COMMENT By Dominic Toner
Everton midfielders James McCarthy and Gareth Barry should be dropped from the starting line-up against Middlesbrough.
Ronald Koeman now faces a huge selection headache about who should start in his midfield, with five superb options at his disposal.
McCarthy and Barry both played well in the 6-3 win over Bournemouth in the last game, with the former scoring a goal and an assist.
However, Everton were still vulnerable defensively and would be best served playing a midfield trio of Morgan Schneiderlin, Idrissa Gueye and Tom Davies.
McCarthy and Barry could consider themselves unlucky to be dropped from the starting line-up, but the competition for places has increased considerably since Koeman’s summer arrival.
Everton’s combative midfielder Gueye is available again after competing in the Africa Cup of Nations and has been one of the club’s standout players this season, meaning he deserves a spot in the side.
Meanwhile, the Toffees splashed out £24million for Schneiderlin from Manchester United in the summer and he must be a part of the starting XI.
That leaves emerging talent Davies as the final piece of the midfield trio and he can bring the energy to the side.
He has proven that he is ready to perform in the top-flight on a regular basis, with his man-of-the-match display against Manchester City just a glimpse of his potential.
That would leave McCarthy and Barry as experienced options off the bench and they would have to wait patiently for their opportunity.
McCarthy has been unfortunate with injuries this season and has not managed to cement his position in the first-team, despite his strong contribution against Bournemouth.
Meanwhile, 35-year-old Barry is still a top performer in the Everton side and can bring great experience to the squad, but Koeman needs to be looking to the future.
In other Everton news, Ronald Koeman has made a huge statement about the club’s player.