Yerry won’t play cat and mouse, Eden

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - SPORT - BY TONY BANKS BY GIDEON BROOKS

three goals in his last five games.

But Sarri (be­low) ad­mit­ted he had his doubts about the young English star when he took over from An­to­nio Conte as boss.

“At the begin­ning, in the first month, Ross was in trou­ble,” he said.

“But then he started to im­prove in ev­ery train­ing ses­sion, in ev­ery match.

“I am sur­prised how he has adapted if I think back to the first month, but not if I think of the last two months.

“At the mo­ment, from a tac­ti­cal point of view, Ross is a step ahead of Lof­tus-cheek be­cause Ruben in the first part of the sea­son had two or three lit­tle in­juries.”

And Sarri spelled out the at­tributes of Barkley, who is ex­pect­ing a hot re­cep­tion from Ever­ton’s trav­el­ling fans to­mor­row.

“I like Ross very much,” Sarri said.

“He is a com­plete player. He has phys­i­cal qual­i­ties, he is fast. Tech­ni­cally he’s very good.

“He kicks well with his left foot and his right. He’s im­prov­ing in mov­ing the ball. He has be­come men­tally quicker and he is im­prov­ing tac­ti­cally. He is on the way to be­com­ing a very im­por­tant mid­fielder, not only for us but also for Eng­land.”

Sarri will make a host of changes again for the visit of Ever­ton af­ter Chelsea’s slug­gish per­for­mance in Be­larus on Thurs­day night.

But Lof­tuscheek is a doubt af­ter pick­ing up a back prob­lem. Eden Hazard, also re­cov­er­ing from a back in­jury, is al­most cer­tain to start af­ter get­ting an­other hour of foot­ball un­der his belt in Be­larus, where Olivier Giroud’s first club goal of the sea­son sealed Chelsea qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

But Sarri warned: “Eden is do­ing very well but now he needs to im­prove his phys­i­cal per­for­mance. He did not play badly but he can do bet­ter. I’m not sure if he is ready for 90 min­utes yet.”

FO­CUSED Mina train­ing yes­ter­day ahead of a big test against Chelsea YERRY MINA will make his full de­but for his new club against an un­beaten Chelsea side spear­headed by Eden Hazard.He will run out at a venue whereEver­ton have not won in 29 at­tempts, stretch­ing back to 1994. The mis­sion might be de­scribed as ‘tough’.But when­ever that word is used, Mina only has to think back to his es­cape from pocvoen­rtteyx­tin. Colom­bia to put ev­ery­thing intoMina, who was named by his mother af­ter the mouse in Tom and Jerry, was brought up in Gauch­ene, a place where the av­er­age monthly in­come is 100 dol­lars a month per fam­ily. Life is gen­uinely tough.The man re­cruited byEver­ton bossMarco Silva(right) af­ter some heroicWorld Cup ex­ploits forColom­bia, said:“If I told you ev­ery­thing about my child­hood, we would be here all day.“There were lots of dif­fi­cul­ties for me at the start, but it was al­ways the aim of mine to be a foot­baller and I had a strong con­vic­tion to do it.“Gauch­ene is quite dif­fi­cult and a hard place to get out of.“Yes, I ex­pe­ri­enced some very tough mo­ments in my home town but you draw on those ex­pe­ri­ences.“It makes you tough but there is not a day that goes by when I don’t look back and re­mem­ber what it was like and ev­ery game I go into, I re­flect on that past. It makes me all the more de­ter­mined to suc­ceed.”Mina has been kept wait­ing but gets his big chance to­mor­row be­cause on-loan Chelsea de­fender Kurt Zouma is not avail­able to tackle his par­ent club.Some might say that avoid­ing an ex­am­i­na­tion at the feet of Hazard would not be the worst game to duck.But Mina said: “There is a say­ing we have in Colom­bia: No­body takes my mum’s food away from me!“It means we fight to the death and de­fend ev­ery­thing we can. Or you de­fend the shirt to the end. Try and get it off me!”

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