Ronald Koeman provides fitness update on Everton midfielder James McCarthy

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"They've had a hard start as regards to the fixtures but they will do well this season with the quality they have got, and if anything that makes them even more risky".

Koeman responded with dismissive remarks of his own, as he confirmed McCarthy is not fit to play in his side's game at Brighton this weekend despite not being used by Ireland for their World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Wales.

Koeman said: "I don't know what Keane said about the situation".

This global break proved to be an excellent one for Gylfi Sigurdsson and Iceland in general as the tiny nation qualified for its first ever World Cup competition, to be held next year in Russian Federation. "I'm not interested in his comments", was the Everton manager's response.

Despite his numerous fitness concerns, Everton boss Koeman values the services McCarthy can provide when healthy and is glad to see him return to training, but the Dutchman believes the former Wigan Athletic star needs to play for the Under-23s before he can be considered available for the first team. "The player had several physical problems and we tried to solve them".

"Sometimes, the worldwide break is good for everybody...it's important that they come back with a lot of positives".

Everton desperately need Sigurdsson hitting peak form for the Blues starting this weekend with three critical games coming up in the next week or so, but it starts with the manager in putting his best players in positions to succeed.

"We'd like to bring him back, he's a good boy, an important player for us, but we don't take risks".

Holland failed to reach their second successive major tournament this week after finishing third in their World Cup qualifying group. Yes we have some really talented players but the whole competition in Holland, the young players go too fast overseas. "We lost quality. We don't have the top European players anymore", added the 54-year-old.

"We have other business to do with Everton".

"We need to change. That's the priority for me for the long term".

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