Europa League Preview
Wayne Rooney will start a competitive match for Everton for the first time in 13 years
The start of the Premier League campaign is still two-and-a-half weeks away but Everton's 2017-18 season kicks off in earnest this evening as they take their first steps on the road to Lyon.
The Toffees' seventh-place finish in 2016-17 gained them entry into the Europa League but only at the Third Qualifying Round stage which entails an early start against minnows MFK Ružomberok at Goodison Park.
The return to European competition, coupled with the club's ambitious summer spending, has engendered unprecedented interest from supporters, however. Unlike the first group stage game against Wolfsburg three years ago when 28,000-plus attended in the midst of an iffy start to Roberto Martinez's second season in charge, Goodison is sold out for the home leg, guaranteeing a bumper crowd under the lights for the visit of the Slovakian side.
The chance to see some of those new close-season acquisitions for the first time has no doubt helped ticket sales, none more so perhaps than one Wayne Rooney who will line up in an Everton jersey for a competitive match for the first time in 13 years.
Ronald Koeman didn't specify which of his six eligible new recruits will be in the starting XI but confirmed in yesterday's press conference that the 31-year-old will play, although he stopped short of confirming where.
Romelu Lukaku's departure has created a vacancy among last season's line-up of automatic starters and Rooney, while his powers as an out-and-out striker have diminished with age, could be charged with filling that void for this fixture at least, particularly if Sandro Ramirez isn't deemed ready.
The Spaniard could well start as well, though, along with Kevin Mirallas in a forward three, with three more new signings down the spine of the team in the form of Davy Klaassen, Michael Keane and Jordan Pickford. Cuco Martina, the free agent acquisition who left Southampton this summer, is almost certain to start in place of the injured Seamus Coleman if Koeman opts for a back three.
At centre half, with Ramiro Funes Mori sidelined for the rest of the year, it will be a case of Ashley Williams or Phil Jagielka getting the nod to partner Keane if the new man from Burnley is selected unless the manager goes with a back three and risks fielding all three.
In terms of the opposition, Ružomberok are very much a little-known quantity to most Everton fans. The Ruža are back in European competition for the first time in 11 seasons thanks to their third-place finish in the Slovakian league last season.
They edged past Vojvodina of Serbia 3-2 on aggregate in the First Qualifying round and overcame the odds to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit against SK Brann in the last round to win the away game 2-0, solidifying their credentials as a side capable of scoring late goals and winning away from home.
The consensus must be, however, that Everton will have too much for their less-fancied opponents and, barring unforeseen disaster, it will be the Blues who progress to the playoff round next month.
Kick-off: 8.05pm, Thursday 27 July, 2017
Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Martina, Jagielka, Keane, Baines, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Klaassen, Mirallas, Rooney, Ramirez
Reader Comments (103)
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1 Posted 27/07/2017 at 06:23:55
2 Posted 27/07/2017 at 06:39:41
3 Posted 27/07/2017 at 06:48:52
For me, I would love Mo to stay as I feel he has more to his game than James McCarthy.
Travesty if Mo is sold.
4 Posted 27/07/2017 at 07:21:27
5 Posted 27/07/2017 at 07:44:31
6 Posted 27/07/2017 at 07:48:43
7 Posted 27/07/2017 at 07:51:40
8 Posted 27/07/2017 at 08:00:43
9 Posted 27/07/2017 at 08:16:09
Am I living in some sort of parallel universe?
The club has made a net profit of £7m on deals so far so I just don't get all this spending talk. Are you mixing us up with Huddersfield?
11 Posted 27/07/2017 at 08:35:47
I travel over via M57, then past Stonecross and park by the junction with Queens Drive. Last few games of last Season saw major roadworks causing some delays and angst. Anyone able to let me know if they are finished?
If not I will do the alternative of going to the end of the M62 and down Queens Drive.
14 Posted 27/07/2017 at 09:12:08
15 Posted 27/07/2017 at 09:12:43
I personally think the younger ones should be encouraged at every opportunity, I regard this game as one of those, and this would make the likes of Mirallas have to up their game, to be considered.
16 Posted 27/07/2017 at 09:14:13
17 Posted 27/07/2017 at 09:16:26
Before the sale of Lukaku, when many of us were getting all excited over our summer spending, myself and some others pointed to the likelihood of the Lukaku move being already arranged, bar the details. This does indeed put our encouraging activity in perspective.
