in the build up to this game but their words fell on deaf ears. Jamie Carragher made his intentions clear inside the opening seconds with a crunching tackle on Pienaar.
It set the tone for a predictably frenetic contest with the Reds dominating possession early on and looking the more likely to break the deadlock. Inside three minutes Gerrard burst down the left before being upended by Phil Neville on the edge of the box. The Reds skipper picked himself up and from an acute angle unleashed a curling free-kick which was beaten away by Tim Howard. It dropped kindly to Emiliano Insua but he lashed the rebound over. The Reds continued to threaten with Daniel Agger firing over after the Blues had failed to deal with Gerrard’s corner.
Both sides had half hearted appeals for a penalty waved away. First Kuyt’s shot appeared to strike Pienaar’s arm, while at the other end Sylvain Distin claimed he was shoved to the ground by David Ngog. The tackles flew in with Tim Cahill and Javier Mascherano both fortunate to avoid punishment before referee Martin Atkinson finally reached for his notebook after 20 minutes. Kuyt was yellow carded after bringing down Landon Donovan 25 yards out and from the ensuing free-kick Pepe Reina had to tip over Leighton Baines’ effort. Liverpool were left fuming moments later after Kuyt and Fellaini clashed. Kuyt was brought down by Pienaar and as he lay on the ground Fellaini’s boot caught him in the head. The Dutchman was incensed but Atkinson took no action against the Blues midfielder. Pienaar was cautioned for a foul on Mascherano soon after and then Carragher followed him into the book for chopping down the South African. Just past the half hour mark the Reds counter attacked to good effect with Rodriguez and Gerrard combining to tee up Ngog. However, the young French striker dragged his shot wide from the edge of the box.
Everton grew in confidence as the half progressed and Reina had to be alert to race off his line and deny Louis Saha. Tempers continued to be frayed and the contest boiled over 12 minutes before the break. Kyrgiakos’ two-footed challenge on Fellaini was deemed dangerous by Atkinson and after a lengthy stoppage the Greek centre-back got his marching orders. In truth Fellaini could also have seen red for his part in the crunching 50-50 tackle but he escaped without a card. Fellaini was stretchered off and after lengthy treatment was finally replaced by Mikel Arteta. The sending off forced Liverpool into a reshuffle with Carragher moving to the centre of defence and Mascherano shifted from midfield to right-back. Both sides went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock just before the interval. Gerrard’s curling free-kick clipped the top of the bar, while at the other end Cahill missed a glorious chance when he nodded over after Mascherano’s misplaced defensive header had set him up. Cahill went close again early in the second half but despite being down to 10 men it was Liverpool who posed the greater attacking threat. Ngog was thwarted by Distin’s block before the deadlock was finally broken in the 55th minute. Gerrard swung a corner into the six-yard box and Kuyt made the most of some woeful marking to nod past Howard. Anfield erupted and the Dutchman raced away to celebrate with his skipper.
Kuyt epitomised the Reds’ tireless work rate as moments later he produced a crucial defensive header at the back post to clear Donovan’s dangerous cross.
John Heitinga was booked for tripping Rodriguez as the Blues struggled to muster a response to Kuyt’s goal. The visitors looked short on attacking ideas and with 18 minutes to go manager David Moyes went for broke as he introduced strikers Victor Anichebe and Yakubu in place of Osman and Saha. Ryan Babel had replaced Ngog but the substitute, playing as a lone frontman, struggled to hold the ball up and in the closing stages the Blues dominated possession. With six minutes to go Atkinson had his hands full again. In clearing the ball Gerrard’s boot caught Pienaar and a melee ensued. When order was restored Atkinson dished out yellows to Gerrard and Anichebe. The Reds defended bravely with Carragher starring at the heart of a gutsy rearguard effort. In the 89th minute Yakubu let fly from 25 yards out and Reina was forced to tip his effort over the bar. Five minutes of stoppage time gave Evertonians hope and Anichebe almost rescued a point. The substitute burst clear in the box but Lucas and Reina combined to deny him. When Pienaar picked up a second yellow for his barge on Gerrard the Blues’ misery was complete.
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Agger, Kyrgiakos, Insua, Kuyt (Skrtel 90), Lucas, Mascherano, Rodriguez (Aurelio 90), Gerrard, Ngog (Babel 63).
Everton: Howard, Neville, Heitinga, Distin, Baines, Donovan, Fellaini (Arteta 40), Osman (Yakubu 72), Pienaar, Cahill, Saha (Anichebe 72).
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Attendance: 44,316

Everton FC manager David Moyes has no complaints over Steven Pienaar red card
February 6, 2010. Liverpool Echo
EVERTON manager David Moyes had no complaints about Steven Pienaar's sending-off in the Merseyside derby. The Blues boss said he thought the South African could have been dismissed in the first half for a knee-high challenge on Javier Mascherano, although he felt his side deserved more out of the game. “I think there have been lots of derbies very similar; quite feisty and that’s why fans like them because they sometimes have a little bit extra in them,” said the Scot. “The first sending-off (Kyrgiakos) was a two-footed tackle, both feet off the ground. Fellaini has been for an x-ray but we think it is clear, which is good news. “I’ve no complaints about Steven’s sending-off as there was a tackle earlier in the game where he might have been fortunate to stay on. “I thought we certainly didn’t deserve to lose the game today. We might not have deserved to win it but we shouldn’t have lost it. “We didn’t create enough chances with the extra man but, saying that, Liverpool didn’t either and their goal came from one set-piece - which in the past would have been us that might have done that but it was Liverpool today.”

Liverpool FC 1, Everton FC 0: Talk from David Moyes, actions by Rafa Benitez
Feb 8 2010 by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
FOR a character as normally reserved as Rafael Benitez, it was a gesture akin to stripping down to his underwear and running down Anfield Road reciting from his famed list of facts. As the final whistle blew on a frantic, bad-tempered derby, the Liverpool manager rose from his seat, calmly saluted all four sides of the ground before turning towards the directors box and pumping his fist in celebration.
Such defiance encapsulated an afternoon on which the Spaniard had seen his team drag itself from the precipice before conjuring an unlikely yet deserved victory against the odds. Having returned to the Champions League places for the first time since October, it’s a triumph that could prove a pivotal moment in the attempts of Benitez’s side to salvage the bare minimum from a hugely underwhelming Premier League campaign. And with it comes the added satisfaction that, for all their troubles on and off the field, Liverpool remain the dominant force on Merseyside. Because if ever that status was going to be seriously threatened, it was on Saturday. The noises emanating from Goodison before the game had only been positive. Buoyed by a nine-match unbeaten league run since defeat to Liverpool in November and with his injury list having almost cleared, David Moyes even found fit to dwell on the increasing financial difficulties across Stanley Park while suppressing a wry smile.
This was Everton’s time. The time for them to end a wait for victory at Anfield that stretched for more than a decade. The time for them to prove the gap to their neighbours was closing fast. Liverpool, shorn of key creative players such as Fernando Torres and struggling to cling on to their top four place, were there for the taking, a suspicion strengthened by the 34th-minute red card shown to Sotirios Kyrgiakos.
Yet when opportunity knocked, Everton went missing. It has become an all-too-familiar derby story under Moyes. The Goodison manager’s post-match assertion that his team didn’t feel like losers kidded nobody. Everton lost. Their fans certainly felt as though they’d lost. And Moyes’s men have only themselves to blame for passing up the chance to copper-bottom their winter revival with the most prized of scalps.
Almost four years ago, the early dismissal of Steven Gerrard at Anfield galvanised Liverpool to deliver a stirring, passionate performance that the visitors simply could not match, and it was the same story here. Defensive organisation, steely determination and a collective belief, qualities so often associated with Moyes’s side, proved the difference once again for Liverpool, their need seemingly the greater.
That the only goal of the game came from a set-piece served only to rub salt into Everton’s gaping wound. And it won’t be lost on Benitez, for whom dead-ball situations have been one of the many sticks critics have used to beat him with this season. Perhaps Everton were lulled into a false sense of security by the red card for Kyrgiakos. After all, the visitors had already more than held their own before being firmly handed the initiative by their numerical advantage. But whatever questions Moyes’s side posed, Liverpool had the answer. Even with the welcome sight of Mikel Arteta pulling the strings from central midfield, Everton lacked the guile and imagination to break down the massed red ranks, Louis Saha given scant service with too many long balls easily dealt with by the home defence. Everton didn’t come any nearer than in first-half injury time when, in attempting to clear Donovan’s clipped cross, Javier Mascherano sent the ball straight to the unmarked Tim Cahill who headed over from eight yards. It was a chance the Australian would normally have taken. Cahill has been Everton’s derby talisman in recent years, but in a game of many turning points, his miss was maybe the most telling, particularly when Liverpool forged ahead on 55 minutes. A flurry of corners ended with Steven Gerrard curling a devastating delivery from the left into the six-yard box where Dirk Kuyt somehow squeezed between the attentions of Tim Howard and Phil Neville to glance the ball home.His fourth goal in as many games – and 50th for Liverpool – the Dutchman has answered the goalscoring call in the absence of Torres, and his tenacity set the required standard for his team-mates to follow. Gerrard had earlier struck the crossbar with a free-kick, but Liverpool were forced on to the defensive when Kyrgiakos, an unlikely hero in recent weeks, turned villain. The centre-back could have no complaints with his dismissal for a two-footed lunge on Marouane Fellaini that put the Belgian on a stretcher en route to hospital, although replays suggested the Everton man was fortunate not to also see red for his stamp on the Greek defender as they contested a 50-50 ball. And Moyes later admitted the visitors should have already been down to 10 men when Steven Pienaar was only booked for a nasty lunge on Mascherano, the South African eventually earning a second yellow in injury time for a soft foul on Gerrard. So much for Liverpool in crisis. Benitez’s side have now taken 17 points from 21, an unbeaten spell of seven Premier League games in which they have kept six clean sheets. Before the game, Benitez accepted this was a game Liverpool had to win. They did. Moyes, however, will know it is one Everton should have.

Everton FC: We’re getting closer says David Moyes after Merseyside derby defeat
February 8, 2010. By James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES believes Saturday’s narrow derby defeat proves the gap between Liverpool and Everton is closing. The Blues failed to make the most of their numerical advantage after Sotirios Kyrgiakos was sent off before the break.
And Moyes admitted it was a missed opportunity to end the club’s 11-year wait for a win at Anfield, but insisted his side were desperately unlucky to take nothing from the game. “I certainly don’t think we deserved to lose the game,” he said. “We might not have deserved to win it, but we shouldn’t have lost it. “I came off the pitch not feeling like the losers today. “There is a lot going for us and you would have to say it looks like there is very little between Liverpool and Everton at this present time.
“On the field there isn’t much of a gap between the clubs and that says a lot about how far Everton have come in recent years. “It’s disappointing and that was a great opportunity for us, but there will be more opportunities because we’re getting closer.
“It’s amazing that we’ve come to Anfield and left thinking ‘that shouldn’t have happened’. That shows you how times have changed.” Despite having an extra man, Everton struggled to break down Liverpool in the second half and saw their nine-match unbeaten league run ended. However, Moyes denied Rafa Benitez’s claim that the Blues had made life easy for Liverpool by pumping a succession of long balls forward. “I don’t think we got worse after they went down to 10 men,” Moyes insisted. “I thought we did fine. We kept the ball, passed it quite well and tried to do the right things. “We needed a little bit more width at times but that was the only thing we lacked at times. “When we got to the final third we just didn’t have what was needed to make the difference. “I thought we had patience and mixed the play up well. We tried to play around them, we tried to go over the top and we tried to go up to them. “We didn’t create enough chances but saying that Liverpool didn’t create much either.” Moyes insisted referee Martin Atkinson was right to send off Kyrgiakos for his tackle on Marouane Fellaini, which forced the Belgian out of the game.
And the Blues boss admitted Steven Pienaar was lucky to still be on the pitch when he was harshly dismissed for a second yellow card deep into stoppage time.
“It was a two-footed tackle with both feet off the ground by their player so it was a red card,” Moyes said. “It caught Fellaini just above his ankle. He has been for an X-ray which is clear but he’s also going to have a scan. “I’ve got no complaints about Pienaar. I’ve seen it on the tape and I have to say he was fortunate too stay on for a tackle he made earlier in the game. In the end he’s got a red card so I can’t have much argument about it. “I don’t think the game was ever in any danger of getting out of control, but players can make it hard for referees nowadays.
“A lot of them go down and roll about so it’s difficult to decide whether someone is hurt or not.” One positive for Moyes was the fact that Mikel Arteta got an hour under his belt as he looks to regain full fitness following his year-long absence.
“Mikel was always prodding and trying to find a way through,” he added.

David Prentice: Once again Everton FC fail to go for jugular
February 8, 2010. By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE KOP’S newest taunt to their city neighbours highlights Everton’s decade-and-a-half without silverware: “Dry your tears, no trophy for 15 years.”
If that hurt, it was another drought which concerned Evertonian sensibilities even more on Saturday night. It’s 11 years now since Everton last won at the home of their neighbours – and it showed. The longer Everton go without a victory at Anfield, the harder the habit is to break. Everton’s form since their last derby defeat in November has been increasingly impressive. Trips to Athens, Stamford Bridge and even The Emirates have been met with confidence, ambition, even a swagger. But when it comes to Anfield Everton retreat into their shell. Twice in recent years the Blues have enjoyed the advantage of an extra man for long periods of an Anfield derby. Twice, now, they have seemed reluctant to make that advantage pay. Better to sit and hold onto a point than open up a little and go for the jugular. It smacks of inferiority complex. Everton treat their annual visits across the park with a respect which isn’t always warranted. One of their heroes, Graeme Sharp, previewed his radio show on Saturday lunchtime by describing the present Liverpool team as the worst he’d seen since he came down from Scotland 30 years ago. That might have conveniently forgotten a team put together by one of his old Scottish team-mates in the early 1990s, but you could see where he was coming from. Anfield isn’t the intimidating arena of old. Heck. Even Reading came here recently and won. But that 11-year itch means Everton are more cautious, more reverential than they need to be – even against 10-men. The loss of Sotirios Kyrgiakos gave Liverpool an excuse to defend deep and use set-pieces to counter. Everton didn’t have the wit, the creative ingenuity or the gung-ho bravado to break them down. Just two tip overs from Pepe Reina in 99 minutes of action – one from a free-kick – was a desperately poor return. Perhaps the circumstances conspired against the Blues a little. David Moyes was right when he suggested Everton had looked more threatening when it was 11 against 11.
But with 10 against 11, Rafa Benitez set his side up superbly to defend diligently and grab what they could going forward. They grabbed what they could nine minutes after the interval and the matchwinner was Everton’s approach in microcosm.
Tim Howard and Phil Neville worried more what Dirk Kuyt might do rather than concentrating on what he actually was doing, and the Dutchman was allowed to stay goalside of the Blues skipper and flick a neat header beyond Howard.
It was one of the few ‘neat’ moments of the match. Referee Martin Atkinson played a high risk strategy by allowing the players a little freedom with their tackling.
Carragher clobbered Pienaar with what you could kindly describe as a typical first minute derby-day challenge, and escaped without even a lecture. Javier Mascherano was late and high on Marouane Fellaini’s ankle and escaped with just a talking to, then Steven Pienaar executed the worst tackle of the whole day down Javier Mascherano’s standing leg and was only booked. Cue half-an-hour of late lunges, cynical after-the-ball-had-gone digs and finally another red card to add to the Merseyside derby’s astonishingly long list. It was a frenzied atmosphere some players clearly did not revel in. While only Fellaini flourished for Everton, until he was kicked out of the fray and carried off, Louis Saha performed like the footballer some feared he may turn into with a new two-year contract in his top drawer, while Sylvain Distin was inexplicably awful. In the red jerseys Jamie Carragher, a veteran of these tussles with a remarkable record to boast about, was excellent, while even the much derided Emiliano Insua eventually got to grips with Landon Donovan.
It’s the psychology of playing at Anfield that Everton failed to get to grips with. Blues fans have seen it all before. In the early 1980s, while Everton’s Anfield agony was inching towards 14 years, the Blues arrived there with five in midfield and Trevor Steven left on his own up front. Once the Blues realised that fortune favours the brave, aided by Graeme Sharp’s Goal of the Season in 1984, the penny dropped.
They won there in 1986 and 1987, too – against much better Liverpool teams than this one. There was a time when Liverpool had a mental block when it came to derby matches. The Reds felt they had to match Everton’s aggression and work-rate, and lost control. They were rarely troubled on Saturday and while David Moyes suggested a draw might have been a fairer result, no-one could have quibbled with the eventual outcome. Everton must find a greater sense of Anfield adventure, otherwise that 11-year-itch isn’t going to be eased any time soon.

Liverpool FC 1, Everton FC 0:
Blues miss golden chance to end winless Anfield streak
February 8, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
IT took one man steeped in Everton history to show what it takes to win a Merseyside derby. In the opening seconds of the 213th increasingly fractious neighbourly dispute, one moment set the tone for what was to follow. Unfortunately, the player responsible for that definitive instant has long since switched faiths and was wearing a red shirt.
Jamie Carragher’s bone-shuddering, no holds-barred challenge on Steven Pienaar almost straight after Martin Atkinson’s whistle was a line drawn in the sand. It suggested that Everton’s opponents, derided for having fallen far from their former grace this season, were in the mood for a tussle. A tussle is a hopelessly understated way of describing the ensuing war of attrition which resulted between two teams who historically pride themselves on playing good football. The conjecture beforehand had rightly suggested it was the Toffees best opportunity of winning at Anfield in 11 years. Everton were the side in the compelling form, and confidence was quietly bubbling under in the blue half of the city ahead of Saturday. But to the ultimate dismay of every Evertonian, Carragher’s challenge was an omen which could not be swept aside regardless of circumstances. Neutral observers may have considered Sotirios Kyrgiakos red card for a gruesome tackle on Marouane Fellaini to have swung the encounter in Everton’s favour. Surely, the team in superior form would have capitalised on the advantage handed to them by the Greek’s rashness?
In fact it was Everton who suffered most from the flashpoint. Fellaini bravely tried to soldier on after receiving treatment on the touchline, but as he attempted to limp back onto the pitch he broke down. Shorn of the player who has symbolized their recent resurgence, Everton struggled. Ironically, the 22-year-old Belgian was beginning to assert himself on the game before his afternoon was prematurely ended.
Instead, David Moyes was forced to throw Mikel Arteta, still barely match fit, into the manic frenzy of a derby as his game plan was dealt a fatal blow. It was no mistake that Liverpool targeted Pienaar and Fellaini with such venom. In between flirting with Juventus, their much-maligned manager had done his homework. The mercurial South African and the enigmatic Belgian are a double act to be reckoned with. And Liverpool knew it. Flying out of the traps like a Kopite version of Joe Royle’s ‘Dogs of War’, they nobbled both of them. Of course Everton are an outfit who pride themselves on a proud team spirit, and they did not daintily sit back. As the game swung in the balance, skipper Phil Neville body checked Steven Gerrard to give away a dangerous free-kick which Tim Howard punched robustly. Emiliano Insua dispatched the rebound into The Kop. Then Dirk Kuyt halted a promising forward burst by Landon Donovan and conceded a free-kick 25 yards out. Leighton Baines’ curling effort was heading for the top corner and Pepe Reina had to be alert to tip it over the bar. While the injury to Fellaini was key, it would be remiss to gloss over an earlier tackle which was even worse than the one committed by Liverpool’s Greek defender. Pienaar was still smarting from his brutal body-check from Carragher when he left his foot dangerously high in a challenge on Javier Mascherano.
The Argentine is no innocent, and had already made a cynical tackle of his own, but he was fortunate to avoid serious injury, and Pienaar was fortunate to stay on the pitch. Carragher saw yellow for a clumsy attempt at retribution moments later, but it signalled the hunger in the red camp. Everton almost went behind when Gerrard teed up David Ngog and the young Frenchman flashed his effort just wide, deterred by a crucial Leon Osman block. Following the turning point which was the red card and Fellaini’s injury, a lull followed. For a while, the actual game, as both sides played with 10 men, was a sideshow to the outrage of both sets of supporters. Then Gerrard went to ground under a challenge from Tim Cahill, to win a free-kick 30 yards from goal. The England vice-captain’s resultant effort beat the wall and clipped the top of the bar. But the chance of the half undoubtedly fell to Cahill. Following swift interplay between Baines and Pienaar, the ball was flicked wide to Donovan who fired a cross into the box and the Aussie’s diving header flew inches over.
If the Everton talisman, so often a thorn in Liverpool’s side, had managed to keep his header low, the lead may well have deflated the opposition’s siege spirit.
Instead, the half-time break saw a stalemate which served the home side better. Somehow, Everton failed to create any significant chances in the second-half despite their numerical advantage. Indeed it was Liverpool who went closest, when Ngog just outstripped Sylvain Distin for pace, but the centre-half’s last-ditch block was enough to make his countryman skew his shot wide. Unfortunately, it was an omen of what was to come. Everton had hoped to threaten a Liverpool rearguard which is susceptible to set-pieces. But it was Benitez’s men who won a corner, and inexplicably Tim Howard and Phil Neville conspired to let Dirk Kuyt squeeze an improbable header into the back of the net. Wounded, Everton were stung into action and Donovan did well to force a corner with a tricky run into the box. Yet the Blues struggled to spark any creativity and barely resembled the side which almost beat Arsenal at The Emirates and humbled Manchester City in such style.
In November’s Goodison derby, the Blues lost three points but gained a burning sense of injustice which fired them onto a nine-game unbeaten run. But as substitutes Yakubu, who looked rusty, and Victor Anichebe failed to make an impact on the game, it became increasingly hard to see that run continue. Indeed when Anichebe squandered a clear opportunity to level, after doing all the hard work to beat Liverpool’s defence, defeat seemed scripted. Simply, the Blues were not good enough. Too many long balls were aimlessly lofted to nowhere. Too many moves broke down at crucial points. Too many men in Royal Blue failed to shine. Yakubu offered some solace with a smart turn and shot which stung Reina’s palms. But the mist which rolled over the top of the Centenary Stand in injury time could just as well have been Evertonian prayers falling back to earth unanswered. A gloomy epilogue to an awful afternoon saw Pienaar shown a second yellow card when Gerrard kidded Martin Atkinson with unnecessary face-clutching theatrics from an innocuous challenge.
In the grand scheme of things, it mattered little. The Blues were already beaten and the wait goes on, and on, for an Everton victory at Anfield. Only a sports psychologist could determine whether 11 years without a win on the other side of the park, has created an insurmountable barrier in the Blues’ collective psyche. The unpalatable fact is that Everton choked in the face of their best chance to seize the derby bragging rights at Anfield in a long time. David Moyes can only hope that this setback, albeit in different circumstances, can act as a similar catalyst to the last derby defeat.
And that the cavalry charge of an eventually fit again Arteta and Phil Jagielka has not come too late.

Everton FC skipper Phil Neville: We missed our opportunity against Liverpool FC
February 8, 2010. Liverpool Echo
RUEFUL Phil Neville admits Everton missed a great opportunity to end their long wait for derby victory at Anfield. And the Goodison skipper accepts the time has come for David Moyes’s side to start winning at the homes of the Premier League’s top four teams. Everton slipped to a 1-0 defeat to Liverpool in Saturday’s 213th Merseyside derby despite playing almost an hour with an extra man following the 34th-minute dismissal of home centre-back Sotirios Kyrgiakos. It brought the Goodison outfit’s nine-game unbeaten league run to a shuddering halt and means they still have not won at their neighbours since September 1999. Indeed, that triumph was Everton’s last at one of the supposed ‘big four’, a run that now stretches to a remarkable 48 games. Neville said: "It’s definitely a big chance missed. Before the game we were confident and when they went to 10 men you think to yourself ‘it’s going to be our day’. "But maybe that was a bad thing for us because they knew they could sit back and we had to try and force the play. "We had the team to play but when they went to 10 they obviously had a cause to fight for and it galvanised them and the crowd. "The goal gave them something to hang on to, but apart from a couple of times when we got behind them, we didn’t stretch them enough."
Although soundly beaten at Manchester United earlier in the season, Everton earned a 3-3 draw at Chelsea in December and were only denied victory at Arsenal last month by an injury-time equaliser. Moyes’s side host Chelsea and United in their next two games of a testing February, but Neville believes it is on their travels against the Premier League’s upper echelons that Everton must begin producing.
"We need to start winning away to top four sides," he said. "We had an unbelievable opportunity at Arsenal and threw it away in the last minute and this was another chance. We’ve gone to top sides and got draws but want the next step now. We’re getting more belief we can come to places like this and win, though. The gap (between Liverpool and Everton) has been closing for a couple of seasons and our performances have definitely been getting better. "We seemed so near, but the final step is always the hardest and it’s one we are striving for. I don’t think it is a psychological thing, we just needed that bit of quality. "That first win will hopefully be the catalyst, but Chelsea on Wednesday is a great game to bounce back in. Them or Manchester United will win the league, they’re the next two we play, so we’re going to have to beat the champions over the next couple." Kyrgiakos was dismissed for a two-footed lunge on Marouane Fellaini, who was stretchered off with a shin injury, before referee Martin Atkinson gave Steven Pienaar his marching orders in stoppage time for a second bookable offence. And although lamenting the loss of the influential Fellaini, Neville admits Everton did not have the imagination to find a way through Liverpool’s defence once Dirk Kuyt had headed the home side into a 55th-minute lead from a Steven Gerrard corner. "I was at the other end for the sending off but the lads say he (Kyrgiakos) went with his studs up, and you don’t want to see tackles like that," said Neville. "After that I thought the ref was maybe trying to even it up, because that always happens in derbies, and he did. "Felli was a crucial man to lose, but we were 11 versus 10, we’d brought on Mikel Arteta, who could take possession of the ball for us, and we had more of it than previous visits. But we lacked the quality and guile in the final third. "When you’re camped on the edge of your own box it’s easy to defend in front of you, and we didn’t get behind them. It was a bad goal to give away too because we pride ourselves on defending set-pieces. "Their best chance was going to be a set-piece so to give three corners away in the first five minutes of the second half was disappointing, because that cost us the game.
"It’s even more disappointing because in training on Friday we had just about everyone fit again and I thought we’d turned a corner. But then you feel you’re fighting the wind, with Felli out injured and Pienaar suspended."

Leighton Baines believes Everton FC can overcome derby dismay
February 8, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
LEIGHTON Baines believes Everton can overcome the dismay of derby defeat and spring a shock result against Chelsea. The Blues left-back is confident that his team-mates can cope with the loss of massively influential stars Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar and still put a dent in Carlo Ancelotti’s title hopes on Wednesday night at Goodison. Baines, who admitted that Liverpool’s hunger for victory won the day at Anfield, wants to make amends straight away, as the Toffees’ tricky run of February fixtures continues. He said: “It feels like a massive opportunity missed. We came up against a Liverpool side that started out well and showed they were hungry.
“We are very strong at home though, and feel confident we can beat anyone at Goodison. There have been a few games against Chelsea when we’ve played well and should have beaten them. “There’s a few games against the top four sides which have been the same. We have just got a point rather than what we deserved, but if we play anything like we did at Stamford Bridge we can get a point. “We will miss Steven because of his ban, and missing Marouane too means we are without two very influential players but at least Mikel came on and got some good minutes. “He will be a big player for us and Jack Rodwell is getting back to full fitness too which is important.” Baines believes that the first-half red card for Liverpool defender Sotiris Kyrgiakos made Everton’s task even harder. He said: “They really set out their stall in the first 15 minutes but once the game slowed down, we felt we had a chance and we were comfortable. “But them going down to 10 men seemed to make it that bit more difficult for us. I think automatically when you do go down to 10 men you tend to stay in your slots and make it hard to play against them.” He also said Liverpool singled out his partner on the left flank, Steven Pienaar, but was not surprised by Rafa Benitez’s tactics. He said: “Teams are going to target people like Steven Pienaar. Even in the second half down our side it was like they went man for man and followed us around the pitch wherever we were. “In the first half Steven had to ride a few rough challenges, but you’d expect nothing less in a derby game and we’ve got no complaints about it. “The game didn’t flow at all and there was not a lot of quality, derby games are like that. In the later stages of the second half it settled down a little bit and we were able to pass the ball but it never really went anywhere.
“We were playing it in front of them and they were happy with that. We never looked like breaking them down. “We’re massively disappointed their keeper has not had to make much of a save. There was Yak’s chance, but otherwise we didn’t trouble him.
“We’ve come in at half time feeling we could control the game after the sending off but in the second half we wanted to be more creative and really go for it. “It’s so disappointing we were undone from a set piece.” While Baines is still positive that Everton can contend without Fellaini, he is hoping the Belgian’s lay-off is not lengthy.
He said: “He’s such an influential player now and losing him was a massive loss. Losing him during a game was even harder because we didn’t really have anyone who can do exactly what he can do at the moment. “We’re waiting to see how bad his injury is but it’s more than likely that the will miss a few games, but at least we’ve got time to plan and make other arrangements if he’s not going to be in the side for a few weeks.”

Ex-Everton FC and England footballer Paul Gascoigne arrested again
February 9, 2010. Liverpool Echo
FORMER Everton and England star Paul Gascoigne has been released on police bail after he was questioned on suspicion of being drunk in charge of a vehicle.
Gascoigne, who also starred for Newcastle and Tottenham in the 1980s and 1990s was taken into custody on Sunday after police were called to a disturbance at a takeaway in Leeming Bar, North Yorkshire. The 42-year-old, who has faced a long battle with alcoholism and depression, and another man were questioned by officers before being released on bail pending further inquiries. North Yorkshire Police said officers were called to the takeaway restaurant at 9.10pm on Sunday after reports of a disturbance.
Gascoigne and a 40-year-old man were both arrested on suspicion of being drunk while in charge of a motor vehicle and later released on bail, said the police.
Gascoigne, who was sectioned three times under the Mental Health Act in 2008, has described how, when he hit rock bottom, he was taking cocaine and drinking a litre of gin a day, which left him delusional and too afraid to leave his own room.
The former England hero, who played at Newcastle, Spurs, Lazio, Rangers, Middlesbrough, Everton and in China, went public about his continuing battle with his various addictions in March last year. He said he had been clean of drink and drugs for four months, working the 12 Steps Programme and attending Alcoholics Anonymous. But in December last year he was handed a fixed penalty notice for being drunk and disorderly after being arrested in Newcastle.

GALLERY: Everton FC Reserves through to Liverpool Senior Cup semi-finals after beating Bootle
February 9, 2010. Liverpool Echo
THE Bucks and the Blues revived a 117-year old rivalry last night . . . but even though more than a century has passed since these two derby day foes clashed, the outcome remained the same. It was April, 25 1893 when Everton beat fierce city rivals Bootle 2-1 in the Liverpool Senior Cup final, the last recorded occasion these sides clashed.
The hairstyles, the footwear and the venue might have changed since then, but not the eventual winners. Everton triumphed 4-2 in a quarter-final tie of exactly the same competition to reach the last four of the historic old tournament. The Toffees took the lead through a Karl Sheppard penalty. But the home side hit back and equalised through Daniel O’Connor. Chris Tyson then put the non-leaguers ahead and dreaming of revenge. But just before half-time Everton centre-back James McCarten headed home the equaliser to set up the second half. After half-time Everton were in the ascendancy. Luke Dobie restored the Blues’ lead with a deflected effort.
Then striker Lewis Codling rounded off the win with Everton’s fourth goal.

Phil Neville: Everton FC shouldn’t fear clash with leaders Chelsea
February 9, 2010, By James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
PHIL NEVILLE has delivered a rallying call to his Everton team-mates ahead of tomorrow night’s clash with Chelsea at Goodison Park. The Blues returned to training at Finch Farm yesterday with the skipper admitting Saturday’s 1-0 derby defeat at Anfield still hurts. It ended their nine-match unbeaten league run stretching back to November, but Neville believes David Moyes’ side are ready to take out their frustration on the Premier League leaders. Carlo Ancelotti’s side will arrive on a high following their 2-0 victory over Arsenal on Sunday, but Neville insists the Blues have nothing to fear after the thrilling 3-3 draw when the clubs last met at Stamford Bridge in December. “We need to lick our wounds, get back to the training ground and look forward to Wednesday night,” Neville said. “Games are coming thick and fast at the moment and we can’t be feeling sorry for ourselves. “You’ve got to pick yourself up and get on with it. We’ve got to raise ourselves for another massive game at Goodison. “We’ve been showing an outstanding level of performance in the Premier League and we can take a lot of positives from the run that we’ve been on.
“I don’t think we should be frightened of anyone at the moment. “We’re playing well, we’re full of confidence, and we’ve got a lot of players back fit and ready to play in the big games. “We’ve got a strong squad now, and one that is looking forward to the next month. Let’s look forward to them and not be fearful of them.” If the Blues are going to cause an upset tomorrow night, Neville knows they will have to produce a greater cutting edge. Despite having an extra man for an hour at Anfield on Saturday they struggled to clear cut chances. The one major positive on a disappointing afternoon was the fact that Mikel Arteta got nearly an hour under his belt as he continues his comeback from long-term injury. “Mikel coming on meant we could dictate the game even more because he’s probably one of our best ball players,” Neville added. “We had large amounts of possession in the game, but when we got in that final third when we needed a little bit of composure, maybe even a cross, we just didn’t produce. “We had still chances, but we just didn’t have enough quality in the final third. “I think when a team goes down to 10 men they’re probably harder to play against. You know that they are looking for maybe just a set-piece goal which is what they got. “The goal gave them something to hang on to and we didn’t stretch them enough. “When you’re camped on the edge of your own box it’s easy to defend in front of you, and we didn’t get behind them. “But Chelsea on Wednesday is a great game to bounce back in. Them or Manchester United will win the league, they’re the next two we play, so we’re going to have to beat the champions over the next couple.”

NIGEL MARTYN: Everton FC played into Liverpool’s hands after Mersey derby sending off
February 9, 2010. Liverpool Echo
EVERTON fell into a trap during a really disappointing afternoon at Anfield and it was so frustrating to watch. When you’ve got an extra man like the Blues had in the second half there is always the temptation to play the easy pass. Yes, we kept the ball well but too often it went square and we weren’t able to really hurt Liverpool. We never got in behind them. I was really surprised to hear Rafa Benitez say we played into their hands by hitting a lot of long balls. I don’t think Everton were direct enough after the sending off. I was willing Liverpool to attack so we could break, but when we got it back there were too many passes and the build up was too slow.
Liverpool had two solid banks of four and we weren’t good enough to break them down. We kept trying to pass through them and that suited them. We needed to miss out the midfield more and focus on picking up the second balls. As it was we didn’t ask enough questions of their back four. Everton were like a boxer with lots of little jabs but no big punches. After Yakubu and Anichebe came on we asked a few more questions but we didn’t work their keeper enough. However begrudgingly, you have to admire the way Liverpool worked so hard with 10 men. They produced an Everton-like performance. They were resilient and after scoring from a set-piece they really dug in. It’s been 11 years since we won at Anfield, but I don’t think that played on the players’ minds. Once you’re out there you are just focused on the game.
We missed a great chance just before half-time and if Tim Cahill’s header had gone in it would have a very different game. It was fiesty and some of the tackles were a bit naughty, but you expect that in a derby. It was a difficult game to referee because there were a lot of 50-50 balls and in a derby players aren’t going to hold back.
Sotirios Kyrgiakos could have no complaints about his red card because it was a dangerous two-footed tackle. Marouane Fellaini did step on the defender and it didn’t look pretty, but he was trying to get out of the way. The sending off seemed to affect us more as after he went off injured we really missed Fellaini’s physical presence.
We are a small team and Fellaini would have provided a different option for us as we toiled in the second half.
Blues can bounce back against leaders Chelsea
WE can’t afford to dwell on what happened in the derby as we’ve got a massive game against Chelsea tomorrow night. It’s a great match to bounce back in and night matches like this one at Goodison are always special occasions. Chelsea are top and look very strong at the moment but we’ve done okay against them in recent years.
The fact that we drew 3-3 at Stamford Bridge in December should give us heart.
Chelsea won comfortably against Arsenal on Sunday. They scored twice early on and then soaked up a lot of pressure. They were happy to invite Arsenal on and then counter-attack. We have to be wary of that as they can turn defence into attack very quickly. The key is to keep it tight in midfield. I’m sure we’ll play five in there to match them and we’ve got to stay with the runners otherwise they will hurt us.
Petr Cech looks like he’s getting back to form but Chelsea have looked vulnerable from set-pieces this season and that’s one area we really need to target.
Hopefully, we’ll also see more of Mikel Arteta. The fact he got nearly an hour under his belt in the derby was one of the few positives. Arteta is a quality player and it’s great to see him back after such a horrible injury. It’s going to take a while for him to get back to the level we expect from him but he can still have a major impact.
Rare defensive slip so costly in Merseyside derby
THERE is no getting away from the fact that we conceded a poor goal against Liverpool. It was a real blow as it gave them something to hold on to. Even though they only had 10 men the longer it remained goalless they would have thrown players forward as they had to win. Liverpool did to us what we’ve done to so many teams. It was a great delivery from Steven Gerrard and I know from experience how difficult it is when he whips a corner in at that pace. He managed to put it right between Howard and Neville, but still you expect one of them to deal with it. Kuyt made a nuisance of himself but we were guilty of concentrating too much on the player rather than the ball. Neville was marking him on the outside so that anything inside Kuyt was the keeper’s. I’m sure they were both gutted as nobody should have a free header. It’s an error we have to learn from.

