McCarthy in controversial call-up.

James McCarthy’s inclusion in the Everton squad has irked his international manager Martin O’Neill. The Republic of Ireland midfielder has not only been called-up, but selected by Ronald Koeman during Everton’s pre-season schedule.

Controversially, FIFA rules state that if called-up by his domestic club, he is expected to represent them – even though they only pay his wages and have him contractually tied to the club.

O’Neill was rightly furious at the situation, and was quick to express his anger, “I think it’s a disgrace that he has had to travel out to Holland and Belgium with the Everton squad. He met up with the team several times last season – it’s a joke. Is he even injured at the moment? What use is he in the squad without a hamstring injury?

Roy Keane was walking his dogs and unavailable for comment. But he would have just said something with the aim of trying to irk someone, like the tragic character he has become.

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Keane earlier. Possibly the 1800’s.

Gareth Barry: 40 seasons at the top.

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The 2017/18 season will be Gareth Barry’s 40th season in professional football. The 57 year old now proudly holds the records for both slowest movement and most professional fouls in the Premiership era.

The veteran midfielder said, “I love the game and am happy to continue playing until the day someone realises I am contributing absolutely nothing to the team. I thought it might be last year, but no – still here, drawing a massive wage. Fantastic.

Ronald Koeman was quick to heap praise, citing Barry’s experience as invaluable to the team:

It’s experience above all else that Gareth brings to the table. When we’re being overrun by a young, dynamic midfield; Gareth is able to say – I’ve seen this happen before.

Blues boss relishes Tanzanian friendly.

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Everton will play a pre-season friendly in Tanzania as part of the new sponsorship deal with African betting firm SportPesa. The blues will face Gor Mahia FC in the inaugural Guaranteed To Get Injured Via a Dodgy Pitch or Mistimed Tackle Cup.

The club, who in the 1990’s were unable to employ a qualified coach, and almost folded due to gross financial mismanagement – will face the fifteen time champions of Kenya.

Manager Ronald Koeman said he was looking forward to the fixture, but wished to stress that games at this stage of pre-season were less about results, and more about fitness and not being airlifted home with a career threatening injury.

The blues are expected to take a large travelling contingent to the Dar es Salaam Stadium for the game, with several coaches having departing County Road on 4th June, for the match on 13th July.