By Will Butcher

Alan Smith has described Everton’s squad as an “ageing team”, as they struggle to maintain their blistering early start to the Premier League.

Ronald Koeman’s side have won just once in nine league and cup encounters, after a superb start to the season that saw them rival Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City for first place in the Premier League.

Smith graded the Toffees’ season as a “B-“, as they now sit in seventh and 12 points off league leaders Chelsea.

“They had a very good start, but they’re looking rather lacklustre now,” Smith claimed in his Sky Sports column. “I watched them at Southampton, and it’s an ageing team.

“The defence is looking very uncertain, and there’s plenty of work for Ronald Koeman to get stuck into. Given the start that they had, I’d still maybe give them a decent grade.”

From the Toffees’ last Premier League clash, five of Koeman’s starting XI were above the age of 30 including Ashley Williams, Gareth Barry and Leighton Baines as they lost 1-0 to Southampton.

The Blues have managed just six goals in their last nine outings, and will need the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley to rediscover their goalscoring touch if they are to return to form.

Koeman and the rest of his squad will be hoping to turn their form around on Sunday, but face a tough task. They go up against Jose Mourinho’s in-form Man United who will be fresh from their 4-1 thrashing of West Ham in the EFL Cup.

In other Everton news, this senior star has slammed his side’s form.