Hibbert happy to give youth a chance

Stand-in captain Tony Hibbert has promised to give Everton’s bright

young things a helping hand when they face BATE Borisov on Thursday


While Hibbert will make a club record 20th appearance in

Europe when BATE visit Goodison Park, others are just starting out.

Everton have already secured a place in the last 32 of the

Europa League and their squad is riddled with injuries.

So manager David Moyes is turning to youth and might even be

tempted to start with 16-year-old left-back Jake Bidwell and

midfielder Adam Forshaw, who is only two years older. Others on the

alert are Jose Baxter, Shane Duffy, Hope Akpan, James McCarten,

Shkodran Mustafi and Luke Garbutt, a £600,000 signing from

Leeds in the summer.

Hibbert, 28, said: “I am sure the lads will love it. The

older players do look after the youngsters. We let them know how it

is and how it works at the club. Whoever comes in they will get a

helping hand.”

Hibbert, who has played centre-half as well as right-back in

the campaign, is thrilled at reaching this milestone.

He said: “I know my family are happy and it is a great

achievement. It just shows the strides the club has made over the


“It says a lot for the lads that we have qualified with a

game to spare. The injuries we have had are frightening. “Playing

at centre-half has not been easy. I prefer playing right-back. But

you have just got to get on with it.”

Goalkeeper Carlo Nash will make a rare appearance between the

posts while Kieran Agard could start up front. Leon Osman might

also have a run-out following a foot injury despite only returning

to training on Tuesday.

Moyes is pleased they are taking a break from European

competition after this match for a couple of months.

He added: “I do not think people realise what it takes out of

the players. We have had to play nearly the same team in every

game. It has really taken its toll on us.

“We have had Sunday-Thursday-Sunday-Thursday for weeks now

and had 10 or 12 players out. It has been a dreadful situation. But

we wanted to get through and did it.”