Koeman praises Pickford´s stellar Everton start

Sunday, 13 Aug, 2017

Meanwhile Everton striker Wayne Rooney is set to make his second Premier League debut for the Toffees after Koeman revealed that he had been selected to start this weekend.

Everton and Stoke clash at Goodison Park on Saturday in the pair's opening match of the 2017/18 Premier League season. The header was his 300th involvement in a goal in the Premier League, with 101 assists to add to his 199 goals. The presence of elements such as Wayne Rooney, Sandro Ramirez and Davy Klaassen should help them offset the loss of Romelu Lukaku, while Jordan Pickford is likely to provide quite a boost on defence.

Rooney had already played one home game - a Europa League qualifier against Ruzomberok - in his second spell as an Evertonian following his close-season move from Manchester United.

For the most part, he was too deep, stepping on the toes of Everton's two defensive midfielders Morgan Schneiderlin and Idrissa Gueye.

Rooney dropped deeper into midfield in a bid to spark his team into life and immediately began to control the tempo, drawing a booking for Allen when he wriggled clear of the Stoke midfielder, who responded with a blatant tug.

The pair that comes out on top will certainly have a big say in where a potential victory lies, but there will be only so much either duo can do if neither team's forward lines produce the goods where it matters.

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"We have some injuries, (Gareth) Barry was not available and (Ross) Barkley and (James) McCarthy and Seamus (Coleman) and (Yannick) Bolasie and (Ramiro) Funes Mori - then it is normal you get so many changes and maybe that was, first half, the difficulty".

For Stoke, Hughes must do without Stephen Ireland (broken leg) and Ibrahim Afellay (knee) for the trip to Goodison Park.

Who do you think should be in the starting XI versus Stoke? But the most important were the three points.

But having signed Michael Keane from Burnley in a £30 million (A$49.44 million) deal when the England defender was in the final year of his deal at Turf Moor, Koeman sees no reason for Everton not to expect the same from other clubs.

"We know we brought in a really good goalkeeper", Koeman told Sky Sports.