Everton FC face anxious wait over Marouane Fellaini ankle injury
February 9, 2010. By David Randles, Liverpool echo
MAROUANE FELLAINI was still on crutches today as Everton waited for confirmation of the extent of the midfielder’s ankle injury. David Moyes revealed on Saturday that his record signing had not sustained any fracture in the challenge which saw Sotirios Kyrgiakos sent off in the Anfield derby on Saturday afternoon.
But the Blues will not know the extent of any further damage until the swelling has gone down. Fellaini will definitely miss tomorrow night’s visit of Chelsea and could be sidelined for several weeks if he has sustained any ligament damage.
If the Belgian is ruled out for any significant period of time it would represent a major blow, as he was enjoying the best form of his Everton career so far.
Everton have already suffered major injury blows in the past 12 months with successive players of the year Phil Jagielka and Mikel Arteta both suffering cruciate knee ligament injuries. Sylvain Distin, meanwhile, insists the best way for Everton to overcome their derby disappointment is to bounce back against Chelsea.
The French defender admits there was a sombre atmosphere in the away dressing room following Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Anfield, but says there is no time for anyone to feel sorry for themselves. Premier League leaders Chelsea arrive at Goodison Park tomorrow night. It is the second of six high profile games for the Blues in February, with home and away Europa League meetings against Sporting Lisbon, plus Manchester United and Tottenham. Now Distin says time for reflection on the derby defeat is over and Everton must set their sights on Carlo Ancelotti’s men.
“There was no reaction after the derby really,” said Distin. “Everyone just sat down and listened to the gaffer for five or 10 minutes. “Everyone just stood still for a while, feeling sorry for ourselves I suppose. “But there are a lot of games and you don’t really have too much time to feel sorry for yourself. That’s the way it is in England. You have to refocus on the next game. “Chelsea is going to be another big game and it’s a big month so we have to turn the page and learn from our mistakes and carry on.” Everton failed to capitalise on the first half sending off of Liverpool defender Kyrgiakos on Saturday. Instead, it was the Reds who went on to score through Dirk Kuyt who found the back of the net from a corner. “Sometimes losing one man can make everybody work harder,” adds Distin. “That’s what happened for Liverpool. We didn’t take advantage of that. We didn’t finish our chances. “They have scored from a set-piece, which is a strong point for us, so maybe it was just down to a lack of concentration that has led to them scoring. “I don’t think we played that badly against Liverpool. It’s not all negative and I’m sure we’ll soon look at everything with a different point of view.” With Steven Pienaar suspended for the visit of Chelsea following his red card at Anfield, Chelsea skipper John Terry will also be the subject of a late fitness test prior to tomorrow’s match. The Chelsea captain sustained a dead leg in the Londoners 2-0 win over Arsenal on Sunday and is being closely monitored by the club’s medical team.

Everton FC manager David Moyes wants Louis Saha to get back amongst the goals
February 10, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today challenged Louis Saha to rediscover the goal-grabbing form that convinced Everton to hand him a new two-year deal. The Blues boss knows his players need to improve their quality in the final third of the pitch if they are to recover from Saturday’s derby defeat by beating Chelsea. And he wants Saha, who has only scored once in his last eight appearances despite notching 13 overall this season, to lead the way. He said: “If we can get our centre-forwards right I think we can cause Chelsea problems. “I’m looking for Louis to contribute more goals. A lot of his goals have come in the early part of the season. “He has great talent and ability. He does thrive on a lot of confidence and needs that confidence and self belief.
“We’ve shown a lot of confidence in him in keeping him here and we want him to get the goals to go with it. “He has played well in some games lately, but he hasn’t got the goals and we want him to get that goal-scoring form back.” Moyes insists Saha, who was tracked by Spurs and Arsenal before signing a new deal last Friday, has the qualities that can command big transfer fees in other players. He said: “Louis is a player who has that level of quality that people are looking for. “But I would argue that in the last few games we have missed quality in the final third that only money can purchase. “Louis is a top player, Yak came on too on Saturday, we have Pienaar, Donovan and Cahill too, and we are looking for those kind of attacking players to score goals and be creative. “One of the hard parts is to try and challenge when you are looking at a different standard of player.” A career first victory over Chelsea would be the perfect way for Moyes to celebrate his 300th league game as Everton manager, but the Scot is wary of how losing Marouane Fellaini through injury will affect his side. He said: “It is a massive blow to lose him. It was noticeable how much we missed him when he went off on Saturday. “He has been a really influential player for us but at least, in terms of numbers, we are not struggling to fill that role now.
“His ankle was swollen terribly by the time we got back to Finch Farm on Saturday.
“It was the size of an elephant’s ankle and it shocked me how bad it looked. I couldn’t tell you if he’ll be out for three days or much longer, it would be wrong to speculate at this stage.” Steven Pienaar will also miss tonight’s game after his sending off at Anfield. However, Victor Anichebe is available after figuring against Liverpool.
The striker made his debut against Chelsea in the FA Cup four years ago and will be hoping to be involved again tonight. He said: “Chelsea are doing really well at the moment. “Didier Drogba is doing really well for them but we’ve been doing well also.”

Everton manager David Moyes calls on Blues to improve on their derby set-pieces against Chelsea
February 10, 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
ANY team possessing the potent delivery of Leighton Baines and the defensive solidity of Phil Neville and John Heitinga should thrive on attacking set-pieces and deal comfortably with opposition corners. In previous seasons David Moyes has been able to rely on his teams getting such basic drills right consistently.
But Everton were undone in Saturday’s game by a quality corner from Steven Gerrard which caused chaos in the Blues’ box, and Moyes is adamant that his troops must rediscover their set-piece edge, if they can bounce back against Chelsea at Goodison tonight. He said: “We needed to be better in the box but we lost the game to one set-piece. Our set-piece delivery was poor and their’s was excellent, and we made matters worse by not defending properly against theirs.” But Moyes insisted he can still take some positives from the game at Anfield, despite the overall sense of despondency among the blue half of Merseyside. He said: “I’ve studied the game again as I would any other and of course we can learn and take something into this game.
“I’ve had a look at the stats and they tell me something too, the amount of possession we had for one. The players are playing with a lot of confidence and have done really well, and they did well on Saturday as I have said. “I remember the situation being reversed. We have been to Anfield and not had the ball as much in the past as we did on Saturday, and I’m talking about when it was 11 v 11, not just 11 v 10.”
Instead of fearing the task of competing against another top four side so soon after the demoralising weekend defeat, Moyes believes the tough run of games his side face can be advantageous. He said: “It can be good to have big games in a row because it keeps your performance level high and your levels of concentration up there as well.
“You understand that you’ve got to be at your best and make no mistakes to beat them, which is why a tough run is not always such a bad thing.”
Tonight’s clash has the potential added spice of John Terry playing in his first away game since he was stripped of the England captaincy after damaging allegations about his private life. The Goodison crowd are almost certain to make it an uncomfortable experience for Terry if he plays, but Moyes does not think the England man will be easily ruffled. He said: “That’s football now. I’ve been to a few grounds recently where supporters try to unsettle individual players for whatever reason but who knows what will happen? John Terry might not even play in the game. “John Terry is the captain of Chelsea and I’m sure he’s not out there playing for them thinking that he’s the captain of England, or about the England captaincy. “He will not be thinking of England when he is playing for Chelsea, I am sure of that.” One player certain to be targeted by opposition teams for his ability rather than his private life is Everton’s Steven Pienaar, and Moyes watched Liverpool single out the South African during the derby. Pienaar dished out his own rough stuff throughout the game, but Moyes was still irked by his eventual dismissal. He said: “Would you have the challenge Jamie Carragher had on Steven Pienaar as tougher than the one Steven Pienaar had on Steven Gerrard? Which was the tougher? Which one more merited a yellow card?
“The point is, it was nothing. We knew it. We knew what Carragher would be like. We saw him against Tottenham, we knew he would be tough and get stuck in.
“But Steven Pienaar is a really tough boy, a really, really hard boy, and it didn’t worry me one bit. He will certainly be able to take the knocks and kicks.” Moyes does however increasingly feel frustrated by the amount of vital players he has lost to injury through bad challenges this season. He said: “Phil Neville at Fulham was this season, and so was Steven Pienaar at Portsmouth. “Losing players through injury during the game is a blow. It’s part of the game, we don’t complain too much about it and get on with it. But other teams complain when we tackle them.” Now the Everton manager is hoping that returning stars like Jack Rodwell and Mikel Arteta can get back to full match fitness quickly, especially after losing Marouane Fellaini with a damaged ankle.
He said: “Jack Rodwell is fit. I’m a bit wary of his overall fitness but he’s back in the squad. “I didn’t expect Mikel to play as long as he did on Saturday. He was a bit stiff yesterday, but against Liverpool he was good. He got on the ball and was able to play his game. “He played 50 minutes on Saturday and that’s more than I’d expect at this time. “ It hasn’t changed my mind on him. I am still looking to keep him back a bit. But we haven’t had many reserve games for me to give him a 70-minute run-out, so he is having to find his feet back in the first team, which isn’t ideal. But we chose to do that because he’s influential.” Moyes believes that Arteta needs more playing time to overcome the psychological barrier of risking injury again by tackling.
He said: “That’s why I’m still saying I have to let him gradually get that back. You can’t put that on in training, you can only get it through games and it coming naturally. People who have long-term injuries, getting back into the bruising part of the game is difficult.”

Chelsea’s John Terry to face Everton FC but out of Cardiff FA Cup tie
February 10, 2010. Liverpool Echo
JOHN TERRY is fit to face Everton tonight but will be allowed to miss Chelsea’s FA Cup fifth round tie against Cardiff this weekend if he wants to try to patch up his marriage. Terry has recovered from the dead leg he collected in the victory over Arsenal on Sunday and will lead the Londoners at Goodison Park. He is expected to leave for Dubai after the game to spend time with his wife Toni and coach Carlo Ancelotti confirmed Terry will be given time off should he ask for it. “We have spoken and we will take the decision together after the Everton game to see if he needs to rest two days or if he wants to stay here and play against Cardiff,” said Ancelotti. “He has not asked for any time off to see his wife. My preference is what he wants. I am totally supportive of him. We will make the decision together.”

Everton FC fan letters - was Mikel Arteta move the right one
February 10, 2010. Liverpool Echo
WE completely fell into Liverpool’s trap.
Carragher’s tackle after 10 seconds set the scene and we quickly followed suit.
Piennar was lucky to last until he did and Fellaini should have gone too. We had better players on the pitch but just chose to hump the ball as usual and forgot to play how we did against Manchester City. The team seems incapable of stringing consistently high performances together. We can string results, but it's not the same thing. Our play was pedestrian, predictable and boring. I can't believe we've lost to such a poor Liverpool side. The frustration is you know that this team is capable of competing against anybody. But I'm beginning to think that mentally, the players are not tough enough to cut it when it really matters.
LIVERPOOL deserved to win the derby.
Fundamentally, this game was a reality check for Everton and our ambitions.
David Moyes has accumulated a sound squad which, provided it stays under his stewardship, will continue to be a competent top 10 team for the foreseeable future.
However, in order to join the top four or to compete with them Everton need pace and it is for this reason why they lost to Liverpool. For probity purposes Everton defensively, look very solid and it is time to unleash the SuperEagles Yakubu & Anichebe as an attacking duo.
David, Aintree
DAVID MOYES made the wrong decision in bringing Mikel Arteta on as a substitute against Liverpool. The only way we were going to win the game was to keep the tempo high on Liverpool; given they had one man less they would eventually have become tired and we'd have had more joy in finding gaps. Unfortunately, Moyes brought on Arteta, who is still a long, long way from fitness or match sharpness.
As a result, his presence on the field completely changed the game, it slowed it down incredibly and therefore Liverpool had all the time in the world to get back and regroup.
IT was a strange decision to bring Mikel Arteta on.
Maybe David Moyes thought the Spaniard was the one with the creativity to, well, create. But, our tempo slowed down and Liverpool had plenty of time to regroup and the hustle and bustle of a derby game isn't a game for a player who's just coming back from an horrendous injury. And Saha didn’t look interested, which is just plain annoying.
AS disappointing as the derby result was, we must not dwell on it.
Chelsea certainly won’t have any sympathy for us so we must be ready for what they’re sure to throw at us. Nick a win against the Londoners, and we’ll all be smiling again.

Everton FC manager David Moyes issues Louis Saha goal challenge
February 10, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today challenged Louis Saha to rediscover the goal-grabbing form that convinced Everton to hand him a new two-year deal. The Blues boss knows his players need to improve their quality in the final third of the pitch if they are to recover from Saturday’s derby defeat by beating Chelsea. And he wants Saha, who has only scored once in his last eight appearances despite notching 13 overall this season, to lead the way. He said: “If we can get our centre-forwards right I think we can cause Chelsea problems. “I’m looking for Louis to contribute more goals. A lot of his goals have come in the early part of the season. “He has great talent and ability. He does thrive on a lot of confidence and needs that confidence and self belief.
“We’ve shown a lot of confidence in him in keeping him here and we want him to get the goals to go with it. “He has played well in some games lately, but he hasn’t got the goals and we want him to get that goal-scoring form back.” Moyes insists Saha, who was tracked by Spurs and Arsenal before signing a new deal last Friday, has the qualities that can command big transfer fees in other players. He said: “Louis is a player who has that level of quality that people are looking for. “But I would argue that in the last few games we have missed quality in the final third that only money can purchase. “Louis is a top player, Yak came on too on Saturday, we have Pienaar, Donovan and Cahill too, and we are looking for those kind of attacking players to score goals and be creative. “One of the hard parts is to try and challenge when you are looking at a different standard of player.” A career first victory over Chelsea would be the perfect way for Moyes to celebrate his 300th league game as Everton manager, but the Scot is wary of how losing Marouane Fellaini through injury will affect his side. He said: “It is a massive blow to lose him. It was noticeable how much we missed him when he went off on Saturday. “He has been a really influential player for us but at least, in terms of numbers, we are not struggling to fill that role now.
“His ankle was swollen terribly by the time we got back to Finch Farm on Saturday.
“It was the size of an elephant’s ankle and it shocked me how bad it looked. I couldn’t tell you if he’ll be out for three days or much longer, it would be wrong to speculate at this stage, but we opted for the train to London because we didn’t want to sit him in a car for the journey.” Steven Pienaar will also miss tonight’s game after his sending off at Anfield, and Moyes may hand recalls to fit-again Jack Rodwell or midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. l For your first match report online visit: www.liverpoolecho.co.uk after the final whistle.

Everton FC 2, Chelsea 1: full time report
February 10, 2010. By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
LOUIS SAHA gave an instant response to his manager's call for greater firepower with a double barrelled blast that saw the Blues come from behind to beat Chelsea for the first time under David Moyes' watch. The Frenchman scored his 14th and 15th goals of the season - and could have been celebrating a hat-trick but for a missed penalty on the stroke of half-time. Saha's salvo was the perfect antidote for the post-derby Blues and gave Everton a thoroughly merited victory. Florent Malouda drilled the visitors ahead after 17 minutes, before Saha thundered a header past Cech to level.
The Frenchman then shot too close to Cech after Donovan had been tripped by Carvalho but made up for it with a stunning chest down and volley 15 minutes from time. It was a stunning response from the Blues after Saturday's derby disappointment and a rocking Goodison Park roared their side off at the final whistle.
With Marouane Fellaini still awaiting a specialists' verdict on his ankle injured in Saturday's demolition derby and Steven Pienaar suspended, David Moyes was forced to make two changes to his starting line-up. Mikel Arteta made his first start for almost a year and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov started for the first time since the FA Cup defeat by Birmingham last month. Arteta lasted 75 minutes and was increasingly influential as the match wore on. John Terry, predictably, was booed by a handful of fans - presumably active campaigners for the Sanctity of Marriage Bureau - but it was a token effort and hardly deflected the former England skipper from his game.
In fact the opening exchanges were tepid, Frank Lampard fizzing a firm drive a yard wide after seven minutes the only meaningful goalmouth action. That all changed after 17 minutes. Petr Cech's long clearance was straightforward enough, but Phil Neville fatally stepped forward to shove Drogba in a folorn bid to put the muscular striker off his header. The Ivorian simply cushioned a header behind him to the man
Neville had left, Florent Malouda, who crashed the ball past Howard.
The early strike allowed Chelsea to sitdeep, trying to lure Everton out of their own half and chisel further openings in the Blues' back four, but the home side seemed reluctant to comply. After 27 minutes Bilyaletdinov's first time cross from the left was met on the run by Leighton Baines dashing into the Chelsea penalty box, but his first time volley flew straight at Cech. But the effort seemed to rouse the Blues and they forced a couple of corners, the second of which produced a glorious headed equaliser.
Landon Donovan's corner, from the Blues' right, was curled away from Cech and Louis Saha met it on the run to lose his marker, John Terry, and bury a thunderous header past Cech. Two minutes later Leon Osman went close with a rising 20-yard drive as Everton started to up the tempo. But Chelsea responded with an even closer effort of their own, Drogba skirting around Neville to the byline and
pulling a cross back for Anelka to flick inches wide of the post. Two minutes before the interval Everton broke superbly and carved out their clearest opening of the half. Cahill invited Donovan to sprint down the right and the American raced deep into Chelsea territory before clipping a cross to the unmarked Saha. It was a difficult ball for the Frenchman to control, but he got his shot off only for Cech to
block with his chest. On the stroke of half-time the same three players were involved again, this time to carve out an even better opportunity - and once again to allow Cech to show off his goalkeeping prowess. Donovan was tripped on the edge of the penalty area by Ricardo Carvalho and Alan Wiley thought long and hard before
pointing to the spot. There were no Chelsea complaints. Louis Saha, confidence soaring from his earlier header, stepped up to take the penalty but it wasn't a convincing effort. Struck to Cech's left, midway between the keeper and the post and at a comfortable height, too, the giant Czech only had dive the correct way to save. He did. If the miss had deflated the Blues during the half-time break it didn't show.
They started the second period positively and Saha almost made up for his miss when he chested down inside the penalty area and drilled a fierce shot into the turf and narrowly wide. Everton were a team transformed and the attacked their wannabe table-topping visitors with real purpose. Bilyaletdinov was denied by a superb Ivanovic interception as he tried to switch feet to shoot from just inside the
penalty area then Arteta danced to the byline but pulled the ball back inches behind Saha. A clearly concerned Carlo Ancelotti made a couple of switches. First Michael Ballack came on for Asley Cole to try and regain some measure of midfield control, then Salomon Kalou replaced Nicolas Anelka in a straightforward
striking swap. David Moyes swapped the tiring but nevertheless impressive Mikel Arteta with Jack Rodwell, and it was the Everton switch which paid off.
There appeared little initial danger when Sylvain Distin launched a huge clearance downfield from the left back berth, but Saha leaped in front of Terry to chest the ball into his path then drilled a magnificent left-footed volley past Cech.
Chelsea were stung and Drogba looped a header against the bar then Frank Lampard saw a daisycutter diverted behind by Howard's outstretched right hand.
There were howls of outrage when the fourth official indicated that Alan Wiley had found five minutes of added time for Chelsea to try and find an equaliser, but it was a nerveless period for the Blues who saw out the match to register a thoroughly deserved victory.
EVERTON: Howard, Neville, Heitinga, Distin, Baines, Donovan, Arteta (Rodwell 73), Osman, Bilyaletdinov (Gosling 85), Cahill, Saha (Senderos 95). Unused substitutes: Nash, Vaughan, Yakubu, Coleman.
CHELSEA: Cech, Ivanovic, Carvalho, Terry, Cole (Ballack 56), Malouda, Lampard, Mikel (Sturridge 75), Zhirkov,
Drogba, Anelka (Kalou 66). Unused substitutes: Hilario, Ferreira, Matic, Bruma.
Referee: Alan Wiley.
Bookings: Mikel (handball); Donovan (only Alan Wiley knows what for), Malouda (foul).

Everton FC fans jury
February 11, 2010. Liverpool Echo
ON Saturday before kick-off I wasn’t worried about Liverpool. If they finish fourth they will have done extremely well, which makes defeat even harder to take. I thought Liverpool on Saturday at best were awful and Everton somehow managed to be even worse! I was sat in the main stand and the abuse Ngog and Babel received was a bit over the top and even Dirk Kuyt the goalscoring matchwinner didn’t seem the most popular man on the pitch. It’s obvious things aren’t great at Anfield and Everton probably missed the best chance in years to capitalise and take all three points.
Certain players in blue shirts never stood up and allowed themselves to be counted, which is a real shame as the boys have really started to look like a team getting back to winning ways. Everton bottled it and sadly allowed a glorious opportunity to pass them by.
I WAS bitterly disappointed that we failed to finally win a game across the Park after 11 years. To be honest, regardless of the result, it wasn’t a good game to watch.
The referee clearly meant business and dished cards out like there was no tomorrow, but that didn’t stop the usual heated derby moments. I won’t dwell on Fellaini, whether he was right or wrong, I am just gutted that he is unavailable for a few games and he will be a great loss. This was proved in the derby. After he got sent off we never recovered. The same with Pienaar, all game he was pushed around so it didn’t surprise me that he got shown the red card. With Fellaini and Pienaar both out I fear as to what the next few games could throw up.
LIKE most Evertonians I’ve spent the week locked in a dark room examining the entrails of the derby defeat. There’s an old saying that history is repeated – first as tragedy then as farce. What we saw on Saturday was just a reprise of the 2006 Anfield derby. Liverpool get a player sent off and Everton go to pieces after that.
We concede a sloppy goal and then a player gets red carded near the end – Pienaar (just like Andy van Somebody). Why the hell were we so poor in the second half? Liverpool just reverted to Champions League mode and put 10 men behind the ball.
We just couldn’t break them down, Reina didn’t have to make a save until the 89th minute. Sorry, but Anichebe wins the Brett Angell impersonation award as an ale house striker who couldn’t hit a barn door from two paces.
DID either side deserve to win the derby ?
I don’t think either keeper had a save to make but our neighbours took advantage of our slack marking up at set-pieces. The first thing I was told to do when playing under-11s Sunday football years ago was to get goal side when marking up, so I didn’t think an experienced Everton captain with more medals than anyone on the pitch could be so bad at that on Saturday. Special praise has to go to Steven Gerrard for conning the ref and going down like a wet cozzie. I’m sure if it was Cristiano Ronaldo doing that the media would be slating him. Everton will have to learn that some of our ball players, particularly the likes of Pienaar and Felliani, are going to be targeted so in future we need to know how to deal with it.

Everton FC 2, Chelsea 1: Sensational Louis Saha has last laugh
Feb 11 2010 by Philip Kirkbride, Liverpool Daily Post
JOHN TERRY is reportedly to be granted compassionate leave by Chelsea this weekend but Everton were in no mood to offer similar sympathy last night.
As they did in December’s 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge, Everton did much to tarnish the championship credentials of the Londoners whist adding greater credence to their own beliefs reclaiming a European place after a torrid start to the season may not just be stuff of pipe dreams. Twice Louis Saha took a leaf out of the nations tabloid’s last night by exposing the latest shortcomings of former England captain Terry to hand Everton the win in an enthralling encounter. Three points were the least the Goodison outfit deserved after providing a thorough examination of the league leader’s title aspirations and the victory, Moyes’ first as a manager against Chelsea in 23 attempts, will have done wonders in repairing damaged pride suffered in the wake of Saturday’s Merseyside derby and takes them up to ninth in the table. Everton made two changes from the side which came unstuck in the clash with Liverpool; out went the injured Marouane Fellaini and suspended Steven Pienaar, in came Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Mikel Arteta making his first start for almost 12 months. Few gave David Moyes’ men a chance of victory when the sides met in the ‘battle’ of Stamford Bridge in mid December but a display of high resolve and huge commitment gave Everton a point in a pulsating 3-3 draw – the hope was his 300th Premier League game in charge of the Goodison outfit would break the Scot’s duck against the Londoners and produce a similarly positive outcome to that seen before Christmas. The early boos which greeted the touch of Chelsea skipper Terry were as predictable as the swagger with which the visitors approached the initial exchanges. Fears around Goodison were Wednesday night’s 8pm kick-off had come too soon after the misery of the 213th Merseyside derby at Anfield; Carlo Ancelotti’s men were after all in imperious form, top of the league and with five wins out of their last six games. Chelsea’s dominance of the play suggested such gloomy predictions would materialise, however for all their possession only an off target Frank Lampard drive a Branislav Ivanovic volley, which met similar a fate, were all the visitors had to offer as means for concern.
Intricate play was yielding little for the away side so they opted for route one and in doing so claimed the first goal of the game. Goalkeeper Peter Cech’s clearance upfield was flicked on by Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda stole in behind a flat-footed Phil Neville to fire first time beyond Howard – Everton were undone once more by play of the most simplistic nature. As Wolverhampton Wanderers, Stoke City and most recently Liverpool did before them, Chelsea exposed the Goodison outfit’s ability to shoot themselves in the foot. Yet Everton were to return the tactic in kind when Louis Saha grabbed his 100th League goal in the 34th minute as they eventually built up a head of steam. The home side had created little up to that point, other than Leighton Baines firing a powerless shot on goal, but from Landon Donovan’s corner Saha heaped more misery on Terry by beating him to the ball at the near post and nodding past Cech. The irony with which both first half goals arrived will not have been lost on either manager.Nicolas Anelka almost burst Everton’s bubble but fluffed a chance from six yards out after Drogba had powered to the by-line and cut the ball back for the Frenchman. But the France international in Everton’s ranks, Saha, set the half up for a final flurry of action – however he would fail to deliver on his lines.
Played into the area by Donovan, Saha’s close range effort was smothered by Cech before the American regained possession and was then felled by Ricardo Carvalho to hand Moyes’ men a penalty. Up stepped Saha, sure to net his 101st goal in the English league, but Chelsea’s stopper sprung finely to his left to palm out the spot-kick and keep the scores level at the break; however, the balance of the tie had dramatically tipped in Everton’s favour. That pressure carried into the second half as Bilyaletdinov forced Cech to tip over his bar smartly from an effort which in truth looked more like a cross, before Saha got the better of Terry once more to fashion a chance which he scuffed marginally wide – it would not be the end of their personal dual.
Goodison was by now overwhelmed with a blazing atmosphere as Chelsea looked uncertain and nervous under the relentless surge Everton were mounting – it was turning into an evening where the intimidating reputation of their home patch was coming into fruition. Back to basics play would prove the order of the day as Everton finally reaped their reward in the 75th minute, but the manner in which Saha controlled Baines’ long punt upfield was anything but amateur. Out foxing the jumping Terry, Saha chested the ball down and strode onto the ball before smashing beyond Cech with a left foot volley – a calibre of goal a select band of player are capable of. Another of those who can mimic Saha’s exquisite is Drogba who almost levelled the game soon afterwards when heading against bar but, for all Chelsea’s late pressure, Everton stood firm to claim a fine win. Not even the launch of the Premier League’s sexual health awareness campaign was enough to convince Moyes’ men of extending any love to the league leaders, such sentiments were in short supply.

Everton FC 2 Chelsea 1 - Greg O'Keeffe on the Blues winning the hard way
February 11, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe
EVERTON Football Club and Louis Saha may just be the perfect match.
For decades Bluenoses have had cause to sigh wearily, and wonder out loud why their grand old team just never seems to do things the easy way. The Toffees arrived at Anfield last weekend for the 213th Merseyside derby in fine fettle, routinely backed to topple their bitter rivals for the first time in 11 years. Liverpool went a man down – and the Blues choked. So how wonderfully, predictably Everton was it that only four days later David Moyes’ men should pick themselves up, brush off their despondency and defeat the league leaders for the first time under the Scot? Goodison Park regulars have long learned to expect the unexpected, and shun the obvious. It certainly adds extra delight to Goodison nights like these. Likewise Saha. The Frenchman could have notched his 15th goal of the season with a straightforward penalty against Chelsea. But that would have been too straightforward. Just like his contrary club, Saha took the hard but ultimately rewarding route – and won the game for the Blues with a goal borne of world-class ability. The striker’s towering leap over John Terry and exocet finish past one of the best goalkeepers in Europe, encapsulated every last bit of his enigmatic brilliance. For his manager it was validation of a confidence in progress unshaken by the derby setback. It also underlined why he was right to seal a new deal for Saha, as Chelsea were beaten for the first time in 10 years by Everton thanks to the ex-Manchester United man’s timely brace. The game had started patchily, as John Terry’s early touches were booed pantomime style by the Goodison crowd, but otherwise the disgraced star was largely ignored. Evertonians had more pressing concerns, and the atmosphere was muted despite the boost of Mikel Arteta making his first start for the Blues in almost a year. But Everton’s battling 3-3 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in December had suggested the Blues were getting closer to an elusive win against their opponents. David Moyes had stressed beforehand that his side needed to improve their set-pieces, but Mikel Arteta was unable to beat the first man from the Blues’ first free-kick. Arteta was not the only player in blue showing initial rustiness. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov has missed only a fraction of playing time compared to the Spaniard’s year on the sidelines, but his early touches were frustratingly haphazard. The Russian midfielder will need a proper Everton pre-season before he can flourish at Goodison, as too often he appears lost by the pace of the Premier League. But the Toffees had enjoyed a steady opening period until they were undone by a decidedly un-Chelsea like route one opener. Petr Cech’s long punt towards the Blues box was flicked on by Drogba and Florent Malouda left Phil Neville flat-footed, to stroke the ball past Tim Howard. As the game settled, Everton struggled to contribute much more than one frustrating set-piece after another. It was only a hardy few who mustered any optimism when the Blues won a corner with 10 minutes of the half left, but Landon Donovan’s perfect cross was met by Louis Saha who burst past John Terry to flash a magnificent bullet header into the back of the net. The Frenchman’s 100th Premier League goal was a finish reminiscent of Duncan Ferguson in his prime. Proof positive that the powerful striker has heeded his manager’s call to prove he made the right decision in awarding him a two-year contract extension. Saha had another chance when Ricardo Carvalho dragged Donovan down just inside the area. To the delight of the Gwladys Street, Alan Wiley pointed to the spot but Saha showed the other, more mystifying side of his nature, with a weak penalty which was easily saved by Cech. It was a rare opportunity to take a rare lead against the West Londoners squandered. But Moyes clearly used the break to instil belief in his side that they could beat Chelsea for the first time in his reign.
Carlo Ancelotti responded by withdrawing the injured Ashley Cole for Michael Ballack. But still Everton came at them and Donovan began to link up decisively with Arteta as the game crackled into life. Everton undoubtedly missed the commanding presence of Marouane Fellaini and the flair of Steven Pienaar, but they coped.
Leon Osman was quietly effective and tidy in the centre of midfield, and Arteta gradually began to unearth his edge with each pass growing in potency.
It was testament to the midfielder’s improving fitness that he was given 74 minutes after another lengthy run-out against Liverpool. Everton were playing with tangible self-belief, even more satisfying after the depression of a derby defeat, and their optimism was rewarded. Sylvain Distin pinged a long ball towards the Chelsea box and Louis Saha beat Terry to the header and then thrashed his own knock down past a despairing Cech. Chelsea were rocked, but almost levelled from a corner when Drogba headed against the bar and then Terry curled a shot high and wide.
It signalled a somewhat inevitable spell of domination by the away side, but Tim Howard’s punching from their various corners was strong and Everton weathered the storm. It was the perfect tonic ahead of the remaining challenges February will bring, and proof that Everton may not always do things simply – but they are still capable of making a success of this season.
Everton: Howard, Neville (capt), Heitinga, Distin, Baines, Bilyaletdinov (Gosling 86), Osman, Cahill, Arteta (Rodwell 74), Donovan, Saha (Senderos 94).
Subs: Nash, Vaughan, Coleman, Yakubu.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Carvalho, Cole (Ballack 58), Lampard, Mikel (Sturridge), Malouda, Zhirkov, Anelka (Kalou 68), Drogba.
Subs: Hilario, Ferreira, Matic, Bruma.
Referee: Alan Wiley.
Attendance: 36,411.

Everton FC comment - real trouble and strife for John Terry
February 11, 2010. By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
BUT what about the misses?
For once the question didn’t involve the former England captain’s nearest and dearest.
But it still added up to trouble and strife for John Terry. The Chelsea defender’s problems were Gallic in their conception once again – but this time it was Everton’s frustrated French striker rather than a Parisian lingerie model who caused his pain.
Louis Saha had a point to prove after Saturday’s anonymous display in the derby.
And boy did he ram it home. He missed a penalty. He arrowed another couple of acceptable opportunities wide of the target, but the misses meant nothing because he gave a double-barrelled answer to his manager’s pre-match call for greater firepower.
Both goals were classics of the centre-forward’s art, the kind of strikes which would have had commentators and analysts drooling had his opposite number, Didier Drogba, scored them. The first was a glorious header on the run from Landon Donovan’s outswinging corner, the second was a blistering volley after chesting down Sylvain Distin’s huge clearance. And, of course, he got away from John Terry each time. But while the nation’s moral guardians will scoff at the Chelsea wide boy being led a merry dance for a change, Evertonians will simply cherish a thoroughly deserved win. It ended Everton’s longest winless run against any opposition in their history – 24 games since they last celebrated success over Chelsea – it was the last “big-four” scalp David Moyes was waiting to claim, and it blew away the negativity and self doubt which had started to settle over Evertonians since the Anfield disappointment.
To be fair it was a mindset their manager refused to countenance.
David Moyes was adamant his team hadn’t played badly on Saturday.
He told anybody who would listen his team didn’t deserve to lose, and he told a couple of reporters their post-match reflections had been unduly harsh on his team.
If it was a psychological ploy designed to keep his players’ heads up ahead of an equally testing assignment – and I’m still not sure it was, I think he believed his assessment – it worked a treat. Everton went a goal down, they saw Chelsea dominate slabs of play in the first half, but they came roaring back with a spirited performance which unhinged the Premier League title pretenders and gave them a thoroughly deserved victory. Louis Saha epitomised that character. I was the first to toss the overly cynical accusation of a man playing like he’d just signed a new contract into print after Saturday’s lacklustre show. I wholeheartedly retract that allegation today. Saha was excellent. But he wasn’t alone. Landon Donovan is a man Everton should be tying up to a longer term contract if there is any wriggle-room in his LA Galaxy deal, while Mikel Arteta produced much, much more than a man making his first Premier League start in almost a year had any right to. Then there was Tim Cahill.
It was team-mate Tim Howard who memorably described the little Australian as like “an annoying little gnat.” You knew what he was getting at. Except a gnat is easily squished. This Aussie insect has a sting and he tormented Chelsea’s rearguard throughout. But the man who pierced Chelsea’s heart was his strike partner.
Louis Saha knocked the former England captain off the back pages this morning – and it takes some performance to do that at the moment.