The Icelandic saga that is the Siggurdson transfer will actually mean that we spend some money! Now the importance of the Chinese overdraft facility is more evident, as this must have enabled some of our spending in the knowledge that the Lukaku dosh was definitely on it's way.
The club needs to sort out the Sigurdsson business and bring in a striker, or we may struggle to be as "productive" as Koeman wants.
18 Posted 27/07/2017 at 09:23:47
Good point. Koeman and Co will have totally transformed the squad for a relatively small amount by the time the ins and outside are balanced off. Brought the squad more balance, more all round attacking threat, more work rate and most importantly more of a winners mentality.
19 Posted 27/07/2017 at 09:24:23
There is a real challenge ahead to displace any of the six teams who finished above us in May, yet I think we could potentially get past Spurs, Arsenal and the RS. This two leg tie could well set the tone for our squad at the beginning of the Premier League season.
I'm beside myself with excitement for this game!
COME ON YOU BLUES!
20 Posted 27/07/2017 at 09:51:16
Hoping for a great atmosphere and a Rooney hat-trick to get my boy well and truly hooked! My dad started taking me in 1984 so I hope the same success is to come.
21 Posted 27/07/2017 at 10:02:43
Managed to pick up a ticket for a seat three along from my own in GS4 so hoping my usual "neighbours" will move along a bit!
Enjoy the game! COYB
22 Posted 27/07/2017 at 10:11:03
23 Posted 27/07/2017 at 10:12:53
I am sure the atmosphere tonight will be electric, though the opposition are low-key, with due respect, the events of the summer turn around, will, I hope, leave a lasting impression on your 7-year-old son, as it will all three generations.
Goodison, is a great atmosphere, for games like this, and with it being a sell-out, albeit with reduced capacity, the place will be booming.
24 Posted 27/07/2017 at 10:33:31
25 Posted 27/07/2017 at 10:41:41
Are you the same Simon Jones who used play for Carmarthen Town AFC?
27 Posted 27/07/2017 at 11:14:13
28 Posted 27/07/2017 at 11:16:28
Martina Keane Williams Baines
Gana Schneiderlin Klaassen
Sandro Clavert-Lewin Rooney
What I would like to see:
Kenny Keane Williams Baines
Davies Klaassen Sandro
29 Posted 27/07/2017 at 11:18:07
When the manager uses the first Press Conference of the season to try to find a buyer for Barkely, you know it doesn't augur well.
And when Koeman comes out and says that we can still buy players even without selling Barkley,I believe the polar opposite.
This is the second year in a row where we supposedly had a £100m war chest. We haven't. We remain strictly sell-to-buy and the next one to be sold will be Tom Davies.
30 Posted 27/07/2017 at 11:22:20
31 Posted 27/07/2017 at 11:26:54
32 Posted 27/07/2017 at 11:28:15
@29, Change the record Jonathan. £45m bid for Sigurdsson is? Where is that coming from then? Rom's replacement? North of £20m if Giroud and even more if Benteke. That's before you even get to Funes Mori's replacement.
Barkley will fetch £30m tops which will leave us with a net spend of around £70-100m by the end of the window. Plus a vastly superior team to last season which is the more important point.
33 Posted 27/07/2017 at 11:35:38
34 Posted 27/07/2017 at 11:38:25
35 Posted 27/07/2017 at 11:46:20
I would love to change the record but we are talking Everton here.
If you seriously believe that three more players are coming in, without Barkley being sold, we will have to politely disagree.
36 Posted 27/07/2017 at 11:55:52
It always amazes me that when you see the East Lancs Road so cluttered up, that it's just as easy to go down rice lane, through the vale, and onto the M57 at the Fazakerly, Kirkby junction. It's a little bit more in miles, a bit sticky to start, but once you get onto the vale, and stay right, you very rarely meet any traffic Ian.
George, I can't wait to read your post about going the game tonight mate, maybe you can incorporate a little bit of your own first visit to Goodison, for Rob's little lad!
37 Posted 27/07/2017 at 12:03:01
We remain strictly sell to buy and the next one to be sold will be Tom Davies.
You're negative about things, no idea why, but that's fine. Just like a couple of others. But to keep banging the drum on the same issue with no logical well thought out reasons simply won't win you many friends, I'm afraid.
Take a step back and enjoy what is happening. We're moving in the right direction, whether you want to see it or admit it is another thing.
