Moyes delighted with attitude of benched Yak

September 25, 2007

Ayegbeni Yakubu is ready to prove himself to Everton boss David Moyes after being dropped for Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Aston Villa.

The Nigerian was axed from the starting line-up for the game at Villa Park as Moyes felt the £11.25million club record signing had not been working hard enough recently.

It was a case in point at Villa Park when Yakubu failed to chase down a simple ball from Leighton Baines at one stage in the game after coming as a 69th-minute substitute.

That resulted in Baines remonstrating with Yakubu for his lack of effort.

The 24-year-old then trained yesterday with a group of players who had not been involved in the defeat to Villa.

Now it remains to be seen whether Moyes will restore the former Middlesbrough striker to the side for tomorrow's Carling Cup third-round tie against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.

At least from assistant manager Alan Irvine's point of view, Yakubu has not let his shoulders drop or taken the criticism to heart.

'He has responded really well to being left out, and that's what you hope for from players,' added Irvine.

'We are a hard-working team, and we need all of our players to do a very committed and totally honest job when they are out there.

'We also ask them to do not only their own job, but to help other people out as well.

'I'm sure Yak will fend to that. He seems a great lad.'

Irvine also believes left-back Baines was perfectly entitled to vent his frustration at Yakubu.

'It's the way it should be, and it's the way it's always been,' added Irvine.

'The best teams have always been able to tell each other what they think. Everyone talks about team spirit, well team spirit isn't about always being everybody's friend, or telling them the good things.

'It's about being able to tell them what you think and what they need to do to help you, and people have to accept it and not take it as being something personal.

'When people can argue, get on with things and still be friends, that's when you know you've really great spirit. And from what I've seen he (Yakubu) has not taken it personally at all. He has come in smiling.

'He trained in a very small group of lads yesterday of lads who hadn't played, and was terrific. While today he has come in with a smile on his face and there has been absolutely no problem.'

Alan Stubbs is poised to return to the centre of defence providing Joseph Yobo does not recover from the illness that today led to him missing training.

A doubt remains over Mikel Arteta who has now missed the last two games with an ankle injury, while goalkeeper Stefan Wessels is due to continue as Tim Howard's replacement as the American recovers from a broken finger.