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`Koeman: One more transfer window and Everton can compete with the best
Blues boss pleased with how his squad is shaping up
By Chris Beesley
1 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Everton manager Ronald Koeman enjoyed some fruitful shopping in the January sales but reckons he needs just one more transfer window to fashion a squad strong enough to compete with the Premier League’s powerhouses.  The Blues splashed out on Manchester United’s Morgan Schneiderlin and wonder kid Ademola Lookman from Charlton Athletic in January and so far it’s proven to be money well spent with the two new boys unbeaten since their arrival.  Last summer Koeman snapped up Yannick Bolasie, Ashley Williams, Idrissa Gueye and Maarten Stekelenburg but there were also several other high profile rumoured targets that did not arrive.  The Dutchman reckons that given the chance to draft in some more fresh faces before the start of the next campaign, his team will be ready to go toe-to-toe with the best in the division.  He said: “Not everything has been done. That’s impossible in football. I’ve spoken already that we’ve had 12 or 13 new players in and that’s a big change for the team and for the club.  “We know we need one more transfer window to get that strong team that we’d like to have.
“If we get that for next season then we will really battle with the big ones in the Premier League, I’m really confident of that.”  Everton’s players have had to adapt to Koeman’s methods this season and in many ways the former Southampton boss appears to be a harder task master than his predecessor Roberto Martinez.  He said: “In this situation at Everton I’m a new manager and everyone needs time to adapt, understand and to know the characters of the players.  “If you compare the squad this season to last season we have 12 or 13 new faces in.  “You need time to see how the new manager likes to play and you need to get good fitness, I think it’s really important.  “Sometimes you need to keep your distance. I like to be one of them but they are much younger than I am and I am much more old-fashioned than the football players of this time.  “You like to show that you are part of them and it is the manager’s responsibility if the team is not winning. You like to do it together and that feeling, that spirit, that ambition, you like to feel it with your players.”
A big part of Koeman’s determination comes from his hatred of losing honed from his own playing days.
He said: “I still have it. It’s the worst day if you lose the game. Okay that’s a mentality you need to make yourself. In my situation it’s really natural and that mentality I like to bring out to my players.
“You can’t be happy if you lose the game. Maybe you didn’t do your best or it was not good organisation in the game. I really hate to lose.  “The best feeling in football is winning the game because it’s such a nice life but you have to deal with disappointments as well.”  Koeman added: “You don’t show too much about yourself because that’s the past. Of course I had a big career as a player and won a lot of trophies but with those trophies you don’t win trophies now.  “I’m the manager of Everton. We like to develop our players, have a strong team and win titles. That’s the target that I had when I came to Everton and what I still have.”  Unbeaten in their last nine Premier League matches, the Blues are currently seventh in the table with a dozen games to go.  While his side have closed the gap on Manchester United to four points (albeit with Jose Mourinho’s side having a game in hand), neighbours Liverpool to five points and fourth-placed Arsenal to six points, Koeman remains cautious about climbing further up the table in the current campaign.  He said: “No it’s really difficult but we know everything is possible in football.
“We’ve had good games against the top teams and we were unlucky to suffer our only defeat at home in the league this season to Liverpool.  “We had a great win against Manchester City and a draw in the first game of the season against Tottenham and won at home against Arsenal. There was a really poor game at Chelsea but a draw at home to Manchester United.   “We’ve had good results against really strong teams and that gives everyone the confidence that we can get a good result this Sunday.”

Lukaku: Ferguson has taught me how to play the big man role for Everton
Current Blues goal ace learning from Goodison icon
By Chris Beesley
1 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
You wouldn’t wanted to have been the meat in the sandwich when Romelu Lukaku was embraced by Duncan Ferguson after Saturday’s 2-0 win over Sunderland but Everton’s current goal ace has revealed how the Goodison favourite has helped him master the role of being a football big man.
Lukaku’s strike against David Moyes’ side saw him go on to 60 Premier League goals for the Blues – going level with the current record held by Ferguson.  While the Scot might have netted many more if his career hadn’t been hampered by injury problems, his benchmark was set in 239 games across a decade in two spells, the durable Belgian has caught him up in just 129 matches in less than four seasons.  However, while he’s always enjoyed a prolific strike rate, Lukaku admits he’s still learned plenty of things from ‘Big Dunc’.  He said: “We’ve got a really good relationship. It was hard at the start because he’s on me every single day.  “At the start it was all about learning to play as an old-fashioned big man. It took about a year but last year I just got it.  “Now he’s just giving me little bits and pieces to keep my on my toes and I like him.”  In reply, Ferguson himself said of his protégé: “Rom’s done really well, he needs to keep going and needs to keep scoring the goals.  “We need him to score as many goals as possible to keep pushing the club in the right direction.  “He wants to improve, he wants to get better and he’s hungry for goals.”  When asked how he’s improving his game and learning what Ronald Koeman demands from him, Lukaku added: “I’m working hard, I run more. I’ve got more consistency and the manager wants me to do more on the pitch as well.  “For me it’s been good because it’s been a nice journey and I’m learning a lot.  “I feel much better in my skin the way we’re playing now.
“I’m a player that can do a lot of stuff. In modern football managers don’t only want their strikers to attack, they want their strikers to defend and put pressure on opponents.  “With my pace, if I can put pressure on a defender to make a mistake it can be to my benefit too.  “I have the physicality, the drive and the winning mentality as well so for me it’s no problem.”

Why Everton's public courting of Rooney represents a shift in transfer policy
Ronald Koeman and Steve Walsh lavish praise on Rooney in front of TV cameras
By Phil Kirkbride
1 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
It was more like a well-orchestrated sales pitch than anyone being too honest for their own good in front of the cameras.  Without question, Everton used their platform on Sky Sports News throughout Tuesday to make one thing crystal clear: they want Wayne Rooney back.  Make no mistake, Ronald Koeman and Steve Walsh will have been fully aware that questions about the 31-year-old were coming, they weren’t caught off guard and guilty of spilling the beans, they were ready, waiting and prepared.
‘Lights, camera, action, ask Rooney if he wants to come home’.  Koeman and Walsh were ready to utter phrases such as “he is one of the players who can make Everton stronger” and “he is one of the greatest players to ever play the game, the whole thing would be euphoric” to admitting if the club wasn’t interested in signing him then it would be “wrong”.  Rooney will have been watching. And he will be in absolutely no doubt today that his old club want to re-sign him.  Everton’s transfer policy hasn’t always been smooth since Farhad Moshiri brought Koeman and Walsh together in the summer, there have been ups and downs, successes and failures, agreements and disagreements, but it would appear that there is unity with Rooney. Bringing the boyhood blue back to Goodison has been a dream of chairman Bill Kenwright’s for a long time while Moshiri, previously a Manchester United fan before he arrived at the club, is ready provide the funds to make it happen.
Rooney celebrates his wonder goal to help Everton beat Arsenal at Goodison in October 2002
Koeman has never shied away from heaping praise on England’s all-time leading scorer, only last week saying he would have been foolish to accept an offer from China because he still had two years left at the top level.  In others words, if you’re going to leave Old Trafford, do so for Everton and not Evergrande.  It’s public courting, it’s a charm offensive, it’s not something Blues fans, pre-Koeman at least, had been used to hearing from their managers, but times are changing.
Sure, would Everton be quite as forthcoming or brazen if it wasn’t perfectly clear that Rooney will be leaving United in the summer? Probably not.  But then, Koeman has already spoken about Memphis Depay, Michael Keane and others this season and isn’t one to skirt around the issue.  If he’s interested in a player, and is asked about them specifically, he’s unlikely to straight bat the question, it’s just how he is.   Whether this honesty goes down well with United or Burnley or any other club who have a player interesting the Blues, is another thing.  Everton have been on the receiving end before, angered when their players were being courted in public, but have they come to the realisation that this is how the big clubs act?  That to get certain deals done it’s case of ‘sod the Corinthian spirit and gentlemanly conduct’, if you rate another club’s player then let it be known?  Everton are certainly a club in a hurry, keen to capitalise on the “window” of opportunity Moshiri has spoken about, and maybe, just maybe, they are willing to upset people along the way to ensure they don’t miss out.  Roll up, roll up, come join the Everton revolution.

Everton fans offer tributes as Alex Young funeral details are announced
Blues remember iconic frontman
By Chris Beesley
1 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Tributes to Everton great Alex Young have continued to be received by the ECHO as details of the Goodison legend’s funeral were announced.  ‘The Golden Vision’ will be laid to rest in a ceremony at Warriston Crematorium in Edinburgh on Saturday, March 11, at 10am.  Young, who netted 87 times for the Blues in 273 outings between 1960-68, winning the League Championship in 1963 and FA Cup in 1966, passed away on Monday aged 80.
Here are some more of your comments:
Mike Woods
I’ve been watching Everton since 1955 as a nine year old in the boys pen and I saw many fine players pull on the blue shirt but I can honestly say I only saw two world class players in this time.
Alan Ball was one the other was Alex.
I met the great man in 2008 when he did a book-signing at Radio Merseyside in Hanover Street.
David France and Alec Parker were also there, most of the crowd were 50 plus years old and had witnessed him playing live and to explain to someone younger it’s difficult to capture his genius and explain it.  Alex signed my book in a shy modest manner so unlike some others and was a gentleman, chatting to everyone.  Sometime in 1964/65 I went to a reserve game at Goodison and Alex and Roy Vernon were having a run-out after slight injuries.
Cheers Alex, thanks for playing when I was around to see you.
Peter Fisher
I went to bed last night very upset after hearing he had passed away.
Due to my date of birth I was lucky to see Alex in his pomp between 1960-68.
It’s hard to describe the esteem in which he was held in not just by Evertonians but in my experience supporters of other clubs such as Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, many of whom I worked with during the past 30 or so years.   On thing rarely mentioned is his performance in the FA Cup Final in 1966 and the route to the final. I was lucky to see all the ties, bar Bedford away and the first tie in the sixth round versus Manchester City. Alex scored in most of the games. When it mattered!
Young was superb leading the line. We were near the halfway line and recall Alex moved on to a pass and attempted to round Ron Springett who brought him down for what looked to us like a clear penalty, this when we were 1-0 down.  He also had a goal ruled out after he moved before the Sheffield Wednesday defenders saw the danger and ran on to a pass being quicker than the defenders and slotted it home.  It was ruled out for offside despite him being level with the defender when the pass was made.  In my opinion, Jack Taylor was an over-rated referee who did us down a lot in the 60s.
Despite not scoring, Alex was man of the match - long before such awards were made. He was also outstanding in the semi final v Manchester United.  In my humble opinion, Catterick made a major error not including him in the 1968 final that cried out for his vision and goalscoring instincts.  The Blues were awful that day against a team, West Bromwich Albion, who they had done the double over in the league.  Funnily we had a league game after the final on a warm night at Goodison and Alex played his last ever game versus Fulham and was brilliant in a 5-0 win. He was sold weeks later. My dad saw Catterick play for Everton and used to say he resented being compared to Dixie and Tommy Lawton which made him resent Young because he too was idolised, and he may have had a point!  I was privileged to meet Alex at the Adelphi in 2005 at a charity night and get a photo together. What a modest man who in football terms had no equal in the 1960s.  I do hope the new ground includes a lasing tribute to him  Finally can you imagine today’s fans seeing Young, Ball, Harvey and Kendall in the same Everton team?

View from the Gwladys Street: If Lukaku's happy then so are Everton fans
Goodison won't flatter Rom if he isn't performing but I do think the fans will nurture and support him
By Chris Beesley
1 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
This week we spoke to Sarah English from Walton.
The win over David Moyes' Sunderland proved to be something of a routine victory, how pleased are you with Everton's form since the turn of the year?  I'm delighted with our form since Christmas. It has been just as satisfying for me to grind out results as it has been to comprehensively beat teams like Manchester City.  Whilst the FA Cup exit still stings, our Premier League play has been great, especially results like Sunderland where last season I think we would have struggled to grind out the points.
Absolutely, although given his distractions at the Africa Cup of Nations I can understand some fatigue in his game.  His signing for us has been one of the real highlights for me and his blossoming partnership with Morgan Schneiderlin is one I'm really enjoying.  Michael Ball said in his column this week that Evertonians need to keep showing Romelu Lukaku love while Ronald Koeman reckons they must show to him they're growing, what's your take on Rom's situation?  I think this is a two way street. Goodison won't flatter Rom if he isn't performing. However, I do think the fans will nurture and support him as, if he's happy, then so are we.  I admire his ambition and as a club we need to match that both on and off the pitch.  I think we have to strip away the personality and look at the player.  Would this player benefit the team? Is he better than what we have already? And what would he bring to the club as a whole?
If Koeman and Walsh believe that's the case then I wholeheartedly back them and him.
Tottenham have traditionally proven a tough fixture for Everton, how confident are you of the Blues extending their unbeaten run this weekend?  I think Tottenham will really challenge us at the back particularly with Harry Kane's recent run of hat-tricks.  It will be a real test for our midfield to support the back four whilst still maintaining creativity moving forward. I see plenty of goals in this but hopefully we can edge it with our physicality.  This week marks the first anniversary of Farhad Moshiri's arrival, just how much do you think he has changed things at Everton so far?
Everton majority investor Farhad Moshiri
I think he's given an air of optimism and unashamed ambition to the club on and off the pitch.
Even something like the refurbishment of the ground. We know Goodison isn't forever but why accept it as it was?  Let's make it as great as it can be. I think it's been refreshing to see the heart of the club matched with a business head.
Any other business you'd like to discuss?
A special mention to David Unsworth on his exceptional work with the Under 23s. He's quietly and brilliantly moulding the reserve team into a creative a disciplined unit. Players like Tom Davies don't break through without this great foundation.

Wayne Rooney's top 10 Everton moments
His biggest memories with Blues - so far
By Liverpool Echo
1 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
By Tom Clarke
Wayne Rooney’s exit from Everton to move to Manchester United in summer 2004 left many Evertonians with a bad taste in their mouths given the manner of his exit, and a sense of ‘what could have been’ with a player still just 18 years old.  However, following Everton manager Ronald Koeman’s outspoken admiration of a return to the Blues for Rooney, that sense is increasingly becoming ‘what could still be’. Rooney made 77 appearances across two seasons in his breakthrough at the club, 48 of those being starts, scoring 17 goals in the process.  Some of those were simply unforgettable.
Here’s our top ten memories of Wayne Rooney in Royal Blue.
Everton's Wayne Rooney playing in the FA Youth Cup
After Rooney scored eight goals in as many games during Everton’s FA Youth Cup run in 2002, whispers about the Toffees’ young striker were getting louder.  In the semi-final at White Hart Lane, Everton won a free-kick 30 yards out.   Former youth team-mate Brian Moogan remembers standing over the free-kick and telling Rooney to get in the box, but Rooney replied: “No, I’m going to hit it”.
With Moogan in disbelief, Rooney hit the ball straight into the Spurs wall and before the pair could dispute the missed chance, the ball came back to Rooney and he rifled in the rebound first time, shooting a look at Moogan that suggested: “I told you.”
Once a Blue, Always a Blue
After scoring against Aston Villa in the FA Youth Cup final, Rooney reeled away to show the crowd to show a t-shirt beneath his jersey which read: “Once a blue, always a blue”.  Although this statement was subsequently thought to be completely invalid after his move to Manchester United, the moment would come to mind if Rooney were to complete his return to grace Goodison once again.
‘My Granny could have scored them’
Rooney became Everton’s youngest ever goalscorer at the time by bagging a brace at Wrexham in the League Cup.  Although then-Wrexham manager Denis Smith after was quoted as describing the goals as flukes, saying that his ‘granny could have scored them’, Rooney made him eat his words a fortnight later... ‘Remember the name’
Facing an Arsenal team unbeaten in 31 games in his final week as a 16-year-old, we all remember Rooney lashing in a 30-yard screamer into the top corner. I doubt Denis Smith’s grandmother would have put that one away.
“Remember the name, Wayne Rooney”, Clive Tyldesley said.
Moore to come
A 17-year-old Rooney approached giant West Brom defender Darren Moore with the ball at his feet, and looking the 15-stone Jamaican centre-back in the eye, stood still with his foot on the ball before rolling the ball forward and slipping away from Moore.  “If I can pass one piece of advice I’d tell him to wipe out the arrogant side of his game. I wouldn’t advise him to do it again – otherwise he’ll learn the hard way”, said Moore afterwards.   
51 Years of Ell
Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring for Everton at Leeds United
Travelling to Elland Road to face Leeds United in September 2003, Everton had not recorded a single league victory at the venue since 1952.  Coming off the bench, Wayne Rooney ended the hoodoo with a spectacular individual goal, slipping effortlessly past two Leeds defenders. He nutmegged the last of those with a low shot into the bottom right corner to send the away support into raptures.
The belly-slide  After swiping in a bouncing shot from the edge of the box to put Everton ahead at home against Aston Villa, Rooney jumped on his front and slid towards the Park End fans.
Cue a piley-on of Everton players including Duncan Ferguson, Alan Stubbs, and Thomas Gravesen. It’s a surprise the youngster didn’t get flattened.
Like a red rag to a bull
Rooney had only been on the pitch for 15 minutes after being brought on as a substitute on Boxing Day against Birmingham City, when Rooney was shown his marching orders for a foul on Steve Vickers which left the defender needing eight stitches in an ankle wound.  Rooney now also shares a record with David Beckham of being the most red carded player in an England shirt, each player being dismissed twice for their country.
Too big for his boot
With a move to Manchester United imminent, Evertonians were irate at Wayne Rooney. He was smuggled out of Bellefield in the boot of team-mate Alan Stubbs’ car in an attempt to avoid publicity.
The pair remain close, with Rooney once describing the former centre-back as his “Jedi Master”.
Back in Blue  Twelve years on, Rooney returned to Goodison Park to play in royal blue for his idol Duncan Ferguson’s testimonial.  “The fans gave me a great reception, which I was delighted with,” Rooney said, adding that “it was great for my kids to see me once in that Everton shirt.”
But could this ‘once’ become more?

Ex-Everton star Kevin Kilbane 'disgusted' by David Haye's retard slur
"These sorts of terms should be wiped out now, they are totally unacceptable," fumed the former Toffees defender
By Paul Gorst
1 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Former Everton star Kevin Kilbane has issued an angry response to David Haye after the heavyweight boxer branded Liverpool fight fans as "retards" on Monday.  The Londoner was geared up for his fight with Tony Bellew at the London O2 Arena on Saturday when he called Bellew's staunch followers as “f***ing retards” in a vile rant before refusing to retract his statements in an post-conference interview.
Ex-Blues defender Kilbane, whose daughter has Down's Syndrome, likened the phrase to racism or sexism, and admitted that he was "disgusted" by the boxer's comments.
In a radio interview with eirSport in Ireland, Kilbane said: "He used the word 'retards'.
"And he called them all 'retards' and the thing is, it's the equivalent in my world [of racism and sexism]. You know I have a daughter who has Down's Sydrome, and I've worked closely with the Down's Syndrome Association over in the UK and Dublin here as well.  "And these are the sorts of terms, certainly you feel in this day and age, with how we've gone on racism and sexism and this is the sort of language that is disgraceful.  "I understand all of the hype and the gamesmanship that goes on around fights and we've seen it all now. But for David Haye to use that word retard, not just once, because he's used it before, so he knows exactly what he's saying and no one's actually corrected him on it and telling him the severity of using that word.  "You just think: 'Come on mate, you're representing the sport and yourself here'. And for a man to stand up and use that term is disgraceful.  "These sorts of terms are the equivalent of racism and sexism and I don't care what anyone says. It's exactly the same. These sorts of terms should be wiped out now, they are totally unacceptable.  "And for David Haye to use that word, it is outrageous. I was disgusted when I heard it. It's the same as racially abusing a man, or any sort of abuse of anyone. Total ignorance and a lack of respect for people with disability there."

Everton consider Jordan Pickford move this summer
Blues have Sunderland goalkeeper on radar
By Phil Kirkbride
1 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Everton are mulling over a summer move for Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
The Blues are keen to add a keeper to their ranks in the close season and Pickford has been discussed.
Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel also remains of interest to Everton who had considered a £17m swoop for the Denmark international last year.  Ronald Koeman made the experienced Maarten Stekelenburg his first signing for the Blues last summer but the Dutch stopper has been ousted as No1 by a resurgent Joel Robles.  Robles had feared for his long-term Goodison future at the start of the season following Stekelenburg’s arrival but he decided to fight for his future.  Everton had been preparing to sign a new goalkeeper in the January transfer window but Robles’ form meant the Blues put their search on hold.  But Koeman, together with director of football Steve Walsh, are scouring the market again and 22-year-old Pickford is being talked about.  The Sunderland academy graduate has become the Black Cats’ first-choice this season under David Moyes and earned a call-up to the England senior side ahead of the World Cup qualifier with Slovenia in October.  Moyes believes Pickford will be the Three Lions’ future No1 and he is on Everton’s radar for the summer, where they are also expected to step up their pursuit of Wayne Rooney and Michael Keane.

