Everton boss Ronald Koeman says Phil Jagielka is "not happy" at his lack of game-time. The centre-back has gradually fallen out of favour in recent weeks and is now attracting interest from Sunderland.
Ashley Williams, Ramiro Funes Mori and young starlet Mason Holgate have all been preferred over Jagielka in recent weeks, but Koeman thinks the 34-year-old's unhappiness is a "good signal" and challenged the veteran to "make it hard for the manager". The Barcelona legend also said he was unaware of any interest in the former Sheffield United utility man.
"Jagielka's not happy because he's not starting and that's a good signal," Koeman said in his press conference. "What you need to do as a player is fight and make it hard for the manager.
"I don't know if there's interest for Jags, in the last few weeks he did not start. He's important, he's the captain of the team. If players are not happy then we speak to them and then we find a solution, what is first best for the club and what is best for the player."
Koeman then turned his attention from the old guard to the youth of today. All eyes were on Tom Davies and Ademola Lookman after the teenagers both scored against Manchester City on Sunday, but the Dutchman wants his youngsters to stay grounded and remember that they are not the "big man in Everton".
Koeman did express his happiness over Davies grasping his opportunity with the senior squad but said the 18-year-old needs to deal with the spotlight his wondrous goal has inevitably bestowed upon him.
"It's only one game, only one of three weeks that he is really involved. He needs to deal with that attention, it's positive as he's a young player who took his chance in the first team, the manager and the rest of the coaching staff need to deal with that situation with the young players.
"Even with Lookman, after the attention he got after his first goal, (we need to) keep them with their feet on the ground. If we see young players who are not focused on the game because they think they are the big man in Everton then we will put back their feet on the ground."