Blues squad jets out to pre-season camp in Austria

11 July  40 Comments  [Jump to last]
© Everton FC
The bulk of Everton's squad has travelled to Austria where will they prepare for their programme of pre-season friendlies later this month.

The 23-man party that flew out today includes most of the senior squad — with Tom Davies and Kieran Dowell now part of that number — minus those players involved for their countries at Euro2016 and the Copa America, plus Under-21 players Conor Grant and Matieusz Hewelt. (The U21s themselves are training in Spain this week.)

The trip will give Ronald Koeman further opportunity to run the rule over many of the players he inherited from Roberto Martinez as he maps out where he will need to strengthen the side during the current transfer window.

The Blues have been linked with a slew of names, most prominently Axel Witsel, Juan Mata and Kalidou Koulibaly, but to date only Maarten Stekelenburg has been added at first-team level this summer.

There have been suggestions in the Liverpool Echo that the new manager will take his time to fully evaluate the players he has at his disposal and could use the later parts of the window to do the bulk of his business.

While the emergence of the likes of Davies and Dowell could fill the gaps in midfield created by the release of Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar, there are obviously weak areas that Koeman could address right away.

The fact that only two senior strikers, Oumar Niasse and Arouna Kone, travelled to the Montafon valley today starkly illustrates the lack of depth up front behind Romelu Lukaku, while the manager is known to be targeting another goalkeeper to replace Tim Howard.

While at least one behind-closed-doors practice match is planned for the team's time in Austria, the first of Everton's pre-season friendlies kicks off against Barnsley in 12 days' time, with fixtures against MK Dons, Dynamo Dresden, Real Betis, Manchester United and Espanyol all on the schedule before the new Premier League season gets underway against Tottenham Hotspur on 13 August.

The full list of Everton players who traveled to Austria is: Robles, Stekelenburg, Hewelt, Baines, Jagielka, Oviedo, Garbutt, Galloway, Holgate, Pennington, Jones, Gibson, Cleverley, Besic, Barry, Davies, Grant, Dowell, Kone, Mirallas, Lennon, Niasse, Deulofeu, Rodriguez, Henen.

Everton Under-21s departed for training near Valencia, Spain, the full squad comprised of: Beni Baningime, Nathan Broadhead, Harry Charsley, Michael Donohue, Calum Dyson, Antony Evans, Morgan Feeney, Matty Foulds, Louis Gray, Russell Griffiths, Nathan Holland, Connor Hunt, Jack Kiersey, Shayne Lavery, Conor McAleny, Chris Renshaw, Antonee Robinson, Bassala Sambou, Liam Walsh, Josef Yarney, James Yates.  


Reader Comments (40)

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Tom Evans
2 Posted 11/07/2016 at 19:33:41
Well at least the opponents for the friendlies are an upgrade compared to the last couple of pre-seasons.

I sincerely hope that Ronald can indeed see what he has to work with whilst in Austria, and that he acts swiftly when he sees first hand the improvements he has to make by bringing in new personnel.

Kevin Rowlands
3 Posted 11/07/2016 at 19:36:41
Mirallas looks real happy, doesn't he?
Colin Glassar
4 Posted 11/07/2016 at 19:54:13
He always does, Kevin. I hope Niasse has learned to pass the ball, for his sake.
John Zapa
5 Posted 11/07/2016 at 20:28:50
Seems to be quite late to start the first game compared to others. Some teams would have already played 2-3 games by that point. You wonder if the fitness levels would be better than last season...
Roger Helm
6 Posted 11/07/2016 at 20:45:02
I don't remember Southampton having had fitness problems when we played them, John, at least when I saw them at GP.

I posted earlier my concerns about our lack of transfer activity compared with other clubs, but perhaps RK is impressed with our fringe youngsters and intends to promote some of them if they do well in pre-season.