Everton star Lookman reveals the alternative career his family wanted him to have
Blues teenager also speaks of the tragedy that made him determined to make it
By Phil Kirkbride
2 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Ademola Lookman has revealed he lied to his parents about wanting to become an accountant.
The 19-year-old says his dream was to make it as a professional footballer but told his mum and dad what they wanted to hear.  Lookman, speaking to FourFourTwo magazine, admits pursuing his target of playing football for a living was tough but says the death of a team-mate inspired him to make it.
The teenage forward joined Everton in a deal worth in excess of £10m in January from League One side Charlton Athletic after being spotted playing in amateur leagues in South London.
But Lookman says his career could’ve gone in a different direction.
“My parents are from Nigeria and in our culture they want you to be an accountant or a lawyer,” Lookman said. “I told them I was going to be an accountant but I was lying.  “I only ever wanted to be a footballer.”  And that desire only heightened after a member of the Sunday League side he played for, Waterloo FC, passed away.  “One of my team-mates at Waterloo died,” he told FourFourTwo.
“His name was Josh. He came to training with a swollen knee.  “The next week we were told he’d died of a blood clot.  “It was so sudden that it brought us all together and we vowed to each other that we’d try our best to make it in football for him.”  Lookman had an Everton debut to remember, scoring against Manchester City to cap off a brilliant 4-0 win for the Blues.  “It’s been crazy!” he said.  “I’ve watched the goal back 100 times.
Everton's Ademola Lookman celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal against Manchester City
“When the ball comes out to me, I was thinking , ‘I’m one-on-one with the keeper, I can actually score.
“I celebrated with a knee slide. If you see my expression, I don’t think that I smiled until after I came off the pitch - that’s how shocked I was.  “Scoring on my debut, nothing gets better than that.”  He added: “My team-mates and coaches gave me a round of applause as I walked into the dressing room and signed my shirt - it was a great moment.  “We stopped at some traffic lights (on the way home) and my family said, ‘You can scream now’ - and I did.”

Everton Jury: If Lukaku stays he could have proper records to attack
Ferguson's 'not so overwhelming' Premier League goal record equalled but Blues excited by improvements on and off the pitch
By Chris Beesley
2 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
MATT JONES (Prenton): Blues look like they're ready for a big challenge at Spurs - Sunderland was too easy
Usually, a performance like the one Tottenham Hotspur turned in in the first period against Stoke City last weekend would instil a sense of trepidation in the mind of this Evertonian. But this Toffees team look like they’re ready for a big challenge.  There were times during the 2-0 win against Sunderland that the match was a little too easy for Everton.  Morgan Schneiderlin strode around the middle third of the field with impudence, Ross Barkley probed uncontested and Seamus Coleman strode forward into the space afforded by a deep-sitting opponent.  Spurs will not take that approach. While the Londoners have endured some disappointing days on the road as of late, as well as their temporary home Wembley Stadium, at White Hart Lane they have been a force to be reckoned with.  Mauricio Pochettino’s side have yet to lose on home soil in the Premier League this season and as aforementioned, against Stoke they were tremendous; aggressive, incisive and inventive in the way they went after the Potters. In Harry Kane, they have a burgeoning world-class goalscorer too.  Naturally, there will be contrasts between Kane and Romelu Lukaku in the week leading up to the match; the former must be at full throttle if he’s to unsettle compatriots Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen. However, a collective effort will be needed from the visitors if they’re to secure what’d be the most impressive victory of Ronald Koeman’s tenure so far.
LEE MOLTON (St Helens): Blues enjoying their football with much to cheer on and off the pitch
The feel-good factor is back at Goodison and Evertonians are enjoying their football again.
It was a comfortable win against a struggling Sunderland side and great to see Gana get his first goal in a blue shirt. We need our midfielders to score more goals to take the pressure off Lukaku.
Morgan Schneiderlin has settled in very quickly and was excellent on Saturday, he is a great tackler and rarely gives the ball away.  We could get an announcement this month on a possible new stadium on the Banks of the Royal Blue Mersey. How good would this be, let’s hope we hear good news about it very soon.  We have a few big away games coming up, starting with Spurs on Sunday. Spurs have a good home record but they will not fancy playing the Blues, we can get a good result down there.  The Derby is less than a month away now, it is time that we went there without fear. It would be great to win at least one of these big away games, it is possible.
CONNOR O'NEILL (City Centre): Winner Koeman putting us back on the map along with plans for waterfront stadium
It's perhaps a further sign of our improvement in the way we brushed aside struggles Sunderland on Saturday, without really getting out of second gear.  In the past, we’ve struggled in these types of games, ultimately suffering some embarrassing defeats along the way.  But things are quite clearly changing under Ronald Koeman, and there is no clearer evidence of this than the Dutchman’s comments made on Tuesday.  "If you don't have ambition, you stop playing football or stop life,” Koeman said.
How refreshing to have a manager at the helm who is a natural born winner and strives for success.
It’s clear his mentality is rubbing off on the players too.
After bowing out of the FA Cup it would have been easy for us to roll over and admit it is season over.
But no: Koeman and his squad have done the opposite and are currently laying the perfect foundations to really kick on next season. Monday saw the first-year anniversary of Farhad Moshiri’s takeover.
Everton majority investor Farhad Moshiri  While there is still a long way to go in terms of major progression – the first twelve months have seen some much-needed improvements.  Not only do we have a far better manager in place than this time last year, and a better playing squad with the new additions adding some much-needed quality.  Added to that the recent sponsorship deal of Finch Farm, which is a real boost as was the appointment of Steve Walsh, as Director of Football.
But make no mistake about it, none of this would have been possible without Moshiri’s takeover and vision.  While many from the outside would see his real legacy as making Everton in genuine Champions League contenders, for me it would be a new stadium, preferably on the docks.  It would be great to see us competing for the top four – but what would be even better would be a new stadium. It’s something we desperately need and while it would be sad to leave Goodison, a new stadium would put us back on the map as one of England’s elite clubs.
CHRIS DOUGLAS (Old Swan): If Lukaku stays a few more season he could have proper records to attack
The victory on Saturday was as straightforward as can be against an admittedly poor Sunderland side.
We did what we needed to, apart from the Defoe chance they created nothing and even that came from a poor refereeing decision.  Gueye and Schneiderlin dominated the game, the Frenchman in particular was a delight to watch. For a period in the second half he seemed like the only Everton player able to pass a ball, he seems to have an intelligence about that game others don't possess and looks a fantastic acquisition.  The game will also be looked at as the game Lukaku equalled Duncan Ferguson's not so overwhelming Premier League goal record, the fact football existed before 1992 means it should not be so recognised.  If he stays a few more seasons then let's talk again about the proper records he could attack.  The last trip to White Hart Lane, a not so happy hunting ground, will tell us if we have any chance of climbing the league this season as they are undoubtedly a class team this year, hopefully it's a Bellew-Everton double this weekend.  Keep on keeping on.

Ronald Koeman 'confident' Everton can secure good result against Tottenham
March 2 2017 London Evening News
Everton are confident they can secure a "good result" against Tottenham this weekend, according to Ronald Koeman.  Spurs boast the second best home record in the Premier League this season, having avoided defeat in 13 games on their home turf.  Mauricio Pochettino's side have also conceded just five goals at White Hart Lane and currently boast the sternest defence in England's top tier.  But Koeman is adamant the Toffees can approach the game with plenty of self belief, having performed well against some of the division's biggest sides already this term.  “We had good games against the big teams in the Premier League,” he told Everton's official website.  “We were unlucky to lose at home against Liverpool, which was our only home defeat in the league this season.  “We had a great win against Manchester City, we drew with Tottenham, we won at home against Arsenal, had a really poor game against Chelsea but drew at home with Manchester United.  “We’ve had good results against really good teams and that gives everyone the confidence to get a good result on Sunday,” Koeman added.
Meanwhile, Sunday's game has been billed as a duel between in-form strikers Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku.  Either of the duo could decide the encounter but Lukaku has played down his individual battle with Kane for the Golden Boot.

Everton transfer rumours - Blues to make move for bargain Brazil youngster
A round-up of transfer rumours and speculation from around the web
By Joe Rimmer
2 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Everton could clinch the bargain signing of a talented Brazilian youngster as early as next week, according to reports today.  Sports Witness are reporting that Everton are set to hold talks with Brazil youngster Caio Emerson next week.  The 18-year-old recently departed Corinthians after failing to agree a pro deal with the club, and he would cost a small compensation amount for any foreign club.In fact, it's reported that the Toffees will only have to pay a £250,000 development fee to Corinthians should Emerson chose to sign for Ronald Koeman's side. Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Granada have previously been linked, but it has been reported that the Blues want to add the teenager to their youth team, subject to a work permit.  That could be the tricky part, with only exceptional circumstances allowing South American youngsters to make to the Premier League without international experience.

Aston Villa bigger than Everton? According to Dean Saunders they are....
The former Liverpool and Wales striker has made a rather bold claim...
By Neil Jones
2 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
They may be hiding it well at the moment – and have done so for the last seven years or more – but Aston Villa are a bigger club than Everton.  Well, if you listen to Dean Saunders, that is.  Saunders played for Villa in the 1990s, of course. He also played for Liverpool. And turned down a move to Everton in 1991.  And in an interview with the BBC, the former Wales striker has made a rather bold claim.  “Villa are bigger than Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham and Everton,” Saunders said.  “Compare them to Tottenham, who were trying to break into the Champions League at the same time as [Martin] O’Neill was in charge, or Everton, who are trying to do it now - there is no difference in the size of those clubs.
“Villa are actually bigger than both of them.
“The difference is the way they have been run. That is the reason Villa have gone in the opposite direction.  “So instead of doing a Spurs, they have done a Sunderland - they were hanging on and just avoiding relegation for the past four or five years, but it was inevitable it was going to happen.”
Villa, of course, currently sit in the bottom half of the Championship, having been relegated from the top flight for the first time in 29 years last season.  They have won seven league titles, the last of which came in 1981. The following season, they were European Champions, though their last piece of silverware was the League Cup in 1996.  “Villa are one of the biggest clubs in the country - if it were down to size they would be in the top six in the Premier League,” Saunders added.
Someone take the mic off him  “That’s what their fans expect, and that is what I would expect from them too.  “When you think of Villa, with their magnificent support, you should be thinking of a team full of top international players that everyone knows about, pushing for trophies. They are a million miles away from that at the moment.”  They are. You’ll notice that this weekend. They’re away to Rotherham.

How Ronald Koeman got Everton running after his early-season worries
Blues boss has overseen a huge swing in terms of his team's work-rate since opening day draw with Tottenham
By Phil Kirkbride
2 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Seventy per cent was a figure that hung in the air above Goodison ahead of Everton’s opener against Tottenham back in August.  Two days prior to his first game in charge, Ronald Koeman had told the press that his players were not currently fit for Premier League purpose.  Part motivation, part brutal honesty, either way the Blues boss was not willing to keep it quiet that he had inherited a squad that wasn’t big enough, strong enough or fast enough.  Fitness coach Jan Kluitenberg had his work cut out but fast forward six months and Koeman likes what he sees and asked, after the recent draw with Middlesbrough, if he felt their condition was now at 100%, he said: “Yes, most of them are.
“Of course some players have had less game-time, but overall the team is on the level that we like and that we need.  “We are not overtrained. I think the team is really fit, and in every game we can fight until the last second to have a better result. It is all about finishing strongly in the league, and from there everything is possible.”  Everton started brightly against Spurs but dipped in the second half to draw 1-1
And for Koeman the team talk is easy: when Everton have run further than the opposition they have not lost a game.  They’ve won seven and drawn the other three and in the last nine league games, unbeaten in all, they have only covered less than ground than two of their opponents.  In the first 17 games of the season, they ran less than all but three of their rivals.  Everton’s energy levels dramatically dropped off a cliff on the opening day of the campaign as Spurs fought back to claim a draw but the adrenaline of the occasion dragged the Blues through.  It would be until November before they ran as far in a game - though they were chasing shadows at Stamford Bridge that day - and the true upturn in their running stats only arrived at the onset of their unbeaten run, which began at Leicester City on Boxing Day.
The furthest distance Everton have covered in a game this term was against Bournemouth last month (117.6km) whereas the visit of Crystal Palace in September has been their low point (98.1km).
Koeman has overseen a swing of over 19km in work-rate - the equivalent to having nearly two more Idrissa Gueye’s in your team.

Luis Enrique to leave Barcelona - but should Everton be worried?
Ronald Koeman has been linked with the Nou Camp job - here's Phil Kirkbride with the lowdown
By Phil Kirkbride
2 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Barcelona announced on Wednesday evening that Luis Enrique will leave the Nou Camp at the end of the season.  The Barca coach won seven trophies in his first two seasons in charge of the Spanish giants - including the Champions League - but admits he has become exhausted by the role.  Immediately after the announcement, Everton boss Ronald Koeman has placed among the favourites to replace him.
But should Blues fans be worried?
Who else is in the frame to replace Enrique?
Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli is the experts’ favourite to land one of the biggest jobs in football.
Ernesto Valverde of Athletic Bilbao Real Sociedad’s Eusebio Sacristan are also said to be in the running.
Interestingly, former Everton boss Roberto Martinez is rated at 16/1 to get the job - the same price as Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
What’s Koeman said about the Barca links?
The Everton boss has always insisted his focus is on the “project” at Goodison.
He said: “That is not important at the moment. My name is always linked with Barcelona. I’m not in Barcelona, I’m in Everton. The reason I signed is because of the project we have here.  “We need time, but we want to grow on and off the pitch. That’s the reason why I signed a contract with Everton. It’s about the project.”
What’s his contract situation?
Koeman signed a three year deal when he joined the Blues in the summer.
What happens next?
If Koeman is as good as his word then his focus is Everton and nowhere else.
The links to Barcelona, a club where he holds hero status, will always be there and he is always relaxed when answering questions about returning to the Nou Camp.
Word from Spain is that Sampaoli fits the profile of the type of coach Barca are looking for, more so than Koeman.   Perhaps the biggest time to worry is in two years time when his Everton contract is coming to an end.

Everton FC's former Belgrave Bullets ace is among stars of new film
By Tamworth Herald  March 02, 2017
TAMWORTH Premier League star Ashley Williams and his Wales team-mates are to be immortalised in a film which is released in UK cinemas tomorrow (March 3).  Don't Take Me Home follows how Wales ended a 58-year wait to reach a major tournament and went on to incredibly reach the semi-finals in France.  Former Belgrave Bullets player Williams joined the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davies, James Collins and Jo Ledley on the red carpet for the films premiere in Leicester Square on Monday night.
Film-maker Jonny Owen told the BBC: “One of the biggest parts of the film, was that we'd finally made a major tournament for the first time in nearly 60 years and, when we found our place in the sun, boy did we revel in it.  “I think everybody would want Wales in a major tournament from now on because the way we were was just exemplary all round." Meanwhile, Williams has hailed Everton team-mate Romelu Lukaku as 'world class'.  “He's top class. I would say he's world class. It's nice to watch him week-in week-out, and work with him every day," he told talkSPORT. His record speaks for itself, with so many goals at such a young age. He's a good guy to have around the dressing room – he's very popular. But as I say, I'm happy he's on my team, I'm enjoying working with him and I hope he keeps scoring for us.
“He's one of the best I'd say. Anyone who watches him and sees his finishing ability alone will put him up there."

Lukaku 'perfect' for China - but Everton would never let him go
Fabio Cannavaro says he would love to take Blues striker to the Far East
By Neil Jones
2 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Romelu Lukaku would be “perfect” for a move to China, according to Italian legend Fabio Cannavaro.
The Everton striker is one of the most sought-after players around at present, his form at Goodison attracting attention from all over the globe.  Lukaku’s agent, Mino Raiola, says that the Belgian is on the brink of signing a new, long-term contract with the Blues, but that doesn’t stop the rumour mill.
Cannavaro, manager of Chinese Super League outfit Tianjin Quanjian, says he would love to take the 23-year-old to the Far East – but admitted getting him out of Everton would be difficult.
“You can certainly discuss a move with Lukaku, but the problem is Everton,” Cannavaro told talkSPORT.
Romelu Lukaku of Everton celebrates scoring his sides second goal
“They do not want to let him go. The fact that Lukaku is young is not the problem. Some people think that such a player cannot come here.  “But Lukaku could be perfect for China. Look at Oscar – he is 25 and swapped Chelsea for Shanghai SIPG.”  Lukaku has scored 17 goals for Everton this season, placing him joint top in the race for the Premier League golden boot.

Lukaku 'perfect' for China - but Everton would never let him go
Fabio Cannavaro says he would love to take Blues striker to the Far East
By Neil Jones
2 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Romelu Lukaku would be “perfect” for a move to China, according to Italian legend Fabio Cannavaro.
The Everton striker is one of the most sought-after players around at present, his form at Goodison attracting attention from all over the globe.  Lukaku’s agent, Mino Raiola, says that the Belgian is on the brink of signing a new, long-term contract with the Blues, but that doesn’t stop the rumour mill.
Cannavaro, manager of Chinese Super League outfit Tianjin Quanjian, says he would love to take the 23-year-old to the Far East – but admitted getting him out of Everton would be difficult.  “You can certainly discuss a move with Lukaku, but the problem is Everton,” Cannavaro told talkSPORT.
Romelu Lukaku of Everton celebrates scoring his sides second goal
“They do not want to let him go. The fact that Lukaku is young is not the problem. Some people think that such a player cannot come here.   “But Lukaku could be perfect for China. Look at Oscar – he is 25 and swapped Chelsea for Shanghai SIPG.”  Lukaku has scored 17 goals for Everton this season, placing him joint top in the race for the Premier League golden boot.

Lukaku vs Kane - how do Everton and Spurs' star men compare?
The 17-goal strikers will meet at White Hart Lane this weekend
By Neil Jones
2 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
They’re the Premier League’s deadliest centre forwards; 34 goals between them, defences laid to waste.
And on Sunday, Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane go head-to-head.  Forget David Haye and Tony Bellew, this is the REAL London showdown this weekend.  Everton’s No.10, Tottenham’s No.10. Both 23, born a couple of months apart. These two, along with Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal, are the leading scorers in the top flight at present – 17 goals apiece, four assists each. Some form.  Last Saturday, Lukaku moved level with Duncan Ferguson as Everton’s record Premier League goalscorer. His 60 goals arrived in 129 games – 110 fewer than Ferguson.  Then, 24 hours late, Kane had his say. His hat-trick against Stoke was his second in three games, his third of 2017. Since the turn of the year, only Lionel Messi has managed more goals in Europe’s top five leagues.  They are, clearly, two players at the top of their games right now. But how do they match up?  Let’s take a closer look....
How do their records compare?
Well, put it this way, they’re both prolific.
Lukaku emerged a little earlier than Kane – he was scoring professional goals for Anderlecht at 16 – and has played almost 100 more games.  His record is 137 goals in 305 games in all competitions, compared to Kane’s 102 in 219. Whichever way you look, it’s pretty good.  Neatly, they have both played exactly the same number of games (154) for their current club. Lukaku has managed 79 goals in that time, Kane 86.  In terms of this season, Kane’s 17 goals have come at a rate of one every 106.2 minutes, Lukaku’s one every 128.6 – though Kane has netted four penalties, Lukaku is yet to take one.  Still, these are two pretty special finishers. The all-time Premier League scoring record is held by Alan Shearer. He has 260. If these two were to stay in English football for the next 10 seasons, it is easy to see both equalling that tally.  Everton's Romelu Lukaku celebrates after scoring against Manchester City
What in about big games?
This is a good one, a litmus test of just how good a centre forward is – or, perhaps, how reliant they are on service.  Let’s take games against the rest of the current Premier League top seven, and let’s look back over the past four seasons, going back to 2013.  Kane’s goal tally in such fixtures is 13 from 31 games, Lukaku’s 12 from 44 – although Spurs have generally been a stronger team in that period,
Internationally, Kane has five goals from 17 caps for England, while Lukaku’s Belgium record is 19 from 54. He’s scored in both a World Cup and a European Championship.  Kane endured a wretched Euro 2016 with England - although he was by no means alone!
Who is the more complete centre forward?
“Who would you rather have?”
Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville were asked this question on Monday Night Football. Both went for Kane, albeit with caveats.   Neville said: “I would go with Kane, but I would add a little bit of subtlety and nuance to that in the sense that if you were playing in a team that was struggling and needed a loan striker to run the channels and score a goal by dribbling past people on their own, you’d probably go for Lukaku in that type of team.  “Ultimately they are both huge talents. I’d go for Kane, but if you’re in a certain type of team you may go for Lukaku as a different type of striker who can have more impact across the back four.”  As for Carragher, he added: “At this moment, I think Harry Kane has the slight edge on Lukaku, but I would say Lukaku has the potential to be better than Kane because he’s got physical attributes that Harry Kane hasn’t got; power, pace and aerial ability.  “Without a doubt right now its Kane, but Lukaku has still got more potential to get out of himself.”
How Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku compare this season (courtesy of
The general stats have them pretty evenly matched. Both have four assists this season, but Lukaku has created six more chances (35 to 29).  Kane has a better passing accuracy (72% to 65%), though generally sees less of the ball per game. He averages 21.5 passes per 90 minutes, compared to Lukaku’s 26.3, but the Everton man has the edge in terms of take-ons (1.9 per game compared with 0.9) and aerial duels won (3.6 to 1.5).  In terms of finishing, Kane has a slightly better conversion rate (32.7% to 30.4%). The Spurs man has scored 13 goals with his stronger right foot, three with his left and one with his head. Lukaku’s left foot has produced nine goals, his right foot and his head responsible for four each.
The conclusion? Two excellent, very closely-matched, centre forwards. Either of whom could make the difference on Sunday.

