So that’s the last load of internationals done until March then, thank goodness. There is nothing worse (well, there is, but you know…) than getting into the Premier League games and then having a whole fortnight interrupted by games that you probably couldn’t care less about.
Of course some of the matches were quite entertaining this time around, but admitting that would dilute my point a bit. So I won’t.
The most important thing for us is knowing how our players got on and whether they have come back fit and well. With a big game coming up against West Ham – a game that has become a must-win really if we want to keep up at the top of the table – we need all the bodies we can get.
As a reminder, Barry is out for a while, McCarthy is doubtful with a niggling injury that kept him out of Ireland’s friendly on Tuesday, Stones is out long-term, Alcaraz is out too for a while, Baines is doubtful with a thigh injury, Coleman has a niggle too and Miralles is nowhere near ready yet. Oh, and there is Kone too. Hmmm….
So, did everyone else come back unharmed?
Phil Jagielka – played the full 90 minutes of England’s game versus Slovenia and got a kick in the last minute of that match after a really poor lay-off from Cahill. He managed to play 45 minutes of the game against Scotland though (as pre-planned) so he should be fine for Saturday’s game.
Mo Besic – only played 45 minutes of Bosnia’s 3-0 defeat in Israel, being replaced at the break. He’ll be fit but unfortunately is not in the best of form.
Steven Naismith – played both of Scotland’s game and ran himself into the ground in both. He’ll come back uninjured but might well be shattered.
Ross Barkley – played 4 minutes against Scotland. That was it. A bit pointless really. At least he got shouted at by Uncle Roy though.
Aiden McGeady – played against Scotland on the Friday for the full game and got 30 minutes against the YooEssAy on Tuesday night. No issues around his fitness reported. No comment on his ability to not be so inconsistent either.
Darron Gibson – played the first 70 minutes of the game v Scotland, didn’t do very much and then came off with a slight twinge apparently. It’ll be him or Besic (or both) in for Barry and possibly McCarthy on Saturday. Hold me.
Romelu Lukaku – sat on the bench for Belgium and didn’t come on. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing based on the fact that he needs goals for his wafer-thin confidence!
Christian Atsu – I read on Twitter that he played in a game that Ghana lost. To be honest he’s fairly hopeless so I’m not too concerned if he can’t play on Saturday.
You know what, with all those players injured you realise that we don’t have that many decent, full international players fit for this Saturday! I’d expect Leon Osman to play against the flying ‘Appy ‘Ammers and that left-back spot will be interesting. Will it be Luke Garbutt being seen to be given a chance or someone else? Oh god, not Tony Hibbert playing out of position for the love of God…
Still, a lack of players should see Eto’o and Lukaku up front with Barkley behind them so that should be fun.
Prediction: Everton 0 West Ham 1 (Carroll 89)