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Everton handed blow with midfielder set to miss Premier League season opener to injury

Everton kick off their 2017-18 Premier League campaign with a visit from Stoke City on Saturday by lunchtime, but they won’t be able to call upon the services of midfielder James McCarthy.

While the Irishman has returned to training after missing out on the last pre-season game against Sevilla due to a knee knock, he’s being left out of Saturday’s matchday squad as a precautionary measure.

Manager Ronald Koeman told Everton TV, “Ross (Barkley) and James are back in training but they are still not available for the weekend. Maybe after that, yes. The rest are ready to start.”

McCarthy’s future at Goodison Park has come under doubts as he has often been linked with a move away from the club all summer.

The arrival of Davy Klaassen and Tom Davies’ meteoric rise are bound to push the 26-year-old midfielder further down the pecking order, and it’s thought he could be deemed surplus to requirements by the Dutch manager.

With Gareth Barry also linked with an exit, McCarthy could remain at the club if the veteran departs, and he definitely would be a worthy option off the bench in what is bound to be another long campaign.