Revealed - How close Everton came to signing Eric Dier
Tottenham Hotspur defender was on loan at Goodison as a teenager - but Blues were priced out of a deal
By Phil Kirkbride
2 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Everton wanted to sign Eric Dier on a permanent deal but were eventually priced out of a move for the defender.   Dier joined the Blues on loan in January 2011 for six months from Sporting Lisbon before extending his stay at Goodison for another year.  The centre-half lifted the under-18 Premier League title with Everton during his time at the club before progressing into the u-21 set-up to work under Alan Stubbs.  But at the end of the 2012-13 season, Dier returned to his parent club for good after the Blues failed to agree a deal to keep him.   Once Sporting started putting the asking price over £1m then Everton were forced to back away from talks.  “We wanted to sign Eric and, at one point, thought we were going to get him,” Stubbs revealed.   “When he came, he was way off the pace because he had come from a really different culture. He was brought up in London but had gone over to Portugal and was with Sporting and you could see that he was used to that slow tempo of football whereas here it was fast, frenetic and he struggled fitness-wise to start off.   “Everything was happening too quick for him  “He was getting closed down on the ball and we knew he had ability and was comfortable on the ball, had a languid style but was very quick once he got going into his stride.  “It took us the best part of eight months to get him up to speed but you could see his game coming on 10-fold and that was when we decided we wanted to sign him and we were in negotiations to do it but, at the time, it was going upwards of £1m, which wasn’t where Everton were at the time.  “Now they wouldn’t blink at two, three or four million for him, so for Eric at that time it would’ve been a case of right place, wrong time.”
Dier returned to Sporting before joining Tottenham Hotspur and said of his Everton experience: “If I am completely honest, I absolutely … I didn’t hate it but, at the time, I just thought: ‘Get me out of here.’
“It was so different to what I was used to. The lifestyle, the weather, the place, the people … even the language was a factor. The scouse accent was tough for me. And, in football terms, it was a lot more aggressive.”  The England international is expected to line up against the Blues on Sunday.

Why Tottenham is Everton's real acid test - victory at White Hart Lane would be seismic
ECHO sports editor Dave Prentice reckons the Blues could be due a big away win under Ronald Koeman
By David Prentice
2 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Everton's unbeaten record under Ronald Koeman now stretches to nine Premier League matches.
It’s an undeniably impressive run.   The Blues haven’t matched that sequence since December 2013’s 10-game run.   And the last time an Everton team remained unbeaten in the first seven games of a calendar year was in 2008.  But on Sunday Everton face an acid test.   That nine-match sequence contains one stand out result, the 4-0 demolition of Manchester City in January.
Video thumbnail, Everton 4 Man City 0: The match in 90 seconds
The visit of Guardiola’s flaky cosmopolitan all stars apart, the fixture list has been kind to the Blues.
Evertonians wouldn’t expect to lose to Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Bournemouth, Stoke, Crystal Palace, Hull or a Ranieri-led Leicester - and Southampton were knackered when they came to Goodison.  Spurs, however, pose a different test.   They’re fresh, confidence fuelled by a 4-0 hiding of Stoke and have no significant figures missing.   And the game is at White Hart Lane.  The Blues have still to prove that they’re capable of mixing it with the big guns away from Goodison Park.  They’ve never won at The Emirates, they have managed one win at Old Trafford in the Premier League era, no wins at The Etihad since 2010 .... and Anfield, well let’s not go there because Everton rarely do either.
Francis Jeffers celebrates Kevin Campbell's goal with team mates during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield. Picture: Ben Radford /Allsport
A win at White Hart Lane would make for a significant statement of intent.
Spurs have become something of a bogey side for the Blues in recent years, with no wins in eight.
But victory on Sunday would be seismic.  It was across the park that a manager wanted to turn doubters into believers.

Winning at Tottenham will cement Everton's progress under Koeman
ECHO columnist Kevin Ratcliffe on Spurs, Bellew and the brilliance of the Blues U23s...
By Kevin Ratcliffe
2 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
I'm looking forward to this weekend immensely.
To me, it feels like this is a really good barometer as to how much progress Everton have made.
The past couple of months have been really positive, with some excellent results. But perhaps the next step now is to go away to one of the top four teams and beat them.  We haven't won at a 'big six' team since 2013, which is something we really need to change if we are to make it a 'big seven'!  We've shown at home against the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City that we are a force to be reckoned with, now it is about replicating that on the road, without the power of the Goodison crowd behind us.
Tottenham on Sunday is a big one, because we don't want to waste or undo the great start we have made to 2017.  It's actually been quite inspiring to watch Everton recently. Being out of the cup competitions can end your season early, but our lads have reacted in exactly the right way – they've got their heads down and gone at the league campaign.  I like Spurs as a team, and I like what Pochettino has done there. He came in and changed the way the club was. He got rid of some big egos and some big reputations and he's built himself a really good side there.  So it'll be a tough contest on Sunday. But if Everton perform like they have been, then they have a really good chance.
Everton take on Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park on the first day of the Premier League fixtures Ross Barkley scores.   Everton and Spurs? They're so evenly-matched  It feels like Tottenham have stepped ahead of Everton in recent years. Now they're seen as a top four club while we are more 'best of the rest' at the moment.  But I look at the two teams and I genuinely don't see a great difference.
You've got the two main men in Lukaku and Kane, how do you split them? I think either club would be happy to have either striker out of those two, to be honest.  I'd say that we will see the two best pairs of full backs in the league on Sunday. I like Rose and Walker, but I love Coleman and Baines. Not much between those.  Then there's Dele Alli and Ross Barkley, two of the brightest young talents around.
Spurs have always had classy players, but I think the big thing for them is that Pochettino has made them work harder, and has made them stronger mentally.
It's up to Everton to overcome that.
The weekend could start in perfect fashion for Evertonians, as David Unsworth's U23 side could move to within touching distance of the Premier League 2 title with a win at Manchester City on Friday.
It's been great to see how the U23s have developed this season. Obviously Tom Davies is the standout from that, and the shining example, but Mason Holgate and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have also progressed to the first team.  I actually think those three changed Ronald Koeman's January transfer plans. Maybe there would have been a short-term signing or two, but instead the manager has a couple of youngsters he knows he can depend on, meaning he can go and pursue long-term targets for the summer instead.

There's nothing better for me as an Evertonian than to see a player come through the ranks. Hopefully there are a couple more lurking in the U23s and the U18s, where the likes of Unsy, John Ebbrell and Kev Sheedy are doing such a good job.
Good luck Bomber, but please keep it clean!
The third big Everton event this weekend, of course, is Tony Bellew's heavyweight clash with David Haye on Saturday night.  I'm looking forward to it, and hope Tony wins it. It's certainly a fight that has captured the public's imagination – how could it not with the way they've been trading insults?!
I just hope it passes without big incident. There's been a lot of needle in the build-up, and I just hope that doesn't lead to any incidents at the arena. David is a South London lad, so he will have lots of support there you'd imagine. And we know Tony will have lots of backing from Merseyside, with plenty travelling down.  Let's just have a good, clean fight with no trouble inside or outside the ring.

Where do Everton fit into the Manchester City shaped landscape of academy football?
Blues u-23s can close in on title with win tonight but the long-term fight remains
By Phil Kirkbride
3 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Victory at the purpose-built Academy Stadium this evening, across the road from the Etihad, can help Everton win the battle.  But the war raging at all levels of academy football shows no sign of easing.
A win for the Blues under-23s over second-placed Manchester City will see them move nine points clear at the top of Premier League 2 with just four games of the season to go.  For David Unsworth’s side to lift the title would be remarkable, not only given the progress he has overseen in three seasons as coach, but also in that it would come against the turning tide of youth football.  Man City have the most well-resourced and richest academy in the country and in doing so have changed the landscape in which club’s operate.
Their intention is clear: dominate at all levels.
The Blues are historically one of the most successful clubs in the field of youth development but are being forced to adapt and work out a way in which they can keep pace in a fast changing world; a Premier League 2 title win would certainly be a defiant triumph against the odds.  But the fear is that a repeat success only becomes harder from here on in, especially when you consider that City’s dazzling under-18s team are top of the league and 19 points clear of a talented and extremely well-coached Everton.  Majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri has spoken about the need to keep producing homegrown talent and will ensure the club’s Academy has a bigger budget than ever before - but against the obscene wealth of City, it still pales into insignificance.  It’s the worst-kept secret in youth football that City are able to offer players salaries that wouldn’t look out of place in the Championship, that they provide the very best in private school education and have facilities, at the £150m Etihad Campus, that are second to none.  The sums of money involved can be life changing, not only for the player but for their families as well, and blow other clubs out of the water - down the line, it can even price them out of trying to sign these lads.
The accusation is that City want to dominate all aspects of youth football, win every match, every tournament and every league and prioritise that over ensuring there is a steady flow of players moving into the first-team.  At that level they can pretty much buy anyone in the world they want.  And so the phrase ‘they’re just collecting players’ is one commonly spoken about with regards to City as a backlog of brilliantly talented youngsters, from across Europe, create a log-jam waiting for a chance that, more than likely, will not come.  But City would argue that the model still works. And that it’s simply good business practice.  If the talent pool they create has players good enough to make the first-team then they will but if not, City can sell them on for healthy profits.  Chelsea have been doing it for some time, utilising the loan market - at home and abroad - to ensure young players gain market value before moving them on.  In many ways they have become a selling club, just not in the traditional sense.
And so this is where Everton have to remain positioned. As a club, even one with Champions League aspirations, that still actively wants to give youth a chance.
Tosin Adarabioyo of Man City has been targeted by Everton
Their smart use of the transfer market, in scouring the Football League for emerging talents, has worked to great effect in recent years and will continue to be a vital part of their strategy.  The term ‘pathway’ is one that has to stay plastered across the youth team bus and in the thinking of players has to be the knowledge that Everton will give them opportunities.
It’ll be a word occupying the mind of Tosin Adarabioyo.
Out-of-contract at City in the summer and wanted by Everton’s u-23s, the 19-year-old defender is at a crossroads.  City are in a bind; reluctant to give up on a player who has impressed at that level, one who has made three first-team appearances and won praise from Pep Guardiola.  But doubts persist if the City boss is ready to bring him into the fold on a permanent basis.  Adarabioyo, understandably, is keen to see a first-team future for himself at City but Everton may look like the safer bet.

Tom Davies reminds me of Bryan Robson, says Everton chief Steve Walsh
Blues director of football enthused by youngster's development this season - and believes others can follow his lead
By Neil Jones
3 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
He's a player whose performances for Everton this season have impressed everybody.
And Tom Davies' form has certainly caught the eye of Blues director of football Steve Walsh, who has compared the young midfielder to Bryan Robson.  Walsh made the claim at a conference for Little League Sports, a coaching and education company, at Liverpool Hope University on Thursday evening.
Davies, of course, has been one of the success stories of Everton's season. Having made his debut under Roberto Martinez at the back end of last season, the 18-year-old has gone on to establish himself in the first team under Ronald Koeman, making 13 appearances.
And Walsh is suitably impressed.
He told the conference: “Tom Davies reminds me of a young Bryan Robson. At first, I saw him in the U23s and thought he was OK, but he’s really come on. Mason Holgate too.  “Dominic Calvert-Lewin- he’ll be a player when he comes back from injury. He’s a big unit and difficult to stop."  In an hour-long talk with students, Walsh also revealed just how desperate he had been to sign Seamus Coleman while with former clubs.  He said: "The one that got away is Seamus Coleman. It’s embarrassing really.
“I watched him a few times but Everton eventually took the plunge and then he went to Blackpool. £60,000? Unbelievable!
“I don’t even want to know how much he’s worth now. I want to keep him!”
Walsh also discussed his excitement about the future of Everton's 'project' under majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri, his "evolving" role with the club and his relationship with Koeman. 

Tottenham vs Everton - Romelu Lukaku hunting Blues scoring record at White Hart Lane
Everton striker eager for Premier League strike No.61 as his side head to Tottenham on Sunday
By David Prentice
3 MAR 2017Updated16:54, 3 MAR 2017
Romelu Lukaku has his sights fixed firmly on breaking Everton’s 11-year-old Premier League scoring record on Sunday.  The Belgian centre-forward scored the 60th goal of his Everton career against Sunderland last week - levelling the mark Duncan Ferguson reached on the last day of the 2005/06 season against West Bromwich Albion.  Coincidentally, Everton’s next home game is also against The Baggies, but Lukaku is aiming to have the recoerd in the bag before then.  “Records are there to be broken and I don’t want to hide that,” he said. “But the most important thing for me is that we win.
“We have a few good games coming up and I want to achieve the highest things possible.”
Lukaku will have his international Belgian team-mates Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen trying to stifle his record bid at White Hart Lane, while another Belgian team-mate, midfielder Moussa Dembele, could also be in Mauricio Pochettino’s line up.  Lukaku told the Everton Show: “I like playing against people I know but I don’t have any compassion when I’m out on the pitch - I just want to win.
“It doesn’t matter (about friendships), forget that. It’s just another game for me and I’ll look to do my best.

Gareth Barry - Competition at Everton is as fierce as it was at Manchester City
Blues midfielder accepts he must miss games due to strength of Ronald Koeman's options
By Neil Jones
3 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Gareth Barry believes competition for places at Everton is as fierce as it was during his time at Manchester City.  The veteran Blues man has found himself out of Ronald Koeman’s team in recent weeks, with midfield spots at a premium at Goodison Park.  The January signing of Morgan Schneiderlin from Manchester United has added to Koeman’s options.  And with the emergence of Tom Davies and the presence of Idrissa Gueye, James McCarthy and Ross Barkley, as well as the fit-again Mo Besic, Everton certainly look well stocked in central areas at present.  Barry, who turned 36 last week, knows all about battling for his place, having experienced similar upon joining Manchester City in 2009. He went on to spend four seasons at the Etihad, winning a Premier League title and an FA Cup.
“I am a realistic person so I understand what is going on around me at the minute,” he told The Times. “The competition is as strong as I would have faced for Manchester City.
“The first interview I did there I was asked, ‘How are you going to get in a team with world-class players and with all the money that was available?’ I was on the back foot straight away.  “But really it is nothing that has ever fazed me. I’m not going to go out in training and think, ‘what’s the point. I’m 36, players have been signed in my position, young players are coming through, just get through it.’  “I am going to work hard to try and stay in the team and give the manager a headache. I have had a conversation with the manager about the competition. I can’t play every week, but at the same time I want to be training to a level so that the players who are playing have to play well.”  Barry signed a contract extension at Everton in December, which will take him until summer 2018. But he admits there was a point earlier in the season where he considered whether he still had the motivation to continue.  “When you get to a certain age, and you are in a team and the results are not going well, that is when you consider things,” he added.“  “Sometimes you have negative feelings. It is a team game but, after a defeat, you always look at yourself and there are times when you start doubting yourself.
“But that is where experience comes in. You realise things can change so quickly and the team can go on a run of six or seven matches unbeaten again.”  He added: “It is something I am prepared for in my head. It is coming. I am going to have to sit out games — not just one, maybe two, three, four and it is coming at some point in my career. It happens to everyone.  “I think I have the character to deal with it. Obviously, I am not going to enjoy it because I want to play football and I will keep believing in myself until I retire.  “But I think I am going to be in a good enough place and in the right place with an honest enough manager to tell me the way things are so we can work together.”

'He's world class, why wouldn't Everton want him?' - Tony Bellew has his say on Wayne Rooney future
The WBC Cruiserweight champion gave his take on Rooney's Manchester United future ahead of his Saturday showdown with David Haye
By Paul Gorst
3 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Tony Bellew has backed an Everton move for "world-class" Wayne Rooney this summer.
The Manchester United captain's future has been the subject of intense speculation throughout most of the campaign, and a number of Chinese Super League clubs were linked with a big-money move.
Rooney has fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford following Jose Mourinho's arrival, and was forced to watch on from the substitutes' bench as a Zlatan Ibrahimovic inspired United clinched the EFL Cup against Southampton last Sunday.
The Blues have been linked with Rooney, with manager Ronald Koeman refusing to talk down the speculation last month, and Bellew feels that a Rooney return would be ideal for both player and club.
"I wouldn't say I know him well, but I know him well enough," said Bellew ahead of his fight with David Haye at London's O2 Arena on Saturday.
Wayne Rooney
"I would love him to come back to Everton, why wouldn't we want a world-class footballer at Everton Football Club?  "He's a Blue, I speak to Wazz, his kids go to games, he's done amazing things at Manchester United, he's been one of the best players in the world, for a long period of time."
Everton v Arsenal October 2002 United Football Premier League Goodison Park Liverpool, Everton won 2-1 Everton's Wayne Rooney celebrate his winning goal at the end of the match ©Mirrorpix
WBC Cruiserweight champion Bellew comes head-to-head with fierce rival Haye on Saturday after a long-running feud which has threatened to boil over during the build up.  The Wavertree-born 'Bomber' meets the Londoner at heavyweight in what promises to be a hard-hitting affair in the capital.

Everton transfer rumours - Blues ready to fight Liverpool and Arsenal for Bundesliga sensation
A round-up of transfer rumours and speculation from around the web
By Ian Doyle
3 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
They've got their sights on overhauling the duo in the Premier League table.
Now Everton are prepared to challenge both Arsenal and neighbours Liverpool for one of Europe's most in-demand youngsters with the surname of Keita.  That, of course, will be Bundesliga sensation Naby Keita .  Our cousins over at the Mirror are claiming the Blues are in a massive scrap for the 22-year-old midfielder, currently starring for German upstarts RB Leipzig.
And it's not just Premier League clubs interested.
Keita, a Guinea international, is also being courted by Bundesliga duo Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.  Oh, and Spanish side Atletico Madrid also.  Keita scored twice for his country at this year's Africa Cup of Nations and has been impressing in Germany.  Er, hang on.
Video thumbnail, Lukaku vs Kane - how do Everton and Spurs' star men compare?
Keita is a central midfielder.
Just how many would Everton actually need before they reach a critical mass in the engine room?
The tittle-tattle train has no such problems. It never stops. Not even for a crumbling wall on the track.

Koeman insists Everton will not 'do a Stoke' when they face Tottenham at White Hart Lane
Blues boss says his side will defend differently to Mark Hughes' battered side
By Neil Jones
3 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Ronald Koeman has insisted Everton will learn from the mistakes of Stoke City when they face Tottenham on Sunday.  Spurs were ruthless in dispatching the Potters 4-0 at White Hart Lane last weekend, and after the game Stoke boss Mark Hughes claimed that Spurs’ attacking play was as good as any team in the country.  Everton are next to visit North London, but at his pre-match press conference Koeman was in no mood to big up his opponents.  Asked about Hughes’ comments, he said: “That’s an easy answer if you lose 4-0! But I saw the game, and we will defend different than they did.
“Anyway, Stoke had two really big chances in the first half to score a goal. But you need to stop the strengths of Tottenham. They have really good offensive football in the team, and you need to stop Eriksen, Alli, other midfielders.  “Maybe they will play with three at the back, maybe four. A lot of questions, but they will have those questions about how Everton will play and prepare for the game also.”  Harry Kane put Stoke to the sword last weekend
Koeman admitted that Spurs’ progress under Mauricio Pochettino was something he admired, and said that there are aspects of it that he would like to mirror at Everton in the coming weeks, months and years.  “A little bit, yes,” he said. “The manager at Tottenham is doing a great job. Everybody understands it is really difficult to give that competition to the big teams in the Premier League.
“Now for the second season in a row, they fight for the Champions League. Last season they fought until the last part to win the title. They have signed long term contracts with good players, with young players.  “Yes, it’s a little bit similar to what we would like to do. We are in our first season, not our second or third. But we are in a good way, and we like to move forward and to change things and make sometimes difficult decisions.  “I follow football. I follow managers, teams, how they play. In several aspects, Tottenham play how we would like to do.  “They try to do high pressing, they have individually very good players between the lines like Eriksen, Alli and others. They have offensive full backs, like we do.  “And they are trying to bring young players through the team, like we would like to do at Everton.”
Koeman confirmed that both Mo Besic and Dominic Calvert-Lewin had returned to training after injury this week, and said he has no fresh injury concerns heading into the weekend.
Muhamed Besic has returned to full training
Gareth Barry will be in contention to come into midfield – an area Koeman expects to be key.
“He’s an example for young players. Even if he is not starting, he does his session in the best way he can. He’s not frustrated, maybe yes a little disappointed not to start, but with his experience he is really a coach on the pitch.  “Yes not the youngest in the team, and we have that competition, but he’s still in really good fitness and he is always in my mind to start at the weekend.  “It will be a battle. Who will be the midfield players, we will see. But the key is to win the midfiled battle, that’s for sure.”

Tottenham vs Everton - Kane, Alderweireld and Vertonghen all fitness doubts ahead of White Hart Lane clash
Mauricio Pochettino says trio will be assessed on Saturday ahead of Sunday's big game
By Neil Jones
3 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Tottenham have fitness worries over three key players ahead of their game with Everton on Sunday.
Striker Harry Kane is carrying a knock, as are defenders Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino said that all three are “progressing well” but the trio will be assessed after Saturday's final training session before a decision is made on their involvement against Everton.
“They are doubts for Sunday,” Pochettino admitted. “We need to wait until tomorrow to assess them and then take the decision, we see tomorrow.  Video thumbnail, Lukaku vs Kane - how do Everton and Spurs' star men compare? “Jan was injured and then he worked very hard to be fit and play as soon as possible. He played against Fulham, Gent and then was a caution because was a little bit tired. We trust he will arrive Sunday to play and be ready, but it’s still a doubt as we need to assess tomorrow.
“They are in a good position. I trust tomorrow all the tests will be positive and they can be available to play."  Spurs will already be without left back Danny Rose (knee) and forward Erik Lamela (hip) for the White Hart Lane clash.  Everton boss Ronald Koeman reported no new injury concerns ahead of the game. 

