Koeman won't let Barkley leave Everton on the cheap

Koeman won't let Barkley leave Everton on the cheap

McCarthy sat out Everton's pre-season finale with Sevilla on Sunday, with Everton manager Ronald Koeman telling reporters after the game that he was held out due to a knee injury.

Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy has been left out of Everton's squad for their Premier League opener against Stoke City as he continues his recovery from a knee injury.

Optimism and expectations are rising at Goodison Park, and although Koeman is not making bold promises about breaking into the Premier League's top six, the Dutchman is confident.

But Koeman reflected on the top sides' far superior attack forces, saying: "Compare that to the big teams and what they have on the bench - or even in the stands - it is a big difference to Everton".

He said: "The end of the transfer window is more realistic to speak about targets and what is possible".

Everton's last four Premier League campaigns have all started with a draw, with three of those ending 2-2.

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Lukaku hit 25 league goals for Everton last season and, with supply coming from the likes of Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the Belgian should record a similar tally.

Potters boss Mark Hughes has been trying to get the 25-year-old centre-half back to the bet365 Stadium on a permanent basis following his successful loan spell last season.

"It's one that's frustrated a lot of people, not least myself, but now it's likely to get done unless there's any last-minute hitches, but we don't anticipate any".

However, in summer recruit Darren Fletcher and the understated Joe Allen, the Potters will have their own fairly dynamic midfield duo and will aim to disrupt Everton's flow on home turf. "He will have a medical and that takes time, so the thinking is he will be ready to go from Monday".

He's a very clever player who will score goals and bring his teammates into the game. "He is an important player and he is one of the team that will start this Saturday".

Having said that I'm backing them to kick the season off with a win against a Stoke side I fear will struggle having lost Marko Arnautovic to West Ham.

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