38 Posted 27/07/2017 at 12:05:07
Kenny Keane Williams Baines
Klaassen Schneiderlin Davies
Dowell Rooney Sandro
A close one between Dowell and Lookman but Dowell has impressed in pre-season and has a vision and long-range ability that might unpick a packed defense.
39 Posted 27/07/2017 at 12:14:25
If we are bedding in all these new players tonight , it makes sense that the engine must be fully tuned. Failure at this stage of our 'assent to the top', would be rather embarrassing and could undermine all we are trying to prove.
Still can't wait though, COYB.
40 Posted 27/07/2017 at 12:15:44
I'm looking for tacit signs Koeman will ditch his pragmatism now he has 'his' players, 'better' players etc. The improvements in the squad should be matched with a more rounded tactical approach.
I don't want to see two midfielders being defensive. So no room for Gana tonight for me. And I want to see three attacking players stay high in the formation, thus will rely on the whole team pushing up the park.
4-3-3 is how I believe the purchases have been made for. Based on pre-season:
43 Posted 27/07/2017 at 12:25:17
The reason is simple. We are paying a hell of a lot more money for individual players now, and you only have to look at the price of Sigurdsson to realise this.
Back to the footy men, and leave the arguments alone until after tonight's match. I wonder who is going to be our penalty taker this season!?
44 Posted 27/07/2017 at 12:30:45
I loved Bainesy when he was in top form whipping in crosses and scoring for fun but the last few years he doesn't seem to use that left foot to the same effect.
I know nothing of Martina but a lot of people seem to rate him though he's not played much football the last few years. I'll be surprised if he starts tonight in place of Holgate, even though he is more of a right back.
I'd like to see Calvert-Lewin start tonight.
46 Posted 27/07/2017 at 12:32:06
My view is we do still have money to spend, no matter what happens with Barkley. We've heard that direct from Koeman. Why would he lie? Those 3 signings should cost around £80m I would imagine (assuming one of them is Sigurdsson).
I agree Barkley will be sold and will offset our spending but to say that proves we're a sell to buy club (still) is a bit odd no? (I know you didn't say that yourself!).
And back to the game, agreed. Really looking forward to tonight. Expecting a nice win and looking forward to seeing the new boys :)
47 Posted 27/07/2017 at 12:32:13
48 Posted 27/07/2017 at 12:33:57
Now just don't get complacent...
49 Posted 27/07/2017 at 13:00:24
On the team as a whole, I saw evidence in the friendlies so far, that we may play a bit more football this season. Whatever the result tonight, it will be far too early to jump to conclusions. The opponents are third rate and we have had only a few weeks of training.
Let's hope for some positive play, and a nice two- or three- goal cushion to ease us through.
50 Posted 27/07/2017 at 13:06:01
I also think Baines is the obvious choice, but as well as him, we now have Rooney, and I'm also wondering about Sandro and Klaassen, and I also think that, on the day of a game, it's better to look forward to the footy, rather than argue about things that people argue about every single day!
On second thoughts, how much do people think we will get for Ross Barkley? I was getting called a fuckin lunatic, and an odd ball in work yesterday, because I said Everton won't get more than £20 Million for him.
51 Posted 27/07/2017 at 13:28:54
52 Posted 27/07/2017 at 13:29:17
I fully expect him to leave for £15-20m by August 31st. Even more so now he's injured until that sort of time anyway.
He's worth more in today's market for sure, but we won't get it.
54 Posted 27/07/2017 at 13:34:13
55 Posted 27/07/2017 at 13:36:15
56 Posted 27/07/2017 at 13:41:44
If we manage to get ٞ30m for him before then we'll have done well.
When you look at the falling prices of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wilshere who didn't quite make it... 'potential' doesn't last forever.
57 Posted 27/07/2017 at 13:49:29
58 Posted 27/07/2017 at 14:01:58
I'm sure Mirallas will start, and Gana, Schneiderlin and Klaassen, too, as obviously will Rooney. The back four will depend on whether he plays 4-3-3 or with three at the back, but Keane, Williams and Baines will surely start. And, of course, Pickford in goal.
59 Posted 27/07/2017 at 14:03:30
I think Barkley already knows where he's going, and that's why the kid is saying nothing because the club who he his going to have told him to be patient and sit tight because that way they will be able to give Everton a lot less and the player a bit more?
It's only an opinion but, wherever he goes, I hope the manager explains to him that if he does get stick, then it's nothing personal! Just strictly business in this unforgiving world of professional football, especially if it's going to make him a fortune!