Everton Under-23s suffer setback in Premier League title race
Second half goals undermine David Unsworth's side at Manchester City
3 MAR 2017  Liverpool Echo
Everton under-23s' lead at the top of the Premier League 2 table has been cut to three points after they lost 3-0 at second-placed Manchester City. City struck three times in the space of nine minutes mid-way through the second-half to inflict only a third league defeat of the season on the young Blues. David Unsworth's side remain in pole position despite the setback at the Academy Stadium in Manchester and as well as still holding a points advantage over City, with four games left, they also have a superior goal difference. But City's title chase has been given renewed impetus after a win over the league leaders. Everton's Ross Barkley on criticism, deleting Twitter, winning trophies and why he's so excited about the Blues right now The hosts dominated large spells of the first-half but Everton had defended well and limited City to half chances, with Morgan Feeney and Matthew Pennington leading the resistance. And the Blues emerged for the second-half with greater attacking threat and though Joe Williams and Harry Charsley's efforts were off target, Everton had started to dictate the tempo. But their good work was undone on 67 minutes when they failed to clear their lines and substitute Thierry Ambrose struck a low shot past Mateusz Hewelt from inside the area. City's second goal followed three minutes later when Everton, again, struggled to get the ball away from the danger area allowing Brahim Diaz to fire past Hewelt. What does Everton boss Koeman think of Moussa Sissoko's Tottenham move now? Unsworth's side appealed for handball against the City striker but refereeThomas Bramall ignored the pleas. Everton were now facing an uphill battle to get back into the game and any hopes of a comeback were extinguished on 76 minutes when Jadon Sancho connected with a cross to the far post, tapping home to make it 3-0. Unsworth's team refused to give in and Charsley was denied a consolation when his volley was brilliantly saved by Angus Gunn late on. The defeat was Everton's first since they lost the derby in October and they will hope to get back to winning ways on Monday, March 13 when they travel to 10 placed Derby County - City face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on the same night.

Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku face striker showdown in Tottenham vs Everton
The Independent
 Matt Law, football news correspondent
3 MARCH 2017
Had Tim Sherwood got his way, then Romelu Lukaku would  have been lining up in Tottenham Hotspur colours on Sunday, but  not necessarily alongside Harry Kane. Sherwood had made Lukaku his top transfer target for the summer of 2014, but Spurs sacked the former midfielder, Mauricio Pochettino took over and decided to put his faith in the strikers already at the club – including Kane. Pochettino already knew Kane well after being alerted to his potential by Southampton scouts and it is not too much of a leap to speculate that he could have ended up playing under the Argentine at  St Mary’s had Sherwood been given a stay of execution and landed Lukaku. Three years later, all parties,  barring Sherwood, are delighted at how things worked out as Kane and Lukaku meet at White Hart Lane as the Premier League’s joint top scorers for their respective clubs – Tottenham and Everton. The duo have scored 17 goals apiece and Pochettino rates them as two of the top 10 strikers in Europe, having also declared that Kane is currently one of the best in the world. Of course, there is some heavy bias attached to Pochettino’s opinion but, among the big five Euro­pean leagues, only Lionel Messi (13) goes into this weekend’s games with more goals in all competitions in 2017 than Kane (12). “We need to be very respectful with both Harry and Lukaku,” said Pochettino. “I know everyone wants to discuss who is better. Both are great players with their quality and their skills. For me, both would  be in a list of the best 10 strikers in Europe. “To compare is too difficult. If you ask Ronald Koeman, Lukaku is the best. If you ask me, of course, Harry Kane is the best.”  While the pair are level in terms of Premier League goals and assists this season, Kane wins the numbers game, as he has a better minutes-per-goal ratio and a higher percentage of total shots scored. Both Kane and Lukaku are aged 23, but it is the Spurs striker who has been more consistent as he attempts to win the Golden Boot for a second successive season. Nobody in the Premier League has scored more goals than Kane since he became a regular starter for Spurs under Pochettino three years ago, but his manager rates his attitude and character just as highly as his talent. “If you see me shouting a lot on the touchline and behaving like a mad person, you will maybe try to translate the feeling to the fans that Pochettino has a very strong character,” said Pochettino. “But, for me, character is not what you show on the touchline, the character is in every single decision, when you are face-to-face in a room, that is when you need to be brave. “What I want to explain is that Harry Kane has a very good character, he’s very strong, he’s very professional. He’s a player that always challenges you.” Everton’s visit to White Hart Lane will give Pochettino a close-up look at one of his summer transfer targets, midfielder Ross Barkley.

What does Everton boss Koeman think of Moussa Sissoko's Tottenham move now?
French midfielder chose Spurs over Everton in the summer, but has not been a regular starter
22:30, 3 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Ronald Koeman says he expected Moussa Sissoko to be mainstay in the Tottenham Hotspur team after he rejected a move to Everton. The France international looked to be closing in a switch to Goodison in the summer but with the clock ticking down on transfer deadline day, he instead opted to sign for Spurs. Mauricio Pochettino's side paid Newcastle United £30m for the powerful midfielder but he has struggled to hold down a regular place in the Tottenham team. Sissoko has made just six league starts for Spurs and Koeman admits he fully anticipated a “big signing” such as that to be playing most weeks. “Yes, but OK, if you look at the rest of the team they have big competition in that area,” Koeman said. “But it was a big signing for them.  “We tried also to sign the player and he chose Tottenham, but he is not really involved in many of the games. “I don't know but it was a big signing. “You ask Pochettino why he is not involved, I don't know.
But is Koeman surprised to have seen Sissoko struggle as he has? “If you make that kind of signing, for that money, you expect (them to be playing regularly)," he said. "Even if I sign a player for that money and he is not normally starting then, yes. “I don't know maybe fitness? I don't know.”

Koeman on Lukaku contract, and whether Everton striker is better than Harry Kane
Blues boss relaxed over striker's future - and believes he and Kane are in top 10 strikers in Europe
3 MAR 2017  Liverpool Echo
Ronald Koeman remains relaxed about Romelu Lukaku's contract situation - despite not knowing how far talks have advanced. Lukaku's agent, Mino Raiola, this week said that negotiations on a new long-term deal were “99.99999%”   complete and that the Belgium international intends to stay at Goodison. But Koeman admits he has not been offered any update on discussions by Everton's board. The Blues boss said that ideally Lukaku would have already put pen to paper on a new contract but insisted that he is calm about the delay in finalising fresh terms with the 23-year-old. “Always, you want that he will sign a new contract as soon as possible but it's not a question of one or two weeks, but I didn't hear anything about the situation and maybe next week I get an update,” Koeman said. Lukaku goes head-to-head with Harry Kane at White Hart Lane on Sunday in a meeting of the Premier League's joint leading scorers, as Everton face Tottenham Hotspur. But who does Koeman think is the better striker? “Both have scored 17 goals, both are really top strikers and top finishers. I don't see any difference,” he said “Kane is scoring goals but he will always score goals. His movement may be (better) but Romelu is physically a little bit stronger than Kane, but both are in the top five best strikers in the Premier league and maybe in the top ten in Europe.  “They are similar in finishing and movements in the box. I don't see any big difference in that aspect. “Romelu on a long run is still a bit faster physically and stronger but Kane is clever in his movements and both need support and creativity from other players behind them. Kane, through Eriksen, Alli, the full-backs, he has a lot of support.”

Royal Blue: Erwin complements Ronald as Koemans are Blues Brothers in Arms
Presence of Everton manager's elder sibling provides balance
10:07, 4 MAR 2017
Liverpool Echo
There are important partnerships running through all departments of the Everton framework. From Farhad Moshiri and Bill Kenwright at the sharp end of the big decisions to the collective expertise of Matt Connery and Matt Taberner in the medical and sport science departments. From Ashley Williams and Ramiro Funes Mori at the heart of Everton's defence to Steve Walsh and his chief scout Martyn Glover in the recruitment team. Ronald Koeman may be the man who shoulders all the pressure, the figure for whom the spotlight shines brighter than for anyone else and the person who will feel the the wielding of Everton's axe should he not deliver, or be showered in most of the glory should he succeed. Yet behind every good manager is an equally good assistant. He'll be the first to tell you this. There's a growing feeling around Finch Farm that Erwin Koeman is the unheralded yin to Ronald's yang, the good cop to his bad and the conduit through which the Everton players can speak to the manager when they may fear the cold shoulder. Would Morgan Schneiderlin nutmegged Ronald, as he did Erwin, on the training ground recently? No chance. Ronald believes creating distance between himself and the squad is the right way to operate but Erwin still allows him to be in touch with the ebb and flow of emotions in the build-up to a game. At training, it is believed Erwin is more hands on whereas Ronald studies, assesses and hatches the plans. Together, they taking Everton through an evolution, but there has to be a front man and every double act has a straight man. Such is the, relative, level of anonymity that Erwin enjoys that he chose to live in Liverpool city centre after switching the south coast for Merseyside and has often been spotted out, enjoying a pint. Ronald, purposefully, is out on the periphery, living in the Manchester commuter belt in leafy Alderley Edge, admitting it would be impossible for him to unwind with a glass of his favourite red wine right in the heart of a such a football obsessed part of the world. You can understand the thinking. Ronald is leading the charge with Everton, the public face of the good and the bad on the pitch, the one who has to deal with the media and the one who carries the weight of expectation. But you ask him and he'll tell you it's been much easier with his brother in tow.

Everton Under-23s: 'Manchester City were, plainly and simply, the better side on the night'
Blues suffered setback in Premier League title race
22:34, 3 MAR 2017UPDATED11:21, 4 MAR 2017
Liverpool Echo
As David Unsworth, through the pain of defeat, had to admit: Manchester City were, plainly and simply, the better side on the night. For City, nothing less than a win would have been worth taking from this game and for an hour, in a game of attrition, yet sprinkled with serious skill, at the drenched Academy Stadium, it looked as though they may have had to settle for a draw. But as Everton's energy levels briefly sagged, their concentration deserted them and when they failed to clear their lines, having done so all evening, City pounced to devastating effect to record a 3-0 win. Three goals in nine second-half minutes ensured that Everton's lead at the top of the Premier League 2 table would be cut in half while injecting City's title chase with renewed impetus. Had the Blues won here this evening then the championship would have been all but sewn up but the stony faced expression on every one of the squad, as they trudged out of this purpose built stadium, said everything about their disappointment. But defeat wasn't fatal. Unsworth, too, was not about to try and disguise his disappointment; his side had failed to live up to his expectations, our expectations and their own as well. But they remain in pole position, they still have an advantage at the top and with four games to go, the Blues also have a superior goal difference. Yet what Everton looked as though they craved, in the crunch moments of this game - not just in the period when City were to turn the screw - but also in those moments when they had the ball deep in the opposition half, was more of a presence going forward. Courtney Duffus worked as hard as anyone, but was isolated, Kieran Dowell failed to dazzle like he can while Harry Charsley, Joe Williams and Liam Walsh were full of endeavour but got little change out of a City defence marshalled well by Everton target Tosin Adarabioyo . The injury to the on-loan Anton Donkor has certainly impacted on Everton who had looked refreshed by the new arrival and it's why the conversations at Finch Farm, between Unsworth, John Ebbrell and Ronald Koeman, in the next week or so may surround Dominic Calvert-Lewin. This isn't a case of Everton needing to be rescued, Unsworth is right to fully expect a reaction from this same set of players at Derby County on March 13, but there was an unmistakable feeling that they could do with a shot in the arm. Their run of form since losing the derby in October has been remarkable and is why tonight, even in defeat, they remain in the box seat. But Calvert-Lewin, though close to being fully fit again after an ankle injury, also needs to sharpen up on his match fitness. When these sides met in late November, on a pitch nowhere near as smooth as the one they played on tonight, Everton pressed better, harder, won more tackles, used the ball better and unsettled City more than they managed this time, but at the end of it all Calvert-Lewin was the difference, scoring the only goal of the game. This young side, however they may be feeling right now, are still the best side in u-23s football. They are the league leaders and there are no major, or new, problems to be found in this team. But maybe, leaning on a familiar face, might just be the little bit of help they need in the wake of this.

Everton striker Lukaku 'stronger, faster, better' than Harry Kane says team-mate
Everton forward Kevin Mirallas has no doubt who is better out of Lukaku and Kane
13:49, 4 MAR 2017UPDATED13:54, 4 MAR 2017
Liverpool Echo
Romelu Lukaku is "stronger, faster and better" than Harry Kane and can take his Golden Boot title this season insists Kevin Mirallas. The Everton winger believes his international and club team-mate has a strong chance of finishing the current Premier league campaign as the division's top scorer.Mirallas, who is fit to feature when the Toffees face Kane & Co at White Hart Lane tomorrow, is in no doubt who has the edge in the battle of two gifted young centre forwards. Lukaku and Kane are each on 17 goals so far, but Mirallas believes his fellow Belgian will finish ahead of the England man. He said: "They are on top form at the moment, Harry Kane and Rom. "For me, Rom is better. He’s stronger and faster. "It’s true Harry Kane was the best goalscorer in the Premier League last season but I hope Rom can win that trophy this year. “Rom has 17 and I hope he can get 10 or 15 more. If he finishes as the top goalscorer, we have the chance to finish in the top five.” Mirallas thinks Ronald Koeman's side can make a serious statement of intent with a victory at high-flying Tottenham on Sunday. A week ago, Tottenham dismantled Stoke City 4-0 at White Hart Lane but Everton head to the capital as the Premier League’s form team, with 21 points recouped from the past nine fixtures. “Every time we [continue] to look forward,” said the forward. “We are in a good position. We are a little bit of an outsider but if we continue to win the tough games then we will have a good chance to get in the top five. “Tottenham had a top performance last week and they are in a good moment. It’s a very big test for the team - if we win or draw this game, I think it’s a good result. If we draw against Tottenham and win the next two games at home [against West Bromwich Albion and Hull City], we have a good chance to make it into the top five or six.” Mirallas also revealed his maturing outlook when it comes to injury prevention and his own fitness, after a groin problem forced him to miss the Middlesbrough match in mid-February.
He made his return from the injury as a late substitute in last Saturday’s 2-0 victory against Sunderland. He explained: “Against Bournemouth I felt a little bit of a stretch in my groin. In the week after the game, my groin felt a little bit tight. I talked with the medical department and the manager and it was decided the better option was not to play against Middlesbrough. "In the mini-break in Dubai I worked hard to come back stronger and I now feel fit and very good. I was able to play a couple of minutes against Sunderland. Ademola Lookman comes off for Kevin Mirallas (Photo: 2017 Getty Images)
“I’m 29 years old and I know my body. "Before, if I had a little bit of pain I would say nothing, play and train, then get injured for one or two months. Now when I have a problem I will tell the doctor if I had a little bit of pain in my back or my hamstring. It’s better to miss one game rather than one month.”

Mark Lawrenson's Everton and Liverpool Premier League prediction table so far
BBC pundit has predicted every top flight fixture until now
14:30, 4 MAR 2017UPDATED14:33, 4 MAR 2017
Liverpool Echo
Opinion is sought, packaged and then held up for scrutiny, sometimes long after events have moved on. So spare a small shred of sympathy for the BBC's Mark Lawrenson, who has the unenviable task of predicting each of the 380 Premier League games this season. But overall the former Liverpool defender has got it very wrong when it comes to the Merseyside clubs so far. A Premier League table based on his predictions to date has Everton on 37 points in 8th spot. Now that's not exactly preposterous given that Ronald Koeman's man are only one place and seven points above that prediction. Although 16 draws is a bit excessive for a form side which in reality has shared the spoils in only eight fixtures. But it's when it comes to the Blues local rivals that Lawrenson shows his colours, and has a stinker. His best guesses so far have Jurgen Klopp's side top of the table on 62 points, sitting pretty after 18 wins, eight draws and no defeats. And to make it worse he has title favourites Chelsea four points behind in fourth spot! As we say, it;s not easy being a pundit.

Tom Davies on Elvis, Michael Jackson and the Everton teammate who has helped him most
The 18-year-old midfielder has become part of the Blues' first team this season
4 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Everton midfielder Tom Davies has credited Leighton Baines with helping him settle into life as a Premier League footballer. The 18-year-old midfielder has made 15 appearances for the Blues after making his debut in a 1-1 draw with Southampton in April last year. Davies has started the last two matches for Ronald Koeman's side, and the teenager has claimed that long-serving left-back Baines has taken him under his wing in the first team. Speaking on Soccer AM on Saturday, Davies said: "They have all been great, but Leighton Baines has helped me out a lot. "We like similar things and we have the same taste in music and stuff like that, so I can speak to him." The music-loving Davies explained how he was asked to perform a song at Christmas as an initiation into the first team. "I love all my music," he added. "I like all the classics, and I love a bit of Elvis. Favourite song? Can't Help Falling In Love. "At Christmas we had to do a song, all the lads sung Michael Jackson's Blame it on the Boogie." The West Derby youngster also revealed that he has been given support from Liverpool fans in the city. "It's how the city is," he added. "They always want Liverpudlians to do well, no matter what half you're from. "To see someone from the city doing well is always great and it's really nice to get that from other people." With his black boots and low socks, the midfield dynamo has been likened to something of a throwback, but Davies insists it is purely down to comfort. "It's how I feel comfy to be fair," he said. "If they're a bit too high, I feel like I'm trapped. My calves don't like it!"

Everton aim cheeky dig at David Haye ahead of heavyweight clash with Tony Bellew
The Blues' official Twitter account wished the Toffees fan luck ahead of the O2 Arena showdown - but they couldn't resist a little jab of their own
By Paul Gorst
4 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Everton tweeted their support for Tony Bellew ahead of his heavyweight clash with David Haye on Saturday - but the Blues couldn't resist a dig of their own at the 'Hayemaker'.  Blues fanatic Bellew comes head-to-head against Haye at London's O2 Arena on Saturday night as the heated feud reaches its conclusion in the ring.  Ahead of the fight, Everton, who have previously allowed Bellew to use their Finch Farm training facilities, wished the Wavertree-born 'Bomber' all the best against Haye.
But they couldn't resist a stab at Haye for the heavyweight's famous excuse for losing to Wladimir Klitschko in 2011.  Haye blamed the defeat to the Ukrainian giant on a toe injury, and Everton were quick to remind him of the excuse on Saturday afternoon.  "Good luck to massive Evertonian @TonyBellew tonight." they tweeted.
"Wouldn't be the first time @mrdavidhaye has been defeated by a Toe... #HayeBellew".
Haye was roundly booed throughout the press conference on Monday for crassly branding Bellew's Scouse supporters the "scum of the earth" after losing his cool at the Hilton hotel in the city centre.
Haye branded Bellew's staunch followers as “f***ing retards” in a vile rant before refusing to retract his statements in an post-conference interview.

Everton new stadium not sole driving factor behind Commonwealth Games hopes, says Mayor
Joe Anderson emphasises council's support for Everton's plans for new ground
By Greg O’Keeffe
4 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Everton's proposed new stadium will not be the sole driving factor behind any potential bid for Liverpool to host the Commonwealth Games, insists Joe Anderson.  The Mayor has said that Liverpool would be willing to host the games in either 2022 or 2026, and admits that the Blues plans for a new ground could represent an opportunity to bolster the city's hopes.  But Mr Anderson said that the council are not solely relying on Everton's design plans for their possible new ground at the Bramley Moore dock to bolster their chances of staging the games.  He said: "We’ve not formally launched our bid yet, but obviously a new stadium presents the city with an opportunity to showcase what we have to offer.
"However, what I would say is that our bid is not reliant on a new stadium for Everton – nor how it is designed.  Bramley-Moore Dock (left), Nelson Dock and Collingwood Dock  "Glasgow managed to adapt their stadium for athletics and that’s something we’ll be looking at."  Hampden Park stadium, which does not feature a permanent running track, was transformed into a world-class athletics arena when Glasgow hosted the games in 2014.  A temporary track made up of 1000 base panels supported by over 6000 structural steel stilts was erected for the games.  Mr Anderson said he remains hugely positive about the Toffees hopes of moving to a new stadium under the leadership of Farhad Moshiri.
The club are expected to make an announcement about the next stage of their financial plans to build a new ground this month.  He said: "The club have never been in as good a position since the Premier League was formed, as they are in today.  "Mr Moshiri is transforming how Everton operates as a club and as a business. The fans have every right to be excited for the future."  The Mayor emphasised once again that the council is fully behind the Blues, and knows that a successful stadium move to the North Docks would be a major boost for regeneration in the city.  "Liverpool city council has always been keen for Everton to grow and find a new home – because we know how such a development can act as a catalyst for regeneration," he said  "We will provide as much support as we can, as we did with Liverpool when they looked to rebuild their main stand.  "The new Anfield gave us a platform to look at the wider regeneration of the community and that is exactly what we have done, with new homes, a new high street and very soon a new hotel.  "Everton’s new stadium has arguably greater potential in its impact to regenerate what is a key part of North Liverpool.  "As a council we’ve already begun investing in the surrounding area – with millions in improving the road infrastructure and a masterplan for the north docks running up to the city centre to create a new creative district."

