Thursday 14 December 2017

Goodbye Goodison

Koeman lukewarm on McCarthy's future at Everton amid exit talk

Ireland midfielder James McCarthy could be sold by Everton boss Ronald Koeman (above) in January
Ireland midfielder James McCarthy could be sold by Everton boss Ronald Koeman (above) in January

James McCarthy is now odds on to leave Everton and it could happen as early as the January transfer window.

Revealing that McCarthy is fit to play against Manchester United at Goodison Park tomorrow after hamstring problems, Ronald Koeman offered a very lukewarm response to hardening rumours about the Ireland international's future.

"I don't know. I did not speak with James about his situation," said Koeman dismissively.

"For a long time he wasn't available for the team. Even last week he had only two training sessions and this week? Yes, he did train and is available for the weekend.

"About the future of James, the future of other players, new players? That is not the focus I need to show at this moment."

McCarthy has endured an unhappy season to date, managing just four Premier League appearances under Koeman.

Speculation throughout the summer pointed to McCarthy as a likely mover during the transfer window and when Koeman played him in defence against West Brom and then subbed him before half-time, a rapid exit seemed to be on the cards.

The subject of a fierce tug of war between Ireland boss Martin O'Neill and Koeman, persistent hamstring trouble has been his biggest problem this season but he has also found it difficult to dislodge a first-choice midfield pairing of Gareth Barry and Idrissa Gueye when fit.

Under pressure Koeman also found himself defending his choice of ornaments on his Christmas tree after picking red and white. Following a social media storm, he changed the colour scheme to white.

"This was a big mistake of my wife, put her under pressure!" he laughed.

"I understand the fanatic blue people. Of course I am the Everton manager, I'm a blue and will do everything to be successful at this great club.

"But I like a glass of red wine. I don't need, if I drink a glass of red wine, to mention and to show I am a blue. But okay, it's funny. Don't take it too seriously."

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