I remember playing for my Sunday league team, and arguing with our manager. He told me to fuck off if I didn't like it, and I replied that "I don't play for you, you fucking cunt, I play for the lads." Anyway I went on and scored the winner in a top of the table clash, and was still arguing with our manager at 4 o'clock the next morning, with my point being that I couldn't stop playing for the lads, because I fucking loved them.
60 Posted 27/07/2017 at 14:18:03
I hear that a few of the top clubs are interested in him and he won't want to risk not getting his move. For Everton keeping him for another season may be more beneficial than getting £15m even as a squad player. In that sense we hold the cards.
I don't think we'll get near the £50m we were reportedly asking for but I fully expect it to be around the £25-35m range. If Stoke were willing to pay £25m for Arnautovic then Barkley will pull in at least that amount if he goes. Otherwise the club may let him stay and be given a similar amount by tribunal when he leaves at the end of his contract. Didn't RS have to pay about £10m for Ings via tribunal a few years ago and that was before player values went crazy!
61 Posted 27/07/2017 at 14:18:32
62 Posted 27/07/2017 at 14:22:55
63 Posted 27/07/2017 at 14:25:56
Stekelenburg, Klaassen, Sandro, Schneiderlin, Lookman, Dowell, Jagielka making up the bench.
Whatever the line-up, we should be able to get a decent win.
64 Posted 27/07/2017 at 14:27:33
65 Posted 27/07/2017 at 14:28:55
Not another two signings. We will end up like Leeds... The club will be bankrupt... How much did we pay for them? That's too fuckin' much...
66 Posted 27/07/2017 at 14:29:11
67 Posted 27/07/2017 at 14:37:25
68 Posted 27/07/2017 at 15:02:57
I don't see Ross starting regularly in any of the teams above us. Will he want to go to any of the other teams below us, will they pay that much for an inconsistent player.
Maybe he needs to realign his thoughts on his ability and what he wants out of his career. Sadly, I see it going the way of too many of our lads who left too soon for bigger and better things.
69 Posted 27/07/2017 at 15:20:18
Like many posters have said, his main problem, is between his ears, I can't believe for one minute that Rooney would not have had a 'quiet word in his ear' and still he remains adamant about leaving.
Let's just hope we get shut soon as, he is setting a very bad benchmark, for the younger lads, or they may learn from his stupidity.
70 Posted 27/07/2017 at 15:32:27
I would like to see Kenny at right-back tonight and only one defensive midfielder; like others have said, it stifles creativity too much having two.
Shame about Barkley, it will be the biggest mistake in his life leaving now IMHO, though maybe he doesn't have the stomach for it?
71 Posted 27/07/2017 at 15:39:44
I think the latter is more likely the case but of course only time will tell. The minute he refused the contract he was a gonner, no matter what he said or did afterwards. We will try to get what we can for him and his agent will try and get what he can (wages wise) for Ross. However, the knowledge that he has turned down £110k a week doesn't leave a lot of places open to him.
In my view, he, or his agent are plain stupid.
Anyhow, 4-0 tonight, COYB!
72 Posted 27/07/2017 at 15:47:31
73 Posted 27/07/2017 at 16:02:18
We have 2 tickets on a pdf in the Park End. Not sure if we can just mail the pdf for someone to print out and go in? Will we be banned?
If it can be done donation to EFPF, we'll trust you.
We will sit and watch on the box.
74 Posted 27/07/2017 at 16:15:03
I don't think Mirallas has done enough to get the nod, whilst I'd go with Lennon ahead of the other right backs against 'weak opposition'.
76 Posted 27/07/2017 at 16:24:59
Managing Everton rule number 1 = Baines on Pens!
Managing Everton rule number 2 = See rule Number 1
77 Posted 27/07/2017 at 16:29:48
78 Posted 27/07/2017 at 16:34:47
79 Posted 27/07/2017 at 16:47:58
The theme of The New World and Age of discoveries is with me - - last week I stood in Belem outside Lisboa at the site where Vasco Da Gama sailed looking for new worlds - - I squinted for a moment and felt like Moshiri when he could see a new Blue Continent arising from the old world along from his Liver Buildings Blue rooftop and set sail on his voyage to create a “new Blue world”.