Denis Richardson
7 Posted 11/07/2016 at 21:04:50
Hope RK makes the most use of the plentiful mountains to get the players super fit.
Peter McHugh
8 Posted 11/07/2016 at 21:41:02
Not a bad start at present by Ronald as I've checked the table and we're in 6th place.
Guy Hastings
9 Posted 11/07/2016 at 22:05:09
Peter 8 - Europa League again - RK OUT!
John Zapa
10 Posted 11/07/2016 at 22:12:21
Roger 6,

At Southampton, Koeman inherited a super fit squad, he only needed to maintain what he had. Pochinetto was a fitness freak.

Now Koeman has inherited a very unfit squad and starts from a much weaker position fitness wise. He cannot treat this summer as just another pre season.

Jeff Armstrong
11 Posted 11/07/2016 at 22:19:40
Barkley should be on this trip as he had no game time in the Euros. Even if the club didn't call him back, he should be busting a gut (no pun etc) to impress the new coach.

Don't think young Kenny is on the list either, anyone know why?

Jamie Sweet
12 Posted 11/07/2016 at 22:38:52
I hope Koeman can find a way to get the best out of Mirallas. On his day, he is still one of the biggest goal threats that we have.

I thought he looked good in some of his three minute substitute appearances last season. And more seriously, Chelsea away 3-3 he was fantastic.

Can Koeman unlock the magic?

Ray Robinson
13 Posted 11/07/2016 at 23:07:28
Mirallas looks as though he's misinterpreted Koeman's pre-season instructions to stay out on the wing.
Andrew James
14 Posted 11/07/2016 at 23:18:30
A fit and disciplined Kev should start every week. He seemed to do okay bar injury under Moyes and then RM completely wasted him.

James Flynn
15 Posted 11/07/2016 at 23:24:00
John (10) - True about Pochinetto. Remember one of his current players saying how he insists on the gym work throughout the season; which, in the player's experience not all managers do.

I do disagree with "he only needed to maintain . . . ". Easier said than done, yeah? If he did maintain, I see it as he saw the value in it and didn't let the players slack off. Unlike OFM taking over from Moyes.

Funny, after the last disaster of a manager, I look at pictures of Koeman with our players in training and am still adjusting to the fact we have an actual professional in charge.

Kieran Kinsella
16 Posted 11/07/2016 at 23:32:52
Interesting omissions. Couple of 23-year-old strikers in McAleny and Leandro left behind. Davies at 17 is but the diamond Ledson at 19 doesn't make the cut. No place for 20-year-old strikers Henen and Byrne.

I imagine then it's curtains for the aforementioned bar maybe Ledson. If the other four strikers can't get a look in alongside two Keystone cop strikers, then it doesn't say much for them.

Kieran Kinsella
17 Posted 11/07/2016 at 23:35:33
John

He wasn't really maintaining as half the squad left with Pochetino

Gary Reeves
18 Posted 11/07/2016 at 23:43:09
Kieran, I'm pretty sure Ledson is away with England U-19s.
Lyndon Lloyd
19 Posted 12/07/2016 at 00:26:53
Gary (18), you're right, he is with England, along with Jonjoe Kenny and Callum Connolly.

Peter Cummings
20 Posted 12/07/2016 at 01:33:36
Koulibaly?? Who is he and why are we going after him when we already have the likes of Lukaku and Niasse warming the bench? We need to sign 'names', not possibilities.
Steven Sturm
22 Posted 12/07/2016 at 03:30:06
For God's sake I hope they know enough to seat Hewelt on the left side of the plane!
Dave Pritchard
23 Posted 12/07/2016 at 07:54:28
Peter, Lukaku warming the bench? Isn't Koulibaly a defender?
Denis Richardson
24 Posted 12/07/2016 at 09:31:01
Not being funny but a fit and focused Mirallas would be like a new signing.

No idea what Martinez was thinking about last season, Mirallas is one of our best players. Ridiculously underused and I can see RK putting him straight into the first team.

He'll get 8-10 goals a season easily.