David Moyes says Louis Saha should have scored four goals against Chelsea
February 11, 2010. By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES paid tribute to Everton’s two-goal matchwinner Louis Saha last night – then chided the French forward for not coming off the Goodison Park pitch with the matchball. Saha scored two superb goals to help his side beat Chelsea 2-1, but wasted a penalty and saw another couple of chances fly wide. “He should have had four, not two!” smiled Moyes, who pre-match had called on his top scorer to rediscover the firepower which had brought him 12 goals before Christmas, but only one from the penalty spot since then, before last night. “I’ve challenged him again,” Moyes added. “I gave him a slight pat on the back, but not a full one. “I thought Louis played really well against John Terry down at Stamford Bridge and he did it again tonight. I think John Terry was worried when the long ball dropped over the top and Louis took it on his chest but, hey, John Terry’s a top centre-half and if they don’t want him I’ll have him!” The Blues boss also singled out American international Landon Donovan for “maybe his best performance so far for us.” He added: “Landon Donovan played really well tonight. I thought it may have been his best game for us.
“I thought he did really well. He was a threat, he tracked Ashley Cole who is great going forward, he made intelligent runs inside him which at times caught him out.
“I don’t think we’ll be able to keep him any longer than the three months. He’s signed a new contract with the Galaxy but I don’t think us keeping him will probably happen.
“It’s a terrific result but it just underlines the way we’ve been playing in recent weeks and months. “They tell me it’s the first time I’ve beaten Chelsea, but I’d rather have won the FA Cup final if I could have had my way – but I didn’t.
“The reasons why you don’t beat Chelsea is they have bought really good players and spent heavily. “I don’t think Chelsea play Everton with any form of complacency. There may be other teams in the Premier League where that happens but I don’t think that happens against Everton – neither do any of the top teams because they know that when they play Everton they’re going to get a real game if they’re not at it.
“We knew February was going to be a tough month for us but this sets us up for it.”

Louis Saha makes Everton FC goals pledge
February 11, 2010, By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
LOUIS SAHA today pledged to continue firing Everton up the table after putting the stress of his contract negotiations behind him. The French forward bagged his 15th strike of the season during the Toffees’ 2-1 win over Chelsea at Goodison, and insisted there are more goals on the way. He signed a new two-year deal last week after reaching a compromise over wages with the Everton board, and feels ready to go from strength to strength. He said: “It’s really good to have the contract talk settled.
“It was a bit stressful and I’m glad we found an agreement. “Now I want to show every day and at every opportunity that I can work hard. “I don’t set goal targets. I just want to play most of the games and get myself in a good position to score more goals and they will come. “The main thing is to stay at the right level. “I signed and committed my future to the club and my aim is to do the best I can.” Saha missed a penalty in the first half of the game against Carlo Ancelotti’s table topping side, but atoned with a wonderful second half strike to give the Blues the lead.
He added: “It was not about my performance, more about a great team spirit.
“ I’m so happy to be a part of it. “It was always going to be hard after we lost in the derby even though I don’t think we played badly. “It seemed like it was just not our day, so against a big club like Chelsea it was important we showed our belief and we took the opportunity.” Saha’s winning goal came courtesy of a pinpoint pitch-length ball from countryman Sylvain Distin, and the 31-year-old was appreciative of its quality. Saha enthused: “It was a great ball. It’s an easy job when you get a perfect pass like that from Sylvain. The great thing is we have lads like Bainesy and Johnny and Phil who can all play good balls up like that. “Now the main thing is that Everton are going up. “It’s a big month and we need to concentrate and keep the same level of performance as we climb up the table. “When you have been injured you come back and try to enjoy football more and I have had big spells out so I’m happy.”
Although Saha’s injury record has improved vastly since he moved to Goodison, the striker is at a loss to explain why. He finished: “I’m not doing anything differently now, I’m just getting more luck with injuries. “ I’m looking for answers to why it’s better but I never find them so I just get on with it.”

Howard Kendall: Europa League important for Everton FC
February 12, 2010. Liverpool Echo
THE FA Cup exit has led to a free weekend meaning thoughts can now turn to the Europa League and Sporting Lisbon. Sporting visit Goodison next Tuesday with Everton travelling to Lisbon for the second leg a week later. It’s often said that having the second leg at home is an advantage, but I’m not so sure. It can work both ways as there’s always the chance you can kill the tie if you’re at home first. Don’t take anything away from the Europa League. People have undermined it in recent years, saying it’s not like the Champions League. In some ways it’s now treated in the same manner as the FA Cup is by some of the so-called bigger clubs. There’s an increasing feeling amongst some that these competitions aren’t important any more. You won’t get that attitude from anyone at Goodison Park though. Everton will certainly be placing a lot of emphasis on the Europa League and will be looking to get as far as possible in the competition Howard Kendall:
Chelsea win perfect tonic for Everton FC's derby day blues EVERTON showed great strength of character to come back and beat Chelsea. After a slow start, and then going a goal down, the Blues developed a sudden sense of belief. Wheher it was down to Louis Saha’s first goal or David Moyes’ half-time team talk, I don’t know. But there was a marked difference once Everton started getting at them and closing them down, preventing Chelsea from dictating the pace. I thought there was a level of over-confidence with some of Chelsea’s players and Everton made them pay for that.
It was an important win after losing in the derby. Similar to the first derby defeat of the season in November, I thought we deserved more at Anfield. However, the players came out of the Goodison derby with their heads held high and went on a fantastic run in the league. Who’s to say they can’t go on another good run now? It was a fantastic response against Chelsea. Hopefully that can act as a spur moving forward.
Crowds need a bit of a stir to get things going sometimes; whether it’s a tackle, a goal or whatever. Everton got that against Chelsea with Saha’s equaliser.
Get Saha on the field and he’s up there with the best. It’s great news that he’s now committed his future to the club. Saha had other options but he’s clearly happy at Everton. He’s got 15 goals for the season already and there’s no reason why he can’t go on to hit 20-plus. It’s a massive boost for any club to have a 20-goal-a-season striker but also important not to rely too heavily on those goals.
They’ve got to come from other players too.
Howard Kendall: Pienaar’s card was marked in derby
l STEVEN PIENAAR was fortunate to stay on the field for as long as he did in the derby. It was a nasty tackle on Javier Mascherano, although in Pienaar’s defence maybe he was trying to protect himself. Either way it should have been a red card.
Perhaps the fourth official has told the referee as much at half-time. If that’s the case, it’s wrong for a ref to go out in the second half with a pre-conceived idea that he’s made a mistake with the aim of putting it right. That’s how it appeared when Pienaar was finally dismissed

David Prentice: Why Johnny Heitinga should be Everton FC’s permanent centre-back
February 12, 2010. By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
ON another rocking, rousing night at Goodison Park, the bouqets were being tossed around with gay abandon. Landon Donovan, Leon Osman, Tim Cahill, Leighton Baines . . . all came in for richly deserved words of praise (only half a pat on the back from the manager for the matchwinner, mind). But there wasn’t a single sentence spoken about the performance of a player who is rapidly assuming unsung hero status at Everton. So let’s put that right straight away. When Johnny Heitinga was ushered in at centre-half alongside Lucas Neill last autumn it was one of the last remaining defensive options available to David Moyes. The Dutchman has remained a fixture ever since. And when Joseph Yobo, Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin are all fit and available again – a moment which is edging ever closer – who could honestly say Heitinga should be the man to make way? Not me.
Bought as a right-back cum holding midfield player, it’s ironic that a man called Heitinga was only thought of as an emergency centre-back because of his lack of inches. At five feet 11, the Dutchman is no Oompa Loompa (despite his international colours), but in this country we seem conditioned by years of aerial targetmen to expect centre-backs to be six feet two inches and 15 stone of ripped muscularity.
Those days have gone – the presence of Didier Drogba and Kevin Doyle in the Premier League notwithstanding – and the performances of defenders like Fabio Cannovaro, Alessandro Costacurta, Jamie Carragher and Ricardo Carvalho prove it.
Happily David Moyes doesn’t seem to harbour the same kind of hang-ups about height in his centre-halfs as a previous Blues boss. Colin Todd (five feet nine in his stockinged feet) was undeniably the classiest, centre-half of his era.
Brian Clough recognised it, and Todd helped him win his first League title.
But after paying a king’s ransom to prise him from the Baseball Ground Gordon Lee insisted on playing him at right-back. Perhaps it was a hangover from a chastening opening day to the 1979 season when the towering Justin Fashanu gleefully took advantage of Everton pairing Billy Wright and Colin Todd together.
He inspired Norwich to a shock 4-2 victory – and Todd never played centre-half for Everton again. Like Todd, Johnny Heitinga is a footballing defender. It’s not just his defensive skills which demand his inclusion at the back, it’s the greater creativity he offers. Everton have been occasionally criticised for using too many long balls this season, but long balls from Heitinga tend to be laser guided passes to the flanks releasing Pienaar or Donovan – or goal creating passes for Louis Saha like at Fratton Park earlier this season. An immediate problem for David Moyes – in a season of many – is that Heitinga is ineligible for next week’s Europa League clash with Sporting Lisbon. But his performances this season mean that that enforced absence should not become a permanent one – even when Yobo and co. are back for good

Everton FC captain Phil Neville talks of memorable night against Chelsea
February 12, 2010. By Pillip Kirkkbride, Liverpool Echo
EVERTONIANS would be forgiven if they revelled in Wednesday night’s win over Chelsea to the extreme. A fabulous performance set against the backdrop of a incendiary Goodison Park has left the Blue half of Liverpool in a mild state of euphoria ever since. Getting swept up in Everton’s feel-good factor will of course be derided by outsiders who would argue it just gave David Moyes’ men a rare moment of triumph over one of those regularly fighting for the major honours. But speaking to captain Phil Neville and you cast off the comments of the naysayers and begin to believe the elation was very much justified. Everton’s captain is no stranger to football’s grand occasions. The Everton skipper can boast of experiencing FA Cup and European Cup finals as well as representing his country at European Championships. So when the 33-year-old describes the 2-1 triumph over Carlo Ancelotti’s men as a once in a season calibre of night, you know you witnessed something rather special. Neville is aware nights like Wednesday have to be celebrated; moments of joy against Chelsea have been few and far between in recent years. “You get evenings like that once or twice in a season,” said Neville.
“I look back at games we have played like against Fiorentina in the UEFA Cup and games like that when the crowd has been amazing and the team has risen to the challenge – it was like that on Wednesday night.” The skipper admits such an outcome was hard to envisage in the early exchanges on Wednesday night.
Chelsea dominated the play and by Neville’s own admission, Everton were wracked with nerves following on from the heartbreak of the 213th Merseyside derby.
But Florent Malouda’s 16th-minute strike lifted the weight from the home side’s shoulders and, for Neville, provided the catalyst for a famous night at Goodison.
“We went a goal behind but that seemed to get rid of all the tension and nervousness in a way because it galvanised the crowd; Louis Saha scored the goal at just the right time and from then on I thought there was only ever going to be one winner. It was a fantastic occasion and nice that we have beat a so called top four side.
“It was a disappointment which carried over from Saturday’s game with Liverpool and in that first 15 minutes of everybody probably feeling sorry for themselves, because losing a derby does affect you, but after that we got the kick up the backside we needed when they scored but from then on it was a tremendous occasion and we thoroughly deserved our win by playing some good football.”
Given Neville’s exposure to some of the games highest spectacles, the former Manchester United player does not easily bracket many players in the ‘stellar’ category. Yet he has afforded such glowing praise to Everton’s two-goal hero Saha’ a man he says ranks amongst the division’s finest strikers. Signing a two-year contract with the club last week, some have suggested now the Frenchman’s future is settled then Everton will witness the best of the man who hit his 101st goal in English football when smashing a volley beyond Petr Cech. However, Neville says he has seen no change in the dedicated professional from the one who arrived at Finch Farm in September 2008. “From the very first day he came to the club he has found a place where he loves playing football, the spirit and togetherness he has found really good and the manager has been brilliant with him. At times he has allowed him to do his own training because his problems, but he completed a full pre-season in the summer and has not missed a days training. “He is our talisman, the one when you are looking for someone to pull something out of the bag, something special then he can to do that.” Neville says Saha’s second goal was a case in point as to the quality he posses.
“It was a special second goal and most forwards would try and head that but he has the quality where he can bring it down on his chest and bang, fire it in the goal.
“If you are a centre-back in the Premier League then Louis is up there with Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba as one of the strikers you do not want to face.”

Everton's Leighton Baines tipped for England after Ashley Cole ruled out
February 12, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
LEIGHTON BAINES has been tipped for an England call-up after Ashley Cole was ruled out for three months with an ankle injury. The Blues left-back’s hopes of being included in Fabio Capello’s World Cup squad were boosted by the set-back to first choice Cole, suffered in Everton’s 2-1 victory over Chelsea at Goodison Park.
The news of Cole’s ankle injury, which leaves him facing a fight to regain his fitness in time for the summer tournament, could mean that uncapped Baines is called up for England’s friendly against Egypt next month. Blues boss David Moyes believes the former Wigan man deserves international recognition based on his consistency so far this season. He said: “Leighton Baines has been our most consistent player all season. I am sure he is in the thoughts of the England manager. “I don’t think anybody would be surprised if he is in the squad for the Egypt game. He has got Ashley Cole, Wayne Bridge and Steven Warnock who he may need to climb over to get there – but he won’t let anyone down.” Moyes also praised USA captain Landon Donovan, who is likely to line-up against England in the first game of the World Cup this summer.
He said: “I have got to say I thought he was excellent against Chelsea. It was maybe his best game since he’s been here. “We thought it could have been time to give him a breather but I am glad we didn’t because he was a threat and he had to track Ashley Cole as well.” Meanwhile, Moyes must wait until next week to find out the severity of Marouane Fellaini’s ankle injury. The Belgian was set to have his injured ankle examined by a top London specialist yesterday, but the appointment has been postponed until next week due to the expert’s availability. The Everton boss was pleased with the performance of Mikel Arteta who came through the majority of Wednesday’s match unscathed after stepping into the gap left by Fellaini’s derby injury. Moyes said: “We don’t want to speculate until then. We could have played Jack Rodwell but I felt Mikel’s experience would give the team a boost.”

Everton FC fans to get a close look at the one who got away – Joao Moutinho
February 13, 2010. James Pearces, Liverpool Echo
ONE name on Sporting Lisbon’s team sheet will be very familiar to Evertonians on Tuesday night. Pint-sized skipper Joao Moutinho has been frequently linked with a move to Goodison Park in recent years. Blues boss David Moyes is a big fan of the 23-year-old Portugal international midfielder, but the Lions have consistently refused to part company with one of their biggest assets. In July 2008 Sporting claimed they turned down an £11.8m offer from Everton. The Blues failed to meet the £19.7m buy-out clause in his contract and despite the player expressing his desire to make the switch to Merseyside the deal fell through. Moutinho was less than impressed and said: “Everton made a proposal, but Sporting did not accept it. “Sporting already knows my will, I have already transmitted it to the people. What is my will? I want to leave Sporting. I hope an agreement can be found.” It wasn’t, Moutinho stayed put and the dynamic playmaker is now more important to Sporting than ever. Moutinho was signed by Sporting at the age of 14 and progressed through their youth ranks before being called up to the first team squad by then manager Jose Peseiro in 2004.
He returned to the junior ranks to help their youth side, which also included current Manchester United winger Nani, clinch the national title. In early 2005 Moutinho was handed his debut, donning the number 28 jersey previously worn by Cristiano Ronaldo. He soon established himself as a regular and played a key role in their passage to the UEFA Cup final. In 2005-06 he was ever present and his winner against Braga secured Champions League qualification. Aged 19 he was made vice-captain and the following season he became the second youngest skipper in their history. Capable of playing anywhere across midfield, Moutinho maintained his fine form last season and had the dubious honour of scoring their only goal in the 12-1 aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League. During the January transfer window he was linked with big money moves to Zenit St Petersburg and Lyon but a deal failed to materialise.

GREG O'KEEFFE: Why England boss Fabio Capello should turn to Everton's Leighton Baines next summer
February 13, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
PICTURE the scene. Saturday June 12, Rustenburg, South Africa. England take on the USA in the first World Cup match of Group C. Rarely have World Cup games had such a curious vested interest for Evertonians. But already circumstances this week have contrived to make England’s opening game against Bob Bradley’s side an intriguing one. When Ashley Cole limped off during Everton’s magnificent 2-1 win over Chelsea on Wednesday, the future inadvertently looked a little more interesting for a certain Leighton Baines. The 25-year-old Toffees left-back has 16 England under-21 caps already and not many would bet against him adding a senior cap to his name in England’s March friendly against Egypt. With number one choice Cole being ruled out for three months, coincidentally after a collision with USA's Landon Donavan, it gives Baines a massive opportunity to grab a ticket to ride to South Africa in June. Last season, the Kirkby-born and bred defender was in terrific form supplying more assists than any other defender in the league, and smashed home a fantastic penalty in a nerve jangling FA Cup Semi final shoot out at Wembley. There is no doubting that England could do with some unfazed and calm penalty takers in their squad for the South Africa showpiece. Baines has maintained his form this season with some excellent performances and another five assists, more than left back hopefuls Cole, Wayne Bridge and Stephen Warnock. This week David Moyes described Baines as "our most consistent player all season," and not many Blues would argue with the Scot. Granted, Cole may well recover in time to be technically fit to start in Rustenburg, but he will be desperately short of match practice.
So Leighton Baines has every chance of either lining up against Landon Donavan down the right flank of the Royal Bafokeng Stadium come the big kick off.
Only Fabio Capello will know if he has seen enough of Baines to place such trust in him, but if Everton’s most consistent player is denied a place in the squad it will smack of short-sightedness by the Italian. For his part, the Blues’ on loan sensation Donovan gave "the best left back in the world" a torrid time on Wednesday night, with some excitable Blues claiming the 27-year-old is one of the best wingers they've seen this side of L4 in years. Unfortunately, despite what Donovan may want, it seems unlikely the Blues will be able to make his signing permanent. But don’t bet against the Everton board at the very least asking the LA Galaxy to extend his loan until the end of the Premier League season. It would be a massive shame if he had to leave after the agreed three and a half months, when the Chelsea game proved he is just clicking into some scintillating form. Donovan has already hinted that he is master of his own destiny to an extent, and that if he wanted to stay he could.
But the matter may be taken out of his hands if it depends on extra financial commitment by Everton because, as ever, that’s when it gets tricky.
Behind him, in the USA goal will be Everton’s Mr Dependable, Tim Howard.
One of the most well-liked players at Finch Farm, and one of the best keepers in the league (we’ll forgive and forget about Dirk Kuyt’s goal in the derby).
So the stage is set for Evertonians to sit back with a cold beer at 8.30pm on that June summer night, and possibly watch three familiar Goodison faces take centre stage at the best sporting event on the planet. Understandably many Blues will insist they could not care less whether their heroes play for England after watching Nick Barmby and Wayne Rooney change their allegiances after pulling on the three lions’ jersey. But the last time England won the World Cup, Everton supplied England with a certain left-back. History could repeat itself and only the most small-minded of fans would not relish the chance of watching it.
Time for Blues fans to beg for an early dart from work!
IT looks like any common sense pleas to Uefa, the council or Merseyside police to prevent the stupidity of Tuesday’s 5.45pm Europa League kick off have fallen on deaf ears. So there’s not much else match going Everton supporters can do but to beg their boss for the afternoon off – and leave plenty of time for getting to Goodison!
Everton fans were ‘exceptional’ at Anfield
ANOTHER Merseyside derby has passed and while the result was gutting, there was at least one positive factor. The behaviour of the Everton supporters who made the short trip across Stanley Park was exceptional. Let’s hope it’s a sign of things to come and that both sets of fans can behave like civilised grown-ups in next season’s derbies.
Everton search for fans named after the 1985 team
CERTAIN footballing eras are never tiresome to recall – and the 1984/85 season is certainly that type of era for Evertonians. Now the club has arranged for a 25th anniversary commemorative dinner next month, which will see the whole title and European Cup Winners’ cup squad reunited for one night. The ECHO arena will host the meal, on March 29, and organisers have tracked down every member of that famous squad – including the rarely-seen South Africa based ‘Psycho’ Pat Van Den Hauwe. To promote the dinner, Everton are searching for 11 people born during that season who were named after one of the players. If you were named after one of those Royal Blue legends – or even have the entire team’s names on your birth certificate! – contact Everton on 0151-530-5300 or go to www.evertonfc.com/85 to find out more.

BARRY HORNE: There’s nowhere quite like Goodison Park at night!
February 13, 2010. Liverpool Echo
I was as disappointed as anyone with the result at Anfield last Saturday – not just with the scoreline, but with the sense that, just as at Goodison, we actually deserved to get something out of the game. But what a wonderful reaction four days later, to once again raise the spirits – and typically at an evening game. I always say that Goodison Park under the floodlights is one of the best atmospheres to play in front of . . . anywhere. The win against Chelsea – and the timing of that victory – was perfect in so many ways, coming as it did after the disappoint- ment of the derby and ahead of a blank weekend when people might have festered on a poor result and made David Moyes’ job even more difficult ahead of massive couple, of weeks. This is, in effect, the early stages of the start of the run-in. It will be difficult to imagine the atmosphere on Tuesday being anything like what it might have been – bearing in mind the weird kick-off time. But with European qualification through the Premier League looking difficult to say the least, the one chance Everton have of making this yet another memorable season is through success in the Europa League. Hopefully there will be another chance to savour a magical evening at Goodison, once we have negotiated our way past Sporting Lisbon. There’s nowhere better at night!

Sporting Lisbon struggling ahead of Europa League clash with Everton FC
February 13, 2010. By James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
THE Lions have lost their roar in recent weeks and the natives are restless. When the draw for the last 32 of the Europa League was made before Christmas, Sporting Lisbon looked a daunting proposition for Everton. The Portuguese had made light work of winning Group D as they overcame the challenge of Hertha Berlin, Latvian side Ventspils and Dutch outfit Heerenveen. However, since the end of January their season has hit the rocks. Coach Carlos Carvalhal’s side went into last night’s tricky league trip to Pacos Ferreira on the back of four successive defeats. A 1-0 reverse at Braga was followed by an embarrassing 5-2 thrashing at Porto in the Cup of Portugal.
Lowly Academica piled on the misery by inflicting a 2-1 home defeat and then on Tuesday night the Estadio Jose Alvalade faithful were enraged as city rivals Benfica dumped them out of the semi-finals of the League Cup 4-1. The Lions never recovered from having defender Joao Periera sent off early on. Out of both domestic cup competitions and cut well adrift of the top three in Portugal’s top flight, the Europa League has suddenly taken on much greater significance. Director of football Miguel Salema Garcao admits confidence is in desperately short supply ahead of Tuesday’s first leg at Goodison. “It is clear that Sporting is going through a really bad patch,” he said. “Our intention against our greatest rival (Benfica) was to play well and dedicate the win to our fans, but we were unable to do that. “Right now it is time to stop and think, for the club’s leaders to have the courage to take a long hard look at the situation and for us to think about Sporting’s culture and identity and what we want from this season. “The players know that to put on the Sporting shirt, they must show value and quality and be dedicated to the cause. To be at Sporting you need to have heart and soul and all of the players have that. “It is in our interest right now to take a look at ourselves and to make an honest evaluation of the situation so that we can build something stronger upon it. “We all have to get our heads down and work. We are aiming to get past Everton.” Garcao has handed the dreaded vote of confidence to Carvalhal, who only took over as coach in November following the departure of Paulo Bento. “We are currently working with him,” he added. “He has come into the club at an extraordinary moment and we are putting our trust in him. We have faith in his abilities.” Bento, who after four years in the job was the club’s second longest serving coach, quit after a poor start to the season. After being knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers by Fiorentina, discontent among fans grew at his defensive tactics. A 1-1 draw with Ventspils in the Europa League proved to be the final straw. Sporting strengthened during the recent transfer window and splashed out over 10 million euros. Most of that cash went on signing former Liverpool striker Florent Sinama Pongolle from Atletico Madrid but they also drafted in right-back Pereira from Braga and Pedro Mendes from Rangers. The move for 30-year-old Portuguese international Mendes brought him back to his homeland after five and a half seasons in British football. With Pongolle ineligible to face the Blues, Sporting will look to Liedson to provide the firepower. The Brazilian-born frontman has over a century of goals for the club and is rated as one of the greatest strikers in Sporting’s history. Founded in 1906, the Lions won their first national crown in 1923 and three more followed in the 1930s before the creation of the Portuguese Liga.
The 1940s and 1950s was their golden era with 10 league titles in the space of 18 seasons. They have won 18 in total but haven’t triumphed domestically since 2002, having to play second fiddle to Porto. Sporting finished as runners-up last season and their last piece of silverware was the Cup of Portugal two years ago. The Lions’ greatest achievement in Europe came in 1964 when they lifted the Cup Winners Cup after beating MTK Budapest. They also reached the final of the 2005 UEFA Cup but lost 3-1 to CSKA Moscow. Sporting moved into their new Estadio Jose Alvalade in August 2003. The 50,076 capacity arena was built for the 2004 European Championships and is classified by UEFA as a five-star stadium. Sporting are also famous for their academy set-up which has produced a stunning conveyor belt of talent. The list of stars who learned their trade in the club’s youth ranks includes Paulo Futre, Luis Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Ricardo Quaresma and former Everton defender Nuno Valente.

Everton keen to show Europa League lessons have been learnt – Steven Pienaar
Febraury 13, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
STEVEN PIENAAR believes Everton’s Europa League mauling by Benfica gives them a vital edge ahead of their clash with Sporting Lisbon next week.
The South African insists the Toffee’s humbling defeats by the Portuguese giants in this season’s group stages has taught them the hard way how to combat Latin opponents. Now Pienaar, who is available to play on Tuesday after missing Wednesday's Chelsea victory after being sent off in the derby, is determined to show the Blues have learned their lessons. The 27-year-old said: “Benfica have a really good team who can easily play in the Champions League, but I think we learned how to go about it against a Latin team. It helps us that we got one of the teams that play in their league. “We play the first game at home, so we can get into them, make it uncomfortable, and then when we get a chance in Portugal to do the same.”
As the Blues continue on their fourth European adventure in five seasons, Pienaar, who signed from Borussia Dortmund in 2007, insists they should aim high.
He said: “When the manager came to sign me, he said the club have qualified for the Europa League, you have experience, you have played almost 30 Champions League games so you can help. “It’s totally different than the Premiership. The pace of the game is really slow, it’s more of a dogfight – about who has the hardest punch, who is smarter. “It is important for me to be part of a team that has a lot of hunger, desire to win trophies, and of course to be part of the history of Everton. I think we have got a good chance if we go through.” Like Pienaar, Tim Cahill is another Everton player preparing for Tuesday’s last 32 stage game, with this summer’s World Cup in the back of his mind. But for now the 30-year-old Aussie is keeping all his focus to making it past the Portuguese, who boast former Everton target Joao Moutinho in their ranks. He said: “I’m just excited. When you draw Sporting, you are in with the best teams in the world. I wanted to learn as much as I could about their team, their stadium and the attendance they get. “We’ve got a great chance because of the form we’re starting to show. But Europe is different. Because we haven’t been in too many European competitions, it’s something the fans live for – taking the club to the next level, not only on the pitch but off it. “Them travelling and having special away days, it’s a reward for them, and they respond by supporting their team and being the 12th man. I tell you, you can’t hear anything, and when that ball goes in the net it’s an explosion of fireworks. It shakes through you.” “I’m very blessed to play for such a great football club, and I always say you have to run through brick walls, regardless of knocks and injuries. We have that mental attitude.”

Europa League focus on Everton FC and Liverpool FC: Can Mersey giants wow Hamburg again?
February 13, 2010. Chris Beesley, Liverpool Echo
WITH 16 European Cup wins and a total of 32 final appearances in club football’s elite competition between them, the field in the knockout stages of this season’s inaugural Europa League is a strong one. While the financial riches of Champions League football ensure the competition formerly known as the UEFA Cup remains the ‘bridesmaid’ tournament when it comes to continental combat, the pedigree of many participants cannot be questioned. The most decorated side is of course Liverpool with five European Cup successes – plus three victories in this trophy’s previous guise – and Rafael Benitez’s side have been installed a 7/1 favourites. Although the Anfield outfit are still smarting from their first pre-Christmas exit of the Champions League under the Spaniard’s stewardship, the Europa League provides the most realistic opportunity for Benitez, who won the competition with Valencia immediately before his arrival on these shores in 2004, to end his four-year trophy drought.
Many on the Kop might not currently have much of an appetite for the fare on offer after dining at the European game’s top table for so long but nobody associated with the club was flippant about their 2001 success under Gerard Houllier which completed a cup treble that season. And given the abundance of other big names and ‘fallen giants’ this term, going all the way would complete a reversal in fortunes in what has been a troubled campaign on and off the pitch. Rated at 25/1, Everton, who given their position in the Premier League remain unsure when they’ll be back in European competition again next term after three successive seasons in this tournament, will also be hoping to have an extended run. Long-term injury absentees are finally starting to creep back to fitness at Goodison Park but given the abundance of heavyweight contenders taking part, David Moyes, now approaching his eighth anniversary in charge of Everton and still awaiting his first piece of team silverware, will be hoping he isn’t left to rue his side’s last 16 exit in 2008, when a Zenit St Petersburg outfit his troops had overcome in the group stage lifted the cup by beating a Rangers side led by his predecessor Walter Smith – just down the road in Manchester too.
Moyes declared ahead of last season’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United that Everton would win a trophy soon but until that day comes, such missed opportunities could continue to haunt the Scot. Supporters of red and blue alike will undoubtedly be relishing the prospect of going to a cup final in the vibrant northern German port of Hamburg. Apart from the shared maritime heritage of both the host city and Liverpool plus the Kevin Keegan and Thomas Gravesen links to our clubs, Hamburg is famously the place where The Beatles first became international stars through their residency in the early 1960s. An all-Merseyside final is a 40/1 shot with the climax of the tournament on May 12 at the Volksparkstadion, now officially known as the HSH Nordbank Arena. The 57,274 stadium was rebuilt in 1998 and hosted four group matches in the 2006 World Cup plus the quarter-final between eventual winners Italy and Ukraine.
An interesting feature outside the ground is a large statue of former West German international Uwe Seeler’s foot.
The prolific striker netted 404 times in 476 games for his hometown club Hamburger SV.
Boasting attacking talents such as David Villa and David Silva, Benitez’s former employers Valencia, who have ex-Everton loanee Manuel Fernandes on their books, are joint second-favourites at 9/1 along with Alberto Aquilani’s old club, Roma, whose squad includes John Arne Riise plus other well-known names such as club stalwart Francesco Totti and Italian international frontman Luca Toni, on loan from Bayern Munich. Serie A’s most successful club, Juventus, are next-best fancied at 12/1. Reports in the Italian Press suggest that ‘The Old Lady’, without a coach for next season, continue to court the services of Benitez, and their side includes Mohamed Sissoko who played for the Spaniard at both Liverpool and Valencia plus several talented veteran performers such as Alessandro Del Piero, Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluigi Buffon and David Trezeguet. Other fancied sides include final hosts Hamburger, who are coached by former Tottenham manager Martin Jol and have snapped up ex-Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy in the transfer window, and holders Shakhtar Donetsk, both placed at 14/1.
Europa League round of 32 draw:
Rubin Kazan v Hapoel Tel Aviv; Athletic Bilbao v Anderlecht; FC Copenhagen v Marseille; Panathinaikos v Roma; Atletico Madrid v Galatasaray; Ajax v Juventus; Club Brugge v Valencia; Fulham v Shakhtar Donetsk; Liverpool v Unirea Urziceni; Hamburg v PSV Eindhoven; Villarreal v Wolfsburg; Standard Liege v Salzburg; FC Twente v Werder Bremen; Lille v Fenerbahce; Everton v Sporting; Hertha Berlin v Benfica.
Round of 16 draw:
Hamburg/PSV Eindhoven v Athletic Bilbao/Anderlecht; Rubin Kazan/Hapoel Tel Aviv v Villarreal/Wolfsburg; Atletico Madrid/Galatasaray v Everton/Sporting; Hertha Berlin/Benfica v FC Copenhagen/Marseille; Panathinaikos/Roma v Standard Liege/Salzburg; Lille/Fenerbahce v Liverpool/Unirea Urziceni; Ajax/Juventus v Fulham/Shakhtar Donetsk; Club Brugge/Valencia v FC Twente v Werder Bremen.
Sporting Lisbon - the lowdown on Everton FC's Europa League opponents
NAME: Sporting Lisbon - view their official website and the Wikipedia page
NICKNAMES: Leðes (Lions), Verde e Brancos (Green and Whites).
FOUNDED: 1906.
HOME GROUND: Estádio José Alvalade (50,076).
HONOURS: European Cup Winners’ Cup (1) 1964.
Portuguese League Championship (18) 1941, 1944, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1980, 1982, 2000, 2002.
Portuguese Cup (15) 1941, 1945, 1946, 1948, 1954, 1963, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1995, 2002, 2007, 2008.
COACH: Carlos Carvahal (age 44).
Journeyman defender and then coach of several of Portuguese football’s lesser lights.
Joined Sporting after Paulo Bento resigned following a disappointing start to the season.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Joao Moutinho.
The diminutive Portuguese international , 23, has skippered his club for the past three seasons and has been capped 25 times. determined box-to-box performer who can operate anywhere across midfield, he needs little introduction to Evertonians having been heavily linked with a move to Goodison on several occasions.
FACT: Sporting really are a multi-sport rather than just football club and their members have won 50 Olympic gold medals.

Everton captain Phil Neville hails Blues fans ahead of Europa League return
February 15, 2010 by Philip Kirkbride, Liverpool Echo
A THREE-SIDED stadium in a European backwater would not necessarily be the most obvious source of footballing inspiration for most players.
However the experience, sights and sounds of Everton’s trip to Metalist Kharkiv in the group stages of the 2007-08 UEFA Cup resonate strongly with club captain Phil Neville. The dramatic 3-2 win at Metalist Stadium in the Ukraine was the moment when the Blues’ skipper fully appreciated what it means to be a member of the Goodison fraternity and therefore the expectancy levelled on him as he leads their side into battle every week. On the eve of the Goodison Park outfit’s latest foray into continental competition against Sporting Lisbon, Neville barely paused for thought when asked if he was worried about an early kick-off time leading to empty seats and a below par atmosphere on Tuesday night. Without hesitation Neville recalled the awe inspiring picture painted from the stands that cold October evening as the significant travelling contingent created their own small suburb of Liverpool in deepest, darkest Ukraine. The presence of so many Everton fans came as a pleasant surprise and the memories fill Neville with the knowledge Sporting will be playing against more than just the 11 men manager David Moyes selects tomorrow evening.
“The kick-off time is a bit of a pain for all supporters because they will have to leave work early but knowing Evertonians like I do then I know they will get there.
“I have been out to Kharkiv and I thought ‘oh dear me, there will be no Everton fans here’ but 3-4,000 turned up. They will get there by hook or by crook and that is the beauty of this club and I am convinced there will be a full house on Tuesday.
“If Sporting have been watching us over the last month then they will know we are a team that has been playing well and I’m sure the gaffer has done his homework on Sporting Lisbon and we will no doubt be watching lots of videos of them this week. We know technically they are going to be a very good side but this is going to have to be the type of night where we produce the atmosphere and performance we did against Chelsea. We know foreign teams don’t like playing in that type of atmosphere against that type of intense pressure and if we do that then we will progress to the next round.
“We got well and truly turned over in Fiorentina (in the 2008 UEFA Cup) but when they came back to Goodison you wouldn’t believe the transition and that was because the ground was a cauldron. In these European nights the atmosphere has to be special and the team has to rise to that as well. It is a competition we want to progress in and it is part of a massive February for us.“ The afterglow of the Chelsea victory still shines bright in the Blue half of Merseyside and as well as the match winning exploits of Louis Saha getting Evertonians’ tongues waging, the performance of Landon Donovan has had everyone waxing lyrical. Neville has unquestionably been impressed with the American and says the side have to put to the back of their minds, the US international’s stay at Goodison is only a fleeting one. But the captain has put it to his manager to try and recapture the LA Galaxy star when the 2011 transfer window opens. “Landon played really well and I think it was probably his biggest game for the club, he was up against Ashley Cole who we know likes to bomb forward even though he is a left back but Landon totally made him go the other way and totally caused him problems. He won the penalty and set up the first goal and in terms of players we have got offers us something which we haven’t got and that is pace. “He has fit in superbly and we are just a little bit sad he has to leave in a month’s time. “It is what it is, Landon is here for two months and we have just got to accept that and let’s just hope we can get him back for another two months next year. “He loves living in LA and loves playing in the MLS but we have just got to accept he will not be staying but he has been fantastic for us and let’s hope that continues. “He has come in at a time when we needed a bit of a spark and he has provided that and he has fitted in superbly.”

