Everton: Midfielder sidelined; Baines return close; Rooney revelation; latest on Juventus target

It’s mixed news on the injury front for the Toffees this week as midfielder James McCarthy has reportedly suffered a set-back in his return from injury according to reports in the Liverpool Echo.

The Republic of Ireland international has sustained a suspected hamstring tear and is likely to be out for several weeks. McCarthy was omitted from the squad that made the trip to Turf Moor on Saturday and now it seems he will be spending an extended period in the treatment room.

The 26-year-old has also recently undergone surgery for a groin injury back in August, and after being exhausted on international duty with Ireland, he returned to club action as a late substitute against Manchester City only to now be facing another spell on the sidelines.

 

Furious Everton boss Ronald Koeman was scathingly critical of Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill for sending McCarthy back from international duty fatigued after having been “massively overloaded”. McCarthy hadn’t featured for his club since August but went on to play in both of the Republic’s World Cup qualifying fixtures against Georgia and Moldova.

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The Echo quotes Koeman as saying: “Play him for 45 minutes, 60 minutes, but not 95 minutes after five to six weeks out. The second time, 80 minutes! You are killing the player.”

The better news on the injury front is that the Dutchman is not giving up on Leighton Baines being fit in time to play in Sunday’s clash with West Ham United, as Everton look to get out of a run of four games without victory.

 

Left-back Baines has missed Everton’s last four fixtures, none of which they have won, with a hamstring injury. Despite making a steady recovery following an extended period of rest over the international break, he aggravated the problem in a behind-closed-doors friendly with Wigan Athletic, which has forced him out of the last two league games for the Toffees.

Koeman has remained tight-lipped over the potential timescale of the 31-year-old’s return to action, but has indicated that he is hopeful about the left-back returning to training this week, which would put him back into the reckoning for Everton’s showdown with a resurgent West Ham United at Goodison on Sunday.

 

“I hope he will do some training this coming week and maybe he can be ready for the weekend,” Koeman said addressing the press following Everton’s defeat on Saturday.

There is more interesting news potentially emerging from Goodison Park however. With question marks repeatedly raised over Wayne Rooney’s Manchester United future, Paddy Power have slashed the odds of a return to the club where the England skipper began his career to 9/1. This makes the Toffees fourth favourites for Rooney’s signature. but more significantly the top-ranked English club amongst the betting to acquire the services of their former asset.

 

ESPN FC have also added fuel to the fire of this rumour, claiming that Jose Mourinho is apparently open to selling the England international, be it in January or over the summer. With that in mind, talk is rife that the United ace may find his way back to the club where he began his illustrious career.

Away from first-team affairs, there is some news to be told in the lower leagues, where on-loan Everton goalkeeper Russell Griffiths, 20, seems to be getting the best out of his loan spell with League Two outfit Cheltenham Town.

 

The Kent-born shot-stopper featured in the EFL Team of the Week following his performance in the Robins’ away match at Grimsby, where the youngster made a string of saves to keep out League Two’s joint-leading marksman Omar Bogle, thus earning a clean sheet and helping Cheltenham record a precious 1-0 win at Blundell Park.

Keeping the subject firmly on goalkeepers, rumours have resurfaced regarding Everton’s links over the summer to Juventus’ Brazilian goalkeeper Neto, according to the Liverpool Echo.

 

The pendulum of this transfer saga has already swung one way then the other in recent months, and this time, the Echo reports that Italian outlet Calciomercato are claiming that the Serie A giants would like to retain the services of the Brazilian.

The outlet claims that Neto will start for the Turin club against Genoese outfit Sampdoria, with Massimiliano Allegri keen to give Gianluigi Buffon’s understudy the chance to prove his worth to the Old Lady, which could be of detriment to Everton’s chances of landing the player in January or beyond.

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