Everton boss Ronald Koeman has revealed that James McCarthy and Aaron Lennon missed out on their pre-season friendly against Sevilla due to fitness concerns.
The duo have been heavily tipped to leave Goodison Park with Leicester City and Watford seemingly keen in their services. Koeman has been open about the club’s unfinished transfer business this summer, but he dismissed speculation surrounding the above-mentioned duo. The former Southampton coach highlighted that the pair were not physically ready to tackle the Andalusian outfit, who came away with a 2-2 draw from Merseyside.
McCarthy has fallen down the pecking order over the past year, and he currently faces the prospect of competing with the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin, Davy Klaassen, IdrissaGueye and a young Tom Davies in central midfield. Meanwhile, Lennon faces a quite similar prospect on the wings with Wayne Rooney and Davy Klaassen having brought him to add more quality in the ranks. Lennon has been linked with a potential move to Watford in recent days, but Marco Silva’s side are yet to make a formal approach for his signature.
Following the Sevilla draw, Koeman affirmed that both McCarthy and Lennon were dropped due to fitness issues, and it has nothing to do with the gossip going around, he told The Liverpool Echo: “Both [Lennon and McCarthy] were not fit. I don’t know about Lennon moving – I haven’t heard anything. He’s not fit. When he was fit he was in the squad. James still has some issues on his knee so out of protection I left him out.”
Everton managed to cope with the absence of McCarthy and Lennon during their feisty game versus Sevilla, who deserved to win the match, had it not been for Jordan Pickford’s heroics in front of goal. The Toffees finished the previous campaign in a respectable seventh place, and Koeman will now have the aim of pushing the club towards a top-four finish.