Belfast Telegraph

Koeman is left gutted by Rooney's charge for drink driving


By Carl Markham

Everton manager Ronald Koeman admits he is "very disappointed" by Wayne Rooney's drink driving charge and the striker will be disciplined "at the appropriate time".

The 31-year-old was arrested and charged by police in the early hours of Friday and will appear at Stockport Magistrates Court on September 18, the day after he is due to play at Old Trafford for the first time following his summer move from Manchester United.

Koeman, reading from a prepared statement, said: "Obviously I am very disappointed by this situation regarding Wayne Rooney.

"We have spoken on Tuesday and the chairman Bill Kenwright also spoke to Wayne about this situation. In line with any disciplinary matter, this will be dealt with internally at an appropriate time."

Koeman last month spoke of the positive influence Rooney, who has scored twice in seven appearances since returning to his boyhood club, has had in the dressing room.

Asked whether the situation had affected the player and whether it would impact the manager's selection, Koeman added: "He will play this Saturday (against Tottenham).

"If I see that Wayne is not in a physical or mental condition to play then he won't play."

Koeman's other issue over the international break was the collapse of Ross Barkley's £35m transfer to Chelsea. The 23-year-old, currently sidelined by a grade three hamstring tear likely to keep him out until November at the earliest, pulled out of the move at the last minute on deadline day despite travelling to London.

Barkley is in the final year of his contract having rejected the offer of a new deal from Everton, but Koeman refused to say his Toffees career was over.

"Ross also came to see me on Tuesday and explained to me why he turned down (the chance) to go to Chelsea," said the manager.

"That is a private talk with Ross and I am not the right man to explain to you about his decision or the reason for that decision.

"He was open to make a move to another club and from what I heard from the board, there was an agreement between Chelsea and Everton. But finally the decision was by the player."

Asked whether his Everton career was over, Koeman added: "No, he is still an Everton player and he has a contract until the end of this season. At this time he is injured and it will take another two to two and a half months until he is available.

"I don't have to take a decision, I can wait to see what happens and then we will see what the decision will be at that time."

One player who has been given a second chance is Oumar Niasse, who has returned to the first team for the first time since May 2016.

The Senegal international played just 45 minutes of a pre-season friendly in Austria in Koeman's first summer in charge before the Dutchman decided the £13.5m Roberto Martinez signing was not part of his plans and, after half a season with the Under-23s, he then went on loan to Hull where he scored five times in 19 appearances.

A deadline-day move to Crystal Palace fell through and with Koeman failing to sign a striker before the window closed, the Toffees boss had no option.

"Niasse is back in the first team. He did a training session today," he said. "It gives us another option for the striking position.

"It's not necessary to speak about last season, I found that now was the right time to bring him back to the first team.

"Last season was a different season; maybe we had other strikers so he found it difficult. But his behaviour was perfect.

"He needs to fight like every player for his opportunity."

Belfast Telegraph

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