Haye vs Bellew - Ronald Koeman leads tributes as Everton fan Tony Bellew shocks David Haye
Blues boss salutes 'The Bomber' after famous victory in London
By Ian Doyle
4 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Everton boss Ronald Koeman led the tributes for Tony Bellew after the Blues fan scored a remarkable win over David Haye.  'The Bomber' won by a technical knockout in the 11th round after a classic heavyweight contest at the o2 Arena in London on Saturday night.  Koeman and the Everton coaching staff watched the bout from the hotel where the team are staying ahead of tomorrow's Premier League clash against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.  Koeman tweeted “A true Blue warrior” with a photo of his backroom staff all smiles in front of a television showing the bout.
Blues winger Aaron Lennon also gave his congratulations, along with celebrity Everton supporter Amanda Holden.
Former Everton striker Wayne Rooney and ex-Blues midfielder Tim Cahill also posted their messages of praise for Bellew.
    A true Blue Warrior
    — Ronald Koeman (@RonaldKoeman) March 4, 2017
    Yessssssss @TonyBellew what a win!!!buzzing
    — Aaron Lennon (@AaronLennon12) March 4, 2017
    Congratulations to @TonyBellew for an amazing fight! Always great to see True Blue @Everton WIN!!!!!
    — Amanda Holden (@AmandaHolden) March 4, 2017
    @TonyBellew Bomber what a great night....well well deserved....get in you blue stop 3 pts @ spurs
    — Derek Mountfield (@DegsyMount) March 4, 2017
    Good sportsmanship it's been a great fight #HayeBellew
    — Yannick Bolasie (@YannickBolasie) March 4, 2017
    Creed was just Hollywod make-believe. What @TonyBellew does in a real life boxing ring is infinitely more incredible. What a character
    — David Prentice (@prenno) March 4, 2017
    Congratulations @TonyBellew. Buzzing for you!
    — Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) March 4, 2017
    Great fight @TonyBellew well done credit to @mrdavidhaye showed heart. @Betsafe
    — Ricky Hatton MBE (@HitmanHatton) March 4, 2017
    Sometimes in boxing it's better to go with your heart and forget what the head is saying. What a result!
    — Paul Smith Jnr (@PaulSmithJnr) March 4, 2017
    Quality from Tony you did it for your family and your city @Everton @TonyBellew
    — Kevin Sheedy (@kevin11sheedy) March 4, 2017

'Now I finally feel like No 1' Joel Robles on being Everton's main man at last
Everton keeper Robles opens-up ahead of Spurs clash
By David Prentice
5 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Joel Robles has worn the number one on his jersey ever since he signed for Everton in the summer of 2013 - but it is only now that the Spaniard has actually felt like the club’s first choice goalkeeper.
Robles arrived as an FA Cup winner with Wigan Athletic in May 2013, but saw his Everton career endure a succession of false starts.  Second choice to Tim Howard in his debut season at Goodison Park he was restricted to a handful of cup appearances, but in 2014/15 an injury to Howard allowed him to display the athleticism and presence which convinced Roberto Martinez to bring him to England from Atletico Madrid.  At the end of a run of eight successive starts he produced a superb performance in an FA Cup tie at West Ham and three successive clean sheets in the Premier League. But he was dropped to the bench as soon as Howard was fit again.  Last season he forced his way back in again and this time enjoyed an unbroken run of 16 increasingly assured performances.
Then Martinez was sacked and Ronald Koeman recruited compatriot Maarten Stekelenburg.
Robles admitted he thought about his future.  But his mentality - and the experience of his Spanish mate down the East Lancs Road at old Trafford helped him through.  “If I’m honest, the first two or three weeks, when Koeman said ‘you are the number two’ I was frustrated because I had fought so many times with the team and I had played and played.
“Then in the summer Koeman said ‘you are number two.’
“Alright I respected the decision, I respected the situation but I had go home, try and understand the coach then after I had to try and work even harder, I had to change my mentality and I needed to go to training and train harder than I had the previous month.  “I needed to be strong. That’s important for a goalkeeper that you are strong. You need to handle difficult situations.  “I am young but I have also had too many difficult situations in my career.  “I had that situation where I played 10 games, then Tim Howard came back and I went back to the bench.  “I think this time is good because when you have your chance you need to enjoy the moment.
“Of course. I like to play. That’s normal. Now I just need to enjoy the situation because I am playing well, the team is doing well, the club is doing well.”  Robles’ form has been impresisve since his return to the side.  One of a band of former Atletico Madrid goalkeepers starring in the Premier League, his clean sheets per match are on a par with Thibaut Courtois and his saves per shots faced ratio even better, while he has taken encouragement from the experience endured by his old Atletico rival David de Gea at Manchester United.  “Yes we were at Atletico and they are all here now!” smiled Robles.
“I am the same age as De Gea. We were rivals. We played together in the Academy at Atletico together and now we have gone our different ways. That’s a goalkeepers’ life.
“We are friends. We speak. I don’t know when we play Manchester again but he is my friend.
David de Gea  “It was a fight for him here. He’s a good example for a goalkeeper. He had his first year where he wasn’t at a good level for him, and it was difficult. But that is normal. Everything is different here, the football is different. But his mentality is a good example.”  Robles also enjoys a healthy rivalry with the man signed to replace him, Maarten Stekelenburg.  The pair are living, breathing embodiments of the strength of the fabled goalkeepers’ union.  “I don’t have a problem with the other keepers in my life,” he added. “You train every day together and you can’t have a problem with your team-mates. It’s impossible. You need to understand the situation because everybody wants to play.  “It’s difficult but it’s normal in football. Maarten played well for the first part of the season then he got an injury. This is the life of a footballer. Sometimes in football you need luck.” Joel Robles, Enner Valencia and Ramiro Funes Mori a the Dubai World Cup Carnival at the Meydan Racecourse on February 16
Robles has earned his luck at Everton.
During his most recent run of starts he has made some significant stops - and he has become a popular figure amongst Everton supporters.  “I like it,” he said. “Scousers are so so warm.  “Am I number one? It’s difficult to say but for me the most important thing is the next game and if I play I need to play well. With my situation in the last year if you think about the future you lose time. Now I don’t want to lose time thinking about different aspects. I focus day by day and that’s the most important for me.”

Why Everton have shown Liverpool the January transfer window still matters
Differing approaches have prompted contrasting fortunes during the opening months of 2017
By Ian Doyle
5 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Football is awash with clichés. Most of which, on closer inspection, hold precious little water.
Put it this way. Having gone 2-0 up, you won’t find a team furiously attempting to concede because the adage suggests they’re in possession of the worst lead they could possibly have.  The same applies to the January transfer window.  We’re led to believe that, by and large, there is no point seeking to strengthen during the mid-season market.  “There aren’t enough good players,” comes the explanation.
Not forgetting the old favourite: “Prices are artificially inflated, there’s no real value for money.”
Yeah, because that’s stopped clubs buying players no matter what time of year.  Before the advent of transfer windows, players could be sold and bought freely until around two months before the end of the season.  Now, though, there are only two definitive periods in which to alter the squad.
As such, they should be cherished as a time to either improve the present personnel or move on those whose time has either passed or are in need of a temporary change of scenery.
And the subsequent contrasting fortunes of either Merseyside club have belied the notion the January transfer window doesn’t matter.  Jurgen Klopp remains insistent funds were there from Fenway Sports Group for new signings, but the right players weren’t available.  That depends on what would have been regarded the right purchase for Liverpool during the New Year.  Given the manner in which the lack of strength in depth was immediately exposed within days of the January market opening, it’s clear players were available – even if it required a little persuasion from FSG’s coffers – to at the very least ease the burden on Klopp’s regulars and provide fresh impetus and competition.  The frustration for Reds fans is, well, everybody could see it coming. Even Klopp could see it, a point he has later conceded.
But nothing was done.
Liverpool should have known better, having previously demonstrated the worth of the mid-season window.  Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel both arrived in a January while, of course, Luis Suarez was brought to Anfield in the New Year in 2011, a deal that was already brokered before the sale of Fernando Torres on the same day prompted the panic purchase of Andy Carroll.  Everton, meanwhile, were in a similar situation going into 2017.  The squad Ronald Koeman inherited from Roberto Martinez required freshening, tinkering and bolstering.  For various reasons, there hadn’t been sufficient time during the summer to make the changes Koeman and director of football Steve Walsh deemed a priority, making January an imperative – a fact the Blues boss made public in the wake of FA Cup defeat to Leicester City.   Soon after, Morgan Schneiderlin and Ademola Lookman arrived, both instantly thrust into the first team and making an impact, even if the latter was purchased with one eye firmly fixed on the future.
Sadio Mane's absence at the Africa Cup of Nations was felt by Liverpool during January
Heading the other way, Darron Gibson and Bryan Oviedo moved to Sunderland while Gerard Deulofeu, Tom Cleverley, Oumar Niasse, Tyias Browning and Leandro Rodriguez left on loan.
The result? Everton head to White Hart Lane this afternoon harbouring genuine hopes of breaking into the top six and, in the process, overhauling their neighbours.  Indeed, there were murmurs among some Blues fans their team hadn’t done enough during the January transfer window to capitalise on the backing of billionaire Farhad Moshiri.  The perception, though, is this is a new, improved Everton, while Liverpool’s weaknesses have only been exacerbated, even if they are still capable of the performance such as the one that did for Arsenal last night.  Certainly, nobody on Merseyside should ever again say the January transfer window doesn’t matter.

Tony Bellew reveals why he called out David Haye
Bellew wanted to secure his children's future by building up huge fight at the O2
By David Prentice
5 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Tony Bellew showed his tender side at the O2 Arena last night as he shed a tear discussing his young family during his post-fight press conference - after demolishing David Haye in 11 rounds.
Bellew called out the bigger and heavier Haye in a bid to secure the financial future of his three children.
And with a sold out 20,000 in attendance at the O2 Arena and promoter Eddie Hearn describing Sky Sports pay per view subscriptions as “huge”, Bellew will have made serious money from his victory.
He said afterwards: “I’ve achieved what I got into boxing for tonight. That’s all I do it for. If it was about me I could have quit 12 months ago after Goodison. But it’s not just about me.   “I made a promise to my kids I’d get home safe. My 11-year-old kid looked at me before I left the hotel tonight and said ‘Just win and be safe dad.’ And an 11-year-old kid shouldn’t be thinking that. “He should just see his dad go to work and come home at five o’clock.  “But it’s the business I’m in and I’ve done what I need to do.”
Bellew revealed that he had pleaded with Haye and his corner to stop the contest when the heavyweight continued to fight-on after injuring his ankle in the sixth round.  With his mobility severely restricted Haye was an immoveable target for some of Bellew’s biggest shots.  Bellew explained: “Just before the stoppage came, I looked at David and I said ‘Stop now.’  “He said ‘no’ and I said ‘Please stop. I’m not here to hurt people.’  “I looked at Shane (his cornerman) and said ‘Stop it lad.’  “I hit him with a right hand and his legs wobbled then a left hook. He has got a good chin and he takes shots really well that he sees coming.  “We all do. He took the right hand all night, but it’s the left hook he didn’t see and it made him collapse.  I’m, not here to hurt him. I know he said all kinds of things in the build up, how he wanted to put me in hospital and on a stretcher, but that was never my intention.”
After so much pre-fight acrimony the pair embraced and spoke positively about each other in the aftermath of the contestt.  “I told him afterwards ‘thank you, you’ve helped me secure my kids’ future.’ And he said ‘no thank you for helping make it such a great fight. I can’t believe you’re still standing.’
“I’ve got no switch off button. No matter how hard he hits, no matter how painful it’s getting I can’t stop and I frighten myself.  “I got here tonight and I don’t believe in anything, but I just said a prayer ‘get me home safe so I can see those kids tomorrow.’ In my mind I was thinking I’m going to get hit by a bus and you know what, I was going to get up and run it over.  “It’s crazy isn’t it. I’ve got what I wanted to win the fight but I know what comes with it now – I know this circus is going to keep following me round – and believe it or not I don’t actually like all this. I’ve started to hate it to be honest. But I’ve just got to brace myself and do the best I can with it.  “I just want to be left alone and enjoy my time with my kids. I’ve been away from my kids for nearly 14 weeks on and off.  “I’m planning for my kids and their kids’ futures. As long as it’s not too soon!   “There’s only a certain number of times you can do it.”

Tottenham vs Everton - The Toffees' most memorable trips to White Hart Lane
Everton make their rival trip to White Hart Lane today
By David Prentice
5 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Everton make their first visit to White Hart Lane on January 8, 1910.
Later today they will make their final appearance at Tottenham Hotspurs' atmospheric old arena before they make the temporary switch to Wembley, and then relocate to an entirely new stadium.
To commemorate the occasion we look back at some of Everton's most memorable trips to White Hart Lane.
Tottenham 3 Everton 3, April 25, 1992
David Unsworth has enjoyed many roles throughout his distinguished Everton career – FA Cup winner, Rhino, captain, coach and unbeaten caretaker manager.  But on the spring of 1992 he was a goalscoring supersub!  Everton had trailed 3-0 and the Lane and looked down and out – until Peter Beardsley sparked a second half fightback.  The little genius scored twice before Unsworth, who had come on for Iain Jenkins to make his Blues debut, joyously crashed a far post volley past Ian Walker to grab an unexpected point.
Tottenham 1 Everton 2, April 3, 1985
It is a match most commonly remembered for Neville Southall's stunning late save from Mark Falco to preserve Everton's slender lead – but in truth it was a night when Howard Kendall's side confirmed their status as champions elect.  Everton and Spurs were neck and neck in the race for the title – but a wicked volley from Andy Gray and a beautifully balanced finish from Trevor Steven who skirted elegantly around former Liverpool keeper Ray Clemence put Everton in charge.  A towering Graham Roberts header made for a nervy finish, but Southall had already decided that he wasn't going to be beaten again.
Tottenham 10 Everton 4, October 11 1958
It is still Everton's record defeat – on an afternoon when Jimmy Harris scored a hat-trick and still didn't leave the ground with the matchball!  Spurs had announced the appointment of a new manager on the morning of October 11, 1958 – while Everton were between managers having dispensed with the services of Ian Buchan - and Bill Nicholson could hardly have dreamed of the impact his arrival would have.  Spurs were 6-1 ahead at half-time. Everton recovered to score three second half goals but still lost 10-4 thanks to four Bobby Smith goals, two from Alf Stokes and singles from Johnny Ryden, Terry Medwin, Tommy Harmer and George Robb.  As Bill Nicholson congratulated his team on a magnificent performance, Tommy Harmer turned to his new boss and said: “We won't win 10-4 every week y'know!”
Tottenham 4 Everton 3, January 12, 2003
Former Spurs keeper Espen Baardsen knew White Hart Lane well, but after his only ignominious performance for Everton there he promptly retired from professional football claining he's lost interest in the game!  Everton led through Brian McBride, trailed 2-1, then drew level through Steve Watson.
Robbie Keane gave the home team a 3-2 lead, Tomasz Radzinski levelled again before Keane completed his hat-trick seven minutes from the end.
It was all too much for Baardsen.
Tottenham 1 Everton 3, August 14, 2007
David Moyes championed Leon Osman's claims for an England call-up following a masterclass from the little Blues midfielder in the second match of the 2007/08 season inspired Everton to victory.
Ossie had to wait a further five years before he enjoyed his international call up – but that evening in North-East London he showcased his quality as Everton led 3-1 by half-time and comfortably held onto their lead in the second half.
Dixie's KO blow
The date of the fixture is uncertain, but Dean was adamant the incident took place at White Hart Lane as he left the pitch.  Nicknamed Dixie because of his swarthy complexion,after a game at Spurs, he was the last player to walk off the pitch when a fan shouted: “We’ll get you yet, you black b*****d! ”
A policeman overheard and was set to take action, but was pushed aside by Dean who remarked: “It’s alright officer, I’ll handle this.”
Dean jumped over to the fan, punched him and sent him flying.
The policeman who saw the incident winked at Dixie and said: “That was a beauty but I never saw it officially.”  
Tottenham 4 Everton 3, February 22, 1937
Dixie Dean and Tommy Lawton are two of the finest centre-forwards ever to lead a forward line.
But in an FA Cup 5 round replay in 1937 they both played in the same forward line at White Hart Lane.
Of course they both scored, Dixie scoring twice and Lawton adding another – but in front of nearly 47,000 fans Spurs struck twice in the last four minutes to snatch a dramatic victory.

Everton CONFIRMED team news - Koeman makes one change as Gareth Barry returns
Koeman looking to keep it tight at White Hart Lane as veteran midfielder Barry returns
ByPhil Kirkbride
5 MAR 2017
Liverpool Echo
Gareth Barry will make his first start in over a month as Ronald Koeman drafts in the experienced midfielder for today's game with Tottenham Hotspur. The 36-year-old replaces Ademola Lookman in the starting line-up as Everton make just one change from the side that saw off Sunderland last time out. Barry also takes the captain's armband back from Leighton Baines while Lookman drops to the bench for this afternoon's game at White Hart Lane.Koeman's selection points to a potential tweak in formation from the 4-3-3 which has worked to good effect in recent weeks.Joel Robles continues in goal and is protected by a back four of Baines, Ramiro Funes Mori, Ashley Williams and Seamus Coleman.Barry, Idrissa Gueye and Morgan Schneiderlin are selected in midfield and it remains to be seen what position Tom Davies is asked to play with Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku ahead of him.
Everton team to face Tottenham: Robles, Baines (c), Funes Mori, Williams, Coleman, Barry, Gueye, Schneiderlin, Barkley, Davies, Lukaku
Subs: Stekelenburg, Jagielka, Mirallas, McCarthy, Valencia, Holgate, Lookman

Steve Walsh: A Wayne Rooney return? I'd drive him back to Everton myself!
The Blues DoF admits he would be keen on a move for the Manchester United captain this summer
ByPaul Gorst
5 MAR 2017  Liverpool Echo
of Football Steve Walsh had admitted he would be keen on a Wayne Rooney return this summer - claiming he would drive him back to Merseyside himself if the striker wanted to move. The Manchester United's striker has been the subject of intense speculation throughout most of the campaign, and was linked with a move to the Chinese Super League prior to the close of their transfer window last month.The Blues have also been linked with a summer swoop for their former striker, and Walsh made no secret of the fact that he would love to bring the boyhood Evertonian back to Goodison Park. In an interview with The Times, the Blues' DoF said: "The only person this can be driven by is Wayne and how much he wants to come back to Everton."He’s a top player. If the opportunity arose to bring him back, and it sat well with everyone, I’d drive over myself and get him."Blues boss Ronald Koeman has also refused to pour cold water over stories linking him with a move when the transfer window opens.Speaking earlier this week, the Dutchman said: "What will happen at the end of the season? I don’t know but in my opinion he is one of the players who can make Everton more stronger."It’s all about what the player likes, what Manchester United needs to do, and we are not involved in that project."But every player that we at Everton think can make the team stronger is welcome to Everton."

Spurs 3-2 Everton Full Time Report: Blues taste defeat in last Lane outing despite late rally
Lukaku and Valencia both netted in second half but the goals were not enough
ByPhil Kirkbride
5 MAR 2017  Liverpool Echo
Everton fell to defeat at Spurs today despite a late rally in which they scored twice in the final 10 minutes. The Blues lost 3-2 at White Hart Lane to suffer a first league reverse in 10 games.Harry Kane had handed Tottenham a deserved 2-0 lead early in the second-half but Romelu Lukaku halved the deficit on 81 minutes.Spurs made it 3-1 through Dele Alli in time added on but Everton substitute Enner Valencia still found time to make it 3-2.Everton, however, ran out of time in their hopes of finding an unlikely equaliser.Ronald Koeman's side had defended solidly in the opening 19 minutes but were punished for a momentary lapse.Idrissa Gueye and Gareth Barry allowed Kane too much time and space 30 yards from goal allowing the Spurs striker to rifle a low strike past the despairing dive of Joel Robles.Kane almost made it 2-0 seconds later but Robles produced a fine smothering save.The Blues keeper could only watch on in relief as Victor Wanyama's deflected effort hit the post as the home side poured on attack after attack.Everton were stunned and struggling to cope.And the situation only worsened 11 minutes after the re-start when Kane doubled his, and Spurs' lead.Morgan Schneiderlin laid off a terrible pass towards Ashley Williams as Spurs pressed him, the ball was intercepted, fed to Kane and he stroked home underneath the dive of Robles to make it 2-0.Spurs looked to be cruising towards a comfortable win but with nine minutes to go Lukaku reduced the deficit.After picking up Ross Barkley's pass, Lukaku moved towards the edge of the area but stormed into the box after Jan Vertonghen fell over and clinically fired the ball past Hugo Lloris.
Everton now pressed hard in search of an equaliser but in time added-on conceded a third.Schneiderlin and Leighton Baines switched off as Spurs took a quick free-kick which found Dele Alli in the box and he touched it past Robles.There remained one last twist in the tale as substitute Enner Valencia brilliantly turned in Barkley's free-kick to make it 3-2 but Spurs clung on for the win.