Trevor Lynes
25 Posted 12/07/2016 at 11:35:05
Lets hope that we do not wait to get players signed and bedded in this time around.If we leave every move until the last few days we will not get any of our prime targets.No one will ever convince me that Fellaini, Funes Mori and Niassie were ever prime targets.They were all unopposed signings and Niassie so far has looked a dud especially for the money he cost.I also do not think buying Cleverley represented any sort of ambition....he is very average IMO along with McCarthy and Besic.Kone, Gibson and Mcgeadie are not good enough for any team with top 6 ambitions.
Anthony Dwyer
26 Posted 12/07/2016 at 11:42:45
A week into this training camp and Ronald Koeman needs to make big decisions on some fringe players.

We finished in a very disappointing position last campaign, and that's a clear reflection on the squad's ability.

Yes, they can do better; and yes, the manager was useless... but the fact remains, we finished bottom half and none of the first-team squad had the balls or ability to stop that happening.

Signings are important, and it's vital to have them in early. We already have lots of rumours flying around about our own players wanting off, plus lads who have been at the Euros, therefore meeting back up late with the squad.

Koeman needs answers in his own head about certain players:

Niasse is one, is he a £13m mistake or just a lad who's never been given a chance? Henen, McAleny and Leandro Rodriguez are all in a similar group to Niasse too.

Mirallas and Deulofeu both have to answer the call to step up to the first team on a regular basis, or basically step off. Both should be playing 30+ league games if they could find fitness and consistency.

Garbutt, Galloway and even Baines all need to show if they can stake the regular left back spot. I'd guess Baines will be back to his best this season if his injuries have cleared up.

Galloway, Holgate and Browning all need to show they are genuine threats to the first-team players, one of them needs to show they can step up when called upon.

Robles needs to have shown major improvement if he's to be the Number One goalkeeper.

The above aren't the only ones, but it outlines the problems at the club. Only a few current squad players demand a first team start, and two of them have been linked with a move away.

Koeman needs to get his house in order asap if we are to start the campaign off well.

David Pearl
27 Posted 12/07/2016 at 12:07:45
I think the main problems to address is unity and confidence within the squad. It's a big season for many as we have a great deal of talent within. I can't ever remember having so many capable youngsters.

Also, Let's see the real Niasse too. He arrived with a big smile on his face but into a broken dressing room. There is a nagging feeling within me however that we need shut of Lukaku. Either that or RK is strong enough to bring him into line.

Peter Cummings
28 Posted 12/07/2016 at 14:02:10
Dave #23, That was my question, until yesterday I'd never heard of him. his position, strengths, skills etc but I'm still wondering why are we apparently 'desperate' to sign him according to media reports.
Sam Hoare
29 Posted 12/07/2016 at 14:18:57
Peter, his position is CB, his strengths are pace, power, passing and indeed strength. He is a brilliant defender and I think has won more balls than any other defender in Serie A over last 2 years.

He looks to be exactly the type of monstrous defender we need to strengthen our back line. He is extremely well thought of and would be a high profile capture even though his name is far from household.

Though there are no guarantees I'd be very excited to get him as a replacement for or maybe partner for Stones.

Dave Pritchard
30 Posted 12/07/2016 at 15:10:42
Peter, I was querying your connecting of Kouli with a pair of strikers. Also didn't get why you had Lukaku on the bench.
Jay Harris
31 Posted 12/07/2016 at 15:25:53
Sam,

I think we will find that Stones is definitely off to Man City and that is why we are being linked with high quality expensive signings Such as Rugani and Koulibaly.

On the other hand it may just be the media speculating and Stones may be staying but he is 1/5 with Skybet to join City and that is pretty convincing.

Anthony although I share your view that the squad needs a good shake up we have to factor in that the tactics and lack of player motivation has been a big factor this last two seasons. Any other club would have got rid the season before so maybe the players took it into their own hands and decided to down tools in the league games to force BK's hand.

Paul Andrews
32 Posted 12/07/2016 at 15:46:51
Sam, Mick Lyons would be an improvement on the Stones of last year. A young man with good potential, far,far from the player some have him as. "The best footballing centre half since Booby Moore" as one punter described him.

It reminds me of a question John Lennon was asked...is Ringo the best drummer in the world?