Defence key to Europa League progress – Everton FC star Mikel Arteta
February 15, 2010. By James Pearce
MIKEL ARTETA believes a rock-solid defensive performance at Goodison will be crucial to Everton’s hopes of progressing to the last 16 of the Europa League.
The Blues entertain Sporting Lisbon in tomorrow’s first leg and the Spanish midfielder knows they can’t afford to concede a precious away goal. Arteta came through his first start in nearly a year unscathed against Chelsea last week and he is relishing the opportunity to be part of the club’s push for European glory. “It’s going to be unbelievable,” he said. “It’s a great chance for us and we need to go through.
“We’re playing at home first, so we know that we can’t concede any goals. We have the experience so let’s focus on that.” Arteta’s return to the starting line up coincided with the absence of Marouane Fellaini. The Blues are still waiting to discover the full extent of the injury the Belgian suffered in the Merseyside derby.
An appointment with a specialist in London last week was delayed due to the swelling around his ankle. Arteta admits losing Fellaini is a major blow but having got 73 minutes under his belt against Chelsea he is ready for action once again.
“Felli is injured and we are going to miss him, but at least we are getting players back and we are also happy for them,” he said. “It’s been very disappointing for all of the injured lads and it’s made it even harder for the other players as they have been missing that competition for places in the team. “And the training cannot be as good as we didn’t have the full squad.” Sporting arrive on Merseyside today on the back of a disappointing five-match winless streak. They are fourth in the league and were held to a goalless draw at Pacos Ferreira on Friday night. Meanwhile, Blues striker Victor Anichebe is desperate to get his first taste of European action this season against the Portuguese outfit tomorrow. In the 2007-8 campaign Anichebe was Everton’s top European scorer with four goals, including a crucial strike against Metalist Kharkiv.
“Europe has been really good to me,” Anichebe said. “I’ve done well in the past in Europe. “I can’t wait to get back there but I want to do well in the Premier League as well – that’s my main objective. “It would be nice to do well in Europe, especially for the fans considering we went out of the FA Cup. “Hopefully we can give something back to them, but Sporting is going to be a tough game.”

Liverpool FC and Everton FC could be affected as Premier League considers play-offs for final Champions League spot
February 16, 2010, Liverpool Echo
THE Premier League are believed to be considering a proposal to introduce a play-off for the fourth Champions League spot. Currently the teams finishing in the top four positions are handed entry to Europe’s elite competition, either in the main draw or at the qualifying stage. Now it has been proposed that only the first three be decided on league position and the fourth place be determined by a play-off. That could mean the teams finishing in the positions fourth to seventh playing a mini-knockout competition. Such a move would be seen as a measure to inject more competition into the league. The same four clubs – Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea – have filled the top four positions in five of the past six seasons. Only Everton, in 2005, have broken their stranglehold. The proposal is thought to have been raised at a recent meeting of all 20 clubs and will be considered again when they next meet in April. The Premier League have not commented directly on the matter.
A spokesman said: “We look at all sorts of ideas and rarely make comment until we have decided something definitely.” If the proposal was to be voted on at any stage in the future, a 14-6 majority could be enough to see it implemented. The idea may not be favoured by the established ‘big four’, who would obviously have the most to lose.
Interestingly, the proposal has been raised at a time when Liverpool’s place in the top four is coming under serious competition from the likes of Manchester City, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur while determining future Europa League qualification is an added complication.

NIGEL MARTYN: Chelsea goals show that Louis Saha’s new deal was vital for Everton FC
February 16, 2010
VICTORY against Chelsea for the first time under David Moyes was just what the doctor ordered after the derby disappointment. Watching the game I couldn’t help but notice the similarities to when we memorably beat Manchester United 1-0 on a weeknight under the lights of Goodison. Once again, the crowd were fired up and in good voice, and their passion made sure the players were really up for it.
Chelsea controlled it to start with, but against some teams you just have to accept that. The trick is to keep it tight and not concede while you wait for a phase when you can se a bit more of the ball. Nobody can make any mistakes, and it only took one slip for Chelsea to score. The way that goal was conceded from a long ball highlighted that Everton will miss Marouane Fellaini while he is out injured. He was just coming into the form we had all hoped he was capable of, and it is a blow to lose him. We are not the biggest of sides and missed his height and power against a team so physically superior as Chelsea. Credit to the lads on the night though, they recovered magnificently and managed to get a couple of goals against a side who rarely concede many. Of course we’ve got Louis Saha to thank for that. Reports that Arsenal made a very last minute attempt to try and sign him only underline Louis’ ability.
It’s great for Everton that they weren’t in a position to have to accept a bid for financial reasons, which is even more pleasing. Louis obviously decided he can fulfil his ambitions by staying at Everton which bodes well. He already has 15 goals in all competitions, and looks good to reach the 20-goal mark now. If he could get that done by March then he should be pushing for 25 and so on. If Louis can maintain his fitness and keep playing there is no question that the goals will continue. He is the sort of striker who thrives on self-belief and he should have it in abundance after the class he showed in the brace against Ancelotti’s men. Now Louis must keep setting himself those personal targets and doing everything he can to reach them, in what could be a very successful season for him in a blue shirt.
Leighton Baines can benefit from Chelsea’s Ashley Cole’s ankle setback
THE ever-consistent Leighton Baines will have took note with interest of Ashley Cole’s injury last week. And although nobody likes to see a fellow professional injured, you could almost imagine Leighton having a little smile for Landon after the innocuous tackle against Chelsea which has ruled Cole out for three months.
That lay-off for Cole means that Leighton’s chances of getting into the England team are stronger than ever. With doubts surrounding whether Wayne Bridge is in the right frame of mind to be playing for England, Leighton can really seize his chance.
Even when recovered, Ashley will need at least six games to be ready for the World Cup and time will be tight. If Leighton is in the squad for the Egypt friendly next month, he can do what my ex-Leeds team-mate Danny Mills did when Gary Neville was ruled out of the 2002 World Cup and went in his place.
Landon Donovan is a breath of fresh air
ALTHOUGH everyone knew the deal with Landon Donovan’s short-term loan to Everton, it is still a shame to hear it can’t be extended. The USA captain has been a breath of fresh air and gets better with every performance. It just goes to prove what an eye the gaffer has for spotting a good deal. The pace and directness of Donovan has given everyone a lift and has been a big factor in helping the blues turn the corner.
We are blessed with skilful, tricky players but no much pace and Landon brings both attributes. I loved seeing him play almost like a schoolboy in having the confidence to knock it past a defender one way and run past him the other. Most Premier League players wouldn’t have the confidence to do that anymore which is a shame. It shows that Donovan has no pre-conceived way of playing in this league and it’s great.
Luckily he is eligible to face Sporting Lisbon tonight in the strange circumstances of a 5.45pm KO. But Sporting are not as strong as Benfica, who I’d love us to play again with a full strength team, and we should win.

Keep Everton In Our City plan football quarter and Goodison Park redevelopment
February 16, 2010, By Matt Hurst, Liverpool Echo
STANLEY Park should become a historic football quarter in conjunction with the redevelopment of Everton’s ground, according to a leading campaign group.
Keep Everton In Our City (Keioc) secretary Colin Fitzpatrick told supporters the venture should “celebrate both football clubs” and generate vital funds for “the most deprived area in the city”. A presentation by Keioc last night also announced a relaunch of their own organisation, renamed Keeping Everton In Our City, following opposition to the Destination Kirkby plans. In the land between Goodison Park and Anfield, Mr Fitzpatrick called for the development of a museum, a world centre for excellence in football, sport, science and business in partnership with one of the city’s universities, as well as leisure and community facilities, alongside performance areas to host concerts. He said public bodies should be contacted to help fund the idea, which would also include the construction of new railway stations on the existing Merseyrail line to transport fans and tourists. Goodison Park itself would be redeveloped “incrementally”, said Keioc architectural consultant, Trevor Skempton, with an emphasis on retaining the “unique historic elements”. Phase One and Two would see the club secure planning permission sought for a new ‘Hotel 1878’ – to service tourism generated by the football quarter – and Park End, increasing the stand’s capacity by 8,000. The Bullens Road Stand would be redeveloped in Phase Three, including the corner with Gwladys Street, to deliver an increase of 9,000 seats, with the sacrifice of 38 houses and the reconfiguration of Gwladys Street School.
Phase Four and Five would see the Main Stand and Gwladys Street Stand refurbished and modernised. Trevor Skempton said: “We want to offer a possibility to the club and then they should go and decide on architects and accountants.”
The plans, said to have been developed with Liverpool FC fan group, Spirit of Shankly, will be presented to Everton FC shareholders next Monday.

Experience has helped me in European chess matches – Everton boss David Moyes
February 16, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES believes he has matured as a European tactician since Everton’s early forays on the continent. The Blues boss says that he has learned how to take a more patient approach to two-legged games, since early defeats like the 2005 Champions League elimination by Villarreal. As he prepares his side to take on Sporting Lisbon ain the knock-out stages of the Europa League at Goodison tonight, he said: “I think that the development has come even from when we played Villarreal here. “We lost 2-1 and they were a really good team, but the importance of understanding that you can’t just try and win without being concerned that the opposition score has grown. “I’ve matured in that way, and the fact is that you have to make sure not to concede in your home tie. I’ve always just wanted to go and win but scoring a goal in Europe for the away team can be vital. “Generally though I think the experience I’m gaining and the club is gaining will help us on. I remember a couple of years ago when we brought in players like Arteta and Pienaar and I thought they would help us keep the ball better in Europe. “We’ve missed them both in the early stages of this competition and there have been times when we’ve struggled to retain possession as much as we like. I think having a cosmopolitan squad like we have now makes the European games not as fearful.

Everton FC’s Diniyar Bilyaletdinov ready to up his game ahead of Europa League clash
February 16, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
DINIYAR Bilyaletdinov insists that fatigue is not a problem as he fights to reclaim a starting place in the Everton side. The Russian midfielder started the 2-1 victory over Chelsea last Wednesday in the absence of the suspended Steven Pienaar, but had previously been dropped since January’s FA Cup fourth round defeat by Birmingham.
He was one of a number of Everton players who failed to shine against the Midlanders, and was replaced at half time by David Moyes. But the former 24-year-old former Lokomotiv Moscow star has refused to blame tiredness, and claims his spirits are high as he settles into life in Merseyside. The Everton managed has feared that Bilyaletdinov could wane after Christmas, because he had already played a segment of the Russian season before joining the Blues last summer.
He said: “I do not know how I look from the outside but I feel no tiredness. Moreover, in Russia after the spring part of the championship I had a six week break because of injury. “And I only started to play regularly in July so I cannot be fatigued. After a good autumn I was on the bench, and I have not played for more than two weeks already. Though I feel that I am in good form now. “My display in the Cup match against Birmingham where I was substituted was actually bad, but the match was bad for the entire team. “And prior to this match there was an excellent game against Manchester City, and I think it has been the best for me in several months.
“So I see no prerequisites for my staying in reserves. But in any case the coach is the one to decide it.” The left sided midfielder denied he asked to be substituted against Birmingham He said: “It is absolutely untrue that I asked the coach for a replacement in the match against Birmingham. “We had a very bad first half and in the second looked better though failed to equalise. It just happened that this improvement was after I was replaced. “That is probably the main explanation of my move to the reserves. Then we won the next two matches and one you do not change the winning squad. “I am not against being in the reserves at the moment. “At training I am working hard according to the coach’s words, so I hope things will straighten out in a while.” The Russian added that he is happy in Merseyside, and regrets not moving to the Premier League earlier in his career. He said: “I feel that I am a part of the team already. There are no problems. My relations with the team-mates are good, and all language barriersŠ are overcome already. “There is nothing left in my English life that I cannot get used to. At first it was hard to take the excitement before entering the pitch. “Full stadiums and extraordinary frenzy about football in this country bring some special responsibility. It is simply impossible to play in front of these audiences at half strength. In England the attitude to football is the one that makes it a real royal sport. I can only say that at the moment, I really pity that I had not come here three years ago. And that does not mean that I feel old already. “But here is football that you really want to play. As for my last years I cannot say that the time was squandered, but I could have spent it with much more benefit. Also it is easier to adapt to a new championship at a younger age.” Bilyaltedinov admitted that it has taken him time to understand Scouse – and his manager’s Glasgow accent. He said: “My English was rather good when I came here, but still I experienced some difficulties at first.
“There are many different dialects here and even our coach speaks with a specific accent and I had to adapt to it. But now it is all right.”

Mikel Arteta: Why Everton's Europa League revenge will be sweet
February 16, 2010, By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
MIKEL ARTETA wants to make Sporting pay for the thrashing fellow Lisbon outfit Benfica dished out to Everton while he could only watch in frustration.
The Toffees’ talisman was recuperating from major surgery on his knee when Benifca beat an injury-ravaged Everton side 5-0 at the Estadio De La Luz in October.
Although the defeat, coupled with another 2-0 setback at Goodison the following month, did not prevent Everton qualifying from their Europa League group, Arteta watched in dismay and believes it sent out misleading signals to the rest of Europe.
Now, the 27-year-old Spaniard wants to cap his return to fitness by playing a key role in defeating Portugese giants Sporting in the last 32 knockout stage. He said: “When you are out it is very hard, but when they are winning it’s okay. It is when things are not going well that it’s really tough. “The 5-0 defeat by Benfica in Portugal was after my second surgery. “I was in the hotel watching it and I thought, ‘this should be good today’ but we had so many injuries, and played some of the young lads.
“I was actually very embarrassed watching it, because we were not very good that night and I hate when we put across an image of ourselves like that in Europe.
“That’s not us and you have to explain that’s not us, so it was bad.” Now he is relishing playing more and more football, and is glad plans for a less hurried return to action had to be scrapped by Everton.
He said: “I was scared at times while I was out because three operations is a big thing, but I learned a lot about myself and I want to enjoy football now. “I know there is a lot to come in the next couple of months, playing every three or four days. “They were planning to give me more time training with the squad before I went back into the team but that didn’t happen because of other injuries. “Sporting have some very good players and it’s not going to be easy. But I think if we have all our injured players back on the pitch we have the best team in many, many years – certainly during my time here. It says a lot about the strength and the character of the lads that they held together when so many were out. “The big players held it together, and at times they were feeling lonely but now we are in a good position to do well. Two months ago nobody was expecting us to talk seriously about qualifying for Europe this season, but if we go on a terrific run – and it will have to be a terrific run – we will be close.
“It gives the players lots of confidence.” David Moyes is waiting for the results of fitness tests on a minor back strain for Philippe Senderos and Victor Anichebe before deciding on his line-up tonight. John Heitinga is ineligible but Moyes has Joseph Yobo fit and available again. Meanwhile, the Blues are waiting for the results of the postponed check-up on Marouane Fellaini’s injured ankle, which finally took place yesterday.

Everton 2 Sporting Lisbon 1
February 16, 2010, By Ian Doyle, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S Europa League chances remain very much in the balance despite victory over Sporting Lisbon. Goals from Steven Pienaar and Sylvain Distin appeared to have given David Moyes's side a significant step into the next round.
But a penalty three minutes from time from Miguel Veloso earned the Portuguese visitors a precious away goal in the first leg of this round of 32 tie. Distin was sent off in conceding the late spot kick and is now suspended for the return leg in Lisbon on Thursday week.. And Everton can expect a serious examination of their European credentials after shooting themselves in the foot here. This was so very nearly a much-needed tonic for Moyes after the news earlier in the day that Marouane Fellaini could be missing for as long as six months with ruptured ankle ligaments.
With Philippe Senderos nursing a sore back and John Heitinga ineligible, centre-back Joseph Yobo made his first appearance since aggravating a hamstring problem against Tottenham Hotspur in early December. But it was Everton's other returning player that made the decisive contribution of the first half, Steven Pienaar, having served a one-match ban for his derby dismissal, scoring the opener 10 minutes before the interval. And it was some goal. Phil Neville's slide rule pass from the right flank set Cahill in behind the Sporting defence and, with goalkeeper Rui Patricio approaching, the Australian showed great awareness to backheel the ball across into the path of the incoming Pienaar, who finished into the top corner of the unguarded net.
Clearly, Cahill had been watching when Real Madrid's Guti laid on a goal for Karim Benzema in similar fashion earlier this month. It was a merited reward for Everton's positive approach during a surprisingly lively opening 45 minutes.
Moyes's men signalled their intent in the 12th minute, when Cahill flicked the ball in for Louis Saha only for Sporting keeper Patricio to parry the Frenchman's effort and the block Leon Osman's follow-up attempt. Leighton Baines, a constant threat down the left, proved equally effective with his dead-ball delivery. A Baines corner was glanced wide by Cahill and a free-kick headed over by Saha, while the left-back's eventual shot was not as incisive as the thrilling 40-yard run that had preceded it.
There was some controversy in the 19th minute when, in chasing Pienaar's throughball, Saha tumbled to the ground just outside the area with centre-back Daniel Carrico in close attendance. However, referee Darko Ceferin ruled Saha's heels had not been clipped by the defender, who would otherwise have surely been dismissed.
Sporting, though, were not without their own chances, their close passing and danger on the counter-attack meaning Everton's defence had to withstand bouts of away pressure. They came close five minutes before the interval when, after Sporting's attempts to walk their way through the home defence proved futile, winger Marat Izmailov smashed the outside of Howard's left-hand post from 12 yards.
Right-back Abel's speculative 25-yard angled drive few narrowly wide and, when a shot from former Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Pedro Mendes was only parried by Howard, Pienaar was alert to nick the ball off Joao Moutinho as the midfielder shaped to convert the rebound. This wasn't an evening to remember for Moutinho. A transfer target for Moyes 18 months ago, he was later booked for a cynical foul on Landon Donovan before being substituted. By then, Everton had doubled their advantage with a simple if slightly fortuitous goal. Under pressure from Cahill, goalkeeper Patricio failed to deal with a Baines free-kick from the left and the ball struck Distin and flew in. Sporting's subsequent complaints of a foul on the goalkeeper by Cahill were not without foundation, but Everton could point to the earlier decision that didn't go in Saha's favour. The visitors rarely threatened after that, although Baines did well to prevent the much taller substitute Carlos Saleiro from reaching an inviting cross. Yakubu, on for Cahill, almost snatched a third with a low shot Patricio did well to parry clear, before the Nigerian's backheel created a chance for Saha to strike at the keeper. But out of nothing, substitute Jack Rodwell's overhit pass to Distin caused the centre-back to lose possession to Liedson and, in his attempts to race back and win the ball, the Frenchman only succeeded in bringing the forward down for Veloso to convert from the spot.

Marouane Fellaini injury blow adds to Everton's Europa League frustration
February 17, 2010. Liverpool Echo
EVERTON manager David Moyes expects to be without key midfielder Marouane Fellaini for the rest of the season – and to add to his frustration their Europa League hopes are hanging in the balance. Moyes’ side seemed to shrug off the loss of Fellaini, who needs ankle surgery, by racing into a two-goal lead against Sporting, thanks to Steven Pienaar and Sylvain Distin. However the game took a dramatic twist with four minutes remaining when Miguel Veloso scored from the spot in this round of 32 first leg match. The penalty kick was awarded at Goodison Park after Distin had floored Liedson as he tried to surge forward, and the defender was sent off in the process.
It means Everton now face a difficult return match in Portugal a week on Thursday after looking so comfortable for so long. Fellaini will again be looking on from the sidelines after being hurt following a crunching tackle with Liverpool’s Sotirios Kyrgiakos, who was sent off in the derby. Moyes said: “Fellaini is not good. He has an injury similar to Robin van Persie and that could keep out for six months. We will not be sure until the operation takes place. “He has played really well this season and been part of the reason behind our improvement. He has been a big miss to us already.”
Moyes could not hide his disappointment at the way they let Sporting back into the tie. Pienaar made the breakthrough in the 35th minute with a good finish after being set up by Tim Cahill, who came off with a calf injury. Distin extended Everton’s lead in the 49th minute after goalkeeper Rui Patricio flapped at Leighton Baines’ corner.
Moyes said: “The perspective of the game changed. I thought we were more liable to win 3-0 than 2-1. We looked as though we were trying to conserve our energy rather than going for another goal. “Sylvain had a difficult pass to deal with but we should never have put ourselves in that position. We should have been looking to get forward. “We did enough to be 2-0 in front and I did not see a goal coming. But it was not to be. It keeps the game alive. That’s football. “We are disappointed we have not seen the job through, which we should have done. We gave Sporting an opportunity when it looked as though they might not have one.” Sporting coach Carlos Carvalhal said: “Hopefully we can complete the job with the help of our marvellous supporters.
“I wish the game had gone on longer as we were making it difficult for Everton. Some of our football was almost perfect.” “I did not think we deserved to be behind at half-time and I have to dispute their second goal as there was a handball.”

Everton FC fans letters: Will Goodison give Man Utd's Wayne Rooney a hot reception?
February 16, 2010, Liverpool Echo
Will Goodison give Rooney a hot reception? AFTER finally ending our decade-long hoodoo against Chelsea - I wish we'd have done it nine months earlier at Wembley – it's time we got a positive result against Manchester United on Saturday.
We've collected a few well-earned points at Stamford Bridge while I also recall that James McFadden hit the post with a great chance with the score at 1-1 during the Carling Cup semi-final first leg a couple of seasons ago in a game we lost 2-1 in stoppage time. Our victory over the Premier League leaders could have been sealed earlier if Louis Saha hadn't taken such a tame penalty but in the same way the Frenchman responded well to that personal setback with a well-taken winning goal, the result was the perfect response to the derby defeat – another fixture David Moyes has an awful record in. While our games at Old Trafford are the most one-sided head-to-head in Premier League history, our record against the Red Devils at Goodison is not much better. It seems that we only ever beat United when it really matters with our only successes since the 1995 FA Cup final win being the Premier League game in the run-in to finishing fourth in 2005 and the semi-final at Wembley last season – and that was only on penalties against a Ferguson fringe side. The loss of Marouane Fellaini is a huge blow but given some of the form we've shown in recent weeks there's no reason why we can't give United a real stern test this weekend. We need to make things as hard as possible for them from the start – remember Phil Neville's 'season-changing' tackle on Cristiano Ronaldo last term? A similar kind of attitude from both players and fans alike to the visit of their neighbours last month is needed.
Winning the title four times on the trot has never been done before by any English side - including our friends across the Park - so it will be a big ask for United to finish as champions again come May but they've been banging in the goals from all angles of late.
Ken Mahon, Tuebrook

Everton FC 2 Sporting Lisbon 1 - Ian Doyle on the delicate balancing act facing the Blues
Feb 17 2010 by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
DAVID MOYES already had enough trouble with a foot yesterday without then watching his team shoot themselves in theirs. On the day Everton's injury jinx returned with a vengeance, so did their propensity for doing things the hard way.
Within minutes of taking a significant step into the next round of the Europa League, the Goodison outfit pressed the self-destruct button in spectacular fashion to hand Sporting Lisbon a lifeline and leave this round of 32 tie delicately poised.
But it shouldn't have been this way. Two goals ahead following strikes by Steven Pienaar and Sylvain Distin, Everton had earned a strong position going into the return leg on Thursday week. One moment of madness changed that, Distin played into trouble by a slack pass from Jack Rodwell and subsequently fouling Liedson inside the area for Miguel Veloso to stroke home what could prove the pivotal goal in the tie.
It was the classic European sucker-punch. Distin saw red and so did Moyes, the manager later scolding his team for their failure to press home an obvious advantage.
As cricket legend Steve Waugh succinctly quipped: “Everton shouldn't have declared at 2-0.” Waugh was in town to interview Tim Cahill for Australian television, and saw his compatriot play an integral part in Pienaar's classy opener, the South African marking his 100th Everton appearance in some style. Cahill, though, limped off midway through the second half with a suspected calf strain, compounding the injury woe suffered earlier in the day with the news Marouane Fellaini has been ruled out for up to six months with ankle ligament damage. The Belgian's destructive presence will be sorely missed when Everton step out at the Estádio José Alvalade in eight days' time for what promises to be a serious examination of their European credentials.
Sporting have progressed from all previous six knockout ties against English opposition in Europe and, thanks to Veloso's late penalty, Moyes fears the momentum now rests with the Portuguese. Certainly, the ludicrous early kick-off was no excuse for Everton falling asleep in the closing moments. But it did impact on the attendance, with Goodison officials claiming the timing had knocked 7,000 off the crowd and cost the club around £100,000 in lost revenue. While Benfica were in a rich vein of form when beating Everton twice in the group stages, the same could not be said of their Lisbon rivals Sporting, whose had lost three of their previous four games with an indifferent start to the season prompting coach Paulo Bento to resign in November, replaced by Carlos Carvalhal. Indeed, having been dumped out of both domestic cup competitions, failing to meet expectations in the league and with Europe the only hope of silverware, Sporting's campaign has a familiar ring about. By contrast, Everton's winter revival was rejuvenated by the famous win over Premier League leaders Chelsea last week. That confidence was evident throughout a lively first-half performance in which Pienaar's 35th-minute opener was the undoubted highlight.
Phil Neville's slide rule pass from the right flank set Cahill in behind the Sporting defence and, with goalkeeper Rui Patricio approaching, the Australian showed great awareness to backheel the ball across into the path of the incoming Pienaar, who finished into the top corner of the unguarded net.
Clearly, Cahill was watching when Real Madrid's Guti laid on a goal for Karim Benzema in similar fashion earlier this month.
Moyes's men had signalled their intent in the 12th minute, when Cahill flicked the ball in for Louis Saha only for Sporting keeper Patricio to parry the Frenchman's effort and the block Leon Osman's follow-up attempt.
Leighton Baines, a constant threat down the left, proved equally effective with his dead-ball delivery. His corner was glanced wide by Cahill before a free-kick was headed over by Saha, while the left-back's eventual shot was not as incisive as the thrilling 40-yard run that had preceded it.
There was controversy in the 19th minute when, in chasing Pienaar's throughball, Saha tumbled to the ground just outside the area with centre-back Daniel Carrico in close attendance. However, referee Darko Ceferin ruled Saha's heels had not been clipped by the defender, who would otherwise have surely been dismissed
Sporting, though, were not without their own chances, their close passing and danger on the counter-attack meaning Everton's defence had to withstand intermittent bouts of away pressure. The visitors came close five minutes before the interval when, after Sporting's attempts to walk their way through the home defence proved futile, winger Marat Izmailov smashed the outside of Howard's left-hand post from 12 yards.
Right-back Abel's speculative 25-yard angled drive flew narrowly wide and, when a shot from Pedro Mendes was only parried by Howard, Pienaar was alert to nick the ball off Joao Moutinho as the midfielder shaped to convert the rebound.
This wasn't an evening to remember for Moutinho. A transfer target for Moyes 18 months ago, the midfielder was later booked for a cynical foul on Landon Donovan before being substituted. By then, Everton had doubled their advantage with a simple if slightly fortuitous goal. Under pressure from Cahill, goalkeeper Patricio failed to deal with a Baines free-kick from the left and the ball struck Distin and flew in, with Sporting claiming a foul by Cahill and handball by Distin. Everton assumed total command. Yakubu, on for Cahill, almost snatched a third with a low shot Patricio did well to parry clear, before the Nigerian's backheel created a chance for Saha to strike at the keeper. But with Everton nervously eyeing the clock and the defence starting to edge back ever nearer to Howard, Sporting, buoyed by a double substitution, began to threaten in the final quarter. And the visitors landed their devastating blow with just three minutes remaining. Substitute Rodwell's overhit pass to Distin caused the centre-back to lose possession to Liedson and, in his attempts to race back and win the ball, the Frenchman only succeeded in bringing the forward down for Veloso to convert from the spot. Game on. But it shouldn't be.

Football’s finest traditions upheld with Liverpool Echo’s Dixie Dean Memorial Award
February 17, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
IT IS an award which celebrates the outstanding legacy of the greatest goalscorer who ever lived. The Liverpool Echo’s Dixie Dean Memorial Award was created in 1980, just months after the death of English football's most prolific ever centre-forward.
But more than merely celebrate his sporting achievement, the award was initiated as a lasting tribute to the Everton legend's sportsmanship, discipline and inspirational qualities. And on March 1 at the ECHO’s Merseyside Sports Personality of the Year Awards night, it will be presented to someone who embodies many of Dixie’s amazing virtues. Throughout his 433 match Everton career, Dean was never cautioned, sent off or even reprimanded by a referee . . . apart from the occasion when Dean asked Lol Harper what he had in his mouth, and when the official answered ‘a peppermint’ he asked if he had one for him! That impeccable record ensured that when the original judges gathered to select the first Dixie Dean Memorial Award winner, “services for football in the finest tradition” were declared the qualities most relevant to their decision. As a result that great gentleman of Anfield, Ian Callaghan, was the recipient in 1981. The 25 winners who followed Callaghan reflect a who’s who of some of the most respected names in football. Rush, Brian Labone, Alan Ball, Dave Watson, Graeme Sharp, Phil Thompson, Alex Young, Neville Southall and Howard Kendall have all had their names etched onto its base. And it isn’t just Everton and Liverpool who have been represented. Dean started his career at Prenton Park and Tranmere’s winners include Ray Mathias, Johnny King, Eric Nixon and Steve Mungall. The last winner, Andy Gray, received a standing ovation as he received the trophy from David Moyes at the Echo Arena in 2008.
This year’s winner, another man immersed in Royal Blue traditions, will be equally as well received. Guests at the glittering awards ceremony will find out at the Crowne Plaza hotel on Monday, March 1. SOME tickets are still available for the event. To purchase call 0151 472 2570 during normal business hours or email events@liverpool.com. Further information at www.echosportspersonality.com or by visiting the Liverpool cho website www.liverpoolecho.co.uk and clicking on the link on the home page.

Everton FC 2, Sporting Lisbon 1: Injuries and late away goal cloud Blues' Europa League win
February 17, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
PROGRESS does not automatically come at a cost, it just seems that way if you follow Everton. Despite being ravaged by widespread injury, the Blues have turned a potential campaign of mediocrity into another stab at challenging for European qualification. That spirited recovery from an appalling start to the season was notably assisted by the fine form of their emerging midfield enigma Marouane Fellaini.
But just as David Moyes begins to welcome back influential long-term casualties like Mikel Arteta to complement the Belgian in midfield, just when the light slowly begins to seep into the mouth of the tunnel, just when you think any further injuries would be beyond ludicrous. It’s then that fate decides to throw Everton another atrociously bad hand. News of Fellaini’s potential six-month absence with an ankle ligament injury sustained in the Anfield derby, hung over a barely believing Goodison like a black cloud before kick-off yesterday. And that sense of one step forward being consistently accompanied by two steps back was reflected again in the how the first leg of this Europa League last 32 tie concluded. Everton were in control of the tie with a two-goal lead and looking good for a no-nonsense trip to Lisbon which should have been academic. Instead, Tim Cahill was forced off through injury. With the Australian’s steadying influence and experience lost, the Blues began to defend deeper and deeper.
Then Jack Rodwell needlessly passed back to Sylvain Distin, the centre-half inexplicably lost possession and suddenly, he was red-carded and Sporting had a vital away goal. David Moyes had stressed beforehand the importance of Everton not conceding. The Scot has matured as a European tactician, and there was little he could do about the way his charges made life difficult for themselves ahead of next week’s visit to the Estadio Jose Alvalade. Moyes had also spoken in the build-up to the game about the need for his side to show patience during the home leg. They appeared to have listened, adopting a steady but unhurried pace in a comfortable first half.
The game burst into life when Cahill played Louis Saha in and the striker’s point blank effort was saved by Patricio, who then reacted superbly to block Leon Osman’s follow-up. Ten minutes later, Saha again went close, and from the resultant corner Cahill glanced a header wide. Sporting showed their teeth in response. There was an early rasping shot from former Everton transfer target Joao Moutinho, as the little captain enjoyed a vibrant start, harrying Everton out of possession and using the ball intelligently. The Blues had an optimistic penalty claim when Saha took a tumble on the edge of the box after an unintentional trip by Daniel Carrico.
But minutes later Phil Neville played a defence splitting pass to Cahill whose stylish back-heel found Steven Pienaar, and the South African rode a last ditch tackle to finish smartly. It was an elegant goal with overtones of Osman’s super strike against Larissa two seasons ago. But then Sporting went close. The impressive Pedro Mendes worked his way into the area and volleyed at Howard, and Moutinho had the follow-up pinched from his toes by Pienaar. Despite an initially stilted atmosphere, not helped by Uefa’s insistence on a 5.45pm kick off, the game was developing into an entertaining clash as Goodison found its voice. Leighton Baines embarked on an adventurous jinking run, capped with a show that flew narrowly wide.
Then Sporting’s enterprising Russian international Marat Izmailov burst forward and saw a vicious shot ping back off the crossbar. Neutrals must have been warming to the encounter, and Australian cricket Test legend Steve Waugh was a surprise face in the Goodison press box. The ex-Wallabies captain was present for a documentary about his countryman Tim Cahill, and he was smiling as Cahill created Everton’s second.
The midfielder’s leap distracted Patricio and the ball squirmed between the pair and bounced in off the chest of the loitering Sylvain Distin. Buoyed by their fortuitous start to the second half, Landon Donovan went on a trademark run which saw the USA skipper win a free-kick, and Everton pressed. Worryingly though Cahill pulled up in front of the Gwladys Street after an innocuous attack had dispersed, and had to be replaced with half an hour left. Evertonians were denied a chance to further debate the merits of Moutinho when he was replaced with 20 minutes left. The highly-rated midfielder’s bright start had faded, and the Goodison jury will want more time to ponder its verdict if Everton ever move to sign him in the future. The Blues continued to threaten as the clock ticked down. Mikel Arteta fired a free-kick over the bar and Yakubu went close with a low, curling effort. But then their dominance was undermined in a moment of calamity. Inexplicably ponderous in midfield, Jack Rodwell passed back to Distin who failed to control under pressure from Liedsen, and allowed the Brazilian-born Portugese international to take it past him. The Frenchman’s clumsy attempt to rescue the situation saw him dismissed, and allowed Miguel Veloso to stroke home a confident spot kick. Four minutes of added time ensured a nervy end to what should have been a routine finish, with Sporting sub Yannick Djalo threatening. But the grimaces on the Everton players’ faces as they trudged off at the final whistle said it all. They will have to ensure no further lapses of focus in Portugal, or see another shot at silverware this season disappear.
Everton: Howard, Neville, Distin, Yobo, Baines, Arteta (Rodwell 78), Osman, Donovan, Pienaar, Cahill (Yakubu 62), Saha (Bilyaletdinov 84). Subs not used: Nash, Vaughan, Gosling, Coleman.
Sporting: Patricio, Mendes, Carrico, Izmailov, Tonel, Fernandez (Saleiro 66) Grimi, Veloso, Moutinho (Djalo 66), Liedson. Abel. Subs not used: Tiago, Polga, Silva, Vukcevic, Pereirinha.
Ref: Darko Ceferin
Attendance: 28, 131

Tim Howard: Everton FC must keep cool under Euro pressure
February 17, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
TIM HOWARD today called for Everton to show greater composure in two-leg European ties after they conceded a deflating late goal against Sporting at Goodison.
The keeper believes the Blues must learn to tighten up in the Europa League, as he also lamented the news of Marouane Fellaini’s six-month injury lay-off.
A scan on the Belgian’s injured ankle confirmed Everton’s worst fears that the injury will require surgery and likely rule him out for the rest of the season.
Howard said: “I feel like Marouane has been amazing over the last three months.
“He has really been making us go. He’s been all over the pitch, heading balls, getting it down and playing. “He’s been unplayable to a certain extent, which you actually saw growing and then this happens. “It doesn’t surprise me the way our injuries have been this season. It feels like we’re under a black cloud but it’s unfortunate for him as well because individually he’s been amazing.” Howard still believes that Everton can contend with their latest in a long run of injury set-backs, and progress past Sporting in the Europa League. The Blues travel to Portugal next week, after allowing Sporting to take a morale-boosting late goal in last night’s game when Sylvain Distin conceded a penalty. He said: “We played well and created chances while limiting them to only a few, so to concede was bitterly disappointing. “We are still confident we can go there and do the business, even if we just get a draw. “It was tough on Sylvain. He was put under pressure, and I think we all need to be better in terms of knowing that at 2-0 it’s still half time in the tie. It’s not like a premier league game where we get the three points even if they score. “We needed to see it out better. We could have had more goals but I suppose it wasn’t meant to be. “We were protecting the lead and and had no real incentive to get forward and get further goals, so there was no that much of an urgency. It’s natural that we started to defend a bit deeper. “Still, we have to remember that was another victory and another performance when we played well so we pick ourselves up and go again. “We are a team who create a lot of chances. Maybe we won’t open teams up like Arsenal do but we will create chances. I just feel like we know the chances will come but we have to stay tight. “I think it’s better to play in Portugal second. It’s more manageable, you know your goals are heavier.”