Harry Kane strikes twice as Tottenham hold off late Everton fightback at White Hart Lane
Tottenham 3 Everton 2: Spurs cut Chelsea's lead to seven points ahead of their game on Monday night
Mark Critchley at White Hart Lane
The Independent Football
The tale of two strikers lived up to its billing. Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku sat level at the summit of the Premier League’s goal-scoring charts prior to kick-off and a brace, which included a brilliant opener, put the latter out in front at the final whistle. Yet he and his Tottenham Hotspur team-mates were given the jitters by his Everton counterpart, whose late goal gave this otherwise unremarkable game a frantic finish.Mauricio Pochettino made no changes to the starting line-up which blew Stoke City away on this ground a week ago, while Ronald Koeman opted for a protective screen of three defensively-minded midfielders, no doubt aware of Tottenham’s formidable home form. While the hosts were searching for a ninth consecutive win in the own backyard for the first time since the 1986/87 campaign, their guests wanted to stretch to 10 games unbeaten.Such records are why both these coaches are in the contest to become Lionel Messi’s next manager, yet you would not have known it from the way their teams started. It was a quiet uneventful opening. The only early moment of note came when Kyle Walker got the beating of Leighton Baines, knocking the ball past his fellow full-back and into the box. Baines recovered to get a clumsy foot on the ball, but the crowd cried ‘penalty’. Referee Michael Oliver correctly awarded a corner.The two teams proceeded to feel each other out for further 15 minutes, and such an enticing fixture threatened to descend into an irreversible deadlock, but all of a sudden, something special broke us out of it. Kane collected the ball was his back to goal midway through Everton’s half and from the way he turned, you could tell what would come next. Even from around 35 yards out, he looked confident. Pochettino simply turned and nodded to the bench when the rasping shot beat Joel Robles. He too had seen it coming.Kane went back on the hunt in the very next passage of play, cutting past Baines into the box off the right. He then looked up, played a smart one-two with Christian Eriksen and left a sliding Ashley Williams having to pay to get back in. The shot, however, was parried by Robles, and an awaiting Eriksen blazed over on the rebound, but Tottenham finally had the bit between their teeth.A spell of exerted pressure followed. After the careless Ramiro Funes Mori was cautioned for a kick on Kane’s shins, the goalscorer almost found his second, coming close to making a connection on the subsequent free-kick. A minute later, Victor Wanyama crashed a long-range effort against the upright and Kane, in an offside position, spooned the follow-up. Everton were on the ropes, and now was the time to put the contest to bed. Yet like one Evertonian at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday night, they struggled to find a telling blow.It came, eventually, 10 minutes after the interval, courtesy of a defensive mix-up. While in the process receiving a simple pass from his goalkeeper, Morgan Schneiderlin failed to spot Dele Alli lurking over his right shoulder. The youngster knocked the ball into the path of Kane, who was suddenly bearing down on Robles with a time and space to pick his spot. He slipped it past the onrushing Spaniard with ease.There was now seemed to be no chance of the Premier League’s only remaining unbeaten home record being blemished and Tottenham, safe in that knowledge, bedded in. Only the unlikely figure of Jan Vertonghen seemed intent on increasing the lead. The centre-back had stung Robles’ palms shortly before Kane’s second and went on another daring run forward in the 69th minute. His shot was blocked.Perhaps he should have played a bit safer. Eight minutes from time, with Everton still waiting to register a shot on target, the Belgian slipped, allowing his compatriot Lukaku to run in on goal. Having struggled for a kick all afternoon, a simple finish pat Lloris cut Tottenham and Kane’s lead down to one.The away end was buoyant and could sense a collapse in their hosts, but with their first real opening coming through an opponent’s error, their team was still struggling to make inroads of their own. Tottenham kept them at bay and then, at the start of stoppage time, restored their two-goal advantage. Alli’s deft run in front Robles allowed Harry Winks’ free-kick to ghost past the goalkeeper and fall into the corner of the net.There was just enough time for Everton to hit back, with Enner Valencia glancing home Ross Barkley’s free-kick for a consolation, but the visitors’ second shot on target was always going to be too little too late.
Tottenham Hotspur (3-4-2-1): Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Wanyama, Dembele, Eriksen, Alli, Kane.
Everton (4-2-3-1): Robles, Coleman, Funes Mori, Williams, Baines, Gueye, Barry, Davies, Schneiderlin, Barkley, Lukaku.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

Tottenham 3-2 Everton player ratings - A 4 for Ramiro Funes Mori on a poor day for the Toffees
A number of Everton players struggle as Spurs take all three points at White Hart Lane
ByDavid Prentice
15:33, 5 MAR 2017
Liverpool Echo
Joel Robles 6
Robles revealed this week that it is only now – four years after signing – that he finally feels like a first choice goalkeeper at Everton . Little he did today should dispute that status. Beaten by Harry Kane's ridiculously well struck 25-yarder, he made a fine block seconds later to deny the Spurs striker a second. Often exposed, he responded well.
Seamus Coleman 6
One wince-inducing 40-60 challenge – 40-60 against him – underlined that Coleman's appetite and honesty is as convincing as it's ever been. But he endured a tough afternoon against Spurs' swarming hordes.
Ashley Williams 6
Was part of the trio who allowed Kane far too much space to open the scoring, but was otherwise dependable enough alongside his flaky defensive partner.
Ramiro Funes Mori 4
Fortunate to escape a card for a hooked challenge on Kane, his passing was wretched. Too many aimless forward balls and one which was speared straight into touch. He's quicker than Jagielka which is perhaps the only reason he's playing at the moment.
Leighton Baines 6
Survived an early penalty appeal when he dispossessed Kyle Walker cleanly – Michael Oliver called the incident correctly – then horribly miscued a volleying opportunity that such a clean striker of a football would normally relish. Got forward regularly though.
Idrissa Gueye 6
Picked up the yellow card that Funes Mori had evaded but struggled to win back possession against a razor sharp midfield unit. Fired in one promising cross but replaced with 10-minutes remaining.
Morgan Schneiderlin 5
An awful moment for Spurs' second when he was caught in possession just outside his own penalty area, he was nowhere near the influence he has exerted in recent games. Struggled against an intense midfield press and was caught fast asleep for the match-clinching third too.
Gareth Barry 5
Always seems to need a game before he can pick up full match sharpness – and Spurs away is not a fixture to find your pace. Clipped one lovely ball in for Lukaku but otherwise struggled against Spurs' energy. Hooked after 63 minutes for McCarthy, whose energy might have been more potent against Spurs manic midfield pressers than Barry's experience.
Ross Barkley 7
Comfortably the pick of the Everton line up. Controlled and intelligent in possession - one swept pass with the outside of his foot to give Lukaku a run at Verthongen which deserved a better outcome. Enjoying a fine run of form.
Tom Davies 5
Like so many of his team-mates struggled to exert an influence. A couple of nearly balls but found the going tough. Exited along with Barry after 63 minutes.
Romelu Lukaku 7
One opportunity, one clinical finish on an afternoon when he was offered precious little service. But in a match which was billed as the Kane v Lukaku shoot-out, the Spurs man was a landslide winner. Kane showed the levels Lukaku can aspire to – and he can reach.
James McCarthy (63 minutes, for Barry) 7
Within seconds of his introduction nicked one ball back and effected an immediate improvement.
Kevin Mirallas (63 minutes, for Davies) 6
Got a couple of shots off, which not many had managed before his introduction.
Enner Valencia (80 minutes, for Gueye) 7
One penetrating run down the right, one challenge which troubled Lloris, and one clinically converted goal, he enjoyed a bright cameo.

Tottenham analysis: Mauricio Pochettino settles on a winning formula but Spurs lack maturity
tom collomosse at White Hart Lane
London Evening Standard
Harry Kane scored a double as Tottenham held off Everton and cut Chelsea's lead at the top to seven points with a 3-2 victory at White Hart Lane.Much of the pre-match talk had centred around the battle between Kane and opponent Romelu Lukaku as the two continued their wrestle at the top of the Golden Boot scoring charts. And it was the former who won this contest, first beating Joel with a smart 25-yard strike before slotting past the Everton goalkeeper after the break to put Spurs in charge.Everton rallied and Lukaku grabbed a late goal to remain on Kane's coat-tails, but Mauricio Pochettino's men took the all-important points. 
Tom Collomosse was at White Hart Lane to assess Tottenham's performance...
1. Pochettino sticks with his best XI
As he did last season, Pochettino appears to have settled on an XI he will use between now and the end of the campaign – fitness permitting. When Danny Rose recovers full fitness, he will surely replace Ben Davies but the rest of the team appears set in stone. With at least two midweek matches still to come, it will be interesting to see whether Pochettino shuffles his pack but the sense is that there will be few changes. There is a risk here, though: when fringe players know they will be picked only in case of injuries to others, it is difficult to keep them sharp and motivated.
2. Home comforts
This was Tottenham’s second match in a sequence of four at White Hart Lane, and brought them a record ninth straight Premier League win at their home ground. Eric Dier suggested before the game that this run of matches could shape Spurs’ season, and he may be right. The next two matches also look winnable – the FA Cup quarter-final against Millwall on March 12, and the home clash with Southampton seven days later. Win both of those, and Tottenham will be one victory away from a major final, as well as in excellent shape for a top-four finish and a place in next season’s Champions League.
3. Ben wins the Davies derby
Ben Davies has not always found life easy in the Tottenham side, as Danny Rose’s form at left-back this season has relegated him to a back-up role. His namesake at Everton, Tom, has emerged as one of the most promising young players in the country this season. Yet it was Ben who had the better game today, making some intelligent bursts forward and ensuring Everton had little joy when they tried to attack down the right. By contrast, Tom found his direct opponent, Mousa Dembele, in irresistible mood and struggled to make an impact on the game. It was no surprise to see him replaced, by Kevin Mirallas, after 63 minutes.
4. All-round Kane
Harry Kane moved two goals clear at the top of the Premier League scorers’ charts with this double, striking two very different types of goals. The first was a 25-yard rocket that caught Joel Robles slightly flat-footed; the second a calm finish under the body of the Everton goalkeeper after Dele Alli had robbed Morgan Schneiderlin. Kane can score with his left foot, with his right foot, with his head. He can score from distance or from close-range, with powerful finishes or precise ones. He still misses good chances, though. The one-on-one with Robles, shortly after Romelu Lukaku had scored for Everton, would have given the home side a more comfortable end to the game.
5. More maturity required from Tottenham
Mauricio Pochettino bristles when it is suggested that his team lack the know-how required to win trophies. Their record under him is excellent – yet still there are signs of immaturity. In stoppage time, with Spurs 2-1 up, Alli tried a backheel when he only needed to hold possession. And when Alli appeared to have made the game safe with a third in stoppage time, Tottenham were too busy celebrating to remember to mark properly at an Everton free-kick, as Toby Alderweireld’s poor positioning allowed substitute Enner Valencia to tap home. Tottenham were far better than Everton for most of this match and should not have allowed it to become so tense.

Harry Kane brace sees Tottenham striker lead Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku in Premier League Golden Boot race
By  Vaishali Bhardwaj
March 5 2017 London Evening News
Harry Kane's two goals against Everton on Sunday saw the Tottenham striker take the lead in the race for the Premier League Golden Boot ahead of Romelu Lukaku and Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez.
The England international opened the scoring for Spurs against Everton at White Hart Lane with his superb strike from 20 yards in the 20th minute.  He then gave Spurs a two-goal advantage shortly after the break when he side-footed past Joel Robles at his near post in the 56th minute.  Everton striker Lukaku handed the Toffees hope with his composed effort nine minutes from time but, despite his goal, Kane leads the Premier League goalscoring charts with 19 strikes and four assists.  Lukaku is one behind with 18 goals and four assists while Arsenal forward Sanchez has 17 goals and nine assists following Arsene Wenger's decision to start the Chile star on the bench for Arsenal's crunch game with Liverpool on Saturday, which the Gunners lost 3-1.  Chelsea striker Diego Costa - who is expected to start against West Ham on Monday night - sits on 16 goals and five assists for the season so far, one ahead of Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic who has 15 goals and four assists.

'That was a reality check' - Everton fans react to 3-2 defeat to Tottenham
Ronald Koeman's side remain seventh in the Premier League after seeing a nine-game unbeaten streak ended in London.
By Paul Gorst
5 MAR 2017Liverpool Echo
Everton slipped to their first Premier League defeat of 2017 as they went down 3-2 to Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Sunday.  Spurs made it nine straight wins at White Hart Lane to close the gap on Premier League leaders Chelsea, but Ronald Koeman's side remain seventh after seeing a nine-game unbeaten streak ended in London.  Harry Kane opened the scoring in the first half with 25-yard effort that whistled past Joel Robles in the Blues' goal, and the England striker was denied a quick-fire double moments later by the Everton goalkeeper.  After the break, Kane added his second with a smart finish after Morgan Schneiderlin was robbed of possession near the edge of the box, and the defeat brings an end to a nine-game unbeaten streak that stretched back to December.  Lukaku was forced to feed off scraps all afternoon, but he made the most of a timely slip from Jan Vertonghen to go racing clear and steer beyod Hugo Lloris inside the final 10 minutes.  The goal saw the powerful Belgium international become the club's all-time leading scorer in Premier League history, overtaking Duncan Ferguson's haul of 60.
    We didn't deserve anything, but we could have easily got something if we didn't make basic errors. Gifted the win. #EFC
    — Royal Blue Everton (@RoyalBlueEFC) March 5, 2017
    Think that was a reality check for all of us. With that defence there's no way we can challenge for top 4 end of, on to the next one.
    — EFC Fans Corner (@EFCFansCorner) March 5, 2017
    I know mistakes have cost us today but the whole set up was wrong. We've moved so many players to accommodate a 36 year old who can't run
    — EFC People's Group (@ThePeoplesGroup) March 5, 2017
    Today just proves the point that sensible Evertonians know where we are and know what needs to be done to get to where we want to be
    — efc_jaffa (@efc_jaffa) March 5, 2017
    Can't be snobby about it. We're aspiring to be at Spurs' standard, and they reminded us we're quite a way off it at the moment.
    — Spellow Submarine (@ViewFromGwladys) March 5, 2017
    Everything about this has been annoying, our decisions & approach, finicky ref, witless commentary & punditry
    Barkley played okay#e
    — Joe Scott (@litanyoftittery) March 5, 2017
    Crazy the way Koeman's disposed of 3-5-2 after performing so well against City. The best fit for these players #EFC
    — Matt Jones (@MattJFootball) March 5, 2017
    Romelu Lukaku has now scored more goals than any other Everton player in Premier League history.
    — Football__Tweet (@Football__Tweet) March 5, 2017
    Gareth Barry, in the middle of the pitch against an energetic Spurs midfield!!
    — Simon Watt (@simonwatt1) March 5, 2017
    Spurs 3-2 Everton puts our season into perspective.
    It's not the loss but the performance. Koeman needs to sign experience in the summer.
    — LoveEvertonForum (@LuvEvertonForum) March 5, 2017
    Rom's goal makes Koeman's failure to change things earlier even more annoying. The game could have been saved
    — Andy H (@Andy_H_EFC) March 5, 2017
    Everton are just the best of the rest really.
    — Sean Lunt (@Sean_Lunt) March 5, 2017
    Good job we've given away two incredibly soft goals here isn't it?
    — Niall Scott (@citywaster3am) March 5, 2017

Tottenham vs Everton player ratings: Harry Kane shines as Spurs secure 3-2 victory over Toffees
By  Joe Miles
Independent March 5 2017
Harry Kane won his top-scorer tussle with Romelu Lukaku by bagging a brace as Tottenham held on for a 3-2 victory over Everton.  Kane and Lukaku began the day tied at the top of the Premier League goal-charts, and the pair took centre stage again as Kane's double put Spurs two up before Lukaku's late strike sparked hopes of a comeback.  Dele Alli restored the two-goal cushion in injury-time before substitute Enner Valencia added another goal seconds later to complete a dramatic finish at White Hart
Victory for Mauricio Pochettino's men extends their unbeaten run to nine games and means they reduce the gap behind league leaders Chelsea to seven points, with the Blues travelling to West Ham on Monday.  Defeat for Everton leaves the side five points behind Manchester United as they continue to chase down a spot in Europe.

Tottenham 3-2 Everton analysis - Toffees prove they are exactly where they deserve to be
Plus, Blues don't like the Lane & the outcome of Lukaku v Kane
By David Prentice
5 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Everton are exactly where they deserve to be
A nine-match unbeaten run since Christmas had raised hopes that Everton could mount an upwardly mobile assault on the top six in the season's final third.  On this evidence – and with the fixture list they have remaining - they're not good enough to climb even one place higher.  They're better than eighth placed West Brom, but not on a par with sixth placed Manchester United.  And Spurs, meanwhile, look every single one of the 12 points better than Koeman's men the Premier League table says they are.
And at The Lane they're relentless.
This was their 12 win and two draws from 14 home games.
They're saying a very fond farewell to The Lane.
The 3-2 scoreline makes it sound like a close, evenly matched affair.
It wasn't. Spurs were vastly superior.
The Toffees won't be sad to see the back of Tottenham's smart and atmospheric old stadium.
They've been going to this corner of North East London since 1910, and the bad days significantly outnumber the bad.  It is still the venue for the Blues record defeat – a 10-4 demolition in 1958.
And Everton have won just three times there since Gary Lineker was a Royal Blue centre-forward – three wins in a row in the mid-noughties. They have rarely looked like improving that record.
It's not a top six thing.
Everton regularly enjoyed better afternoons at The Etihad Stadium than their league status suggested.
But even when Spurs were a mediocre outfit Everton struggled there.
They won't be sad to see the back of White Hart Lane.
Fast track bully or a man who can mix it with the best?
Romelu Lukaku is as good as there is against the Premier League's nearly men.
But prior to this afternoon his form against the top flight's top six sides mirrored his team's – just three Premier League goals in his last 30 appearances.   That improved to four in 31 with a clinically converted finish from his only opening of the afternoon.  Harry Kane, on the other hand, is a predatory presence against all sides – and as he showed with his opening goal he doesn't need service, or gifts like the one Morgan Schneiderlin presented for his second.  Lukaku has the tools to become as prolific a marksman as Kane, but he's not quite there yet.
Valencia the go-to-guy
Enner Valencia of Everton scores his sides second goal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Everton  The Ecuadorian international is developing a reputation as a go to guy when a match needs changing.  His introduction swung a tight stalemate against Southampton Everton's way just after Christmas - and when Ronald Koeman barked “Enner” today there were only 10-minutes remaining.  That was still enough time for him to make one penetrating run, worry Hugo Lloris with one challenge, and score one goal with a ghosted run and impressive finish.  His challenge is to convince Koeman he can do that for 90 minutes, not 10 – but he is an increasingly useful man to have on the bench.
A vision of the future?
A general view outside the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Everton at White Hart Lane
Everton and Spurs have shopped in the same stores in the past.
Eric Dier left Everton to join Spurs, via Sporting Lisbon, Kyle Walker was wanted by David Moyes but elected to move south from Sheffield United – while Moussa Sissoko was a Ronald Koeman target in last summer's transfer window.  But it's not just Spurs' players Koeman covets.  He wants his Everton side to press as intensely as the Londoners and to dominate midfield areas as impressively.  He has only been building a unit to try and match that for seven months - but if he can achieve that ambition Evertonians will be ecstatic.  In the shadow of White Hart Lane there is also a towering, impressive-looking new stadium looming.
That is also on Everton's wish list.
Everton have been playing catch up with Tottenham for 20 years now.
They're getting closer – but there's still a distance to be made up.

Harry Kane finds pocket of calm amid Spurs’ high energy against Everton
Striker is now Premier League’s outright top scorer and his brace – alongside his workrate – against Ronald Koeman’s attritional team showed why
Barney Ronay at White Hart Lane
Sunday 5 March 2017 Guardian
Two minutes into the second half of this tight, bruising, full-body collision of a football match the poor old beleaguered orange ball spun out of a tackle and into a pocket of space between Ben Davies and Séamus Coleman. Both players reacted instantly, flying into that square of green and producing a startling thud, the sound of flesh and bone colliding, that drew a gasp from the crowd on the near side of this steadily disintegrating stadium.  It was just that kind of afternoon, a match of 55 tackles, relentless contact and three goals in the last 11 minutes as the intensity levels dipped, lactic acid flooding the muscles. By that stage the game had already been decided by two moments of cold, calm incision from Harry Kane.  Tottenham’s No10 is now out on his own as the Premier League’s top scorer with 19, two goals in this 3-2 victory confirming not just Kane’s own majestic goalscoring form but his gathering certainty, the sense of leadership from the front.  Mauricio Pochettino’s gameplan here was simple enough. Spurs lined up with a muscular wedge at the heart of the team, three centre-halves fronted by the bulked up craft of Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembélé. Get through that lot, Ronald old boy. On their side of the haka Everton fielded a triple midfield bolt in Idrissa Gueye, Gareth Barry and Morgan Schneiderlin: Ronald Koeman’s dogs of attritional, trench-based warfare. In the middle of which Kane’s ability to find his own little pocket of calm in all that fury was key.  The match had been billed, vaguely, as a meeting of Kane and Romelu Lukaku. In the event it was a comparison that emphasised the more complete nature of Kane’s game. Lukaku also played well and scored a fine late goal. He surged through the left and right channels a couple of times, not so much a dribbler as a kind of impact runner, bumping off opponents with a switch of the feet and a flex of the chest muscles. But Kane seems more integrated into his team’s patterns. He takes the ball more smoothly and works like a maniac as a lone striker, constantly swerving and pressing, either closing space or seeking it out.  With 20 minutes gone Kane still hadn’t really had a touch, but he produced a brilliant opening goal from his first real moment of space. Gueye was muscled away on the turn 40 yards out. For once nobody closed down the space. Kane took three touches and spanked a wonderful dipping shot that zinged into the top corner, past the flying Joel Robles.  He should have had another one a minute later, playing a wall-pass with Christian Eriksen, skipping inside Ashley Williams’s tobogganing slide, but seeing Robles save his right-footed shot when a stab with the left might have done the job. But Tottenham continued to squeeze, asserting the prodigious physical strength in this team. And for a while it was raw, adrenal stuff under a spiteful lunchtime downpour.  Kyle Walker was once again relentless, haring up and down his flank in apparent desperation all afternoon, great gnarly arms pumping, like a light-heavyweight boxer fleeing a nuclear blast zone. Wanyama robbed Tom Davies rather brutally by the touchline, taking the ball with a single swivel of his prodigious thighs, the thighs of four normal men compressed together into a single pair of avenging shorts.  Ramiro Funes Mori may have had more traumatic half-hours in north London than the opening 30 minutes here. But not many, and not recently.  It seemed fitting Kane’s second goal on 56 minutes should come from another twist of that press. It was Robles who made the key mistake, rolling the ball out to Schneiderlin whose sideways nudge to Williams left his team-mate double-pressed by Dembélé and Dele Alli, who ripped the ball away and fed it to Kane. The finish was like a stills sequence from an FA soccer skills textbook, two touches followed by an opening of the body and a sidefoot into the far corner.  Lukaku’s goal to make it 2-1 on 80 minutes came from a collision too, the Everton man shrugging Jan Vertonghen to the floor, then barrelling through and whumping a right-footed shot past Hugo Lloris. After which Kane could have had another hat-trick, robbing the fretful Funes Mori and strolling in on goal but opting for a dink into the goalkeeper’s chest. Harry Winks made Alli’s late goal, Spurs’ third, with a clever little free-kick and Enner Valencia snatched another back at the death.
But the game had been won in the fury of that first hour. Tottenham are a fearsome spectacle at home these days, this skintight ground with its rattly, touchline-close crowd feeling their aggression, the desire to stomp into and dominate every pocket space. Even for a team as energetic as Everton it can be a strangulating experience. One decorated on this occasion by Kane’s own high-energy incision, a centre-forward who is utterly key to his team, and whose calm in the middle of all that fury decided this match.
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Everton boss Koeman points to home comforts as silver lining after Spurs
Blues manager used his Instagram to call for response to defeat
By Greg O’Keeffe
6 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Everton manager Ronald Koeman hopes home comforts can prompt a response from his players after they lost their first league game of 2017 at Tottenham.  The Blues boss took to his Instagram account after the 3-2 defeat yesterday to post a message of reassurance.  He wrote: 'No win today, but we showed character after 2-0 down.  'Two home matches now, in which we hopefully find the right direction towards the end of the season! #Everton #EFC'
The Toffees next two Premier League fixtures, against West Bromwich Albion and Hull City, are both at Goodison Park, which has been re-established as a fortress by Koeman's men this term.
After the defeat, which was Everton's final visit to White Hart Lane before Spurs move to Wembley stadium as their interim home and then a new ground, Koeman said: “We must stay calm and learn from our mistakes.  “I think overall Spurs were the better team. They created more chances than us this afternoon but their second and third goals came from our mistakes."