Lennon " He's not even the best drummer in the Beatles"

Michael Kenrick
33 Posted 12/07/2016 at 17:37:31
Updates on some of the absentees:

Tyias Browning needed knee surgery back in November and has not played since. Martinez said he didn't expect him back before the summer. A Twitter post at the end of June had him running again at Finch Farm but he probably needs more time before he can fully participate in first-team training.

Sam Byrne broke his leg in an unfortunate training ground accident back in March and so will be sidelined for a while yet.

Joe Williams, the much unheralded captain of the Under-21s last season, damaged his lateral collateral ligament in the final game of the season against Chelsea in May, and needed surgery. Medical experts said Williams would be out for at least six months but the Huyton midfielder is targeting a return to action before mid-November.

Courtney Duffus was coming good with the Under-21s in the later stages of last season, and getting on the scoresheet. I can't find anything about him being injured. He was getting Irish citizenship... Are Ireland playing in the Euro Under-19s Championship? [Is his brother, Tyrone Duffus, still with us?]

The only other two U-21/U-18 names from last season who are not listed here: Jack Bainbridge and Delial Brewster, both of them regulars with the Under-18s but dropping off the teamsheets in the later part of last season, so they may also be injured or in recovery.

Mike Allen
34 Posted 12/07/2016 at 19:31:50
Anyone know if evertontv is screening the friendlies and if are they doing a package for the friendly games?
Les Martin
35 Posted 12/07/2016 at 19:53:03
Ronald Koeman has a hell of a job on his hands. A lot of this squad is very young and unproven over an extended period. Additionally other first teamers are not up to it and need moving on.

Davies and Dowell are gems and Koeman will see first hand what gems we have.

New players, 3? key signings to bolster the squad and we may get somewhere.

I expect this season to be hard and one of rebuild and steady progress so do not expect too much.

Dave Abrahams
36 Posted 12/07/2016 at 20:50:11
Lyndon (OP) according to the Liverpool Echo Liam Walsh and Tyias Browning are going to Austria with the first team squad.
Peter Cummings
37 Posted 12/07/2016 at 22:45:52
Thanks, Dave & Sam, for the updates on my queries about rumoured signings. As for Lukaku's benching, it was probably a bit of wishful thinking on my part given his attitude and verbal diarrhea of late.

Onwards and upwards, you Blues.

Michael Kenrick
38 Posted 13/07/2016 at 00:40:40
Dave, the list with Browning and Walsh was from Monday, under the lead-in Everton’s squad for Austria is due to be...

They posted a (presumably correct) list of the Austria-bound players on Tuesday morning, as listed up top, with Walsh off to Spain and Browning not traveling.

Laurie Hartley
39 Posted 13/07/2016 at 05:36:39
Lyndon & Michael, thanks for the update on Tyas Browning. I am hoping he makes a good recovery and we see more of him under Koeman's management.

Denis # 24 - totally agree with you about Mirallas - I am hoping Koeman introduces discipline into his game. Mirallas always looks fit to me and he can run at a defence through the middle.

Peter Gorman
40 Posted 13/07/2016 at 06:21:42
Conor Grant returns from League One Doncaster and makes it to Austria, Conor McAleny returns from League One Wigan and joins the youngsters in Spain.

So that must be the end for him really. What is he now, 5 years older than the rest of that squad? Feel quite bad for him.

Paul Burns
41 Posted 13/07/2016 at 09:58:31
Used to love pre-season friendlies back in the early '80s, they were your European trips during grim years before the good times returned.

Anyone remember the trips to Bruges and Dordrecht, a couple of thousand fans used to go? All sorts of mayhem and laughs in the boozers, casinos and brothels of Ostend, Scheveningen and other unprepared places. Happy days.

Steavey Buckley
42 Posted 13/07/2016 at 14:47:00
Austria is supposed to be a warm weather training camp yet it is raining. The Everton under 21's got a better deal in Spain, where it is warm and sunny and by the sea.

As for the squad training in Austria, including the absentees, they really need to be improved with some better players. Otherwise, Everton will be looking to finish 11th again in the premier league.

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