Everton FC fans' jury
February 17, 2010. Liverpool Echo
WELL that was frustrating. For around 70 minutes, it was a pretty effective European performance. We made some chances, we kept Lisbon quiet, and we had a good 2-0 lead to take into the second leg. So why did we feel the need to sit back in a game we were so in control of, instead of going for the kill? 2-0 isn’t always a winning lead in a two legged tie, but 3-0 would have put it to bed. Instead, we settled for 2-0, let Lisbon have the ball, and were duly punished by our own mistake and now go to Portugal next week sweating.There were positives though, Osman was excellent in the centre of midfield, and he will need to be for the rest of the season with news of Fellaini’s injury. It is good to see that Cahill is back to his best too, and while Distin may have had some unconvincing games since signing, but his recent performances have been good, and he played well again until a Brazilian unfortunately tumbled in front of him.
COLE FRASER, Litherland
WHAT a devastating blow it is that Marouane Fellaini will miss the rest of the season. The big Belgian has been invaluable and will be sorely missed. Tuesday ended in disappointment, but we can take positives. Leighton Baines and Leon Osman were brilliant, neither gave up on anything and showed the kind of commitment that doesn't go unnoticed. After his heroics against Chelsea, Louis Saha looked disinterested at times, whilst Mikel Arteta also looked sloppy. It's understandable that it will take time for him to get back to his best, but it's annoys me that every set-piece situation appears to turn into 'the Arteta show'. We have plenty of dead-ball specialists, when Mikel isn't having the best of games he shouldn't be taking the ball away from the likes of Baines or Pienaar.
THE mad goal we gave to Sporting should not detract from the fact that we have come a long way from the opening day nightmare against Arsenal and we should not go into the United game with anything other than a positive attitude. Selection wise, the injury to Fellani means that Arteta will need to figure from the start but he still looks well off the pace at the moment and Phil Neville will be vital to try and block United’s route through to Rooney. For once, though, it would be nice to see the Blues get stuck in from the first whistle instead of waiting to go behind. Beating Chelsea was great but the tepid first 20 minutes resembled so many inconsistent performances this year. I would leave Bily on the bench and play Cahill off Saha but if things don’t go well I would like to see Moyes give Vaughan more than 10 minutes and see how the United defence cope with his pace and determination to chase anything that moves.
ANY privileged child brought into this world over the past two weeks could be forgiven if their father gladly explained to them that this is what being an Evertonian is like. Ever since I first stepped into Goodison Park these two weeks perfectly for me, sum up Everton Football Club. Our best player back from 12 months out to our player of the season being crocked for a further six months. We get turned over in a Merseyside derby we thought we could win then comfortably beat the best team in the country three days later. Then we get to Europe where the Sporting Lisbon game should have been out of site by half time but we don’t do things easy at Everton, do we? Since we first kicked a ball in 1878 right up until the current day, this is what Everton’s about.

Everton FC fan calls for Liver Bird to be reinstated by club
February 18, 2010. By Alan Weston
PASSIONATE Everton FC fan Keith Wilson has a dream – to see the famous Liver Bird symbol restored to his club’s strip. Although the Liver Bird is a proud emblem of the whole city, it has also become synonymous with Liverpool FC as the club logo.
But Keith points out that Everton FC also featured the Liver Bird on its medals and souvenirs up until the late 1930s, examples of which can be seen in the David France collection of club memorabilia now on display in Liverpool’s central library.
He wants to see the image restored to Everton’s replica kits and other merchandise to remind fans of the club’s heritage. Keith, 51, from Waterloo, was five years old when he began to follow Everton and he has only missed a few matches since. He is also a club shareholder.
He said: “Many Evertonians do not know that the club used the Liver Bird in the early part of its history. “Me and quite a few others are aggrieved that Liverpool FC have ‘hijacked’ this logo and use it as their emblem. The Liver Bird is for the people of Liverpool, and should not be associated with just one club. “It should be on both kits, because they’re both from Liverpool.” Everton FC started using the famous symbol of Prince Rupert’s tower and two laurel wreaths in 1938. It became incorporated on to the players’ shirts in 1980 In 2008, Liverpool FC unsuccessfully tried to trademark the Liver Bird as part of a crackdown against counterfeit kit. But its application was withdrawn after it was opposed by the city council, who said the symbol belonged to the whole city. Everton spokesman Ian Ross said: “We have no plans to attempt to reclaim the Liver Bird symbol. I think even the most devout Evertonian knows that the Liver Bird is now synonymous with Liverpool FC.” Everton commissioned a winners’ medal incorporating the Liver Bird when it won the League Championship for the first time at Anfield in 1890. One of the finest medals ever cast was the Championship Winners medal of 1914/15, which was 15 carat gold and enamel cast.
The last known medal with the Liver Bird on it was a Central League Winners medal from 1937 - 38.

Steven Pienaar dismisses Everton FC exit talk
February 18, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
STEVEN PIENAAR has dismissed rumours linking him with a summer move away from Everton. The South African midfielder’s impressive performances have prompted interest from a number of clubs, who are aware he has only a year left on his current Goodison contract. But the 27-year-old, who hopes to shine on home soil in this summer’s World Cup, has reiterated his loyalty to the Toffees despite not yet agreeing a new deal. He said: “I feel this is my home. The supporters have always been good to me and I always give 100%. “I definitely aim to play here for a lot longer, why not? Talk of moving is only rumours and I am definitely enjoying my football here.” Bayern Munich are believed to be considering a move for Pienaar as they look at possible replacements for Franck Ribery. But Pienaar, who scored during his 100th Everton appearance against Sporting on Tuesday, would be unlikely to return to the Bundesliga where he had a torrid time at Borussia Dortmund prior to joining the Blues. Manchester City are also thought to be monitoring the ex-Ajax player’s situation as they look to add more big names to their squad.
Meanwhile, Sylvain Distin has questioned his straight red card for bringing down Sporting forward Liedson on Tuesday, which led to the Portuguese outfit converting the resultant penalty for a crucial away goal. The defender said: “I think it is the first straight red of my career. Now that I have watched the video of it, I think it is a bit harsh as I don't really go across him and I don't tackle but we knew they would go easily to the ground so I should have done better. “It is difficult to say if the red card and the penalty was the right decision, but it was a bit harsh. It was a 50/50 but it didn't go my way this time. I have mixed feelings about the night but I am hard with myself so I am only going to remember the red card.” Distin still believes his teammates can progress into the final 16 of the Europa League without him. He said: “I think we can get the result in Lisbon definitely. If we start well we can score over there. Hopefully I will only have a one game ban, and I will be back for the next round because I am really positive that we will go through. “We scored two but we could have scored about four and maybe had a penalty awarded as well. We created opportunities so I think we can score a goal over there.” Distin also revealed how the players felt upon hearing the news of Marouane Fellaini’s six-month lay-off with damaged ankle ligaments. He said: “We are all disappointed with the news about Fellaini. He is a great guy and obviously a good footballer as well and he was important in the squad. But this is why we have a big squad – to prevent these kind of troubles. We have lots of players who can now get into the team, but we are disappointed as Marouane is a great footballer.”

Howard Kendall: Everton FC still in Europa League control
February 19, 2020, Liverpool Echo
MAKE no mistake about it, the Blues are still in the driving seat ahead of the away leg of their Europa League tie with Sporting. They will go to Lisbon next week and they only have to score first to put themselves in a great position to progress to the last 16 of the competition. Sporting were fairly neat and tidy and looked OK on the counter attack, but overall Everton are stronger. If anything I’d like to see David Moyes go over there and ask his team to play at a Premier League pace, harrying Sporting and looking to score fast. Everton beat Chelsea because they responded to Chelsea’s continental approach of keeping a low tempo and knocking it about by getting stuck into them and picking up the pace. But against Sporting the Blues actually adopted a bit more of a Continental style themselves. I’d like to see them shock Sporting in their own backyard with a 100mph English approach.
It’s hard when you start off at one pace in a game to switch it to a faster one, so the Blues are better going for it from the onset. Look at the likes of Arsenal who play in a very continental style. They often find it hard to adapt even when they really need to. Sometimes there is nothing better than a bit of directness. I’m still not a fan of the extra officials in a Europa League game. Why on earth Uefa don’t introduce goal line technology is beyond me. They have a man behind the goal now but they are still relying on the human eye and the computers are far more accurate. Maybe they will have to be embarrassed by another high profile mistake before they decide to go for it.
Wayne Rooney can be halted
MANCHESTER United looked good against AC Milan but I still think they are vulnerable at the back. Milan had opportunities and the defending for Clarence Seedorf’s goal was very poor. It should give Everton hope ahead of tomorrow’s game, even if a certain Mr Rooney is in excellent form. I’m glad there has been a bit of thawing in the animosity between Wayne and the fans. He had a once in a lifetime opportunity to move to Manchester United, even if he had stayed at Everton for another 12 months, a lot can happen in that time. It’s like when I was Blackburn player manager and Everton parted company with Gordon Lee. The Toffees made an approach for me and my chairman said it may be a bit too early, he said I should stay another season. But clubs like Everton didn’t come calling every day and I couldn’t take the risk of waiting another season. Someone else could have come in and stayed in the job for 10 years. For all that, Rooney is only human and can be stopped if Everton get their defence right.
Injuries hard to take
I’M hard pressed to remember a worse run of injuries to an Everton team in recent years. Marouane Fellaini was performing at the considerable height of his game, the best he has played in his career, for Everton when injury struck in the Anfield derby.
He seemed to have adapted to the holding midfield role and was making the team tick. He will be missed. But this is an opportunity for Jack Rodwell to re-establish himself in the team and flourish.

Alan Stubbs: Everton FC can stop Wayne Rooney and Manchester United
February 19, 2010, By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
THE menacing sight of Wayne Rooney terrorising AC Milan’s defence in midweek would have been enough to turn Sylvain Distin’s blood cold. Everton host their prodigal son again on Saturday, as the French centre half attempts to exorcise the ghost of a slip-up against Sporting which has cranked up the pressure on the Blues away leg in Portugal next week. The uncharacteristic mis-control of Jack Rodwell’s ill-advised pass, and the penalty conceded moments afterwards left Distin shaking his head in self-disgust as he made the long walk towards the tunnel.
Facing Wayne Rooney at the top of his considerable game is hardly how any player would have chosen to recover, but according to Everton coach Alan Stubbs, Distin has the strength of character to endure. Stubbs, who played 169 times at the heart of the Toffee’s defence, knows both Rooney, his friend of more than a decade, and Distin well. And the Kirkby-born Evertonian is relishing the contest. “Wayne is probably in the richest vein of form in his career so far. Certainly the most consistent,” says the 38-year-old. “He is scoring goals for fun - even scoring headers. “We used to always have a laugh with him when he was here, and take the micky because of his heading. He always used to get beat in the air. “But Wayne is the sort of lad who works hard to improve every aspect of his game. Even things he was good at anyway. “So everyone can see for themselves now that his heading is no laughing matter. He just always wants to get better. “Wayne was never reluctant to put the extra hours of practise in. For someone with such natural ability, his work-rate and what he does for the team sets him apart from the rest.” Stubbs insists that Distin is the type of consummate professional who will not allow himself to be haunted by that rare mistake against Sporting. “I wouldn’t have thought Sylvain will let what happened on Tuesday night affect him,” he says. “As a top player you have got to pick yourself up, brush yourself off and get on with it. “I’m sure that’s the exact mentality Sylvain will have. It might have felt like a defeat because we conceded that late goal against Sporting, but we should remember that we won the game. There’s no need to go over there fearing them.” The minds of the Everton players will be set on the visit of Alex Ferguson’s title contenders tomorrow and another chance for David Moyes to visit an extra-rare victory over the Red Devils. But Stubbs warns that Moyes’ men will be taking risks if they over-focus on the threat of Rooney. There is a lot of attention on Wayne but you can focus too much on one player,” he says. “You cannot go for the title with only one special player. “If you put all your concentration on Wayne then they have players like Fletcher and Giggs who can hit you.” Stubbs, who faced players of the calibre of Thierry Henry and Ruud Van Nistelrooy, insists there is no room for error among the Toffee’s back four. “Their concentration has got to be 100%,” he says. “Switch off for a second and the ball is probably in the back of the net. “Maybe you can get away with the odd mistake against some sides but not United. The top sides punish you and if it’s Sylvain and Johnny who start they will be watching Wayne dropping off into the hole and running off the ball, wondering whether to go with him or not. “It’s hard work but it’s what they are their getting paid for. They will probably have a bit of apprehension on Saturday morning but they have got what it takes to get a result. “The United defenders will be wondering how you stop Louis Saha in the form he is in. It will be a great game and David Moyes will have done his home work. “Yes Wayne is that good he may be unplayable, as a few teams have found, but Everton have got to do their own thing. “One of the things you can guarantee is that Everton will have a high tempo. We’ll be closing them down and harrying them into mistakes as much as possible. “You’ve got to hope the crowd make it a hostile atmosphere for them too. As a player you can really notice the difference when Goodison is up for it
“If everything clicks into place; the crowd and the performance on Saturday, it could be a special afternoon.”
Everton FC's Tim Cahill in Manchester United fitness fight
TIM Cahill is fighting to be fit for Everton’s Saturday show-down with Manchester United. The inspirational Aussie limped off with an injured calf during the Blues’ Europa League tie against Sporting at Goodison on Tuesday. But the 30-year-old, who also needed stitches in a cut above his eye after the game, has since been receiving intensive treatment in a bid to be available for the clash against Alex Ferguson’s men.
David Moyes will give Cahill every chance to prove his fitness, as he already has to contend without Marouane Fellaini and will be loathe to completely re-structure his midfield. Meanwhile, Landon Donovan has been named Everton's Player of the Month for January. The on-loan midfielder was presented with his award by Blues legend in Goodison's Dixie Dean Lounge yesterday. The 28-year-old was awarded for a string of impressive performances since arriving from MLS side LA Galaxy at the turn of the year. He said: “It's a privilege to receive the recognition as it comes from the supporters.” The USA record goalscorer played five times in January, scoring once and on his debut assisted Leon Osman's header at the Emirates.

Man Utd's Wayne Rooney now among the world’s best strikers - Alex Ferguson ahead of Goodison Park return to face Everton FC
February 19, 2010. Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY returns to Everton today with Alex Ferguson convinced his star striker is now one of the world’s best players. “Over the last month or so his game has just taken off,” said Ferguson. “Before, we said that his goalscoring tended to come in bursts. Now he is far more consistent and goalscoring is the area you always want to be judged as a striker.” “It is the area of biggest improvement and with him doing that you have to put him in the same bracket as all the best players. The evidence is there.”
Rooney will certainly be desperate to add to his tally today. “He always gets a rough ride there although he is probably used to that now,” said Ferguson. “There is a special motivation for Wayne to do well against Everton but we couldn’t have him in better form really and it doesn’t matter where we are going. He has been the main player. Without a doubt he has been the star for the last few weeks. “He is in such good form we are going there in great confidence.” Nani and Rio Ferdinand are suspended but Anderson is available after a reserve-team outing on Thursday, while Nemanja Vidic is also included. “We have a good record there,” observed Ferguson.
“Maybe the atmosphere does help us because it is a real football stadium.
“Goodison Park is an old ground but it has got the football tradition still attached to it.
“The crowd are always very noisy and they will make that noise felt tomorrow.
“But we have experienced that many times before. It is a massive game for us, we recognise that. “Beating Chelsea shows Everton’s potential, so if we could get one, a positive result would be very important.”

ROYAL BLUE: Spirit of 1985 is still strong for Everton FC old boys
February 20, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
ALTHOUGH misfortune keeps intruding in terms of injury set-backs, there is still a quiet belief among supporters that this Everton squad are capable of success.
As the club reels from the news that Marouane Fellaini will not kick a ball for the rest of the season, it is important to remember that the Blues still have Phil Jagielka’s imminent return and Mikel Arteta’s improving fitness to ignite them.
Importantly, the team spirit that held Everton together in the absence of those players, personified by players like Tim Cahill, Leon Osman and Leighton Baines, will continue. It’s a spirit never better exemplified than by the historic 1984/85 league and European Cup Winners Cup team. Ahead of a 25th anniversary reunion dinner, I sat down with Graeme Sharp and heard how it still feels like yesterday for him.
“I can’t believe all this time has passed,” he said. “Some of us met up last week and I think it took everyone by surprise when it dawned that it was 25 years ago.
“I’m looking forward to the dinner on March 29. It’s been hard trying to get them all over. The likes of Pat Van Den Hauwe who lives in South Africa now is coming over, and Adrian Heath who manages in the States is also coming over. “It was a special time for the football club and we went down in history so it’s nice that we’re getting together.” To mark the event, the club are trying to find 11 children named after players from that team. Graeme said: “I’ve met a few people who’ve mentioned that they’ve named their son after me. Maybe not the right spelling of Graeme but they did it anyway which is nice. “It’d be fantastic to see if we can find 11 kids named after the most successful team in our history. I’d love to see if there’s one named after Van Den Hauwe. “There were so many special occasions and games in that season and you know what happens with football fans when they get back after their team’s won – so there’ll no doubt be a few babies named after us. “The ultimate would be to find someone named after every member of the squad. It’d be great to find them and reminisce with their parents.” Graeme tends to see more of the players who still live nearby and work in football. He said: “I meet regularly with Andy and we go golfing together. Andy is always at Goodison with Sky and Reidy is nearby at Stoke.
We don’t see as much of Neville because he’s based down in Dover now working with under privileged kids. I used to see Inchy a lot before he went to the States, but I can’t remember the last time I saw Pat (Van Den Hauwe). “When everyone gets together people are amazed that we are still so friendly. It’s like nothing has changed. When we meet up it’s just like another day at training except we’re older, heavier and some of us have less hair. “Off the field we used to mix a lot. It’s all changed now. We couldn’t get away with now what we got away with then. “Howard was a great believer in building team spirit. After games we’d go for a beer, sit down and discuss football. Reidy lived in Bolton but he’d come to Southport. “If we were out, everyone was out. I always remember one Sunday and Andy came in and said every Sunday we’re meting up at 12pm until 2pm at the Falstaff pub in Southport. No debate.
“It was great though because it really built team spirit. They were friends for life we’d made. “In so many other industries if you move away you are forgotten about but not that team. Even lads who were on the periphery of things like Ian Atkinson, and Paul Wilkinson…every time you ask them to come to a meal like this one they are there.”
Blues are always curious to hear what happened after the final whistle in Rotterdam.
He said: “There are lots of myths about what happened after the game. We were quite comfortable in the game and probably a bit disappointed afterwards with the presentation of the trophy. “It was up about four steps under a balcony and that was poor, but we got back in the dressing room and the champagne was out so we had a few glasses of that. “Then it was straight on the plane and back to Liverpool. The champagne was still flowing on the plane, and the wives and directors were on another plane. “When we got back to Liverpool airport the wives were waiting for us. I jumped in a cab with Andy and his missus and we went back to his house. We sat down and he’d recorded the game so we watched it again and had a few beers. It wasn’t too crazy because we had the FA Cup final on the Saturday.
“Come that final I think we were mentally drained as well as physically.
“It was a remarkably hot day in Wembley. “I turned around to Andy and said: “I’m absolutely knackered here.” I could barely feel my legs and we were against a decent team who were up for it because we’d beaten them easily during the season.
“It was awful not having that spring in my step, with two or three days extra rest we’d have beaten them.” Nick runs a blue chip company
CHEFS are sometimes renowned for turning the air in their kitchens blue, but Nick Male has gone one step further – by turning the chips blue.
Evertonian Nick, who runs The Larder restaurant in Clerkenwell, London, has created the dish as a tribute to his beloved Blues. And he reckons other Toffees fans in the capital will enjoy nothing more than tucking into his dish. Nick is serving up the blue chips with his popular British fish dish as a celebration of the victory over Chelsea.
Nick, a season ticket holder, said: “I know Chelsea like to call themselves the Blues, but we all know Everton are the real Blues and last week we proved it. “There are actually lots of Everton supporters in the area and I couldn’t resist the chance to put a special dish on the menu just for all us fans.” To create the blue chips, Nick sourced special Salad Blue potatoes, grown at Masterchef host Greg Wallace’s Secretts Farm in Surrey. And although he chose the variety primarily for their vivid blue colour, the potatoes actually have health benefits too, as the blue pigment contains the heart-boosting anti-oxidant anthocyanin. Non-bluenoses can still enjoy The Larder’s haddock and chips with homemade mushy peas, tartar sauce and ketchup in conventional form (£11.90). For reservations or for more details contact The Larder on 0207 608 1558 or log on to
Sharp shock sent me GaGa
I’VE SEEN some bizarre competition prizes in my newspaper career so far, but Everton’s offer to win tickets to go and watch Lady GaGa with Graeme Sharp tops them all. I struggled to keep my poker face when I saw the online auction to see the Brit Award winner at the Echo Arena on Wednesday February 24. The paparazzi might be stumped to see Sharpie in the crowd, but Everton and Liverpool Unites, have been able to secure entry for four to an exclusive club class box with balcony seats.
All money raised from the auction, which closed last night, goes to Liverpool Unites.

BARRY HORNE: Marouane Fellaini loss not the end of the world for Everton FC
February 20, 2010. Liverpool Echo
I WAS unable to get to Goodison Park on Tuesday night but believe a good performance against Sporting Lisbon was marred by a sloppy final 10 minutes.
Nevertheless, at 2-1 up, we are still in a good position in the Europa League tie.
While the task to qualify for the last 16 is now less than straightforward, it is by no means impossible. A decent if ultimately disappointing game was overshadowed by the news earlier in the day that Marouane Fellaini is out for the remainder of the season. Whilst this is obviously bad news, especially considering the player has been in his best form since arriving from Standard Liege 18 months ago, it’s not all doom and gloom. This has been a season in which we have had to get used to positives amid lots of bad news. While Fellaini will be missed there is a bright side.
More of the long term injury victims are now working towards full match sharpness, plus we shouldn’t forget how well Jack Rodwell was playing prior to his injury.
Although Tim Cahill could also be out for a few weeks after limping out of the Sporting game with a calf injury, his resurgence alongside the irrepressible Steven Pienaar has been a boost. The way they linked up for the opening goal hints at greater things to come, especially if Mikel Arteta can quickly reform his understanding with the Australian. Whoever is selected for today’s clash with Manchester United won’t need any motivating . Over the years we have had some close encounters with the Red Devils but in recent times we have often fallen short. In a spell where we’ve often taken points from all of the top teams except Liverpool, Man United will possibly provide our sternest test.

Everton FC star Mikel Arteta: ‘Football is part of my life - not all of it’
February 20, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
AT HIS lowest ebb Mikel Arteta wondered when he would ever play for Everton again as his injured knee continued to fail him. The Spaniard had already undergone two operations on the cruciate ligaments which tore so innocuously against Newcastle United in February. Then just when he felt ready to return, another complication forced him under the surgeon’s knife again. It would be enough to plunge many players into depression, but as the 27-year-old received treatment in Barcelona’s Quiron hospital, his outlook on football and life began to change. The lowest point for me was after the third setback, in November,” he said. “I'd already come back from surgery, was training again and had been out for five months. But then the stitches in my knee flaked and that had to be repaired. It was just bad luck, that's all, but really terrible for me. "It needed washing out and I was back in a brace for another three or
four weeks, back to square one. Mentally it was very tough. "I was in Barcelona at the time and came down for dinner about 7 or 8pm. I walked downstairs but felt a bit sick, and my missus (former Miss Spain Lorena Bernal) said 'look at the size of your knee’.
“It had really ballooned, so I went straight back to hospital that night.
“They told me it didn't look good, so they drained it, but the next day it was the same again. "They had to go inside it to have a proper look, get the fluid out and test everything again. “ I'd gone through it all before, having the brace on, working on mobility and strength and I was back at the start. "It put me back another five months because the bacteria could have affected the cruciate too and the cartilage. “I feel like I've done a masters in medicine, I've learned that much.” The Everton talisman has not just learned the anatomy of the human knee though, his eyes have been opened in human terms too. He said: “In the hospital in Barcelona it put a lot of things in
perspective. I saw a lot of things with the kids which were unbelievable
“ I'd just had a baby (Gabriel, born July) and when you see youngsters who are ill it is even worse. “I knew at the end of all I was going through that I'd be fine, but a lot of them in there wouldn't be. “It makes you realise football is very important, but you have to realise it's just a part of your life, not all of it. It puts everything in perspective.” Now the skilful midfielder is trying to coax his body back to its best and strongest. He said: "I remember the first few tackles after I came back. You always protect your knee, it's just a subconscious thing. “ The first real test was from Tim Cahill or Bainesy. They went in hard twice, I was thinking 'what have you done,' but it was fine. "I never had doubts about coming back, it was just a case of when.
But until you are back out on the pitch you don't know for certain. “And everyone at Everton was really good, keeping in touch with texts and calls from the lads, the medical staff, manager and chairman. They told me to take as long as I needed, stay with my friends and family. “ They trusted me basically, but they knew I'd do the right things, I wasn't going to be lying around on the beach. "I was travelling a lot between here and Spain. I went to see Ramon Cugat in Barcelona, who is in the top three knee surgeons in the world. It was just very fortunate that when the knee did swell up I was still in Barcelona. "I was due to come back, but I'd only started doing some running that week and he wanted me to stay on a bit longer to see if there was any reaction, and it's lucky I did. “If I'd already been in England I wouldn't have been able to fly back and would have had to wait until he was free to come over, so it would have put things back even more.” Arteta was asked to return sooner than he had planned, but he is happy to be involved. He said: “It did feel strange when I came back, especially the pace of the game, but I know more about it know than ever before. “I watched every match from last season while I was doing my rehab. “I love watching football, but watching Everton was hard. You know what they're going to do because they're your mates and you work with them every day. “Watching them win was beautiful but losing is even worse because you can't do anything to help. It did feel strange when I came back, especially the pace of the game, but I know more about it know than ever before. Hopefully I will use that in a good way to improve my own game.
"We're in the middle of a tough, tough month, playing every three or four days now.
“In fact we were planning for me to have three or four weeks training with the lads, but we got a few more injuries, Fellaini and others, so I had to speed it up.
"You have to be at 100%, and it will be the same against United and Spurs if we want to beat them. “If we're at that level we can beat anyone.”

GREG O'KEEFFE: How Wayne Rooney's call ended feud with his former Everton FC boss David Moyes
February 20, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
IT WAS a phone call out of the blue that finally thawed a Merseyside football dispute which at its worst seemed beyond repair. The rift between David Moyes and Wayne Rooney developed prior to his acrimonious £27million move to Old Trafford in 2004.
The pair later became involved in a libel battle following claims by Rooney in his autobiography, which was settled two years ago and Moyes now has a new-found respect for the 24-year-old after that fateful call. He said: “Wayne phoned me up a year ago to apologise for his book and to say that the things he’d put in his book were wrong, and he’d made a mistake. “I had to give him a lot of credit for that. For me it showed his maturity, and he thanked us for the help that had been given to him at Everton. “The court case had been won anyway so it was over as far as I was concerned, but I said to him: ‘No problem, that’s fine. It just shows the maturity and where you’re coming to.’ “I got the impression it was something Wayne wanted to do, rather than someone suggesting it to him. It came across that he wanted to make the call and set things straight between us, and I appreciated that.” Freed from the cloud of bitterness which had hung over the pair, Moyes can now express his admiration for the talent he played a key part in nurturing. He even believes Rooney could one day go on to manage his country and be labelled a “great”. He said: “I think that might be the next part of his progress. Possibly after the World Cup, the next period for him could the England captaincy. He got an awful lot so young Wayne. It takes time for the whole thing to come together. He is still young. When he is 26, 27, 28 there is time enough for all that. I can see the word great coming then – not just at this present time.” Moyes does not get rankled by the praise Sir Alex Ferguson is given for helping Rooney flourish. He said: “No I don’t get annoyed because Wayne is working with a brilliant manager. But I think when Wayne went he didn’t calm all his exuberance and his moments. “I am saying that yes he was a terrific talent which we had to try and harness and keep a hold of. Like any parent would do with a young boy, or a teenager, there are things you have to say and limits you have to go to – especially if you are a professional footballer. There are probably even more.
“As the Everton manager I got criticised for playing him wide left and wide right. People said Sir Alex will be able to look after Wayne and keep him in line because he has more experience than David Moyes, but it would have been the same. Up to last year or so Sir Alex played him wide left, wide right, off the side, but I think everyone knew Wayne Rooney would become a centre forward and a really good one.”
Moyes admits that Everton were not ready for the attention and impact which Rooney’s emergence in 2002 caused. He said: “I think we weren’t ready for Wayne when he came on the scene. As far as I’m concerned I can understand his feelings at the time but everybody here wanted to keep Wayne as you can imagine, but we probably weren’t ready to keep him.” But would Everton keep Rooney if he had emerged now? “Yes definitely,” he said. “I think, Wayne never said it, but he would say “Yes, Everton aren’t Man U yet but they’re aiming to be”. “As far as I’m concerned, I would welcome him back, and I think we move on and maybe some day, maybe at the end of Wayne’s career, he might want to come back to play for Everton again, who knows.” Despite the reconciliation, Moyes can still understand the hurt which Rooney’s decision to leave caused Evertonians. He said: “He left, and it’s not for me to tell the supporters. I’m a supporter now myself that’s why I said we didn’t want him to go, we wanted him to stay here but I did understand it at the time.
“I understood why he left, but also I understand the supporters and why they are angry with him and I think Wayne would probably think now, looking back – well he has done – that Everton were good for him. “He workedŠ with some really good people, Colin Harvey and Andy Holden and with some really good staff. But can anyone take credit for that? No chance, because Wayne developed himself and obviously with good players around him he’s been able to see what he should do. “Now he’s the one who’s sorting out the young players at Man United. Everybody gets a bit older and wiser.” Moyes credits Rooney as the last in the line of footballers whose ability was forged on the streets. He said: “The boy had all the ability. Nobody can take credit for Wayne’s development. “Wayne’s the last of the street players which I can remember. You can see that in his physique, in his development, in his all round football play. He is probably the last of those street players that used to be the rage when you go back to all the greats. “I looked at it and thought “who could guide me”. The only person who came close to Wayne Rooney for me was Charlie Nicholas. “We drove to work together at Celtic, I watched him in action and I remember all the stuff about him, all the “fun-time Charlie” and all that but he was a great player. But the only person in management who I could see who it would come fromŠ was how Alex managed Ryan Giggs. “Look at Giggs. He could be a representative of United for the rest of his life and my idea was to try and keep on a similar path.” Moyes even revealed that Rooney’s current boss Ferguson once played junior football with his father.
He said: “The connection is Drumchapel amateurs. My dad took one of the teams and Sir Alex played for them as well, I don’t remember that but my dad will be talking about it that is for sure. “They are all certainly connected in the same sphere and football club. Sir Alex talks about his upbringing there and how they did it, I talk about my upbringing and how I followed my dad and watched how he did things. There is a similarity but not in terms of trophies won that’s for sure.”
Now Moyes uses his experience of guiding Rooney as a blue-print for dealing with Everton’s latest crop of promising youngsters. He said: “The way we handled Wayne is the way we are handling Jack Rodwell, Vaughany, Dan Gosling, Victor so there was no special treatment..” Moyes added: “I consider myself really lucky that I had a chance to work with him (Rooney). “He gave me some great moments and probably the most important goal he scored was the one against Leeds United when we won there for the first time in so long. I have a picture of his celebration of the goal that night in the house.” And he adds with a smile. “When I bought his book I turned it the other way though.” Everton boss David Moyes tells of how Wayne Rooney phoned him to say sorry DAVID Moyes today revealed how Wayne Rooney brought an end to their long-running feud by phoning to apologise for slating him in his book.
The Toffees’ boss insisted that Rooney’s growing maturity means he can become the best player in the world, and admitted that Everton were not ready to keep the Croxteth-born star when he burst onto the scene. Moyes spoke out about the pair’s reconciliation, as he prepared his side to take on Rooney and his Manchester United team-mates in today’s Premier League clash at Goodison. He said: “I think he’s matured as a person and a player, and because of that he’s got more strings to his bow than he had when he was here. “He had the potential to be a good player when he was here, he’s now turned into that good player and because of that he is getting better and better. “Everyone has felt he had the chance to be that player who would challenge the top players in the world. “He could be one of the best in the world. I don’t think that’s the situation just now, but I think he’s very close, because he’s beginning to show a maturity to his game, as a player and a person.” Moyes also revealed how he used Alex Ferguson’s handling or a young Ryan Giggs as an example of how to deal with Rooney. He said: “All I ever wanted to do was handle Wayne in the same way that Sir Alex handled Ryan Giggs. That was how I looked at it. I thought how can I look at to give me a guide on this.” Meanwhile, Moyes must contend without influential midfielder Tim Cahill for today’s game. The Aussie is nursing a calf strain which could also mean he misses next week’s key games against Sporting and Spurs.
He said: “Tim is definitely out for two to three weeks with a slight calf strain. It’s not serious so we think a couple of weeks. “To lose those two players (Fellaini and Cahill) is big because they’re really important to us, but we beat Chelsea without Fellaini and Pienaar, so we won there without two of our top players. “We are going to have to do it again without Fellaini until the end of the season, and Tim is going to miss a game or two. It happens in football.” The latest set-backs could mean possible returns to first team action for Jack Rodwell and Yakubu. Victor Anichebe and Tony Hibbert are still out of contention.