Everton transfer rumours - Blues linked with Serie A powerhouse
A round-up of transfer rumours and speculation from around the web
By Joe Rimmer
6 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Everton could make a summer move for Serie A midfielder Seko Fofana, according to reports in Italy.
Italian publication Calciomercato report that Everton and West Ham are admirers of the French midfielder, who has been in excellent form for Udinese this season.  Fofana was actually a Premier League player last season, but left Manchester City to reignite his career with Udinese.
His performances have reportedly caught the eye of Ronald Koeman and Steve Walsh as they look to strengthen their squad in the summer, with Juventus and Inter Milan also said to be interested.
Fofana has scored five goals from midfield in his 22 Serie A games this season. He has been capped at youth level for France, with the 21-year-old impressing in a box-to-box midfield role.

Everton ace Lukaku: Records are nice but I want trophies
Blues leading Premier League scorer eyes silverware
By Patrick Boyland
6 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Romelu Lukaku has placed team success before personal accolades as he bids to help Everton end their 22-year search for silverware.  The in-form Belgian striker became the Blues’ record Premier League goalscorer after notching an 81st minute effort in the 3-2 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Sunday.  But despite putting himself into the Goodison Park history books in the capital with a strike that sees him pull clear of Toffees legend Duncan Ferguson, Lukaku revealed after the match that his primary focus remains propelling Ronald Koeman’s men to success in the future.
He told evertontv: “Yeah, it’s nice (to break the record) but at the end of the day you want to win trophies and you want to achieve something with your team. At the moment, I’m not, so I have to keep working hard.  “I think I have a lot of qualities and I believe in my ability. I’ve worked hard to achieve what I have now. I’m happy with the goal - it was a good pass from Kevin and the rest I did for myself.”
Romelu Lukaku of Everton scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Everton  Everton headed into the crunch clash in north London off the back of a seven-game unbeaten run in the league in 2017, however, pre-match optimism quickly turned to disappointment as a series of individual errors saw the Blues slump to defeat.  And Lukaku bemoaned the slip-ups that contributed to the Blues losing their unblemished record: “We’re really disappointed. We came here to have a good result but we made mistakes and they were 2-0 up.  “Then at the end when we switched tactics and put more offensive players on, I think we had more possession of the ball, created more chances and then we came back.   “But then at the end it was disappointing to concede the third goal because if you look back at the three goals that they scored, they were goals that we gave them, instead of them creating the goals.  “To be fair we fought back at the end of the game but to lose 3-2 is disappointing.”

What the papers said: If Everton don’t want Barkley, Spurs will gladly take him
Blues unlikely be happy over suggestions Londoners should make midfielder 'cheeky, bargain buy'
By Chris Beesley
6 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Here's a round-up of what the national newspapers had to say about Everton's 3-2 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on what was their last ever visit to White Hart Lane.
Darren Lewis is unlikely to be winning himself many friends among Evertonians by suggesting that Tottenham should try and nab lifelong Blue Ross Barkley from Goodison on the cheap.  He said: “Could this man he lining up here next season in a Spurs shirt?  “He still hasn’t yet signed a new deal with Everton and, with 16 months left on his contract, he could yet prove a terrific, cheeky, bargain buy for the north Londoners.  “Despite the criticism he has received at times from Ronald Koeman, Barkley can clearly pick a pass and combined on a couple of occasions with team-mates here to set up Lukaku.
“Not 24 until December, Barkley still has his best years to come. If Everton don’t want him, Spurs will gladly take him off their hands.”  Although Barkley's team-mate Romelu Lukaku was outshone by fellow number 10 Harry Kane in the battle of the Premier League hot shots, Lewis observed that the Belgian will still take any chance that comes his way.  He added: “They kept him quiet for 80 minutes. But the Belgian is just too good to be silenced for 90.  “Prowling across the Spurs backline and sniffing out the chances, he cashed in as countryman Jan Vertonghen slipped trying to close him down outside the box.
“Lukaku eased past him and slipped it into the bottom corner to set up a grandstand finish.
“Considering Harry Kane had three people supporting him and Lukaku was isolated for much of the game, you have to give the former Chelsea striker credit.  “There was no way he was not getting a share of the headlines here.”
Sami Mokbel pulled no punches when assessing goalkeeper Joel Robles' performance, declaring that Everton need to bring in someone better this summer.  The Spaniard had actually gone into this game in a rich vein of form, keeping six clean sheets in his previous nine Premier League games and saying that after spending most of his career as an understudy, he was starting to feel like a 'number one' for the first time.  However, Mokbel remained unconvinced and said: “Ronald Koeman will be on the look out for a new goalkeeper ahead of next season.  “After Robles' display here at White Hart Lane… no wonder.
“Kane's opener was hit with vicious venom but Robles had a good enough sight of the effort not to get beaten at his near post. Certainly not from 25 yards.  “And the less said about his contribution to Kane's second of the afternoon the better. Upgrade needed.”
Henry Winter observed how Ronald Koeman's stifling tactics to attempt to combat the threat of Tottenham's prolific marksman fell short but has predicted brighter times ahead for the Blues.
He said: “On a day when the vanishing spray failed to work, forcing referee Michael Oliver to request another can of foam, Kane certainly showed up. He usually does.  “Ronald Koeman, Everton’s manager, even changed his tactics in a vainful attempt to cope with Kane, inserting Gareth Barry alongside Schneiderlin and Idrissa Gueye, looking to clog the centre, and force Spurs wide.
“Koeman hoped his deep-lying central midfielders would either pick Kane up when he dropped off or cut off the supply line from Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli. The plan worked — for 20 minutes.”
Winter added: “Everton, who wore black armbands in tribute to Alex Young, the “Golden Vision”, who has died aged 80, are still a work in progress but also clearly going in the right direction under Koeman. “Lukaku took the Everton plaudits for his record but the pick of Koeman’s players was undoubtedly Barkley, proving more measured in his decision-making.”
Matthew Dunn picked up on the sloppy defending from Everton as they switched off for Tottenham's third goal.  He said: “As the game pushed on into injury time, Everton forgot what football is all about.
“They were so preoccupied by preventing Harry Winks from playing a short time-wasting pass from a free kick, they failed to mark the more daring ball that picked out Alli to flick in Tottenham’s third.”
David Hytner was impressed with how Romelu Lukaku secured Everton's Premier League scoring record for himself.  He said: “Tottenham had policed Lukaku diligently, with Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen – who know the striker from the Belgium national team – each making excellent tackles on him in the early running.  “Eric Dier, Tottenham’s third centre-half, also stretched into a saving slide challenge on Tom Davies in the 13th minute.  “However, like Kane, Lukaku needs only a sniff of a chance and he got it when the otherwise outstanding Vertonghen got his feet in a mess as he backpedalled following Mirallas’s ball forward and slipped over.  “Lukaku raced through to ram a low shot past Hugo Lloris and a finale that had scarcely been trailed was set up.”
Jason Burt believes that Everton manager Ronald Koeman will have been disappointed with how his side fared in what was a stern examination of their credentials of breaking into the Premier League's elite clubs.  He said: “This was a big test for Everton; a measure of the progress they are making and a sign of whether they can gate-crash the top six.  “Although their manager, Ronald Koeman, understandably said it was time to stay calm, he will have felt a crushing sense of disappointment at how comfortably they were quelled.”
On a disappointing day that produced Everton's first Premier League defeat in 10 matches, David Woods picked out the individual displays of Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley as a couple of bright spots for the Blues.   He said: “Lukaku was largely contained by Tottenham’s three-man central defence, but took his only real chance clinically.  “The way Barkley imposed himself after the break will also have given boss Ronald Koeman plenty of cause for optimism.”

Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles wants new Blues contract
Spaniard has become side's No1 this season despite Stekelenburg arrival
By Phil Kirkbride
6 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Joel Robles hopes to earn himself a new contract at Everton but says talks are yet to begin.
The Spaniard has been the Blues’ No1 since late December after he replaced the injured Maarten Stekelenburg in the derby.  Robles has been forced to fight for his place in the side ever since joining the club in the summer of 2013 but has made 10 consecutive league starts. The 26-year-old will have 12 months remaining on his contract at the end of the season and says he wants to stay at Goodison.
Everton are keeping tabs on Sunderland’s Jordan Pickford ahead of a potential summer move but Robles wants to remain as first-choice for the long-term at Goodison.
“I feel great at the club,” he told IBTimesUK.
“I want to stay here as many years as possible. Everton is like a home for me after four seasons. The people of Liverpool are very friendly. I am very happy with my teammates and in the club.  “My contract will expire next season but I’m not worried. We have not spoken about anything yet but my first choice will be [to stay] at Everton. I have it very clear and I will not leave until the club tell me that they don’t want me here. If they tell me that I will pack the suitcases and leave but I have very clear that priority is to stay at Everton.”  Robles is not worried about potentially facing yet more competition next season.
“Every transfer windows there are rumours about new goalkeepers coming,” he added.
“When Tim [Howard] was here, they said that three new keepers were going to come. Now that I am here it’s is the same. Every transfer window is the same story. I just do my job and when I see those things I smile. I like that these things come out [in the press] but in the end the one who is between the sticks is me. There is nothing better than that.”

Talking Point: Midfield matters as Koeman searches for perfect blend
Was Everton manager too cautious at White Hart Lane?
By Patrick Boyland
6 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
As Ronald Koeman picks over the bones of Everton’s 3-2 defeat at Tottenham on Sunday, one of the issues the Dutchman will doubtless return to is the lack of balance in a midfield that was comfortably second-best for long spells.  Billed as a straight shootout between joint-top Premier League scorers Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane, what actually proved to be the Blues’ undoing was their inability to assert themselves on a powerful opposition unit containing the likes of Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembele.  At the centre of this was a conservative team selection that neither fully negated the influence of Messrs Wanyama and Dembele on proceedings, nor allowed the Blues midfield to provide support for an isolated Romelu Lukaku.   Koeman knew heading into the match that the battle in the centre of the park would be key to the outcome at White Hart Lane. That’s why no less than five midfielders were picked to try and combat the threat of the high-energy hosts.  “It will be a battle, and the key is to win that midfield battle,” he told a press conference on Friday. “They try to do high pressing, and we like to.”  Lots has been said about the relative wealth of options available to Koeman following the £22m January signing of Morgan Schneiderlin and the emergence of Tom Davies.
Sometimes, though, a surfeit of options can be a problem. It certainly was here.
In hindsight, the starting lineup was just too cautious.  Eyebrows were raised before kick-off as Gareth Barry was selected ahead of the fit-again James McCarthy. The veteran still has lots to offer in the right context, but his lack of pace was never likely to be the answer here against one of the league’s most mobile midfields.  Elsewhere, Schneiderlin, who gave the ball away for Spurs’ second goal, had comfortably his worst game in an Everton shirt, while alongside the Frenchman, Idrissa Gueye toiled to exert an influence over opposite number Victor Wanyama.  Even the presence of Davies and Ross Barkley slightly further forward failed to stymie the flow of a game which, in truth, was far more of a foregone conclusion than the 3-2 scoreline suggests.  Spurs didn’t edge it - there was a cavernous gap between the two teams on the day.   It was telling that James McCarthy’s introduction signalled the start of Everton’s best spell in the game, with the Blues finally seeing more of the ball upon the Irishman’s arrival into the fray.
So what next?
£22m-man Schneiderlin is bound to be an automatic pick for the Dutchman, despite his woes in the capital. Idrissa Gueye is another who may well be nailed on for regular games in light of his ability to break up play.  But the pair, still a work in progress let’s not forget, leave Everton lacking a crucial creative dimension to their play. Faced with an intense high press, the Blues didn’t have the personnel on the pitch to pass their way round it.  In a sense, of course, there’s an element of horses for courses as Koeman’s men now attempt to tackle home games against West Brom and Hull City.
The midfield trio picked at White Hart Lane is unlikely to be chosen again to break down two sides that will come to Goodison and sit deep, for example.  So a variation of 4-2-3-1 may remain for the time being, as Barkley thrives in a more advanced role and the likes of Kevin Mirallas, Ademola Lookman and Enner Valencia push forward their claims for more game-time just off lone frontman Lukaku.
One way or another, though, now is the time for Koeman to find his best midfield combination.
Otherwise, more frustrating afternoons like the one experienced at White Hart Lane may well follow.

Everton scout Bury wonderkid Callum Styles
Teenage midfielder attracting interest from top flight clubs
By Phil Kirkbride
6 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
The 16-year-old has caught the attention of several Premier League clubs ever since breaking into the Shakers’ first-team last season.  Styles signed his first professional contract at Gigg Lane last week with Bury manager Lee Clark describing the teenage midfielder as an “unbelievable talent”.
Everton under-23’s chief scout Jamie Hoyland has been spotted at Bury games of late as the Blues run the rule over Styles, who has made eight appearances in League One this season.  Styles’ debut came at the end of last season when he became the first player to be born in the 21st century to feature in the Football League, having only joined the club a few months earlier, after being released by Burnley.

Everton boss Koeman has beer named after him
Barcelona-based brewery honours former defender
By By Patrick Boyland
6 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Evertonians will hope it’s not the start of a charm offensive to lure him back to the Camp Nou, but Blues boss Ronald Koeman has had a beer named after him by a Barcelona-based brewery.  Whisper it quietly, but Koeman is a popular figure in Catalonia after a successful six-year stint with Barca as a player.
So much so, in fact, that following head coach Luis Enrique’s announcement that he will quit in the summer, the Dutchman’s name has already been mentioned as a potential replacement.
This is a man who, with over 150 professional goals to his name from centre-back, no less, has Barcelona etched in his DNA.  And his achievements have now been recognised by brewers La Lenta, who have released a Koeman-inspired beer to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the club’s 1992 European Cup final triumph.  Barcelona's Ronald Koeman scores the winning goal against Sampdoria in the 1992 European Cup final from a free kick  Played at Wembley against Serie A side Sampdoria, the high-profile match was eventually decided in extra-time by the defender’s thunderous free-kick.
The fruity, citrus ale named ‘Golden Koeman’ - a play on words that references the Everton manager’s ginger locks and the fact that ‘gol d’en Koeman’ means ‘Koeman’s goal’ in Catalan - will go on sale alongside collectable t-shirts and posters as fans of the Blaugrana remember their inaugural success in Europe’s premier club competition.   Pol Doncel, one of the beer’s creators, told Spanish outlet Marca: ”We actually came up with the pun before we realised that this year is the 25th anniversary of the Koeman goal from Wembley.  “Although I was only a 12-year-old at the time of the final, my father was in the stadium.”  All that’s left now is for the Blues manager to sample the beer he helped inspire.
Here’s hoping it’s a hit with the man himself, because as Everton players have found out already this season, he’s an exacting sort!

West Brom's Ben Foster hopes history will repeat itself at Everton
Foster believes Albion can stay in touch with the Toffees
By Paul Suart
6 MAR 2017 Birmingham Mail
Ben Foster hopes West Bromwich Albion 's decent track record at Goodison Park will serve them well when they take on Everton this weekend.  Albion missed out on the chance to move to within one point of the Toffees after losing at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday.   But the gap did at least stay at four points following Everton's 3-2 defeat at Tottenham yesterday.  West Brom are unbeaten on their last three visits to the blue half of Liverpool and won 1-0 on their most recent trip to Goodison.  And Foster hopes that sequence will stand them in good stead for another positive result.  "It would have been nice to get a win going into the tough game at Everton," he said.  "But we've had some success there before so hopefully we can get another win and stay in touch with them for that seventh spot."   The loss to Palace was Albion's first in six and ended a run of four straight home league wins.  "Hopefully we can put the defeat down to a one-off," Foster added.  "Credit to Palace. They made it difficult and getting the first goal was always going to be crucial.  "They took their two goals well despite there being a bit of a deflection on the second one.  "You saw the lads pushing forward and trying to get the equaliser when we were 1-0 down but it wasn’t meant to be.   "If we had scored the opening goal I think Palace would have found it as difficult to break us down as we found trying to break them down."

Everton comment: Why Enner Valencia's long-term Blues future isn't straight forward
Valencia on loan from West Ham until the end of the season
By Phil Kirkbride
6 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Three starts, 11 appearances off the bench and just two goals scored mean it’s going to be an easy decision for Everton at the end of the season.  It is, isn’t it?  Enner Valencia, on loan from West Ham, should be thanked for his efforts but shipped off back to the London Stadium when the deal runs out, right?  He’s not good enough to be a long-term member of a squad that has top four aspirations, he was deemed surplus to requirements by a side in the bottom half of the table, and was merely a stop-gap in Ronald Koeman’s first season, so why keep him?
‘Yeah, definitely. Absolutely. Makes sense’ you can imagine many Evertonians saying.
‘But he did look lively at White Hart Lane on Sunday, didn’t he, took his goal really well and has been a decent impact sub this season’.   So maybe, just maybe, the decision won’t be that simple for Koeman.
The Everton manager values pace in his forward players, has so far called on Premier League experience to get the Blues moving and knows Valencia offers the level of work-rate he expects as standard.
More often than not, Valencia makes a difference to Everton’s attack when he comes off the bench.
Is he good enough to lead Everton’s line in Romelu Lukaku’s absence? No.  But, as an option from the dugout, as a player who stretches defences, works relentlessly and is quick, does he offer something to Everton? Yes.   From a squad player, because that is all he would be, can you ask for much more?
In his second season at Southampton, Koeman had Graziano Pelle, Charlie Austin, Shane Long, Sadio Mane and Juanmi at his disposal.  Big men, smaller men, pace and power, variety and options; not the most prolific of groups but one that was clearly effective.  At Everton, Koeman has Lukaku, Kevin Mirallas, Ademola Lookman, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Arouna Kone and Valencia.  Kone will leave the club at the end of the season, along with Gerard Deulofeu and Oumar Niasse, Wayne Rooney will be targeted but why not make Valencia’s move a permanent one?
The biggest sticking point, of course, is likely to be the fee.
On signing his loan deal on deadline day, it emerged Everton would have to pay in the region of £14.5m to secure him on a permanent deal.  He is not worth it, no squad player is, but if West Ham are willing to drop their asking price for a player that would only have two years left on his contract, then for Everton the conversation becomes much more interesting.  The decision over Valencia’s long-term future, however straight forward it appears on the surface, may not be so cut and dried.

Bayern Munich in for Seamus Coleman? Carlo Ancelotti on interest in Everton defender
Bayern face Arsenal in Champions League last 16 second leg tomorrow night
By Phil Kirkbride
March 6 2017 Liverpool Echo
Carlo Ancelotti has played down rumours of Bayern Munich making a shock move for Everton full-back Seamus Coleman.  The Italian coach was asked about the Blues defender at this evening’s press conference to preview their Champions League clash with Arsenal.  Quizzed on Bayern’s supposed interest in Coleman, Ancelotti reportedly issued a firm reply of: “No”.  Long-serving defender Philipp Lahm will retire at the end of the season and so the German giants are on the look-out for a new full-back.  And Coleman’s name was put to Ancelotti this evening but he dismissed the link.
Coleman was plucked from Sligo Rovers in the League of Ireland in 2009 with 2009 for a fee of just £60,000.  The 28-year-old has gone on to make nearly 250 appearances for the Blues and is now captain of the Republic of Ireland.

