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Monday 11 December 2017

Koeman doesn't think McCarthy will be fit

Wayne Rooney is fit to feature for Everton. Pic: Reuters
Wayne Rooney is fit to feature for Everton. Pic: Reuters

Everton boss Ronald Koeman could be on course for another clash with Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill over the fitness of James McCarthy.

The Irish international has been sidelined by a knee problem and is yet to play this season. However, on Tuesday, he was named in the Republic of Ireland's provisional squad for World Cup qualifiers against Moldova on October 6 and Wales three days later.

Koeman had a war of words with O'Neill last term over McCarthy's use by the national team after suffering injury.

The Everton manager, whose side have a Europa League home clash with Cypriot side Apollon Limassol tonight, was asked yesterday how he regarded McCarthy's condition and the call-up, and said: "Every nation is free to call the players. They need to see the player, and then if it's possible.

"I heard from the doctor he can be part of the team for training this Friday. But his last game was in July.

"I think that is the answer for you."

Wayne Rooney, left with a cut above his left eye and a bloodied face on Saturday having been caught by Bournemouth's Simon Francis' arm, is fit to feature.

But centre-backs Michael Keane (foot) and Phil Jagielka (hamstring) remain unavailable, and are doubts for Sunday's league match against Burnley.

Mason Holgate, who has been operating at right-back, played in the middle of the defence at the weekend and is set to do so again.

The 20-year-old said on yesterday: "As I get older I'm hoping to go centre-back. But I'm happy in either (role). I'll play wherever I'm needed."

Everton head into what is their second Europa League Group E game having been woeful in their opener, the 3-0 away loss to Atalanta.

That was part of a six-game winless run and four successive defeats, halted by the 3-0 Carabao Cup win over Sunderland.

Koeman added yetersday: "The two wins were important, but this is a different competition.

"We need to react, because what we saw in Italy was not the Everton we like.

"We have to show that revenge feeling tomorrow."

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