Everton 3 Manchester United 1: Sir Alex Ferguson's men sunk by 'new Wayne Rooney' Jack Rodwell
February 20, 2010. The Daily Mail, By Rob Draper
The once-precious memories of a teenage Wayne Rooney may be hateful for Everton fans but at least they now have a new prodigy to celebrate. Yesterday, Rooney stood grim-faced as he watched Jack Rodwell glide past Michael Carrick, hold his nerve and slip the ball past Edwin van der Sar to complete Everton's well-deserved win.
As the 18-year-old from Southport, a childhood Everton fan, was embraced by a euphoric Gwladys Road End, he stripped off his shirt and revelled in the acclaim
The poise, the confidence on the ball, the precocity of youth were all familiar; Rooney will remember them well. Of course, this was a game about much more than 88th-minute substitute Rodwell. For a start there was Dan Gosling, the 20-year-old Devonian and a veritable bundle of energy. Then there was Diniyar Bilyaletdinov's stunning equaliser on 20 minutes. Principally, though, there was Landon Donovan, Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman overwhelming Carrick, Darren Fletcher, Ji-sung Park and Antonio Valencia. were well beaten, simple as that,' said Sir Alex Ferguson. 'There's a possibility that we were tired but we're going for a championship and you expect Manchester United to respond to the importance of the game. In the second half they were better.' Rooney was unusually subdued on his return to the club who nurtured him and Dimitar Berbatov was his usual enigmatic self. But perhaps most worrying of all, Jonny Evans and Wes Brown looked an accident waiting to happen
Everton may be the best team in the league at present. Though they lost to Liverpool, that is their only setback in 12 games, including a draw at Arsenal and victories over Chelsea and now United. 'It shows we have the capability,' said Everton manager David Moyes. 'We can be a match for most teams.' Moyes could claim plenty of credit. He had persuaded Donovan, a doubtful starter because of flu, to persevere.
'I told him players tend to play with the flu in England,' said Moyes, so the American conformed to the cultural norm, played 'They gave us energy. We know that Dan has a goal in him and the one thing Jack has is composure and great technique. Breaking on from midfield is his position at the moment. He has a little bit to do before he is developed. They are both talented, with great potential. We'll try to nudge them along in the right way.' United started well enough, smothering an initially subdued Everton and exploiting the sluggishness of their opponents on 16 minutes when Leighton Baines failed to prevent Antonio Valencia from crossing. Sylvain Distin compounded the error by misjudging his chance to clear, slicing the ball to the feet of Berbatov. Just six yards out, there was little doubt of the outcome: the Bulgarian smashing the ball into the net off the underside of the bar. But United diminished in stature. They were exposed within four minutes, when no-one competed for the second ball after an Evans header fell to the feet of Bilyaletdinov. Still, it took a magnificent strike from the Russian, 25 yards out, to equalise. 'A terrific goal and it came at the right time,' said Moyes Rooney's moment might have come on 26 minutes when, played in by Berbatov, he passed Tim Howard to go through on goal. But he knocked the ball too far ahead of himself and allowed Phil Neville to usher it out of play.
Thereafter, there was little cheer for United. Even in a frenetic second half, with the game slipping away, they rarely found the energy to threaten. Fletcher shot just wide from close range on 52 minutes, Berbatov went close with a glancing header on 56 minutes and Rooney's 25-yard free-kick was deflected wide by Distin on 88 minutes, but there was little more to report. Everton, by contrast, were voracious in their appetite for victory. Biyaletdinov might have scored the second from close range on 25 minutes and Donovan certainly should have when he mis-hit a free strike from six yards on 39 minutes. But it was his delightful exchange of passes with Pienaar on 76 minutes which saw the South African deliver a cross behind the United defence, which allowed Gosling to score. And though nerves were tested, Everton had nothing to fear and it was little surprise when Rodwell broke free to add the third.
As the youngster celebrated, Rooney stood forlorn in the centre circle, having given the ball away in the first place. Doubtless, the memories came flooding back.
Everton (4-5-1): Howard; P Neville, Distin, Heitinga, Baines; Donovan, Pienaar (Rodwell 88min), Osman, Bilyaletdinov (Gosling 71), Arteta; Saha.
Subs (not used): Nash, Yobo, Vaughan, Yakubu, Coleman.
Booked: Arteta, Pienaar, Saha, Osman, Rodwell.
Man Utd (4-4-2): Van der Sar; G Neville, Brown, Evans, Evra; Valencia (Owen 81), Carrick, Fletcher, Park (Obertan 66); Berbatov (Scholes 66), Rooney.
Subs (not used): Foster, Vidic, Rafael, Gibson.
Booked: Fletcher.
Referee: H Webb (S Yorkshire).

Ferguson: We were well beaten
February 20, 2010. Mancheter Evening News
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson admitted his side were 'second best' after the 3-1 defeat against Everton at Goodison Park. Dimitar Berbatov put the Reds ahead before goals from Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Dan Gosling and Jack Rodwell won it for the Toffees. “We were well beaten, simple as that,” Ferguson told Sky Sports.
“We started the game well enough, but their goal galvanised them and gave them the incentive. “You don’t want to lose a goal so quickly after going in front, but the real effect showed in the second half when we were second best. “I’m disappointed and the players are disappointed. They’re human beings, they play for Manchester United, and they don’t like losing, but they’ve lost today. “This is a bad result, and at this time of the year we can’t afford results like that. “We hope others drop points, and that’s the way it’s been going this season. Hopefully it turns out right again.
Everton 3 United 1
Manchester United took the lead but lost against Everton as the Reds' Premier League title hopes were dented at Goodison Park. Smart footwork from Dimitar Berbatov put United ahead, but the Toffees struck back quickly through Diniyar Bilyaletdinov's unstoppable shot. Substitute Dan Gosling - Bilyaletdinov's replacement - then put Everton ahead after 76 minutes when he prodded home Steven Pienaar's cross before Jack Rodwell's solo effort sealed United's fate late on. United are now four points behind leaders Chelsea after Carlo Ancelotti's men beat Hull 2-0 later in the afternoon.

For Wayne Rooney, Everton’s first victory over United - excluding penalty shoot-outs - for five years, and only their second in 32 games, would have been particularly galling given his history, although for once, England’s talisman failed to make much of an impact. Unlike Rooney, the debate over Berbatov’s value to United continues to rage. At £30.75million, the Bulgarian cost them more than any other player.
Yet he has largely become a peripheral figure, to the extent that he was making his first away start since December when he strutted into proceedings. The argument goes that Berbatov’s languid style is not suited to United’s all-action approach and with Ferguson preferring to use Wayne Rooney as a lone front-man, flanked by a couple of industrious wingers, the former Tottenham star frequently finds himself surplus to requirements, as he was in Milan this week. Yet there is little doubt either that Berbatov is blessed with sublime skill. And when Sylvain Distin failed to cut out Antonio Valencia’s low cross, he killed the ball with one touch before smashing it into the roof of Tim Howard’s net. Given the dominance United had enjoyed until that point, Everton desperately needed to score next. That they did so inside two minutes was probably beyond David Moyes’ wildest dreams. The goal had route one stamped all over it as Phil Neville launched the ball out of his own half. Jonny Evans jumped with Louis Saha but, off balance, could only head the ball straight to Bilyaletdinov.
There appeared to be no imminent danger to Edwin van der Sar’s goal, but, spotting a gap low to the Dutchman’s left, Bilyaletdinov let fly with such power, there was no chance to move before it flashed into the net.
The atmosphere instantly lurched from apprehensive to expectant. As Rooney, possibly guilty of trying too hard against his old club, was having a rare off-day, the visitors’ dominance of possession failed to translate into threats on the Everton goal.
Instead, United were the ones who found themselves rocking, just as Chelsea had done once their lead disappeared. Bilyaletdinov drove over following an excellent piece of skill from Saha, then Landon Donovan wasted an even better chance after Wes Brown had prodded Leighton Baines’ cross into his path. The interval was not kind to Everton in the sense that it allowed their visitors time to regroup and rediscover the poise and authority they had enjoyed before Bilyaletdinov’s leveller.
Darren Fletcher exchanged passes with Rooney before drilling a shot wide. Berbatov then showed his frustrating side when he glanced a header wide from Rooney’s cross when he should have at least kept his effort on target. It proved to be the Bulgarian’s last meaningful contribution before Ferguson reverted to the two winger approach and introduced Gabriel Obertan with a quarter of the contest still remaining. Moyes made the most telling substitution shortly afterwards, when he replaced Bilyaletdinov with Gosling. Ferguson will be demanding to know why Valencia let Pienaar run unchecked onto Donovan’s short pass towards the byline. It provided the South African with time to pick out Gosling’s run and, getting in front of Patrice Evra, the youngster duly bundled home from six yards. Hearts continued to be in mouths and fingernails shorn as Rooney’s free-kick shaved the post. But this was to be Everton’s day. It has been claimed Rodwell will one day follow Rooney out of the blue half of Merseyside to Old Trafford. Once Ferguson has spat out the bitter taste of his side’s sixth defeat of the season, even he will probably admire the clinical way he finished off Mikel Arteta’s through-ball at the death.


Everton 3, Manchester United 1: Glorious Blues just there's more to them than just blood, sweat and tears
Feb 22 2010 by Chris Beesley, Liverpool Daily Post
THE GREATEST compliment you can pay Everton is that they outthought rather than outfought Manchester United to achieve this famous victory. That alone shows just what great strides David Moyes’s side have been making. In the recent past, technically limited Everton teams have tried to overcome the most successful English outfit of the modern era through a combination of blood, sweat and tears.
As recently as last season, it was a bone-crunching – hard but fair – tackle by skipper Phil Neville on Cristiano Ronaldo that galvanised Everton against his former club and helped turn around a previously ailing campaign. Although this display was as equally committed as any from an Everton side against the Red Devils, there was not physical intimidation, just superb football to vanquish a team that had triumphed so impressively in the San Siro against AC Milan just four days earlier. After all, a midfield quintet consisting of Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Leon Osman, Mikel Arteta, Steven Pienaar and Landon Donovan are never going to be another ‘Dogs of War’.
But as well as having good footballing brains, Moyes’s men are showing they possess great mental character too. Until 10 days before United’s visit, Everton hadn’t beaten one of the so-called ‘big four’ in a Premier League match since Andrew Johnson’s last-gasp winner against Arsenal at a snowy Goodison in March 2007 – but like buses, two have now come along at once. Coming from behind to beat Manchester United is an altogether different prospect however and hot on the heels of dispatching Chelsea 2-1 after going 1-0 down to Florent Malouda’s opener, Everton recorded their first comeback win against the men from Old Trafford since a Graeme Sharp brace and Gary Lineker effort for Howard Kendall’s champions cancelled out Bryan Robson’s opener at Goodison on Boxing Day 1985. It was fitting that Jack Rodwell, a recent graduate of Everton’s Youth Academy, should seal the win, alongside fellow youngster Dan Gosling who netted the second, considering that it’s the former teenage sensation who turned his back on the club at such a tender age who normally hogs the limelight in this fixture. No matter how supremely gifted any one individual is they can never be bigger than the club and five-and-a-half years on from Wayne Rooney’s controversial departure to United, Moyes continues to have success blooding the kids at Goodison, proving that if you’ve got a decent enough system in place and you’re willing to give the next generation the chance then the conveyor belt of talent will carry on. As painful as Rooney’s departure was at the time for Evertonians, the deal ultimately worked out well for all parties and it was the behaviour of their former idol on subsequent returns to Goodison that really angered those who had previously worshipped him. Therefore, the England international’s recent interviews with his ex-club’s website in which he claimed to still ‘love’ his boyhood team and admitted to ‘overreacting’ in the past suggested that Rooney was now offering Everton something of an olive branch. This was backed up on the eve of the game by Moyes, who revealed that the Manchester United striker had contacted him a year ago to apologise for criticism of his former manager in an autobiography. While there was never going to be any great reconciliation for the latest return of the Prodigal Son – The Grand Old Lady doesn’t tend to give out bouquets like that – the abuse he received from the stands was concentrated on smaller pockets rather than the chanting en masse of previous visits.
Generally, the silent majority seemed to be making noise cheering their own side to victory and on this occasion Everton’s excellent display ensured a subdued Rooney remained only a peripheral player in an engrossing plot. It was his languid strike partner Dimitar Berbatov that struck the first blow on 16 minutes, crashing in a shot off the crossbar after United winger Antonio Valencia had escaped the attentions of Leighton Baines and crossed from the right. In need of a moment of magic to stay in the game, Everton responded just three minutes later as Bilyaletdinov unleashed a sensational 20-yard strike. Donovan had a golden opportunity but the US international scuffed his chance when the ball fell to his feet via a Wes Brown header. The Californian might not be your archetypal Everton ‘number nine’ but operating both on the left wing and just behind Saha he produced yet another hugely effective performance during what has been a successful loan spell, showing that it’s probably more fruitful to have Americans on the pitch than in the boardroom. Until 20 minutes from time the game looked to be heading for a draw but it was at this juncture Everton stepped up a gear. Moyes withdrew his goalscorer and threw on Gosling and within six minutes the 20-year-old slid the ball in to the net from a Pienaar left-wing cross after the South African had played a clever one-two with Donovan. And there was more to come in the 90th minute as Rodwell, who’d only been on the pitch for two minutes, latched on to an Arteta pass went round Jonny Evans and picked his spot perfectly to ensure that at least one member of the Rooney household will have been happy on Saturday. After all, Wayne says he has bought baby son Kai an Everton kit.

Everton FC 3-1 Manchester United: Full Time Match Report
February 20, 2010, By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boosted their top six credentials with a rare and magnificent victory over Manchester United at Goodison. The Blues beat Alex Ferguson’s title contenders 3-1 in the early kick-off thanks to a display of effort and endeavour every bit as impressive as the performance which saw Chelsea leave Walton defeated.
The icing on the cake was a late winner by 18-year-old Jack Rodwell, to add to strikes from fellow teenager Dan Gosling and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. The Blues looked to threaten early with a surging Landon Donovan run, and then Leon Osman jinked his way through the United defence and dragged his shot just narrowly wide.
United went on the counter attack and won a corner courtesy of Dimitar Berbatov’s persistence, but Everton defended robustly as they continued to enjoy the livelier start in front of a packed Goodison Park. Then Alex Ferguson’s side, buoyed by a healhy away support, caused Everton more jitters with Berbatov again threatening in the penalty area, and the Bulgarian almost slipped Wayne Rooney through on goal moments later. More United possession saw Darren fetcher, who scored a scorching volley against the Blues at Old Trafford, fire over from just outside the box, as the Red Devils saw more and more of the ball. But Everton were denied a strong penalty claim when Antonio Valencia handled in the box, only for Hiward Webb to wave away the Toffee’s claims. Incensed, the Blues then went inches from taking the lead when a looping cross from Distin found Bilyaletdinov in the area, and the Russian did well to whip the ball back across goal where Louis Saha would have headed home the simplest of chances but for Wes Brown’s last-ditch intervention. Saha showed he was in the mood only minutes later, testing Van De Sar with a potent strike from 15 yards which the United keeper could only parry. With a grim predictability born of winning 17 of the last 19 Premier League clashes at Goodison, United took the lead with 15 minutes gone. Valencia beat Leighton Baines on the left and his low cross was not blocked with rnough conviction by Distin. The ball broke for Berbatov who rapped his shot in off the bar. But Everton responded in style three minutes later. A long ball from John Heitnga was carelessly left by Patrice Evra, and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov seized on it to fire a left-footed rocket past the stranded Van de Sar
On 25 minutes Everton could have doubled their lead when the classy Saha dummied in the area and this time Bilyaletdinov fired over. As the game developed a ripe end to end tempo, United almost scored when Berbatov played a one two with Rooney, and the former Blue looked certain to score but for a magnificent piece of defending by Phil Neville to shepherd him away from goal. Dilatory Everton defending then gifted United a corner, but the impressive Heitinga dealt with the danger.
More Everton momentum, created by Bilyaletdinov’s persistence and Howard Webb’s good use of the advantage saw Baines find Donovan in the area only for the USA star wasted a glorious chance to give his side the lead. It was a heartening period of dominance by the home side which showed that their recent win against Chelsea at Goodison had instilled belief among their ranks that the top four sides can be toppled.
Everton were quick out of the traps in the second half attacking the Gwladys Street end, and Leon Osman’s mazy run being halted illegally by Wes Brown on the edge of the United box. It earned the defender a booking and Leighton Baines curled his free-kick over from 20 yards. But United threatened themselves and John Heitinga’s headed clearance was laid off by Rooney to Fletcher and the Scot’s snatched effort flew narrowly wide. Landon Donovan’s work-rate in the match had been outstanding, and the American did well to chase down Gary Neville and bully the veteran out of possession as Everton pushed forward. It was developing into a vibrant Everton performance on a par with their display against Ancelotti’s Chelsea, and the crowd were responding in kind. Saha was in devlish form, tanting Brown and Evans and did all the hard work to engineer an opening for himself, only to blast over.
Mikel Arteta was harshly booked for a tug on Ji-Sung’s shirt and then Ferguson introduced Scholes and Obertan into the fray with the game on a knife’s edge.
Dan Gosling replaced the tiring Bilyaletdinov as the frenzied pace dipped, and the youngster did well to win a corner with his early touches. Steven Pienaar followed Arteta into Webb’s book for an attempted trip on Evra, but the South frican responded by nearly playing in Gosling at the other end. In was a symbol ofnwaht was to come. Landon Donovan linked up cleverly with Pienaar who fired an eqquisite low cross into the box for Dan Gosling to stab home and race into the delirious Gwladys Street.
As Moyes demanded his side kept playing instead of sitting back, the Blues did just that. They conceded a harsh free kick with the clock ticking down, and Rooney shaped up to turn villain again but his effort was deflected over. The excellent Pienar was replaced by Jack Rodwell on 87 minutes, and the young midfielder could not have imagined the impact he would have. Arteta slipped a ball to the teenager who carried it confidently, dummied Johnny Evans and beat Van de Sar with a neat finish that sent Goodison Park into raptures. Despite four minutes of injury time being conjured, the Blues hung on for a memorable victory in the autumnal sunshine.
Everton: Howard, Neville (Capt), Distin, Heitinga, Baines, Arteta, Pienaar (Rodwell, 87), Bilyaletdinov (Gosling, 70), Osman, Donovan, Saha.
Subs: Nash, Yobo, Vaughan, Yakubu, Coleman.
Manchester United: Van der Sar, Neville (Capt), Brown, Evans, Evra, Fletcher, Carrick, Ji Sung (Obertan 65), Valencia (80, Owen), Rooney, Berbatov (Scholes, 65).
Subs: Foster, Vidic, Rafael, Gibson.
Ref: Howard Webb.

Rodwell sets sights on top five after United victory
February 22, 2010. By Greg O’Keefe
EVERTON teenager Jack Rodwell believes the Blues’ growing string of top four scalps means a top five finish is not beyond them.
The 18-year-old midfielder, who scored a fine individual goal to cement Everton’s 3-1 victory over Manchester United, feels that the confidence in the Toffees camp has never been higher. Rodwell, who was joined on the scoresheet by fellow substitute Dan Gosling, said: “We’ve beaten Man City, Chelsea and now Man United. We’ve had some great results at home and the confidence is brilliant. I really think we can go and do good things this season. “Just to get on against United was great but to score and beat them was the icing on the cake. Mikel played a lovely ball into me and I looked up and thought ‘There’s a lot of space here’. Louis was pulling off and I thought ‘I’m one-on-one with the defender, all I have to do is take it past him’, which I did and luckily got the goal. “Mikel Arteta was amazing against United and he’s been out for a year. Who knows where we’d have been with him? Jagielka hasn’t played and he was our best player last season. The future really is bright for Everton at the moment.” The England Under-21 star has been kept out of the team by a combination of injury and Marouane Fellaini’s emergence in the midfield holding role. But he feels the Belgian’s six-month lay-off with a damaged ankle will offer him a way back into the first team. He said: “Sometimes you get your chances from other people’s injuries, which is unfortunate for them but you’ve got to take that chance.
“I’ve been working hard in training, keeping my head down and hopefully I’ll get a run in the back end of the season. “I’ve been out for six weeks and it was really frustrating. It’s hard to get back in the team now but I’m focused and that’s what I intend to do.” Rodwell was booked for taking off his shirt and baring his torso after his strike, but he said the emotion of the moment had held sway. He said: “It was just a natural, instinctive thing taking my shirt off. All my emotions were coming out and I got booked for it but I didn’t care at the time. “I remember when Duncan Ferguson scored against Manchester United and took his shirt off. Sometimes the emotions just take over and you do whatever you feel like. “We got a result against Lisbon at home and proved we were the better side that night so I think we can do it there.
“In the league we need to beat the other sides like Aston Villa and Bolton to push for Europe. Who knows where we can finish?”

Everton FC boss David Moyes hails his best of British chairman Bill Kenwright
February 22, 2010. Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES saluted his best of British chairman on Saturday afternoon, as he reflected on a handsome and deserved 3-1 victory over champions Manchester United.
With one Premier League club faced with closure and others struggling to maintain mountains of debt created by foreign owners, the Blues boss pointed to the shrewd work of Evertonian owner Bill Kenwright. “The club is certainly getting closer, hopefully, to the great days we had in the 80s,” said Moyes. “We know that, strangely enough, it’s not just about having a good football team and good players.
“You probably need something else now, and unfortunately it’s called cash.
“But we are going to do it. “A lot of people would like to be in Everton’s position – and would like to have a chairman like Everton have got. “Look at other clubs nowadays. We thought that foreign was all the rage. In fact booking your holidays at home with the chairman you’ve got … that’s the type of chairman most clubs would want.” Moyes then turned his attentions to another unsung home grown hero.
“I thought Leon Osman was our best player today,” he said. “He was my man of the match. I thought he carried the mantle today. “Mikel’s coming back and one or two others are still finding a little bit of form, but he was the one who carried us through.
“I thought he played well in midweek, but there were three or four games prior where he dropped a little bit. “But I think Ossie has been really good for us.
“We’ve still got injuries. But hopefully Victor Anichebe and Phil Jagielka are very close to joining what we’ve got. And I’m going to need them. “We’ve done well, but I do think the squad we’ve got is a good one and I want to keep adding players to it – players who will make a difference.” Moyes revealed that there had been a burning pre-match drive to improve the Blues’ awful record against Manchester United, by taking the game to the champions. “The players know what I expect and how I want it to be. I think today they took it on. I really wanted to have a go at Manchester United,” he explained. “We wanted to see if we could really go and have a go. Our system meant we were a bit limited in how we could play but I thought we did as much as we possibly could. “Last night at the team meeting I said ‘We’re going after Man United tomorrow and we’re going to try and get the game won.’
“We always do that, but there was an emphasis this time because we’re at that moment, it’s mentally where we are. “I think Alex Ferguson gives praise where it’s due and today he thought we deserved it.” Moyes deflected the credit for his matchwinning substitutions, after Dan Gosling and Jack Rodwell both came off the bench to make decisive contributions. “United changed it to get energy, but we needed to get energy as well,” he added. “We both had games in midweek and the substitutions I made in midweek didn’t work for me and I was annoyed, but the two today did. “We know Dan Gosling’s got a goal in him and Jack Rodwell came on and made up for a little bit of a mistake in midweek by sealing the game.”
Moyes added that at the present time in his development, he saw Rodwell as an attacking midfielder rather than the holding shield most believe he will become.
“I think at the moment he might be better doing what he was doing today, breaking on. “I think he has a little bit to do before he’s physically right to sit in. It was a bit like Fellaini who was taking time to settle into that role. “His size and that tells you he must become a defensive midfielder, but in a way what he did today is probably what he is. “He’s probably better breaking forward. “He has good composure and good technique, there are just other parts of his game he needs to develop.”

David Prentice: Everton FC v Manchester United
February 22, 2010, By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON took part in their 5,000th first team football match on Saturday. For David Moyes, however, there was an even more significant milestone. For the first time on his watch Everton took on Manchester United at their own game – and won. Sure, the benchmark by which all successful sides must be judged have been beaten by a David Moyes team before. But only on a night when Everton suppressed United’s flair, pressed, closed and defended for their lives, then hit the visitors with a set-piece counter-attack. Not on Saturday. Not in front of an increasingly impressed Goodison crowd. Everton watched Manchester United start well, exert some superiority and land an early blow – then they borrowed a phrase from Muhammad Ali.
They muttered: “That the best you got sucker?” and shook up the Premier League world. Most post-match analysis focused on United’s deficiencies. But happily more and more are waking up to the excellent football team which is hatching at Goodison Park. The Blues swept the champions aside with a classy display of passing football. The yellow cards they picked up were either for trivial misdemeanours or Howard Webb’s willingness to appease the red-faced ogre in the away team dug-out.
And what was even more compelling – more so than the way in which the absence of stellar players like Marouane Fellaini, Tim Cahill and Phil Jagielka was overcome – was the fact that this was not an isolated triumph. Fearsome, formidable February is suddenly becoming fabulous. To win well once against a ‘big-four’ side might be an accident. Twice, a coincidence. But three elegantly crafted victories in less than a month against opposition as expensively assembled and ambitious as Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City – and almost Arsenal, too – suggests something may, finally, be stirring again at Goodison Park. We’ve been here once or twice before since 1987 of course. But certainly not as often as we’d like. The make-up of modern football means that without sudden injections of cash, any assault on the higher reaches of the Premier League has to be a patient process. But quietly, stealthily, unheralded almost, Everton have claimed back-to-back fifth-placed finishes and an FA Cup final appearance. All that’s been missing have been victories over the most difficult to beat teams. Now Blues fans have celebrated two in a week.
And they’ve done it the hard way, coming from behind each time – and producing a quality of football wholly in keeping with a motto which was in danger of becoming as obsolete as the language which phrases it. Of course consistency is the most difficult quality of all to add, but with a fully fit squad available to him there’s no reason why David Moyes can’t bring that to Goodison, too. And with that component comes real success. The dates on the birth certificates of Everton’s two matchwinners points to why the future looks so bright at Goodison Park. It was timely that Moyes waited until the morning of the visit of Manchester United to make public his patch-up with Wayne Rooney. In amongst that statement was an assessment of how Everton as a football club is better equipped now to keep hold of outstanding young talent than they were when Rooney was 16-years-old. Because in Jack Rodwell they have another talent who will soon be coveted by clubs with bigger bank balances than youth academies. Eight years ago David Moyes wanted to use Wayne Rooney sporadically, but couldn’t. Now the Blues boss has constructed a position where he could say: “How do we keep Jack Rodwell and Dan Gosling happy and involved? They’ll just have to go through the period like most players do and earn the right to play in the team. Now I’m going to be able to use them a bit more like I would have wanted to, picking and choosing the right moments, when the team can help them rather than them helping the team. “The best place for young players at the moment is at Everton because they get a chance and we give them opportunities.” Stirring stuff. But then Everton Football Club has been stirred ever since David Moyes stepped through the entrance hall eight years ago this month. Some naysayers will never be happy, but you’d be hard pressed to find many on Saturday afternoon. Everton are threatening to end the 2009/10 season on a roll – and the best part of all is that it threatens to be a beginning, not an end.

Everton FC 3, Man Utd 1: Champions floored by knock-out Blues display
February 22, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
THIS was supposed to be all about Wayne Rooney.
It was a contest dominated by news of a reconciliation between the maturing England striker and his former manager. A game preceded by a rampaging display against AC Milan, which suggested that Rooney was once again set to torment his boyhood club.
The script was nearly written before a ball had been kicked. Some Bluenoses were simply hoping Rooney would at least refrain from goading them after leading Manchester United to success. And in truth nobody could blame them. Everton’s Premier League record against Manchester United does little to raise any optimism.
But somewhere amid all the hype and pre-supposition, somewhere amid the laments to further casualties in Marouane Fellaini and Tim Cahill, one man in Royal Blue was modestly enjoying the best form of his career. Beyond the occasional acknowledgement of his skilful feet and immaculate first touch, Leon Osman gets few plaudits. Too often he can be a scapegoat when things are not going well. But the midfielder’s recent transcendental form can no longer go unnoticed.
Around Finch Farm Osman is the joker in the pack, the chief whip of banter and the hub of Everton’s morale. But nobody was laughing at the Corinthian performance the midfielder wrought from himself against Alex Ferguson’s men. Osman, at 28-years-old, is a Goodison veteran. After so many seasons with the club, fans could be forgiven for thinking they have seen everything he’s got. But the midfielder has revealed a new solidity to his play, a robustness of mind and body in combination with those silky skills. Shorn of the leadership and inspirational qualities of Cahill, it was crucial that somebody other than just Phil Neville took the responsibility to lead against United. Osman did. He refused to panic under pressure, never wasted possession, asked for the ball at every opportunity and never gave his opponents in midfield a glint of breathing space. This rare and magnificent victory over the champions said far more about Everton than the Rooney sideshow. As Bill Kenwright insisted afterwards, Osman typified everything that is great about the club.
It was a victory that felt like a turning point, the second in a dramatic season.
From gut-wrenching lows like Everton going three goals down at half-time to Hull City in November, to an unjust derby defeat later that month, the revival has peaked.
Everton’s form and recovering casualties have drawn a line under that awful start, and suggested this season could be memorable for all the right reasons.
Few could have predicted anything other than familiar defeat against the Red Devils when they took their customary lead. With a grim predictability born of winning 17 of the last 19 Premier League clashes at Goodison, United were ahead on 15 minutes.
Antonio Valencia beat Leighton Baines and his low cross was not blocked with enough conviction by Sylvain Distin. The ball broke for Dimitar Berbatov who rapped his shot in off the bar. So far, so predictable. But there is a resilience about this Everton, forged in the darker moments of their season when the squad was so brutally diminished. Remember how Everton refused to accept defeat against Spurs at Goodison, then took valuable points from Stamford Bridge and the Emirates?
Beforehand David Moyes had joked that he wished Alex Ferguson would let Everton have a rare victory. A one-off favour, after years of reversals. It was a bluff.
Moyes bettered Ferguson tactically. Forced to re-jig a winning formula once again by Tim Cahill’s calf strain, he asked his midfield to operate fluently and swap positions often. Spectators were as hard-pressed as United’s shaky back four to decide on the Blues’ attacking formation. Moyes targeted the ageing Gary Neville with Landon Donovan’s searing pace, and left Steven Pienaar free to wreak havoc just behind Saha.
The Everton manager’s enterprising approach created his side’s equaliser.
A long ball from John Heitinga was carelessly left by Patrice Evra, and seized on by Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. Moyes had the left-footed Russian operating on the right, so when he cut inside United’s defence seemed content to let him without fearing danger. A rocket-fuelled strike that left Edwin Van de Sar stranded was the outcome.
It was a wonderfully entertaining game, and the Blues survived United pressure and possession to take the lead again courtesy of more tactical nouse. Landon Donovan linked up cleverly with Pienaar, who fired a low cross into the box for substitute Dan Gosling to stab home and race into the delirious Gwladys Street end. Who would have predicted the young midfielder could score a goal of equal importance to the one which finally knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup last season? Then Everton’s strength in depth was illustrated in the dying minutes as they clung to their lead. Jack Rodwell, eager to atone for his part in Sporting’s late goal last week, replaced Pienaar and made an instant impact. Mikel Arteta slipped a clever ball to the teenager who carried it confidently, dummied Johnny Evans and beat Van de Sar with a neat finish that sent Goodison Park into raptures. Evertonians can't help speculating where they would be now if their manager had access to a fully-fit squad all season. Top four contenders? Hot on the heels of Manchester United and Chelsea? On this evidence – why not? Both sides have already left Goodison Park with their tails between their legs. The Blues’ odds of securing a Champions League place tumbled from 66/1 to 16/1 after this latest milestone victory. Indeed the last time Manchester United were beaten at Goodison, Everton went on to finish fourth. The top four may be just beyond them this time. But if Everton can continue to charge towards Europa League qualification once again, while providing more glorious afternoons like Saturday, few will grumble. Everton, like Leon Osman, have proved that they can spectacularly re-invent themselves when it matters most.
EVERTON: Howard, Neville, Distin, Heitinga, Baines, Arteta, Pienaar (Rodwell 87), Bilyaletdinov (Gosling 70), Osman, Donovan, Saha. Subs: Nash, Yobo, Vaughan, Yakubu, Coleman.
MANCHESTER UNITED: Van der Sar, Neville, Brown, Evans, Evra, Fletcher, Carrick, Ji Sung (Obertan 65), Valencia (Owen 80), Rooney, Berbatov (Scholes 65). Subs:: Foster, Vidic, Rafael, Gibson.
REFEREE: Howard Webb.

Jack Rodwell sets sights on top five after Man United victory: Everton FC latest
February 22, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON teenager Jack Rodwell believes the Blues’ growing string of top four scalps means a top five finish is not beyond them. The 18-year-old midfielder, who scored a fine individual goal to cement Everton’s 3-1 victory over Manchester United, feels that the confidence in the Toffees camp has never been higher. Rodwell, who was joined on the scoresheet by fellow substitute Dan Gosling, said: “We’ve beaten Man City, Chelsea and now Man United. We’ve had some great results at home and the confidence is brilliant. I really think we can go and do good things this season.
“Just to get on against United was great but to score and beat them was the icing on the cake. Mikel played a lovely ball into me and I looked up and thought ‘There’s a lot of space here’. Louis was pulling off and I thought ‘I’m one on one with the defender, all I have to do is take it past him’, which I did and luckily got the goal. “Mikel Arteta was amazing against United and he’s been out for a year. Who knows where we’d have been with him? Jagielka hasn’t played and he was our best player last season. The future really is bright for Everton at the moment.” The England Under-21 star has been kept out of the team by a combination of injury and Marouane Fellaini’s emergence in the midfield holding role. But he feels the Belgian’s six-month lay-off with a damaged ankle will offer him a way back into the first team. He said: “Sometimes you get your chances from other people’s injuries, which is unfortunate for them but you’ve got to take that chance. “I’ve been working hard in training, keeping my head down and hopefully I’ll get a run in the back end of the season.
“I’ve been out for six weeks and it was really frustrating. It’s hard to get back in the team now but I’m focused and that’s what I intend to do.”Rodwell was booked for taking off his shirt and baring his torso after his strike, but he said the emotion of the moment had held sway. He said: “It was just a natural, instinctive thing taking my shirt off. All my emotions were coming out and I got booked for it but I didn’t care at the time. “I remember when Duncan Ferguson scored against Manchester United and took his shirt off. Sometimes the emotions just take over and you do whatever you feel like. “We got a result against Lisbon at home and proved we were the better side that night so I think we can do it there. “In the league we need to beat the other sides like Aston Villa and Bolton to push for Europe. Who knows where we can finish?”

Everton young guns Dan Gosling and Jack Rodwell picked for England under 21s
February 23, 2010. Liverpool Echo
ARSENAL winger Theo Walcott has not been included in the England Under-21 squad for the European Championship clash against Greece at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium next week. Everton’s Dan Gosling and Jack Rodwell – who both scored in Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Manchester United – are included. But Walcott, who has not played a seniors game this season, will now be hoping to be used by Fabio Capello in the friendly against Egypt a week on Wednesday, the same day Stuart Pearce’s Under-21s play. Walcott’s shoulder, knee and hamstring injuries this season have limited his impact for club and country, with Aaron Lennon appearing to be winning the race to start on Capello’s right flank after playing in the final three World Cup qualifiers. Lennon, however, has been out with a groin strain since December, while Walcott looked back on form when Capello watched him against Sunderland at the weekend. Walcott had played for the Under-21s earlier in the campaign but Pearce has not included him in a 24-man squad that sees Wigan’s Victor Moses and Aston Villa’s Nathan Delfouneso receive their first call-ups. “The last squad we picked, there were eight players who had played the previous Saturday. I’ve named a 24-man squad for this one and there are 14 players who played at the weekend, so we’ve got more who are getting first-team football,” Pearce said.
ENGLAND Under-21 squad to play Greece at Doncaster's Keepmoat Stadium on March 3: Fielding (Rochdale), Loach (Watford), McCarthy (Yeovil); Bertrand (Reading), Mancienne (Wolves), Naughton (Middlesbrough), Richards (Man City), Smalling (Fulham), Tomkins (West Ham), Walker (Tottenham); Cleverley (Watford), Cork (Burnley), Delph (Aston Villa), Wilshere (Bolton), Muamba (Bolton), Gosling (Everton), Lansbury (Watford), Moses (Wigan), Cattermole (Sunderland), Rodwell (Everton); Carroll (Newcastle), Delfouneso (Aston Villa), Sturridge (Chelsea), Welbeck (Preston).