Michael Ball: Everton players' thumbs up get a thumbs down from me
Never mind the shocking gap between ourselves and Spurs, Blues are still too 'nicey, nicey'
By Michael Ball
7 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
There was something that particularly unsettled me as I watched Everton's game with Spurs on Sunday.
It wasn't that, even though we knew it was going to be a tough game, the difference between the sides was bigger than I'd expected; it shocked me to be frank.  Or that, due to our really good run of form, we weren't able to close the gap between the Blues and Spurs, as I thought we would.  Everyone knew Tottenham were a very good side but they had shown weaknesses in Europe and so I had hoped Everton would've been able to exploit them more than they did.  The goals we conceded were soft, the scoreline flattered Everton a little and it was a reality check but what I really took from that game was the mentality of our players.  More than I like to see, Everton's players were playing poor passes, or whatever, and yet still receiving a thumbs up, almost as if saying 'nice try', from one of their team-mates.  I watched the Sunderland v Man City game straight after ours and one of the moments that jumped out at me was when David Silva lost the ball, Sergio Aguero went ballistic at him.
City were coasting towards an easy win at the time, but it didn't matter to Aguero.
If Everton are to kick on to that next level then the players need to be more demanding of each other, hey need to get angry when it goes wrong, when passes got awry, when challenges are lost and when wrong decisions are made.  Ronald Koeman will be demanding it and now is the time the players demanded it of each other.  At the moment, there is still that streak of 'nicey, nicey' about them.
I know when I was playing that if I was giving the ball away I would be embarrassed and that my team-mates would make it abundantly clear that they expected better of me.  City's players are striving for better all the time and so should Everton's.
Rooney return would be 'win-win' for player and club
Ronald Koeman and Steve Walsh were bang on the money when they said Everton would be foolish not to be interested in any player who would make the squad stronger.
Wayne Rooney does that.
And it's why I believe his return to Goodison next season would be win-win.
It's perfect for both parties, it just fits, and Rooney's experience, class and pedigree will make Everton better.  Rooney would demand the very best of his Everton team-mates, that's for sure.  Arguably, there has not been another player in the Premier League era who has played under such scrutiny as Wayne yet he always just gets on with it - and his record speaks for itself.
He would be fabulous for our younger players as well.
There has been a serious amount of talk about him moving to China but my gut feeling is that if he was going to go there, it would've happened last month.  Now I hope he comes back to Everton.
Robles got his timing wrong  Joel Robles has given an interview in which he says he wants to earn a new contract at Everton.  It wasn't the best timing after Sunday's performance.  But, seriously, Robles has done well since replacing Maarten Stekelenburg in late December and made crucial saves at crucial times in a run that has seen Everton lose to just once in 10 league games.  Yet, Everton need to keep their powder dry for the time being and keep scouring the transfer market for better goalkeepers.
If they don't find one, give Robles a new deal, but there's no rush, they have to give themselves the time to see if they can attract someone better.
Brick back Jags for 'shaky' Funes Mori
It could be time for a change.
A change in Everton's defence ahead of the visit of West Brom on Saturday.
The Baggies have surprised a lot of people this season and they are pushing Everton all the way, though they suffered a set-back as the Blues did over the weekend.  Tony Pulis has done an excellent job with West Brom and though they do try and get the ball down and play, their real threat comes from set-pieces.  Everton have to be water-tight when defending them and it makes me wonder if the time is right to bring back Phil Jagielka.  And not just because of West Brom's threat from set-plays but because of Ramiro Funes Mori's shaky form.  His distribution at White Hart Lane was, frankly, terrible and teams are now letting him have the ball knowing that he'll either give it away or hesitate enough for them to press him.  Mori's saving grace is that, it seems, Koeman likes the balance having a left-footed centre-half on that side, gives you.  I favour it as well but Mori, consistently, puts himself into sticky situations.
It must make Leighton Baines' job harder as well.  He'll forever be caught in two minds: wanting to get further up the pitch, but fearing that if he does Everton could be exposed down his side, and so resisting the natural urge to join in, just to ensure Mori has cover.   Saturday could be time for the return of Jagielka.
Bellew's old-school scrap was big screen entertainment
Huge congratulations to man-of-the-moment Tony Bellew.
What. A. Fight.
It was an old-school scrap, like something out of the movies as both he and David Haye took their lumps.
But Tony did exactly what he said he was going to do and it was brilliant.
Well done mate.

Everton boss Koeman hasn't knocked Barkley confidence
Why Jenas was wrong in assessment of Blues midfielder
By Patrick Boyland
7 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Jermaine Jenas has caused a stir by suggesting that Ronald Koeman’s handling of Ross Barkley has forced a crisis of confidence in the Everton midfielder.  Earlier this season, Barkley was dropped from the Everton team on a number of occasions following a low key start to the campaign, prompting public criticism from the Dutchman.  And in his weekly column on the BBC Sport website, former England midfielder Jenas took the Blues boss to task for his treatment of the young playmaker, citing Tottenham’s Dele Alli as a positive example of a player thriving on extra responsibility.
He wrote: “If there is an element of his game that I think Barkley could take from Alli, it is that he needs to keep the ball moving forwards when he picks it up in the opposition half. Too many times, his first touch seems to take him back into midfield instead.  “But that could be put down to his confidence, because he seems to be in a different situation to Alli right now.  “While Alli has emerged as a key figure for Spurs, Barkley will not have the same feeling that he is his team’s main man.  “He is close to it, but I feel that he is being held back from what he is capable of. That is partly as a result of some of the negative comments Koeman has made about him this season and also because he always seems to get moans and groans from the crowd if things do not go right for him.  “If he was playing with the same belief as Alli, he would be a different beast.” Barkley, though, was widely deemed to be Everton’s best player during Sunday’s 3-2 loss to Spurs. The 23-year-old was given Man of the Match by the ECHO’s head of sport David Prentice in his player ratings piece, while he also received the highest mark from readers in a post-match poll.  Indeed, after a pre-Christmas blip, the boyhood Evertonian is now beginning to get back to his best form under the canny tutelage of Koeman.  He has thrived in a more advanced role in recent months, mustering two goals and four assists in his last 10 games- including the cross for Enner Valencia’s late consolation at White Hart Lane.  Such form has seen the Wavertree-born star cement his place in Koeman’s starting lineup, with the Dutchman once again complimentary of his young charge’s performance in defeat against Spurs.  Koeman said: “Ross was strong, strong on the ball. In the second-half, we really improved attacking-wise. We were more dangerous than in the first.”
Two contrasting views of Barkley’s development, then, but the evidence suggests that Everton’s diamond has finally learned how to sparkle consistently.  Koeman, of course, simply wouldn’t continue to select an underperforming player with the likes of Kevin Mirallas and Ademola Lookman sat on the bench.  Sorry Jermaine, we’re with Ronald on this one...

Our favourite Romelu Lukaku goals for Everton
ECHO writers pick out record-breaking striker's memorable efforts in the Premier League
By Chris Beesley
7 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
With Romelu Lukaku now Everton's all-time leading Premier League goalscorer in his own right after netting 61 times for the Blues in the competition, some of the ECHO football writers have been choosing their favourite goal from the Belgian.  The field is restricted to his Premier League goals only so blockbusters against Chelsea in the FA Cup or his various crackers in the Europa League are off limits.
Phil Kirkbride
v Stoke City (December 28, 2015)
On the surface it may look like one of his more straight forward goals.
A long ball over the top, controlled and then finished. Hardly awe-inspiring, right?
Scratch beneath the route one coating on this goal and you'll find Romelu Lukaku at his best.
That there were shades of Didier Drogba about the goal says everything for its quality.
Tom Cleverley's lofted pass, from almost on the half-way line, picks out Lukaku's run but there is still plenty for the striker to do.  Without breaking stride, the Belgian brings the ball down on his chest to nudge it into his path.  Eric Pieters starts to close him down but Lukaku keeps his composure and slips the ball underneath Jack Butland. Brilliant.
Chris Beesley
v West Ham United (September 21, 2013)
I'm going right back to the beginning for Rom's very first Everton goal.
There was great excitement around Goodison from just signing Lukaku on loan and he proved to be an instant hero by becoming the first Everton new boy since Alan Ball 47 years earlier to net a winner on his debut.  With just seven minutes remaining against West Ham at Upton Park, the Blues had trailed 2-1 but Leighton Baines drew them level before Lukaku secured a 3-2 victory two minutes later.  The Belgian showed the kind of bravery Evertonians love in their centre-forwards by putting his head in where it hurts and getting knocked out by Joey O'Brien in the process.  Rom recalled: “Seamus Coleman came to me and I said ‘who scored?’ He said ‘you did!”  The goal also started an amazing hot streak for Lukaku against the Hammers and incredibly he has now scored in all nine games he has played against them for Everton.
David Prentice
v Newcastle United (September 30, 2013)
If Chris went right back to the very beginning ... I'm going to go back almost as far - to Lukaku's home debut against Newcastle in 2013.  The previous weekend Lukaku had come off the substitutes bench to score a winner at West Ham, so appetites were whetted.  And he didn't disappoint.  He swept in a superb opener after just five minutes, then cleverly dropped off to play in Ross Barkley for a second.
Evertonians were ecstatic. They finally had a centre-forward to live up to the reputation of great number nines of the past.  These were the days when Lukaku had flowing dreadlocks - and it was his second goal which really sparked the excitement.  The young Belgian cut a dashing figure when he chased after Tim Howard's long punt forward, toe-poked the ball past the Newcastle goalkeeper, dribbled around a covering defender - and lashed the ball into the empty Park End net.
His potential seemed infinite. He would score every week.
Okay, he hasn't quite gone on to do that - but the possibilities seemed boundless that manic Monday night.
Adam Jones
v Leicester City (December 26, 2016)
This goal shows everything that Romelu Lukaku is about.
Putting it in to context, this was at a time when the Blues were hanging on to a slender 1-0 lead at the home of the champions - and came in to the match on the back of only one win in the previous seven games.  So, the pressure was seriously on when Lukaku chased down a long ball in to the Leicester City half, seemingly running after a lost cause.  But, the Belgian had the pace and the power to beat Wes Morgan to the ball and shrug him off with almost embarrassing ease.  Then, when you see Lukaku one-on-one with a centre back, you probably already know the outcome - but his piece of skill to beat Marcin Wasilewski on this occasion was pure class.  And, to top it all off, he produced a calm finish in to the bottom corner giving Kasper Schmeichel absolutely no chance and sealed an important win for Everton.
Pulling a goal out of a position like that is why the 23-year-old is already mentioned amongst the top strikers in the league - and that's exactly why he's so important for the Blues.
Joe Rimmer
v Arsenal (April 14, 2014)
No, Adam. This is the goal that shows everything that Romelu Lukaku is all about.
It was in his first season at Everton, and it underlined what a class act the Toffees had on their books.
It also proved that Rom could do it on the big occasion.  He had already tormented Arsenal throughout the early stages of this contest - it was from his shot that Steven Naismith pounced to open the scoring - and when Lukaku picked the ball up on the left hand side with just over half an hour on the clock, there was simply no stopping him.  The young Belgian ran at pace at Arsenal's defenders, sending Arsene Wenger's terrified centre-backs scurrying back into their penalty area, before lashing the ball into the back of the net with his left foot.  He bear-hugged Roberto Martinez in celebration as Evertonians did the same to their friends - and strangers - in the stands at Goodison.  This was Lukaku at his best. Agony for defenders, but pure ecstasy for Everton fans.
Patrick Boyland
v Liverpool (November 23, 2013)
Few things endear a new striker to the Gwladys Street quite like a goal in a Merseyside derby, and that's exactly what the forward - an August loan signing from Chelsea - managed to achieve not once, but twice, in the thrilling 3-3 draw in 2013.  Trailing 2-1 thanks to strikes from Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez, the Blues were hauled level as Lukaku side-footed an effort past Simon Mignolet.
Which goal from our list is your favourite?  He wasn't done there, though. Ten minutes later, the Belgian went one better by powering his way past Glen Johnson and Jon Flanagan to send a bullet header flying into the Gwladys Street net from Kevin Mirallas' inswinging corner.  For a player not known for his aerial ability, it was a marvellous goal that evoked memories of former No.9s Duncan Ferguson and Bob Latchford.  Sadly, it wasn't to be for the Blues- Daniel Sturridge's late header dashed hopes of a famous comeback win - but the Belgian cemented his status as one of the Premier League's top strikers that day.
He's gone from strength to strength since.

Everton transfer rumours - Anderlecht midfielder told to consider Blues move
A round-up of transfer rumours and speculation from around the web
By Joe Rimmer
7 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Former Anderlecht manager Aad de Mos has told the Belgian media that midfielder Leander Dendoncker could ‘bring something’ to Everton .  de Mos was singing the praises of the 21-year-old defensive midfielder, who he says could leave Anderlecht for a similar fee to that of Youri Tielemans, who has also been linked with a move to Everton.  Dedoncker has already made 72 appearances for Anderlecht, scoring six goals and has been capped at every level for Belgium, including two senior call-ups.  He anchors the Belgian side's midfield, allowing the likes of Tielemans to bomb on and score goals.
de Mos believes the player is ready for a move to Everton, and also named Dortmund, Sevilla, Valencia and Southampton as other possible destinations.  He said: "Dendoncker has so much: a good kicking technique, good attitude, recovery power. He is less elegant and spectacular than Tielemans, but I can see him depart for a large amount.  "At clubs like Dortmund, Sevilla, Valencia, Everton, Southampton he certainly can bring something."

Everton target Michael Keane named in Premier League team of the year
Blues planning move for Burnley centre-half in summer
By Phil Kirkbride
7 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Everton target Michael Keane has been named in a Premier League team of the season so far.
The Burnley centre-half is on Ronald Koeman’s transfer wishlist but the Blues are likely to face competition to land his signature.  Former Champions League winner Frank Lampard has been so impressed by Keane, 24, that he named in in his Best XI of the campaign.
Speaking on Monday Night Football Lampard, who selected Keane alongside David Luiz, said: “We have to give credit firstly to Burnley as a team.  “I’ve been really impressed with their play and I think when you’re a player who’s been let go by a top team and you have to go back down the ladder and now you’re looking at him… I’ve seen some games where he’s been fantastic.
“He might not be in everyone’s team of the year but I think you have to give respect to young English players who have made a mark and in a team who are defending a lot.”  Lampard’s XI: De Gea, Azpiliciueta, Keane, Luiz, Bertrand, Kante, Lallana, Hazard, Alli, Kane, Costa.

Confirmed: Romelu Lukaku will sign new five year deal this week
Everton striker Lukaku ready and waiting to sign new terms
By Phil Kirkbride
7 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Everton are expected to confirm that Romelu Lukaku has signed a new five-year deal this week.
The Blues top scorer is believed to have put pen to paper on a contract which will see him earn in excess of £100,000 a week.  Lukaku's previous deal was due to run out in the summer of 2019 but he is now tied to the club until 2022.  Negotiations over fresh terms of the 23-year-old have been rumbling on since well before Christmas with the Belgian's agent Mino Raiola repeatedly insisting a new contract was close to being agreed.  Despite the delay, Everton manager Ronald Koeman remained relaxed about Lukaku's contract and now there has been a major breakthrough in the talks, with the Blues ready to confirm the new deal this week.

Ademola Lookman is the future claims Everton chief Steve Walsh
Everton Director of Football claims best talents are interested in joining Blues
By Tom Clarke
7 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Ademola Lookman has made an instant impact since joining Everton in January, ever since coming off the bench to score just four minutes into his debut against Manchester City.  Director of Football for the Toffees, Steve Walsh, has been impressed by Lookman's start to life at Everton, but believes there is a long way to go before we see the best of the youngster.  "Ademola's the future," Walsh told, "He's come in and done well but he's still got a lot of development to do."  Walsh spotted the 19-year-old and made the Everton board aware of his potential.  "I saw him against Oldham Athletic for Charlton, and never changed my mind on him.  "He's got two feet. He's not one of those people who shifts it to his stronger foot to finish. He has an eye for goal. When he came on (against City) and scored the goal, that took him into the fans' hearts. He looks to get his shots off, he does things that are unusual, he tries to find a yard with his first touch."  What's more is that Walsh has international ambitions for the forward, who has already represented England at under-19 and under-20 level. "There are things I'd like him to add to his game but he's a young kid who has stepped up two leagues so it'll take him some time.  "I've a real hope for him in terms of making it into the England national team if I'm honest, he has that ability."  The former Leicester scout reckons Everton manager Ronald Koeman's selection of Lookman and Academy graduate Tom Davies in recent starting elevens could prove pivotal in the decisions of future young targets looking to join the club.  "Putting him (Lookman) and Tom Davies in the first team sends out the right signals and really does help when it comes to attracting more young players to your football club.  "Even the best talents are interested in Everton. You get a pathway through to the first team which you might not get with another club."  He thinks that combining recruited young players who have started their youth careers elsewhere with Everton's young players leads to the recipe for success in providing the first team with youthful options.  "I think if you can buy those players and integrate them with your own youngsters of quality then it's a potent mix. It gives you that energy and vitality."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will return from ban to face Everton next month
Manchester United striker handed three game ban by FA
By Phil Kirkbride
7 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Zlatan Ibrahimovic will return from his three game ban in time to face Everton next month.
The Manchester United striker has accepted a Football Association charge of violent conduct after elbowing Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings at the weekend.  Ibrahimovic is now banned for the FA Cup tie with Chelsea as well as Premier League games with Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion.
But the Sweden international will be eligible to return to domestic action on Tuesday, April 4 when the Blues make the trip to Old Trafford.  Ibrahimovic scored in December’s game at Goodison and has been United’s talisman this season, plundering 24 goals this season.  The 35-year-old scored twice in the EFL Cup final last month as United won 3-2 against Southampton and, in the process, boosted Everton’s chances of qualifying for the Europa League next season.

Why Everton's dynamic duo are still making best of lists despite long-term injury
Dave Prentice on the missing influence of Bolasie and Lukaku combined
By David Prentice
7 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
As Joni Mitchell so memorably crooned “You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.”
And Romelu Lukaku lost something very special when Yannick Bolasie’s knee exploded against Manchester United in December.  Football 365 website unveiled the double acts they believe have formed this season’s 10 best partnerships - and even though they haven’t dovetailed since December 4, Lukaku and Bolasie made it in at number 10.  It’s easy to understand why.  The dynamic duo had started just 13 matches together - but in that time all four of Bolasie’s Everton assists were for Lukaku goals, while Lukaku returned the compliment at Burnley for Bolasie’s only Everton strike to date.  Even three months after Bolasie’s collapse, no other Premier League duo have combined more often to score.
Big pals off the pitch, Bolasie revealed: “We speak Lingala on the pitch.
“There aren’t too many defenders in the league who speak it, so that gives us a little bit of an advantage.”  That and their appreciation of each other’s play.  Anthony Martial has a lot to answer for.
As if a last minute FA Cup semi-final winner wasn’t enough, it was his challenge which led to Bolasie’s awkward tumble and more than a year on the sidelines.  As Peaches and Herb less memorably crooned, when they’re reunited it will be so good.

Williams calls on Koeman to stick with Everton
We enjoy working with him says Blues defender amid manager's Barcelona links
By Tom Clarke
7 MAR 2017 Liverpool Echo
Ashley Williams has spoken of his desire for Ronald Koeman to focus on the job at hand, despite speculation linking him with the Barcelona mangerial role to be vacated by Luis Enrique at the end of the season.  Williams has been one of the first names on the teamsheet since joining the club in the summer when Koeman signed him shortly after taking over as Everton manager, and the defender wants to see the project at Everton continue under the Dutchman's guidance.  “For me personally and the lads, we obviously hope he stays,” Williams said.  “He’s started building a team here and we’re all confident the future looks good for Everton so from our point of view we’d obviously want him to stay.”
The Welshman, however, considers that Koeman may want to look at the job as a future career prospect.  “He might have his own ambitions. I can’t speak for what he wants from his managerial career but just from our point of view, definitely we enjoy working with him.  “You can see from the way we’ve been playing of late that it’s working.”  Williams sees Koeman’s work at Everton as a long-term project and admits they need time to progress, and following Sunday’s 3-2 defeat to Spurs he sees the Londoners as where Everton aspire to be.  “I think the gaffer is building a team to what he wants. They’re a bit more settled than us, they play the same eleven most games and they know each other very well so that’s what we’re trying to get to.  “We saw it as a good test to see where we are as a team because they’re clearly one of the best teams in the league.”  Everton only need three more points to reach the 47-point tally that they have achieved for the last two Premier League seasons, and Williams thinks the Blues can be even better next campaign.  “We’ve done well in the last couple of months. It’s all about kicking on now and trying to take that into next season”.  The 32-year-old, for the remainder of this season though, insists the target is to catch the teams ahead of them and break the top six, and closing the gap between Everton and the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool.  “They’re catchable definitely because it’s football,” said Williams, “I presume they’re not going to win every game until the end of the season.  “They’re strong sides and big clubs with experience of challenging for things and being at the top end of the table so it’s a difficult ask.  “But with football you never know, teams go on good and bad runs with momentum so any team can be caught.”



























March 2017 - Week 1 (1st - 7th)

All News Articles throughout each month.....

Everton Independent Research!