Ronald Koeman has confirmed that Wayne Rooney is in the squad for Everton’s Europa League group opener against Atalanta in Italy on Thursday night.

After a tough match against Tottenham Hotspur last Saturday, and with a huge clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, there were some doubts over how strong a side the Dutchman would take to face the Serie A outfit.

Those concerns have been put to bed with Koeman confirming that he will start the match with a strong Everton team.

“I take this competition seriously which we have shown already. It will be no different tomorrow. Like always we will start with a strong team and after last weekend we need to react,” he is quoted as saying on the official Everton website.

At the press conference Koeman took the time to relay what he expects from the Toffees’ Italian opponents, while confirming that England’s record scorer has travelled and will feature in the squad.

“From my experience, it is not about the name of the Italian team,” he said.

“They are all difficult to beat and I have a lot of respect for Atalanta and what they achieved last season. It will be a difficult game. Rooney has travelled and he is part of the squad for tomorrow.”

One man who the Dutchman is going to be without is James McCarthy. That could see the makeup of his side unaltered, although Tom Davies, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Nikola Vlasic will all be eyeing up starts in the fixture having begun the Spurs clash on the bench.

Everton will be out to make up for a disappointing result and performance against Tottenham in their last Premier League match, but they can step out at the Mapei Stadium with the confidence of knowing they have already seen off the likes of MFK Ruzomberok and Hajduk Split to reach this stage.


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