Phil Jagielka to end Everton injury nightmare by stepping out for the reserves tonight
February 23, 2010, By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
PHIL JAGIELKA will end a 10-month injury nightmare tonight when he steps out for Everton Reserves against Bolton at Widnes. And Everton's 2009 Player of the Season could even be fast-tracked into the squad which travels to Lisbon the following morning, with David Moyes desperately short of central defensive cover for the Europa League second leg clash with Sporting on Thursday. With Sylvain Distin suspended and John Heitinga ineligible, Joseph Yobo is David Moyes' only available senior centre-back. Even Tony Hibbert, who has covered in that position earlier this season, is out injured. Jagielka hasn't played since damaging cruciate ligaments in his left knee against Manchester City last April. That heartbreak came just a week after he had converted the penalty kick which took Everton to their first FA Cup final for 15 years against Manchester United. Jagielka had also forced his way into Fabio Capello's England thinking, winning his third full cap against Ukraine at the beginning of April. With the World Cup on the horizon there is still an outside chance he will be able to push his way back before South Africa. Jagielka will be at the heart of Everton's defence alongside Shane Duffy tonight (kick-off 7pm). Andy Holden has selected a strong reserve team for the match with every player having sampled senior first-team football. Victor Anichebe and James Vaughan are partnered in attack, Seamus Coleman is included and so are Jose Baxter and James Wallace.
Everton Reserves: Turner, Coleman, Bidwell, Wallace, Jagielka, Duffy, Craig, Forshaw, Vaughan, Anichebe, Baxter. Subs: Davies, Akpan, Peterlin, Nsiala, McAleny

NIGEL MARTYN: Everton FC deserve more credit for great results against Man Utd & Chelsea
February 23, 201-. Liverpool Echo
A GOOD performance delivered a fantastic result over Manchester United on Saturday. Despite a bright start by the visitors, and fears they might run riot once Dimitar Berbatov put them in front, Everton got straight back into it and never looked back. Once Diniyar Bilyaletdinov replied three minutes later there was only one team in it. Among many impressive displays, Leon Osman did particularly well. I had to chuckle when Sky Sports named Jack Rodwell man of the match. Of course, he took his goal really well but only came on in the 88th minute. What must Leon be thinking after putting in a full shift? The whole midfield deserves praise, with Steven Pienaar and Mikel Arteta also standing out, the Spaniard displaying nice touches throughout the game. Often when United take the lead they become pass masters, making it difficult for you to get the ball back, let alone play. However, it was Everton who took the game to them and they simply couldn’t live with us. Even their manager admitted the best team won, which is about as much as you’ll ever get from him, but it struck me just how little credit Everton got from elsewhere. I was disappointed with the coverage afterwards. The focus seemed to be on how jaded United looked after a tough trip to Milan in Europe in midweek. That may have been so but didn’t Everton also have a tricky game against Sporting Lisbon last week? It was annoying having to listen to excuses about United being tired and this and that. You could say it was the same for both teams but it didn’t seem to affect us. In some ways you want the focus to fall elsewhere, but it’s about time Everton started getting some credit.
United are the latest big scalp we’ve claimed recently, together with Man City and Chelsea, not forgetting the draw at the Emirates. These results have helped propel us up the table, closer to where we want to be, and suddenly there’s talk of sneaking fifth or even fourth place. I think that’s a big ask though with four clubs battling it out for those places already. If it was just two clubs I’d say we had a chance but I’m not sure all four will buckle enough.
Rodwell may have to be patient
ONE man’s misfortune can be another man’s gain. While it was disappointing to hear that Marouane Fellaini could be sidelined for up to six months, the timing of Jack Rodwell’s return could not be better. Fellaini will be a loss, of course. His form in recent months is one of the reasons we’ve pulled away from danger. Although nobody wants to see a teammate injured, Rodwell will no doubt be looking to take advantage of the situation and force his way into the starting XI. It all depends on how David Moyes decides to play it though With Arteta back in contention and Osman playing well, Everton aren’t short of good midfielders. Despite Fellaini’s injury, Rodwell didn’t start against Manchester United on Saturday. He came off the bench to make an impact with a superbly taken goal, but hasn’t actually started a game since picking up an injury against Bate Borisov at Goodison in December. After such a good result at the weekend will the manager want to change things too much?
Rodwell may have to be patient and then take his chance to force his way in.
Everton may need an away goal in Lisbon to progress
EVERTON go into Thursday night’s Europa League last 32, second leg against Sporting Lisbon with the tie on a knife edge. At 2-0 up I would have put us odds on to progress but the late goal at Goodison last week puts a totally different complexion on things. Suddenly a 1-0 win is good enough for Sporting. It’s important we don’t go over there intent on sitting back and protecting what we’ve got. The last thing we want to do is encourage them to start playing or invite them on to us. If we can get an away goal we’ll be back in the driving seat. That’s why we need to make sure we aren’t too defensive. I’d like to see a typical Everton performance with good ball retention and defensive resilience. At the same time we must avoid any lapses in concentration like the one that led to their goal. Everyone has to be switched on at all times

Everton FC shareholders urged to question board by KEIOC
February 23, 2010, By Gary Stewart, Liverpool Echo
AROUND a hundred of Everton’s shareholders were treated to a call to arms by a campaign group pledged to keeping the club in the city. Fans with a stake in the club invited Keeping Everton in our City (KEIOC) to come and speak to them at Goodison Park following the failure of the Destination Kirkby bid. Group secretary Colin Fitzpatrick picked over the bones of the proposed move to Kirkby before explaining their own idea of a ‘Football Quarter’ across Stanley Park, including a rebuilt Goodison, alongside Anfield, a new hotel complex, and backed by the city council and universities. He said: “Liverpool and Everton are the most famous duopoly in football. We have brought back 64 major trophies to this small patch of land across a park. “We have spoken to the Spirit of Shankly people and they are in agreement.
“With two world class stadia, ten minutes from the city centre, this could be the capital of football.” But it was not the details of the plan that was important, he said.
Group chairman Dave Kelly said: “We’re not saying this is the template. “We’re just saying let’s have a vision like our forefathers did. “I don’t care what the vision is as long as there is one. “At the moment we have nothing.” He called on the minority shareholders present at Monday night’s meeting to talk to members of the board and try to make their voices heard. “Maybe they’re not listening. I say make them.”
By 9.30pm a third of attendees had left and the rest disagreed on the wording of a plea to the board for a new feasibility study. One shareholder asked who would stay in a hotel in Walton while another said the plans were unaffordable. Colin Fitzpatrick said: “It’s not about affordability. If we build what is affordable we don’t build anything. Kirkby was supposed to be affordable. “We can’t afford to do nothing.” The meeting ended with shareholders promising to the bring up the idea at their next association meeting.

Everton FC midfielder Steven Pienaar charged with drink driving
February 23, 2010 by Ben Schofield, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON FC midfielder Steven Pienaar has been charged with being drunk at the wheel. He was arrested in the early hours of Sunday morning after celebrating his team's heroic 3-1 victory over Manchester United on Saturday. Police charged him with drink driving, as well for failing to comply with a traffic signal. The player was arrested at the roadside in Liverpool city centre, although the exact street is not known. He will appear in court next month. A police spokesman said this morning: “Merseyside Police can confirm that a 27-year-old man has been charged with drink driving and failure to comply with a traffic sign. “He was arrested in the early hours of Sunday morning and charged later that day. “Steven Pienaar from Woolton will appear at Liverpool City Magistrates Court on 9 March, 2010.” The South African arrived at Goodison Park on loan in the summer of 2007. The move later became permanent after his club signed a £2.05m deal with former club Dortmund.
He last had a brush with the law in October 2008 when he was quizzed by police after an alleged assault in the Sefton Park area. No charges were ever brought against the player. No one from the club has responded to the drink drive charge

Hot shot Jack Rodwell can remain a true blue at Everton FC
February 23, 2010. By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JACK RODWELL held one of the more unwanted records in the Premier League prior to Saturday’s hugely impressive defeat of Manchester United.
The meticulously compiled, if perhaps overly thorough, Barclays Premier League statement revealed that Rodwell had fired off the most shots without scoring this season. A precisely dispatched right-footed shot made it 27th time lucky for the 18-year-old – and overshadowed the Manchester United striker who leads the way with shots on (76) and off target (54) so far this season. But it wasn’t just on the pitch that Rodwell was being compared to Wayne Rooney. Just as Rooney’s emergence at Goodison Park in 2002 saw him instantly branded “too big for Everton” and the subject of eventually realised transfer speculation, Rodwell has already been found himself on tabloid backpages linked with Chelsea and Saturday afternoon’s victims, United. But times have changed. Blues boss David Moyes admits that he has far fewer worries about Rodwell’s long-term Goodison future than he did with his ultimately Old Trafford bound predecessor. “We weren’t ready when Wayne came on the scene,” admitted Moyes. “We’re ready for Jack Rodwell and our team is good enough to carry a Jack Rodwell and keep bigger suitors away. “There’s been quite a lot of attention towards Jack Rodwell for a while. But strangely enough, it was Wayne that worried me a lot more. “It doesn't worry me quite so much with Jack because we've been through it before. The boy is going to be a good player in time but at this present time it's potential and we have to bring it along at the right pace. “If Wayne was at Everton now I think it would be completely different. “We're competing within Europe, we're trying to beat the top teams, we're at that end of the league. “At the time Wayne came on the scene we were fifth or sixth off the bottom so it was a completely different Everton then to what it is now.” Saturday’s strike might have been Rodwell’s first League goal of the season, but the youngster can certainly shoot, as two explosive strikes against Sigma Olomouc in this season’s Europa League advertised.
The youngster also grabbed a typical poacher’s goal in last season’s FA Cup fifth round defeat of Aston Villa and David Moyes believes that in this present phase of the youngster’s development, he sees Rodwell more as an attacking midfielder than the defensive shield most observers expect him to become. Team-mates like Leon Osman, however, are just relieved that a cleaner bill of health in the Blues’ squad in recent weeks has allowed youngsters like Rodwell and Dan Gosling to influence matches as and when the manager determines rather than because they were the only fit bodies available. “Everyone knows about our injuries at the start of the season and probably a bit too much was put on these young lads' shoulders too early,” said Osman.
“It is good that they have been able to have a break and take a bit of a step back.
“Once you do that, you see what quality players they are.” That was certainly the case on Saturday, although even Rodwell admitted he was surprised to be handed the Sky TV man of the match award from team-mate Gosling! “ I don’t know about getting that because I've only come on five minutes or whatever,” Rodwell told an overly enthusiastic Sky presenter. “It was a great team performance.” The quality of that performance – and recent impressive results against Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal, mean that the entire Blues squad is now looking upwards rather than over their shoulders. Osman, David Moyes’ man of the match on Saturday, explained: “The injuries did handicap us at the start of the season.
“It made it really difficult for us with the amount of games that we had. But you can't look back. Things happen and you have to get on with it. There is no point worrying about what might have been or we will lose sight on what is to come. “We need to concentrate on that from now until the end of the season and hopefully we can get something out of it.” Everton's only remaining chance of silverware rests on the Europa League. They visit Lisbon on Thursday to defend a 2-1 first leg lead in the last-32 encounter with Sporting. And, even though David Moyes has a major defensive dilemma with John Heitinga cup-tied and Sylvain Distin suspended, Osman feels Everton can travel to Portugal in optimistic mood. “This result sends us to Lisbon with a different attitude,” he said. “We are full of confidence now but then we were full of confidence after beating Manchester City last month and then went on to have a poor start in the FA Cup against Birmingham. “We need to make sure we are not too complacent. “We need to do our jobs right and go about it the right way.
“We are getting more experienced in Europe and hopefully we can get the job done.”
Everton young gun Shane Duffy in shock Irish international switch
PROMISING Everton defender Shane Duffy has rocked Northern Ireland by deciding to change his allegiance. The 18-year-old Londonderry-born player has informed manager Nigel Worthington he wants to play for the Republic of Ireland instead.
Duffy has withdrawn from the squad to face Albania in a friendly in Tirana next week after being named in the party yesterday. He looked set to win his first cap in the absence of captain Aaron Hughes and his defensive team-mate Chris Baird.
However, Duffy, who has made two appearances for Everton in the Europa League this season, sees his future with the Republic like Manchester United’s Darron Gibson. Worthington is believed to be disappointed at Duffy’s change of heart.
He has come through the system with the province and was captain of the Under-19s before graduating to the Under-21s. Duffy qualifies for the Republic through his Donegal-born father, and believed he had reached agreement with Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington to no longer be selected even before yesterday’s squad selection. A promising centre-back, Duffy made his Everton debut as substitute in the crucial Europa League victory in Athens when he came on as a 17th minute replacement for Sylvain Distin and helped the Blues to a clean sheet. He subsequently made his full debut in the same competition against BATE Borisov.
Part of the Northern Ireland youth set-up from Under-16 level upwards, he was an unused substitute for the senior side against world champions Italy last summer.
Ironically, he was denied a dream international debut that night because of a pre-match agreement hatched between Northern Ireland manager Worthington and his Italian counterpart Marcello Lippi that only six substitutes would be used..
Everton skipper Phil Neville, meanwhile, has targeted the next step in the Blues development, after impressive victories over title challengers Chelsea and Manchester United, following hot on the heels of an impressive draw at Arsenal and a comprehensive defeat of Manchester City. “We'd love to win a trophy,” said Neville. “At the start of every season we look to win a trophy and for a club that's progressing like ours it's always the next step – this team's got to be winning trophies.”
The last remaining opportunity for Everton to land silverware this season is in the Europa League, with Everton defending a 2-1 first leg lead in Lisbon against Sporting on Thursday. Lisbon drew 0-0 at lowly Olhanense on Saturday to remain fourth in the Portuguese League. “It's going to be a fantastic end to the season,” added Neville. “We are playing really well and we're looking to push up the league.
“For large parts of the season we’ve been looking down, worried we were going to get sucked down into a dog fight. Now we’re looking up.”
Everton reserve game postponement foils Phil Jagielka's injury comeback
PHIL JAGIELKA'S 10-month injury nightmare will be extended by a few days more - after his proposed comeback for Everton reserves has been postponed because of a frozen pitch. Jagielka was scheduled to make his comeback against Bolton Wanderers reserves tonight. But the the pitch at the Halton Stadium, Widnes is frozen.
Everton reserves' next scheduled fixture is not until next Thursday at Burnley.
Jagielka hasn’t played since damaging cruciate ligaments in his left knee against Manchester City last April. That heartbreak came just a week after he had converted the penalty kick which took Everton to their first FA Cup final for 15 years against Manchester United. Jagielka had also forced his way into Fabio Capello’s England thinking, winning his third full cap against Ukraine at the beginning of April.

Eveton FC: Landon Donovan declares: “I’ll be back!”
February 24, 2010. By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IT was only voted the 37th greatest movie line of all time. But it quickly leaped into the top 10 of the Gwladys Street’s favourite phrases when American idol Landon Donovan declared last night: “I’ll be back!” Blues boss David Moyes explained after another highly influential performance from the wide-man on Saturday that he didn’t expect Donovan to remain at Goodison beyond the terms of his short-term loan deal which ends next month. But that hasn’t stopped the 27-year-old expressing a desire to return to Everton some time soon. “I would definitely imagine that I will be back here at some point in my life. I think it’s been an incredible experience and away from football, the people have been extremely nice,” he said. “That being said, I do miss LA, I miss my team-mates there, I miss the sunshine. That’d be nice to get back there too.” The LA Galaxy star admits he is flattered by the way he has been received by the Everton fans since he arrived on loan from the USA. Some Everton supporters have even started a campaign on social networking site Facebook to express their hope that he will remain at Goodison. “I wasn’t aware of that,” he admitted. “That’s pretty funny – we’ll see what happens! “I’m enjoying it and enjoying every day that I’m here. Every day that goes by makes me think that I want to stay here, but we’ll see what happens.” Voted the club’s player of the month for January, Donovan has also opened his Premier League scoring account against Sunderland and directly created two goals against Arsenal and Chelsea. The chant “USA! USA!” has reverberated around Goodison Park regularly and Donovan explained: “The fans, since the day I got here, have been fantastic. “The day I arrived for the Carlisle match, I was really overwhelmed by how many people who were aware that I was coming and knew who I was and said ‘welcome to Everton’. “That’s been the same with the team, the manager’s been great – everybody’s been fantastic. I think not only as a person but as a footballer as well, when you feel that it makes it a lot easier to perform on the field.”
That feeling also pushed Donovan into playing through the pain barrier at the weekend, when he woke up on Saturday morning fully expecting not to be involved against Manchester United. Moyes explained: “Landon came to me on Saturday morning and said he wasn’t going to play because he felt he had the flu. I told him that most of the players in England play with the flu four or five times a year.
“If you’re from Los Angeles you probably don’t know what flu is. “I didn’t make a decision until the team got to the hotel. I asked him again how he felt. He looked quite smart in his suit and didn’t look any worse than anyone else and I said ‘I’m just going to go with it Land,’ and he played really well. “He was a threat the whole day.
“I don’t think you bring many players from abroad who start the Premier League and get up to the speed of it straight away. There have been some games where he has dipped. “But I showed him some stuff from the midweek game against Sporting Lisbon and he took it on against United. “We swapped him over to the other side, then for 20 minutes we put him in the hole behind the striker and he always looked as if he had something about him. “I think Landon would like to stay, but I’ve already said it doesn’t look as if it will happen. I wouldn’t want to disrespect the contract he has over there.” But beyond that, who knows . . . ? After all, Arnie came back THREE times!

Blues announce new season ticket prices
February 24m 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON today revealed their season ticket prices for the 2010/11 season and urged supporters to benefit from an early-bird discount. Chief executive Robert Elstone insisted that he wanted prices to remain competitive and affordable despite a small increase in the price of an average adult ticket, based on an extra charge for six ‘premium’ games against regional rivals such as Liverpool and Manchester United.
He said the club are determined to make matches affordable for families, with a price freeze on season tickets in the Family Enclosure and junior tickets in all other areas of the ground half the price of an adult ticket. Tickets go on sale from March 8, and the early-bird discount is the equivalent of four games free. Elstone said: “Media reports have recently suggested that the country is slowly crawling out of one of the recession, but that does not mean we are taking anything for granted – we still need our pricing to be competitive and affordable. “We do feel next season’s offer manages to achieve this and the message once again is to buy during the early bird window to ensure you make the most of the savings on offer. “A key part of next season’s ticket pricing structure is the re-introduction of six premium fixtures. This was in place for the 2000/01 season at an additional cost of £18. Ten years later we will return to a premium on six fixtures but at a reduced cost of £17.” He added: “As I am sure is the case with any other business, we are sympathetic to the economic conditions up and down the country and, so we felt it important to retain our offer in the Family Enclosure. “We also wanted to re-enforce the importance juniors play at Everton – not only on match days but in our long-term future.” The ‘Early bird’ window, which saves around 22.5%, closes on April 17. The deadline for guaranteeing seats is Sunday, May 9. Meanwhile, Phil Jagielka could still make a surprise return to the Everton squad for tomorrow’s crucial Europa League tie against Sporting in Lisbon.
The England star has not played since rupturing a cruciate ligament against Manchester City last April and, like Mikel Arteta, he suffered several setbacks during his rehabilitation. Jagielka, who only resumed full training last week, was due to play for the reserves last night against Bolton Wanderers. But although the game was postponed due to a frozen pitch, David Moyes will still leave it until today to make a late decision on whether Jagielka will be included. With John Heitinga ineligible for the Europa League, Sylvain Distin suspended, Tony Hibbert out with a hernia and Philippe Senderos struggling with a back problem, Moyes has said that he may have no option but to recall Jagielka alongside Joseph Yobo in Portugal.
l Highlights of the 2010/11 Season offer: Adult Season Ticket from £399; Junior Season Ticket from £149; Concession Season Ticket from £293; Family Enclosure prize freeze; Juniors Always Half Price £10 voucher for evertondirect.com when you buy online. No booking fee online. l Full prices in tomorrow’s ECHO Sport.

Liverpool boxer Tony Bellew invites Everton FC young guns to first title fight
February 24, 2010. By Nick Peet, Liverpool Echo
TONY BELLEW says he’ll follow up Everton’s stunning win over Manchester United on Saturday with a comprehensive knockout victory against Atoli Moore on March 12. And the unbeaten Evertonian has invited fellow young guns Dan Gosling and Jack Rodwell to be his ringside guests when he challenges for the vacant Commonwealth light- heavyweight title at the ECHO Arena in 16 days’ time.
“I took time off training on Saturday to watch the Toffees,” said unbeaten Bellew, 27.
“The blue half of the city has been buzzing since the United game and it’s gave me a real boost ahead of my first title fight. “The win against United showed that we’ve got some cracking young footballers in this city, but don’t forget the boxers as well.
“The talent around at the moment is unbelievable – just look at this bill on March 12.
“Paul Smith has got a lot of attention because he is the British super-middleweight champion, while Tony Dodson remains one of the most popular fighters on Merseyside. “Plus, I’m also creating a stir by challenging for my first title. And don’t forget the other Smith brothers and Joey Selkirk, because they are seriously talented as well. “Hopefully, the footballers from both Liverpool and Everton will get behind us.
“I know that Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher are big boxing fans, but I want to get some of the Everton boys interested as well. “Tony Hibbert and Tim Cahill were ringside a couple of years ago when I knocked out Wayne Brooks in Bolton and it was a pleasure to perform in front of my idols for a change, rather than them performing for me. “If Dan and Jack want to come to the fight then they can be my own guests of honour – and see me knocking out Atoli Moore.”

Everton FC fans letters: Blues are a match for any top team
February 24, 2010. Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES said "on our day we are a match for any team.” A tremendous result against Manchester United. A thoroughly deserved victory due to exceptional work rate and specifically, movement of the ball in the attacking third. Without Cahill the Blues were more fluent as an attacking force, with the ball being moved quickly, culminating in Saha having his best game in an Everton shirt. Equally, Donovan has proved to be an astute signing, exhibiting his versatility by playing left and at a pivotal moment of the game in a central position, confirming his international calibre.
It is a shame the Blues cannot keep him longer. Osman and Pienaar looked so assured in a central role and it was a sublime finish from Bilyaletdinov. The best will come from him next season. Importantly, my men of the match were Heitinga and Distin who were colossal at the back resulting in Rooney having an ineffectual game.
Everton are in touching distance of a top six place and to have a realistic chance of Europe need to beat the teams above and sustain this form to the end of the season.
Fundamentally, for certain away games I would like to see Neville in the centre of midfield for his combative qualities, with Heitinga at right-back with Sendoros/Yobo alongside Distin.
David, Aintree
AFTER Saturday’s fabulous performance, surely there can be no doubt that David Moyes is the most talented manager in the Premier League.
There are many qualities that go to make a top manager in any profession and selection of your team members, often dependant on the funding you have at your disposal, is only one of them. Motivating those team members to perform to the very best of their abilities, and with maximum commitment is quite another, and Moyes is showing us this season that he is a master. How great it was to see the determined coaxing and instructing for each of his substitutes as he sent them out to get a result that had him cheering on the touchline only minutes later! Thank you Mr Moyes for giving all Evertonians a day to remember for years to come.
Janette Grimes, Whiston
WHEN are the national media going to put their obsession with the Sky four to one side and sheepishly admit that David Moyes is slowly but surely building an Everton side that can match anyone in the Premier League? When was the last time a side outside the top six (for now) beat Chelsea and United within the space of10 days, having come from behind in both matches? I found it mildly irritating that most of the focus was on United being tired following their exertions against Milan earlier in the week, whilst ignoring the fact we also had come through a midweek European fixture on the same night. Considering we had to face the champions without Tim Cahill, who was beginning to look like his old self, and the vastly improved Marouane Fellaini, you’d think we’d have received more credit than we did for not only out thinking United, but also beating Ferguson’s title chasers at their own game by passing them off the park. It just shows how much potential this Everton squad has – the win over Manchester City now seems little more than a run-of-the-mill win in comparison to beating the top two. You just can’t top that.
Robert Beard, Walton

Everton FC announce new season ticket prices with early-bird discount
February 24, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON today revealed their season ticket prices for the 2010/11 season and urged supporters to benefit from an early-bird discount. Chief executive Robert Elstone insisted that he wanted prices to remain competitive and affordable despite a small increase in the price of an average adult ticket, based on an extra charge for six ‘premium’ games against regional rivals such as Liverpool and Manchester United.
He said the club are determined to make matches affordable for families, with a price freeze on season tickets in the Family Enclosure and junior tickets in all other areas of the ground half the price of an adult ticket. Tickets go on sale from March 8, and the early-bird discount is the equivalent of four games free. Elstone said: “Media reports have recently suggested that the country is slowly crawling out of one of the recession, but that does not mean we are taking anything for granted – we still need our pricing to be competitive and affordable. “We do feel next season’s offer manages to achieve this and the message once again is to buy during the early bird window to ensure you make the most of the savings on offer. “A key part of next season’s ticket pricing structure is the re-introduction of six premium fixtures. This was in place for the 2000/01 season at an additional cost of £18. Ten years later we will return to a premium on six fixtures but at a reduced cost of £17.” He added: “As I am sure is the case with any other business, we are sympathetic to the economic conditions up and down the country and, so we felt it important to retain our offer in the Family Enclosure. “We also wanted to re-enforce the importance juniors play at Everton – not only on match days but in our long-term future.” The ‘Early bird’ window, which saves around 22.5%, closes on April 17. The deadline for guaranteeing seats is Sunday, May 9. Meanwhile, Phil Jagielka could still make a surprise return to the Everton squad for tomorrow’s crucial Europa League tie against Sporting in Lisbon.
The England star has not played since rupturing a cruciate ligament against Manchester City last April and, like Mikel Arteta, he suffered several setbacks during his rehabilitation. Jagielka, who only resumed full training last week, was due to play for the reserves last night against Bolton Wanderers. But although the game was postponed due to a frozen pitch, David Moyes will still leave it until today to make a late decision on whether Jagielka will be included. With John Heitinga ineligible for the Europa League, Sylvain Distin suspended, Tony Hibbert out with a hernia and Philippe Senderos struggling with a back problem, Moyes has said that he may have no option but to recall Jagielka alongside Joseph Yobo in Portugal.
* Highlights of the 2010/11 Season offer: Adult Season Ticket from £399; Junior Season Ticket from £149; Concession Season Ticket from £293; Family Enclosure prize freeze; Juniors Always Half Price £10 voucher for evertondirect.com when you buy online. No booking fee online.

The Jury: Everton fans on the Man Utd win and the Europa League showdown against Sporting Lisbon
February 25, 2010. Liverpool Echo
WHAT a week - Chelsea were first put to the sword and then the Champions too and we gave them both a goal start! A certain Mr Rooney went missing – he barely got a kick all afternoon and was later found in the back pocket of Johnny Heitinga!
There were some great performances especially from Osman, Donovan and Pienaar in the middle with Heitinga and Distin playing great at the back. The atmosphere was terrific, it made me proud to be an Evertonian! The airport will have Z Cars ringing out this week as we all head off to Lisbon again confident that we can progress. The Blues can go over there full of confidence and an away goal will make it very difficult for Sporting to come back. With a packed away end cheering them on, can the Blues fail? Is Portugal ready for another Blue invasion?
THE weird thing about last Saturday is it didn’t come as any surprise to me, even after Man Utd scored you suspected Everton had it in them. Wayne Rooney had a quiet game; we all know that he is a massive talent. Rooney is now starting to show some maturity, he recently appeared on Everton TV and had some nice things to say about the club, and secretly we all want Wayne to come back to Goodison in the future.
Leon Osman deserves a special mention, as he had worked really hard to get back to fitness and now looks sharper than ever. Tonight we are in Lisbon, I love being away with the Blues on European duty, but I don’t have fond memories of Portugal. But I am almost positive that we can gain qualification this evening and I am sticking my neck out with a 1-2 win for Everton, Osman first goal.
YESSS!!! In the streets outside Goodison all you could see were fans punching the air, gazing up into the sky in wonder and then punching the keys of their mobile phones. Leon Osman has silenced all the moaners, last season he hardly trained and played through injuries, so at last we are seeing the real deal. For once Mr Moyes got the substitutions right, replacing tiring legs with the young bloods. The recent run of form and the return of Phil Neville is also no coincidence. The orange and greens of Newton Heath seem to be in danger of imploding, with the news that the Glazer Brothers have taken £20 million from the club in loans and ‘management fees’. Meanwhile they have been busy ‘maximising the club’s income’ or jacking up the season tickets by 100%. At the end of the game there were so many ‘boyhood Evertonians’ on the pitch it was all getting a little crowded. Now who was that young lad who used to play for us?
AS somebody privileged enough to have seen the wonderful 1970 side of Ball, Harvey, Kendall etc, I did not think I would ever come out of Goodison having witnessed something as good as the stuff served up by those maestros – I was wrong.
Some of the football played in the first half was simply sublime and it had nothing to do with United being ‘tired’. I hope Bally was sitting on a cloud, enjoying every free flowing move from his beloved Blues. One of the many points to come out of the game was the form of Leighton Baines. So Capello picks players on their form? In that case, he needs to change those glasses because Baines has more to his game than any left-back in the country apart from Cole and I wouldn’t swap him for both Bridge and Lescott! Osman has also been in the form of his life and Saturday may well have been his best game ever in a blue shirt.

Europa League humiliation against Benfica will fire Everton up against Sporting Lisbon
February 25, 2010. Liverpool Echo
AS Phil Neville and his Everton team-mates woke up in the Portugese capital today they were in unpleasantly familiar surroundings. Everton may well be staying in Lisbon’s finest five-star hotel, but it still conjures all the wrong type of memories as the same place they trudged into and pulled the bed covers over their heads after that 5-0 demolition by Benfica last October. The skipper was unable to play in that Europa League group stage tie, but along with Mikel Arteta and Phil Jagielka he made the journey with the team and could only watch and wince. There were hugely mitigating circumstances behind the nature of Everton’s defeat to Sporting’s neighbours Benfica. But Neville is still determined that this time, the club leave its mark on Portugal by victory and progression into the last 16 of the competition. He said: "We all remember that night. We are staying in the same hotel so there will be memories. "We played well in the first half and at half-time we were still in the game. But then, bang, we lose a bit of concentration and we are 5-0 down. "It looked a bit of a mauling and it was a valuable lesson of what can happen in Europe when you switch off. "When you think that everything is OK, that's when you get kicked in the privates! “Myself, Jags and Areteta all travelled out to watch the game against Benfica here. “Their experience and quality was better than ours, and we knew that before the game but I think Lisbon and Portugal didn’t see the best of Everton that time. “This time they can see a more solid side with quality. “They will see the best of Everton. “Yes, we were embarrassed. The team that was sent out last time wasn’t our strongest team, there was a lot of inexperience. “It was a great learning curve for them, and they saw that switching off for 20 minutes left us four, or 5-0 down. “But this is a totally different side and one which can compete with the best teams in Europe like we saw at the weekend and against Chelsea.” Neville believes the increasing European experience he has witnessed Everton gain since he signed for the club in 2005 will prove vital tonight. He said: "We've been in the UEFA Cup and Europa League for three or four years now and we are gaining in European experience. "Going away to BATE and then Athens shows that we know how to win games in Europe. “When I signed and we’d just qualified for the Champions League, and from having a squad of 30 or 40 players we signed four or five just before the deadline who weren’t prepared and didn’t have the experience to cope with European football. “The next time we qualified for the Uefa Cup and we did well, enjoyed the experience and it seemed to galvanise the whole club. “From then on we’ve been building on that and this is the finest squad of players in my time at the club. “We’ve got a fine blend of youth, experience, and continental experience too. The next step is to win a major competition and this season this cup represents our best opportunity.”
With Phil Jagielka a possible shock inclusion in the Everton side tonight, Neville maintains the Yorkshireman will be able to cope despite a lack of match fitness.
He said: I think sometimes you can play three or four reserve games and it still doesn’t prepare you for that big European night or the Premiership. You are better just being thrown into it. Like myself this season, I trained one day after my injury and was thrown right back into it against Burnley. The same with Mikel Arteta he was thrown straight back into it. "Yes he’ll probably be nervous, but sometimes rather than worry about it you are better being thrown right in at the deep end. The adrenaline will get him through, he is ready, he has been training with us for the last three or four weeks.
"He’s that old fashioned type of player who has probably played with sprains and bruises all his life. "He’s not like with the greatest respect a foreign player who has to be 100% he has played with nicks and bruises, knows what it’s about, knows his areas where he’ll defend and he’ll have no problems I’m sure." Although Neville predicts this squad can go on to great things, he insists they have yet to earn the right to be compared to Howard Kendall’s 80s title winners. He said: "In terms of the squad size, I think this is the best one that the gaffer has put together. All you can say about that great Howard Kendall team is that they won trophies consistently. "We are nowhere near that level yet. Where we are is that we are consistently challenging to get into Europe and to get to major finals. "But until we start winning competitions, we are nowhere near that team. They were winning the major trophies like the league on a consistent basis. "Until we start winning trophies like them, we can't be talked about in the same breath. "But there are no excuses for us now. We are over the worst of our injuries and looking forward to the run-in to the end of the season. "This is our biggest chance to take that step from being just challengers to winners. There are challenges all the time and the biggest challenge now is to keep this squad together. "That's something we have to do. We have to keep the Pienaars, Artetas, the Cahills and the Sahas. "We have to keep the young players coming through like Rodwell and Gosling. And the only way to do all of that is by improving and consistently challenging for honours."
Phil Neville promises Everton will show their teeth in Lisbon
PHIL NEVILLE today promised Everton will go on the attack in Lisbon tonight as they bid to banish the memories of their last visit to the Portuguese capital.
The Blues skipper believes this Everton team are far better equipped to leave Portugal victorious, than the inexperienced side which were thrashed 5-0 by Sporting’s city rivals Benfica in this competition last year. But Neville insists that the Blues must go for goals at the Estadio Jose Alvalade, after conceding a sloppy late strike at Goodison has left the tie finely balanced. He said: “It’s important that we score the first goal or that we score an away goal. You sit back in Europe and you get punished. “We did that in the last 20 minutes against them in the first leg and they kept possession, frustrated us and in the end they punished us. We know that we need to score.
“We know from our European experience that an away goal kills a team. We’re quite suited to counter attack, we’ve got players who like playing away from home and it’s a great occasion and a good stage for us to keep progressing as a team.” Neville, and manager David Moyes, both backed Phil Jagielka to cope if he is asked to make an unexpected return to the side in the last 32 tie. The Blues boss will leave it as late as possible to decide on his central defence, with Philippe Senderos having only just recovered from a back strain which saw him omitted from the squad against Manchester United at the weekend. Moyes knows that to ask Jagielka, who is not match-fit after missing out on a return to action in a cancelled reserve game on Monday, would be a big ask. But he said: “It would be a huge ask of him but I've got a lot of confidence in the boy. He's a really good player and we have missed him a lot.
“Obviously having not had any games is a problem but sometimes needs must.
“We go into the game with a great deal of confidence. For a long period we've hit some good form. “A couple of results have gone against us but in the main we've been very good. The result against Manchester United was very good for us and we hope to repeat it again. “We will play the same way (as at Goodison in the first leg). Sporting gained some momentum with their late goal at Goodison. They will go into the game feeling they have a chance. “But it doesn’t change how we come into the game. We're coming into it trying to win it. It doesn't alter anything; sure I’d rather it be 2-0 than 2-1 but it wasn't to be. “It's another 90 minutes. We have tended to do quite well away from home in Europe and we are looking forward to it. “There will be no special treatment for any of their players. I’m more interested in Everton, and we just need to play the same way we did against Manchester United.”

