Everton latest: Barry for England, Fernando update and striker challenge

All the latest news and gossip from Goodison Park.

Sylvain Distin feels the club can finish in the top four of the Premier League this season. The Frenchman, who has maintained a place as a mainstay of the Merseyside club believes they have all the hallmarks of a team capable of completing the feat after a strong start to the season:

‘’We've had a good squad for a while and always been at the edge of breaking into that top four. I don't think it's the first season we've done well. The difference is that we started really well this season, whereas most seasons we start quite average and then finish well.’’

Roberto Martinez has challenged Nikica Jelavic and Arouna Kone to prove they deserve a place in the first team ahead of current incumbent Romelu Lukaku.

The Belgian, on loan from Chelsea, has been in fine form so far this season, and has left the other strikers at Goodison Park trailing in his wake.

‘’It's a real focus to be as good as you can as an individual, but everything comes down to the team so Niki, Arouna, and everyone who isn't starting needs to do what they can to help the team. In a competition of 10 months you need everyone ready, everyone working hard, and whoever is on the pitch benefits from that. Nikica Jelavic has been really important in the way he works.’’

There has been some good news from Portugal this week regarding summer target Fernando of FC Porto. You might remember that Everton boss Roberto Martinez went down to London to try and secure the player a Work Permit in August - but was rebuffed because the Brazilian doesn’t meet the eligibility quota.

Now he doesn’t need to, as he has taken Portuguese citizenship in order to play for the national team.

Martinez may not need him anymore however, if he can snap up Gareth Barry on a free transfer at the end of the season.

He would certainly like to. The England international has been in great form since arriving on Merseyside, and Martinez believes he can make it back into the Three Lions fold:

"I wouldn’t say he has got anything to prove to England. He’s won the league, the FA Cup and played a big part with England. He’s still got a lot to offer. I don’t see why he shouldn’t play an important part for any team.’’


image: © jbagley

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