Everton have confirmed on the club’s official website that four first-team players will miss Saturday’s Premier League opener against Stoke City, midfielder Muhamed Besic could play a part and that the Toffees may hand six domestic debuts to new signings.

Ronald Koeman will have to manage his squad due to the unavailability of some established players, with the likes of Seamus Coleman, Yannick Bolasie and Ramiro Funes Mori all suffering from long-term injuries.

James McCarthy has returned back to training after his hamstring problem, but he has been ruled out as the fourth absentee for the clash with Stoke.

Besic has been featuring in pre-season and the fans’ favourite could play a role at Goodison Park.

In more positive news, Wayne Rooney looks set to make his second Premier League debut for Everton.

The former Manchester United star came through the ranks of their academy and has continued to build upon his success, making him one of the best England products of the current generation.

Rooney made his debut for the Toffees 15 years ago, in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur as a 16-year-old, and is now expected to receive a rapturous ovation as he is officially welcomed home to where it all began.

Koeman has been very active this summer in his efforts to recruit players to help make the Toffees more competitive within the Premier League and it is expected many of those will feature against the Potters on Saturday.

Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane are both expected to be named in the Dutchman’s starting line-up, having both arrived for large transfer fees from Sunderland and Burnley in the summer respectively.

They could be joined by Davy Klaassen, who joined from Ajax, Sandro Ramirez and Cuco Martina, a player Koeman knows well from their time together at Southampton.

Stoke will not be the easiest of games for Everton to start off their Premier League campaign, with the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Darren Fletcher, however, they will be confident they can get the job done in front of their own supporters.

The Toffees have top-four ambitions and will hope to start with three points this weekend.


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