Sporting Lisbon 3 Everton FC 0 (4-2) - Europa League heartache for the Blues
February 25, 2010. Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S dreams of Europa League glory this season came to an disappointing end against Sporting Lisbon. Holding a 2-1 advantage going into the second leg, they struggled to cope with a rejuvenated Sporting side. Second-half goals from Miguel Veloso, Pedro Mendes and susbstitute Matias Fernandez sent the home side through to the last 16. Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard was forced into action after just four minutes when Marat Izmailov cut inside. The Russian cracked in a shot but Howard was equal to it and parried the ball to safety. It was an early warning to Everton that Sporting were determined to turn the tie around after a string of indifferent results.
The home side had made a bright start and Liedson clipped his effort wide of the post in the 13th minute. Sporting came within a whisker of taking the lead on the night when Senderos, on loan from Arsenal, barged over Yannick Djalo on the edge of the area. Skipper Joao Moutinho stepped forward and sent a sweet free-kick over Howard but saw his effort come back off the bar. Liedson latched on to the rebound but snatched at his effort and it went wide to Everton’s relief. However, this was a difficult spell for David Moyes’s side who went into the match on a superb run of form after losing only two of their last 13 games in all competitions.
Then Miguel Veloso sent a shot into Howard’s body as Sporting maintained the momentum. Everton were struggling to get a foothold in the game and Moyes was already looking anxious in the technical area. Certainly they had not started with the intensity they showed at the weekend in the victory against Manchester United.
Sporting were having the majority of possession and weaving pretty patterns all over the pitch. They had the advantage as well of having an away goal in the bank after a late revival at Goodison Park. So the last thing Everton wanted was for the home side to pull ahead on the night. Saha was being deprived of service at this stage with Sporting controlling the midfield. It mean Rui Patricio was enjoying a quiet spell and had not been tested. However Everton woke from their slumber a minute before half time when Senderos found the net after getting on the end of a free-kick from Leighton Baines. But Senderos’ effort from inside the area was ruled out for offside as the player raised his arm in celebration. Senderos needed treatment three minutes into the second half after taking a knock in a challenge. He looked in some difficulty following his back problem and Djalo strode forward in the 51st minute and sent a shot narrowly over the bar. Senderos came off a minute later and was replaced by Phil Jagielka, making his first appearance since April. Given the pressure Everton had been under it was a test of character for Jagielka, following his recovery from a knee ligament injury. Sporting stepped up the pace and Howard did well to turn away a close range shot from Izmailov in the 58th minute. Then the goalkeeper showed even better reflexes to turn over a rasping drive from Veloso. Everton responded and Steven Pienaar saw his effort go narrowly over the bar before Sporting made the breakthrough. Veloso got clear inside the six yard area and from an acute angle drove a shot beyond Howard and into the corner. Sporting went ahead 3-2 on aggregate in the 76th minute through former Rangers midfielder Pedro Mendes. Mendes, who arrived last month, got on the end of a cut back from Izmailov to find the corner with his effort, although it took a huge deflection off substitute Jack Rodwell. As Everton pressed forward, substitute Matias Fernandez added a third in stoppage time to complete a night of misery.

Sporting Lisbon 3 Everton FC 0 - Europa Cup final whistle report
February 26, 2010. Liverpool Daily Post
EVERTON'S dreams of Europa League glory this season came to an disappointing end against Sporting Lisbon. Holding a 2-1 advantage going into the second leg, they struggled to cope with a rejuvenated Sporting side. Second-half goals from Miguel Veloso, Pedro Mendes and susbstitute Matias Fernandez sent the home side through to the last 16. Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard was forced into action after just four minutes when Marat Izmailov cut inside. The Russian cracked in a shot but Howard was equal to it and parried the ball to safety. It was an early warning to Everton that Sporting were determined to turn the tie around after a string of indifferent results.
The home side had made a bright start and Liedson clipped his effort wide of the post in the 13th minute. Sporting came within a whisker of taking the lead on the night when Senderos, on loan from Arsenal, barged over Yannick Djalo on the edge of the area. Skipper Joao Moutinho stepped forward and sent a sweet free-kick over Howard but saw his effort come back off the bar. Liedson latched on to the rebound but snatched at his effort and it went wide to Everton’s relief. However, this was a difficult spell for David Moyes’s side who went into the match on a superb run of form after losing only two of their last 13 games in all competitions. Then Miguel Veloso sent a shot into Howard’s body as Sporting maintained the momentum.
Everton were struggling to get a foothold in the game and Moyes was already looking anxious in the technical area. Certainly they had not started with the intensity they showed at the weekend in the victory against Manchester United. Sporting were having the majority of possession and weaving pretty patterns all over the pitch.
They had the advantage as well of having an away goal in the bank after a late revival at Goodison Park. So the last thing Everton wanted was for the home side to pull ahead on the night. Saha was being deprived of service at this stage with Sporting controlling the midfield. It mean Rui Patricio was enjoying a quiet spell and had not been tested. However Everton woke from their slumber a minute before half time when Senderos found the net after getting on the end of a free-kick from Leighton Baines. But Senderos’ effort from inside the area was ruled out for offside as the player raised his arm in celebration. Senderos needed treatment three minutes into the second half after taking a knock in a challenge. He looked in some difficulty following his back problem and Djalo strode forward in the 51st minute and sent a shot narrowly over the bar. Senderos came off a minute later and was replaced by Phil Jagielka, making his first appearance since April. Given the pressure Everton had been under it was a test of character for Jagielka, following his recovery from a knee ligament injury. Sporting stepped up the pace and Howard did well to turn away a close range shot from Izmailov in the 58th minute. Then the goalkeeper showed even better reflexes to turn over a rasping drive from Veloso. Everton responded and Steven Pienaar saw his effort go narrowly over the bar before Sporting made the breakthrough. Veloso got clear inside the six yard area and from an acute angle drove a shot beyond Howard and into the corner. Sporting went ahead 3-2 on aggregate in the 76th minute through former Rangers midfielder Pedro Mendes. Mendes, who arrived last month, got on the end of a cut back from Izmailov to find the corner with his effort, although it took a huge deflection off substitute Jack Rodwell.
As Everton pressed forward, substitute Matias Fernandez added a third in stoppage time to complete a night of misery.

Jagielka vows: We’ll be back in Europa League
February 26, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
PHIL JAGIELKA today promised Everton will atone for another miserable night in Lisbon by qualifying for Europe again next season. The Blues crashed out of the Europa League after a 4-2 aggregate defeat by Sporting last night.
Their second defeat in the Portuguese capital this season saw them denied a meeting with Atletico Madrid in the last 16 next month. But a rare positive from the game saw Jagielka make his return from a 10-month injury lay off as a 52nd minute substitute for Philipe Senderos. The England international, who came through his return unscathed, said: “The lads have put in some good performances in the Europa League this season, and now we will be dying to make sure we’re in it again next season. But we’re sick of the sight of Lisbon now. “Condeding that goal in the first leg gave them something to play for and sometimes you’ve got to take your hat off and say well played to the opposition. “I think we knew what our job was but the first goal is always key and unfortunately they managed to get it and the fans got on their side. Luck wasn’t with us. “If we’d have come here 2-0 up it would’ve been a different game plan, but we were in a position of having to come and win the game or maybe go for a draw, and once they got the first goal they never looked back.”
On his unexpected return to action Jagielka added: “I was expecting quite a quiet night. “The gaffrer just wanted me for the bench but unfortunately Philippe got a knock and I got a chance. “It's nice to be back. I've waited a long time and as much as we got beat 3-0 I'll look at it as the time I finally came back. “I'm not smiling but I'm happy I came through it. “Obviously injuries have played their part again tonight. We were without two of our most important midfielders in Cahill and Fellaini.
“We seem to keep getting injuries in the same positions all the time. Maybe they might have made a difference, who knows?” Stunned boss David Moyes said: “We never got started. Credit to Sporting, they were the better team tonight and deserved to go through. “We felt confident but maybe we made mistakes in the first game which let them in. “I didn’t see this result coming. We didn’t play to the levels we have in recent weeks.”

Howard Kendall: Great to beat Man United but I didn’t celebrate Jack Rodwell’s goal
February 26, 2010. By Howard kendall, Liverpool Echo
THE win over Manchester United was absolutely fantastic, although I must apologise for not standing up to celebrate Jack Rodwell’s goal! I had a bet on a 2-1 win at 14/1.
I must have been the only Evertonian in the ground not to stand up! I’m not a gambling man but after seeing them play in Milan I thought United looked poor at the back. I knew if we got at them we could win. Diniyar Bilyaltedinov’s equaliser was vital. That provided a belief from the crowd to the pitch. Mean-while, United simply didn’t respond, highlighting the effect Wayne Rooney has on them. It was a very disappointing performance from Rooney. His touch wasn’t right and his contribution was virtually nil. Credit to our lads for keeping him quiet. But while United can sometimes rely too much on Rooney, Everton performed as a team. I was particularly impressed with Johnny Heitinga at centre-half. After trying him out at right back and in the hole in midfield, it looks like we’ve found his best position. He’s settled in nicely and was brilliant against United. Similarly, Leon Osman was outstanding. You’re always guaranteed a performance from Leon and sometimes a little bit more, but you never get anything less. Because of his workrate and the standards he sets himself there is a good level of consistency. David Moyes has got a very good squad right now. You feared we might not be able to cope without Marouane Fellaini and Tim Cahill but full credit to the players that came in.
Howard Kendall: Wayne Bridge withdrawal means it’s between Baines and Warnock
WAYNE BRIDGE’S decision to withdraw from England’s World Cup plans could open the door for Leighton Baines. While Ashley Cole will be Fabio Capello’s first choice left-back, Baines comes firmly into the equation. Another one who impresses me is Stephen Warnock at Aston Villa. I’ve thought highly of Warnock ever since his move from Liverpool to Blackburn. Like Baines, he has been outstanding this season. I’m not sure how much better Bridge is than these two anyway but it now looks like a straight choice for Capello.

David Prentice: Liverpool and Everton fans row about football but when it's over a bird it gets messy
February 26, 2010. By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
MERSEY football fans are used to rows about football. But when it’s a row over a bird, well things can get messy. In case you missed it, a passionate, enthusiastic and well meaning Evertonian is urging his club to start using the city’s Liver Bird symbol on club merchandise and memorabilia again. And before Red fans cry fowl (sorry!), he points to a clutch of pre-War medals awarded to Everton footballers which all clearly carry a Liver Bird at its heart. There’s no doubt that the Liver Bird belongs to the City, not the football club of Liverpool. It’s a civic rather than a footballing crest.
But you ask any number of individuals chosen at random worlwide what that strange looking creature with the seaweed in its beak conjures up, and I’ll wager you’ll get Liverpool Football Club in reply. The reasons are clear. Liverpool’s achievements throughout three decades of remarkable football dominance pushed that image into a worldwide public consciousness. It might not belong to the Reds, but they have made it their own. Any Everton attempt to reclaim it will surely be doomed to failure.
Besides, I rather like Prince Rupert’s Tower with the laurel wreaths either side.
And that club crest has a history all of its own. Created by Theo Kelly in 1938 to be included on a club neck-tie, he explained: “I was puzzling over it for four months, then I thought of a reproduction of the ‘Beacon’ which stands in the heart of Everton” – a Beacon which has stood on Everton Brow since 1787. The Liver Bird has undoubtedly brought good luck to Liverpool – WIkipedia claims the club first started using it in 1901, the year of their first league title success. But Everton’s new crest – accompanied by the motto Nil Satis, Nisi Optimum: Only the best is good enough, was worn by Kelly and chairman Mr. E. Green on the first day of the 1938/39 season.
On that day, Everton were at Bloomfield Road for a Division One clash with Blackpool and won 2-0 with goals from Tommy Lawton and Alex Stevenson.
That was on the 27th August, 1938 – and four days later the ties and the crest made their first appearance at Goodison. Everton triumphed again … registering a 3-0 win over Grimsby Town! Indeed, the ties and the crest were proclaimed as lucky, as Everton raced to six consecutive wins in their opening games … and in May, the League Championship! Both club crests have their own heritage and history.
Everton FC's Louis Saha back in France national squad
LOUIS SAHA’S World Cup dream was spectacularly revived last night.
France national coach Raymond Domenech has rewarded the Everton striker for his excellent form this season with a call-up to his squad to face Spain next week.
Saha has not featured for Les Bleus in over three years – but has scored 15 goals this season, all but two in the Premier League. The the last of Saha’s 18 caps came in France’s Euro 2008 qualifying win over the Faroe Islands in October 2006.
Saha scored the only goal of that game but has been overlooked by the national side ever since. His excellent form this season, however, has prompted the under-fire French coach to give him another chance to impress, with this summer’s World Cup a little over three months away. Everton, meanwhile, have signed 16-year-old defender Johan Hammar from Malmo. The Swedish youngster was originally on trial at Goodison Park in the summer and has been offered a permanent deal with the Toffees.
The clubs agreed a verbal fee at the start of the year, which was thought to be lower than the obligatory educational fee due to Hammar not having a contract at Malmo.
The player was understood to have left for Merseyside on Wednesday morning before finalising the deal in the afternoon. Martin Klette, the player’s agent, has stated that Hammar will join up with his new team at the end of the season.
“The plan is for Johan to play with the Under 18 team and probably leave (for England) this summer,” said Klette.
Everton FC's Leighton Baines can take place of Wayne Bridge
EVERTON left-back Leighton Baines moved a step closer to World Cup selection after Wayne Bridge’s decision to turn his back on England. With Chelsea’s Ashley Cole on the long term injury list with ankle ligament damage, at present it looks to be a straight fight between Baines and Aston Villa’s Stephen Warnock for the left-back spot in Fabio Capello’s starting XI. Bridge released a short statement yesterday, claiming his presence within the national squad was potentially “divisive” and that he did not wish to be selected. It leaves Capello without both his first-choice left-backs for Wednesday’s friendly with Egypt. The move comes after lurid details about a relationship between Bridge’s former partner Vanessa Perroncel and Chelsea defender John Terry came to light. “It has always been an honour to play for England,” said Bridge. “However, after careful thought, I believe my position in the squad is now untenable and potentially divisive.” It was the delicate balancing act Capello knew he was carrying out when he retained Terry in his squad whilst removing the coveted armband. The Italian hoped Bridge would remain involved and was scheduled to see both men in action at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, when Chelsea entertain Manchester City. Roberto Mancini spoke about the certainty of Bridge’s return to the England fold but there was always a feeling the full-back held a different opinion.
“For the sake of the team I have decided not to put myself forward,” said Bridge

Sporting Lisbon 3, Everton 0 (4-2 on agg): More Europa League woe for Blues in Portugal
February 26, 2010, By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
THE cinema inside Sporting Lisbon’s Jose Alvalade stadium complex was showing ‘It’s Complicated’, but the reason for Everton’s Europa League demise in Lisbon last night was depressingly simple. David Moyes’ men were essentially undone by that fateful lapse of concentration in the first leg of this tie at Goodison Park.
The slip which allowed Sporting to score a vital away goal gave the Portugese outfit real momentum in the tie, and allowed them to face Everton in their own back yard with optimism. Crucially too, Everton had to change the defensive solidity which has served them so well in the Premier League. David Moyes made two changes from the team which put Manchester United to the sword so stylishly last weekend.
The Scot was reluctantly forced to opt for a first-time central defensive partnership of Jospeh Yobo and Philippe Senderos, with John Heitinga ineligible and Sylvain Distin banned. Making only his second start in a Royal Blue shirt – and in such a crucial game – represented a considerable challenge to the Swiss international’s resolve.
He performed solidly enough alongside the Nigerian, but their newness made for a disjointed and nervy overall defensive showing which discouraged Everton from probing in attack, and further handed Sporting conviction. It was imperative that the Toffees soaked up the early pressure without conceding, and they had a reprieve when Moutinho curled a delicate free kick onto the crossbar after a foul by Senderos. Liedson blasted the rebound wide, as Everton rode their luck. Tim Howard’s opposite number, Rui Patricio, could have been forgiven for ordering a few espressos at half time to stay awake, after a half when he might as well have pulled up a seat to watch from his goal mouth. But then just before the break, Everton almost took an unlikely lead. From one of only a handful of attacks, Leighton Baines swung a long-range free kick into the area and Senderos was narrowly offside as he lashed the ball into the back of the net. As ever, the Blues were roared on by an impressive away following which compensated in volume and character for the numerous empty seats in the rest of the Jose Alvalade stadium. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov had been a hero after the conviction with which he gave his side the lead against United at the weekend, but the contrary Russian had a half to forget. Sporting resumed the second half with the same tenacity and Miguel Veloso’s corner was hooked over the bar by Liedson.
By then Everton had gone almost 145 minutes of football without an injury, so by their wretched luck this season they were due one. Philippe Senderos obliged, limping off with 52 minutes gone to hand Phil Jagielka a mammoth task. The England international had not played in a competitive game for 10 months, he even missed the chance to play in the reserves on Monday, but here was the time for his return.
It was far from ideal, but the rousing cheers he received must have sent his adrenaline levels into over-drive, and he instantly tightened the back four. A rare foray forward saw Pienaar curl a long range effort just wide, then Sporting struck. Substitute Carlos Saleiro had not been on long when he swapped passes with Miguel Veloso who beat Everton’s offside trap and finished calmly. Everton were on the rack and suddenly it got worse. Liedson brought another terrific save from Howard, but the ball was cleared without enough conviction and Pedro Mendes seized on it to thrash a low shot from the edge of the box in via a deflection from Jack Rodwell. Their misery was complete in injury time. Sporting broke, Djalo teed up late-sub Matias Fernandez who bundled past the keeper. Lisbon is unlikely to feature on many Evertonians’ list of favourite cities, as once again their team left the Portugese capital deflated.
This time there are fewer excuses than after the Benfica mauling last year.
It could have been simple for Everton. Injury hardly helped as ever but that can be taken as a given. Only when the Blues master the art of reducing unnecessary complications, will they take the next step in Europe. From beating Chelsea and Manchester United to exitting two cup competitions, 2010 has already heralded some huge highs and mammoth lows. Now Everton’s challenge is to secure further European adventures next season, by taking out the frustration of another glum Lisbon night on their remaining Premier League opponents.
EVERTON: Howard, Neville (capt), Senderos (Jagielka, 52), Yobo, Baines, Arteta, Osman, Donovan (Yakubu 72), Pienaar, Bilyaletdinov (Rodwell 61), Saha. Subs not used: Nash, Anichebe, Gosling, Coleman.
SPORTING: Patricio, Carrico, Abel, Izmailov (Fernandez ,90), Tonel, Fernandez, Grimi (Saleiro, 62), Veloso, Moutinho (capt), Liedson (Polga 92). Djalo. Subs not used: Tiago, Silva, Vukcevic, Pereirinha.
Referee: Alon Yefet (Israel)

Barry Horne: Everton FC must learn from Europa League exit
February 27, 2010. BY David Randles, Liverpool Echo
THE Europa League dream wasn’t to be. If any positives can be taken from defeat in Lisbon it will hopefully be the experience of competing in two-legged Euro ties.
Evertonians may not have liked it but, in their pomp, Liverpool were the masters of winning such affairs. While Everton can arguably claim to be the in form team in the Premier League right now, they were certainly second best in Lisbon.
Yes, lack of key personnel may have been a contributing factor but, with comparable problems, we have manged to dispense of England’s finest in recent weeks.
I’m obviously not party to David Moyes’ tactics but it looked like we tried to hang on to the narrowest of advantages, which is always a dangerous ploy, especially with a weakened defence. On the other hand, perhaps it just looked that way such was Sporting’s dominance in possession. The third goal was incidental with Everton pushing for the equaliser. Neither of the other two goals were classics but you always sensed they were coming due to the amount of play Sporting enjoyed in and around Everton’s final third. Ultimately, though, it was the last 10 minutes at Goodsion Park where the tie was probably lost. That is where the great masters and experienced European campaigners such as the Liverpool of old would not have slipped up.
The remainder of the season now becomes a scramble for what looks unlikely qualification back into Europe for next year. Given the circumstances of the first four months or so of the season however, I’m still very happy with the efforts of everyone at the club and the position we are in at the moment. I just hope the European setback doesn’t disrupt our tremendous recent form.

ROYAL BLUE: Evertonians set up Facebook campaign to try and extend Landon Donovan’s stay
February 27, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
LANDON DONOVAN will be left in no doubt about the admiration he has won from Everton supporters during his brief stint in Merseyside. Toffees have even started a Facebook campaign to lobby for the pacy attacker’s stay at Everton to be extended.
It is a futile exercise, because the 28-year-old is undoubtedly set to return to LA next month as per the agreement with his club and the Major League Soccer organisation. Whether he returns again on loan next season depends on how far Everton and Donovan have progressed in the meantime. Donovan’s performances will have alerted other European clubs more capable of paying LA Galaxy’s £6m buy-out clause. And David Moyes will have seen the overall benefits of a player with such coruscating pace down the flanks can have in Premier League games. It may yet move him to try and recruit a player in the Donovan-mould in the summer.
ROYAL BLUE: Everton FC’s 36 steps in a season of toil
IT WAS a night when Evertonians, particularly those who had flown to Lisbon, would take any positives they could get. As their last hopes of silverware in the 2009/10 season convulsed and then dropped dead in front of them, Blues could at least take some heart from the sight of another returning hero. When Philippe Senderos felt his knee in a tackle and was forced to limp off with 52 minutes of the tie against Sporting on Thursday gone, David Moyes asked Phil Jagielka to return to action for the first time in 10 long months. The moment represented the much anticipated last of the Toffees long-term wounded finally coming back. Jagielka had not even had the opportunity to play in a reserve game – the planned fixture was frozen off on Monday, so he was barely match fit and playing on sheer adrenaline. But nevertheless the cult hero instantly tightened up a nervy defence, and looked solid and as uncompromising as ever. He may not have been able to do much about the resultant scoreline, but his return bodes well for the rest of Everton’s now crucial Premier League run-in.
It was also significant for the history books. Jags became the 36th Everton player to be used in a single season – more players than in any other campaign ever in the club’s long history. The previous record was 35 in 1888, during the football league’s inaugural season. Even during the war years, when squads were naturally larger to account for players fighting for their country, Everton still did not use as many footballers as this current campaign. It would take an Evertonian with a long memory and vintage to know if this has been the club’s worst season ever for injuries, but it surely cannot be far off. It does not make pleasant contemplation, but recall that at various times during this see-saw season David Moyes has been without the following players for a considerable period; Mikel Arteta, Phil Jagielka, Steven Pienaar, Phil Neville, Jack Rodwell, Dan Gosling, Yakubu and Marouane Fellaini.
Tim Cahill’s latest injury lay-off may not hopefully be for a long time but it could not have been at a worse point of the season. Hark back, if it is not still too raw, to the group stages of the Europa League and the 5-0 mauling the Toffees received in Lisbon, this time by Benfica. That time Moyes had to ask Dan Gosling and Seamus Coleman to play out of position. It is to his immense credit that Coleman has recovered from the torrid memories of being torn apart by Angel Di Maria as the right-back operated at left back. As he had to on many other occasions, Tony Hibbert, at 5ft 7in, deputised at centre-back. Then recall the dead rubber game against BATE Borisov at Goodison with progress from the group ensured. Such was the paucity of options available to the Everton manager he asked 16-year-old Jake Bidwell to play along with 17-year-old Adam Forshaw. Jack Rodwell was a veritable veteran in that starting 11 until, surprise surprise, he hobbled off injured. The mind boggled. It still does. So, Bluenoses will cling to Jagielka’s return as a sign. They will hope it is a sign that no more major players will be ruled out. If Marouane Fellaini – missed enormously against Sporting – can recover in time for the autumn fixtures next season, and Jags can stay on course, there still may be further good times on the horizon. Of course Jagielka will not rule out having a significant part to play in how this season ends. He may deep down harbour faint hopes of playing such a compelling role in the last 12 league games that Fabio Capello is forced to take notice.
Before the curse of the knee ligaments struck, the Yorkshireman was on course to establish himself in the England line-up and looked unbreakable in Everton’s defence.
He came unscathed through the misery of Thursday. Now let us all hope that he can make Everton unbreachable again in defence, and inspire those around him to achieve a third European place finish in as many seasons. And let’s hope it is done without having to use a 37th player.

Everton FC skipper Phil Neville wants a Europe return
February 27, 2010. By James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON may be sick of the sight of Lisbon, but there was no quick getaway for them on Thursday night. An overnight stay in the Portuguese capital before flying straight into London yesterday ensured there was plenty of time to stew on their miserable exit from the Europa League. Tottenham’s players may have been hampered by a virus this week, but Everton’s must feel like they have been hit with a sledgehammer. How could a side which had stunned Premier League title contenders Chelsea and Manchester United in recent weeks perform so abjectly against a Sporting side in the midst of a crisis and desperately short of confidence? Wasteful in possession, vulnerable at the back and toothless going forward, it was a world away from the performance the Blues served up against United at Goodison five days earlier. Caution and negativity replaced adventure and attacking verve. With the tie on a knife edge it was a risky game plan and, in the end, they got exactly what they deserved. “We were not positive enough,” admitted Mikel Arteta. “We should have gone at them more. We tried to defend too deep and we never got a grip on the game.” Amidst the wreckage, Phil Neville has urged his team-mates to look forward, rather than back. The time for inquests has been and gone. The skipper knows all that pain and frustration must now be channeled into trying to ensure European football is on the agenda for the Blues once again next season. Of course it’s a tough ask. Eighth-placed Everton have 12 league games remaining to close the gap on Tottenham, Manchester City, Liverpool and Aston Villa, who are all currently fighting it out for fourth spot. Sixth place is likely to be good enough for Europa League qualification and possibly even seventh, but the Blues have little margin for error. Tomorrow’s clash at White Hart Lane is crucial. “It is no good beating Manchester United one week and not achieving anything in the season,” said Neville. “We look at our run-in now and we really fancy ourselves to go on a good run between now and the end of the season. “It is vital that we keep everyone fit and if we do that I think it can be a successful end to the season. “If you had asked me after the game on Saturday, before I had seen the table, I would have said that fourth or fifth place was still within our grasp. But in my experience points on the board are always better. “Even the gap between ourselves and Villa is seven points. That’s three games – and when you get to this stage of the season the clock is ticking and you can’t beat the clock. “I just hope we don’t run out of time. We have got to look at our run-in now and our 12 remaining games and to finish in fifth or fourth means we are going to have to win nine of those games. “That’s the kind of mountain we are going to have to climb The omens are good. Everton have triumphed on their last three league trips to White Hart Lane, but a depleted Blues side were beaten 2-0 there in the Carling Cup back in October.
When the clubs met at Goodson in December, the Blues fought back from 2-0 down to rescue a point. Since then David Moyes’ men have lost just once in 12 league matches to creep up on the Champions League chasers. “You hope that you always get one team that comes up on the rails,” Neville added. “Sunday is a massive game. It is a difficult place to go, White Hart Lane, but we broke the hoodoo of winning there a couple of years ago. So we know it is a good place for us to go and play.
“They will have seen our games against Chelsea and Manchester United and seen that we can beat the best.” The return to action of Phil Jagielka provided the only positive for the Blues in Lisbon and Arteta believes the defender will have a key role to play in the closing months of the campaign. “It’s great for him and for the team,” the Spaniard added. “He's a really important player for us and he’s been through a really tough period. We are all so happy for him. “It’s going to be a tough game against Tottenham but we’ve been good in the last few years at White Hart Lane.
“We need to recover from a really disappointing night and put it to the back of our minds.”
Leighton Baines backed for World Cup by Everton FC manager David Moyes
EVERTON manager David Moyes believes Leighton Baines would do England proud if he made Fabio Capello’s squad for this summer’s World Cup. With Ashley Cole a doubt for the finals after ankle surgery and Wayne Bridge having ruled himself out of contention, Capello is having to reassess his options at left-back. Baines and Aston Villa’s Stephen Warnock appear to be top of the pecking order and should be tested by Capello in next week’s friendly against Egypt. Baines is uncapped – he has twice been called up by his country, for a friendly against Slovakia and a World Cup qualifier against Ukraine, but remained on the bench. But has excelled at club level over the past couple of seasons. And Moyes feels the 25-year-old has all the attributes to be a success for England this summer. He said: “Leighton will get spoken about because he will be one of the next in line for the spot. Probably Leighton and Stephen Warnock are the names that are being thrown in and I am sure the manager of England will have a look at them in the weeks and months leading up to the World Cup. I think since Bainesy has come into the side he has improved and has kept improving. Sometimes there is one like that who comes into the World Cup squad late on and does very well. I am hoping it’s Bainesy because he has done very well for us here at Everton.” Moyes believes Baines is comparable to Cole in terms of his style of play and ability, adding the former Wigan defender is the ideal modern full-back.
“He is a very good attacking full-back,” Moyes said. “He’s quick, hard to get past as a defender and he is good on the ball. He has varied talents. But I don’t pick the England team, it’s hard enough picking the Everton one.” Baines, who played in the 3-0 defeat to Sporting Lisbon on Thursday night despite suffering with the effects of flu, should take his place in the Everton team to face Tottenham tomorrow.
The Blues welcome back Sylvain Distin and Johnny Heitinga into the squad but Moyes admits there is a doubt over the fitness of another defender, Switzerland international Philippe Senderos, who came off injured in Portugal. “Philippe has a bit of a hip injury. I don’t think it’s too bad and we will work on him tomorrow to see if he is available,” Moyes said. Senderos was replaced by Phil Jagielka, who had not featured for the club since April last year because of a knee problem. But the ex-Sheffield United centre-back is still striving for full fitness and Moyes said: “It’s great to have him back because he was really important to us last season “He missed out on the cup final last season and we haven’t seen him since. It’s been a little longer than we’d hoped for, to be honest. “I needed him to be part of the squad. He got some action which will do him good, but whether he’s up to match fitness and ready to play yet is debatable.”

Moyes leaves Saha out for Spurs clash
Sunday, February 28, 2010 - 01:09 PM Irish Exaniner
Tottenham’s Vedran Corluka and Wilson Palacios were passed fit for the Barclays Premier League clash against Everton after shaking off the effects of the virus that swept through the club this week. Corlucka came in for Benoit Assou-Ekotto from the team that defeated Bolton in the FA Cup in midweek, while Niko Kranjcar came in for David Bentley in the other change. Everton boss David Moyes made five changes from the side that lost to Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League, and Louis Saha was not in the matchday squad.
Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Bassong, Dawson, Bale, Kranjcar, Huddlestone, Palacios, Modric, Pavlyuchenko, Defoe.
Subs: Alnwick, Kaboul, Crouch, Gudjohnsen, Kyle Walker, Dervite, Assou-Ekotto.
Everton: Howard, Neville, Heitinga, Distin, Baines, Anichebe, Arteta, Pienaar, Osman, Rodwell, Yakubu.
Subs: Nash, Yobo, Jagielka, Bilyaletdinov, Donovan, Vaughan, Gosling.
Referee: Steve Bennett (Kent)

Tottenham Hotspur 2 Everton FC 1 - final whistle report from White Hart Lane
February 28, 2010. Liverpool Echo
EVERTON came away empty-handed against Tottenham at White Hart Lane, despite being just a kick away from a point. Trailing 2-0 at half-time, Yakubu got one goal back before Landon Donovan missed an open goal late on. In truth, they were caught cold by fast-starting Spurs, for whom Roman Pavlyuchenko scored his sixth goal in four games, then Luka Modric doubled the lead with a fine second against David Moyes’ men. John Heitinga was in the thick of the action in the early stages, firstly when he sliced over his own crossbar from Gareth Bale, then angering the Spurs bench when he body-checked Jermain Defoe off the ball as the striker chased a long ball. It was Defoe who helped set up Spurs’ opener in the 11th minute. He chased Tom Huddlestone’s long ball down and Sylvain Distin failed to get close enough, allowing the England striker to turn and set his sights on goal. Whether it was a cross or a shot, Defoe’s effort went between Heitinga and Tim Howard perfectly, allowing Pavlyuchenko to tap in for his sixth goal in four games. The visitors were almost handed an equaliser five minutes later when Leighton Baines’ corner was dropped by Heurelho Gomes. Ayegbeni Yakubu was a given sight of goal from close range but Michael Dawson blocked bravely on the line. Spurs’ second goal involved all three of Redknapp’s Croatia players, starting with Modric interchanging passes with Corluka. Kranjcar then fed Modric just inside the penalty area and he curled an effort that went in off the underside of the crossbar. It was Spurs’ reward after they continued to take the game to Everton, with Howard kept busy with further efforts from Pavlyuchenko and Kranjcar before Modric struck. Jack Rodwell came close with a header for Everton just before the break, while Bale had an effort deflected wide at the other end.
Moyes changed things at half-time, bringing on Phil Jagielka for Leon Osman, then he saw Heitinga test Gomes with a powerful drive just after the restart. Huddlestone went close with a volley but he caught Heitinga with his follow-through and was carried off on a stretcher after appearing to hurt his shin. Younes Kaboul was brought on and Everton pulled a goal back shortly afterwards. Mikel Arteta’s corner curled to the far post, Rodwell headed back across goal, with Victor Anichebe holding off Gomes and allowing Yakubu to tap in. Everton could have been level a minute later when Rodwell caught Phil Neville’s cross with a first-time volley but Gomes was down sharply to save. Sensing the game was there for the taking, Moyes took off Anichebe and brought on Landon Donovan. Everton had an opportunity to level in the latter stages when Palacios gave the ball away and Steven Pienaar raced on - but Gomes was equal to the finish. Donovan also embarrassingly missed an open goal, when he got on the end of Rodwell’s cross.

February 28, 2010. Daily and Sunday Express
Tottenham ensured this week's virus at the club did not derail their Champions League hopes as they held on for victory a 2-1 victory against Everton and reclaimed fourth spot in the Barclays Premier League. Roman Pavlyuchenko scored his sixth goal in four gameswhen he netted the opener at White Hart Lane, then Luka Modric doubled the lead with a fine second against David Moyes' men. Harry Redknapp's side had to survive a second-half comeback from the visitors, who scored through Ayegbeni Yakubu and then saw substitute Landon Donovan miss an open goal.
In Pavlyuchenko, Redknapp has a striker who wanted to leave during the January transfer window but now looks like one of the in form strikers in the country.
He added to his tally in the 11th minute with the opener. Jermain Defoe fired in a cross-shot from the right and Pavlyuchenko reacted quickly to divert the ball home from close range. The visitors were almost handed an equaliser five minutes later when Leighton Baines' corner was dropped by Heurelho Gomes - Yakubu latched onto the ball but Michael Dawson blocked bravely on the line. Spurs continued to attack and added a second just before the half-hour mark, Modric curling an effort off the underside of the crossbar following good work from fellow Croatians Vedran Corluka and Niko Kranjcar. Jack Rodwell came close with a header for Everton just before the break, while Gareth Bale had an effort deflected wide at the other end to bring an end to an entertaining first half. Everton pulled a goal back 10 minutes after the break when Yakubu bundled home from a Mikel Arteta corner. And the Toffees piled on the pressure late on with Rodwell and Steven Pienaar going close before Donovan embarrassingly missed his open goal.
































































































February 2010