By Dominic Toner
Everton manager Ronald Koeman has revealed that he decided to rest midfielder Gareth Barry against Arsenal ahead of a busy set of fixtures.
The 35-year-old has missed just one Premier League game this season through suspension, but will be absent from the home match against the Gunners on Tuesday night.
He has been a crucial player for Everton this season, but Koeman has explained that he decided to rest Barry after a conversation with the midfielder.
“Gareth Barry is okay but with a tough period of games coming up, I need to protect him. We’ve spoken about it and it’s no problem,” Koeman said, as quoted by the club’s official Twitter account.
Koeman has brought Phil Jagielka, Aaron Lennon, Enner Valencia and Ross Barkley into the starting XI.
Ramiro Funes Mori, Gerard Deulofeu, Kevin Mirallas and Barry have been axed from the team that lost 3-2 to Watford on Saturday.
Everton announced their team to play Arsenal on Tuesday night on their official Twitter account.
Everton will be looking to respond from the Watford defeat and they have slipped down to 9th in the league table as a result.
Barry has been a mainstay in the midfield this campaign, but Koeman is aware that he could struggle with the physical demands of three games in a week at the age of 35.
The Merseyside club play rivals Liverpool on Monday and Barry is expected to come back into the line up for the crucial match.
McCarthy is set to drop into a defensive position against the Gunners to replace Barry and he will partner midfielder Idrissa Gueye.
In other Everton team news, Romelu Lukaku has delivered a brutally honest verdict on the team’s current form.