Barkley and Morgan omitted: Best combined Everton and Leicester XI
COMMENT By Dominic Toner
Ross Barkley and Wes Morgan would be among the casualties of a starting line up comprised of the best Everton and Leicester players.
The Toffees travel to the King Power Stadium on Boxing Day for a Premier League match and Ronald Koeman’s side will be looking to bounce back from the Merseyside defeat to Liverpool.
Everton are currently ninth-placed in the league table and were expected to challenge for the European spots this season, while their opponents and reigning champions Leicester are currently struggling in 15th.
Midfielder Barkley would miss out on the best combined XI as he is yet to fulfil his widely tipped potential and Leicester captain Morgan is beaten to a spot at centre-back.
Foxes number one Kasper Schmeichel is the clear option to play in goal as Maarten Stekelenburg has failed to impress since his summer arrival.
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Full-backs Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines are the best choice to give the side an attacking threat, narrowly edging out Danny Simpson and Christian Fuchs.
Robert Huth and Ashley Williams would form a solid partnership at centre-back that could handle most attackers.
Morgan is one of Leicester’s most consistent defenders and Everton option Phil Jagielka is experienced in the Premier League, but Huth’s arrival played a major role in the club’s relegation fight and eventual title run.
Idrissa Gueye would rightly take his place in the central midfield slot and he has shown his defensive qualities at Goodison Park this season.
He could partner England midfielder Danny Drinkwater and could fill the same role that N’Golo Kante did last season for Leicester.
There is no place for Barkley who has come under criticism this season for his performances and is currently out-of-favour with England’s national team.
Everton winger Bolasie is included in the combined XI because of his unpredictability and reigning PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez operates from the other side.
Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku would partner Jamie Vardy in a dangerous looking frontline, but the latter will miss the Everton clash as he serves a one-game suspension.
Lukaku has had his critics for his movement, but the forward is clinical in front of goal and has scored 70 goals in 144 appearances for the Toffees.
In other Everton news, Koeman has shared his doubts about the club’s youngster.