I am at the moment sitting in my writing room - - its around 4.05 pm - - I will be leaving in a few minutes - - making my own way tonight under The River towards Heaven - - Gosia is working. I am looking at my old postcards all around me - - Van Gogh, John Lennon, Klimt, William Morris and of course my large photo of Goodison with my little “snowflake” desktop shaker with Goodison inside and “Home Of The Blues - - like Orson Welles in Citizen (Mc)Kane - - I move for a moment and go to the side window and there it is in front of me - - The New Grail - - The Holy Site - - and soon I will go under that river to come up from the seabed to Scotland Road and look over my shoulder and picture the new site - - like a modern Wordsworth:
“The City has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning: silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!”
I will walk along Scottie passing my Haunts of Ancient times and close my eyes for a moment and
“ I hear Goodison singing, the varied carols I hear
of workmen building our new site
of shouts and calls and ticket sellers
And friends rushing through crowds to greet each other
Entering the Dark House once more
Seeing eyes turn and smiles break and beers pushed into my hand
Its good to be a Blue Man and we who have waited our time are now
Ready and capable to sing and shout of our beloved Blues.“
Along through Smith Street and Whittle Street on my right where we caught the magical Number 33 to school - - along Westminster Road and already:
“And we'll walk down Wessy Road again
And we'll sing all the songs from way back when
And we'll walk down Wessy Road again and the healing has begun
And we'll walk down Smith Street in style
And we'll walk into The dark house and we'll smile
And we'll say "baby, ain't it all worthwhile?" when the healing has begun
I want you to put on your new Everton top tonight
You can wear your cap and all the rest
When you hear the music ringin' in your soul
And you feel it in your heart and it grows and grows
And it came from the backstreet rock and roll and the healing has begun
That's where we come from, man.”
Thank you Van.
And of course a bit of Blake:
He who binds to himself a joy Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies Lives in eternity's sun rise.
A bit rushed tonight - - have to leave early - - back to normal for The Stoke game.
But if you want to know what its like to be True Blue friends have a look at this - - I have been with Dan all day today and will be meeting him again at Goodison later - - Link
80 Posted 27/07/2017 at 17:09:16
4-0 for Dan tonight!
81 Posted 27/07/2017 at 17:16:17
82 Posted 27/07/2017 at 17:28:48
83 Posted 27/07/2017 at 17:29:19
84 Posted 27/07/2017 at 17:34:34
We are 1/14 tonight, they must all have two left feet or there's only ten of them travelled!
85 Posted 27/07/2017 at 17:59:19
86 Posted 27/07/2017 at 18:02:19
I loved the the Yellow House Declaration of Peace, hope you have a good evening. Could you say hello to to Dan for me.
87 Posted 27/07/2017 at 18:14:27
First time in decades I've felt like this.
Can't wait for Z-Cars and the Goodison roar.
88 Posted 27/07/2017 at 18:17:19
89 Posted 27/07/2017 at 18:22:20
91 Posted 27/07/2017 at 18:28:29
92 Posted 27/07/2017 at 18:38:22
93 Posted 27/07/2017 at 18:47:02
94 Posted 27/07/2017 at 18:49:46
ps: I have stood next to that monument at Belem, in Lisbon, where all the famous Portuguese navigators are lined up along the sides of a stone ship, with Prince Henry the Navigator (son of an English princess) at the bow. Looking back, I can see Harry Catterick instead of Henry, and the whole School of Science on the sides of the ship.
95 Posted 27/07/2017 at 18:56:26
96 Posted 27/07/2017 at 18:58:02
97 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:03:49
This is about the sort of line-up I expected, with the keeper's exception.
98 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:05:47
Just hope it doesn't start knocking their confidence as Kenny was outstanding for the Under-23s and Under-20s.
99 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:05:48
100 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:06:04
Very attacking and maybe swap Mirallas, Sandro and Lookman around during the game just to give their fullbacks nightmares.
101 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:06:23
I know you don't want any thanks or praise for the work you do, so simply 'God bless you, George, and carry on with the work you do!'
102 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:07:24
103 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:10:37
And I'm disappointed Koeman is not giving Kenny a chance to prove himself ahead of Martina.
104 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:11:54
105 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:12:00
106 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:12:00
107 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:13:37
Media raving over Solanke at the U20 World Cup tournament. I thought Dominic looked the better player.
108 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:14:07
109 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:16:33
110 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:16:54
111 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:17:01
112 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:17:17
113 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:51:03
Martina couldn't get a game for Southampton last season yet is somehow better than Kenny who was England U20 standout player in the World Cup.
Stekelenburg over Pickford is another poor choice.
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