First Team 15/08/2019

Team News: Everton

By Kevin Affleck

Javi Gracia revealed that Danny Welbeck is closer to featuring than Ismaïla Sarr as the Head Coach draws nearer to being able to roll out the club's two major summer signings.

Welbeck has been fully involved in every session this week with the team and Gracia sounded like someone who was giving serious consideration to the prospect of including the England forward in his squad for the trip to Everton.

"He is training with us all this week, with the rest of the team," said the Head Coach. “He is training well and I think he can help us in the next games because what I see is he's ready.”

Welbeck has not played a single minute of football since he suffered a significant ankle injury playing for Arsenal at the beginning of November.

Sarr, the club-record buy from Rennes, arrived on Wednesday after completing the paperwork required for him to work in this country, but he is being gradually eased in after being on holiday for a fortnight following an extended season because of the African Cup of Nations, just like Roberto Pereyra was after his Copa America campaign.

“He (Sarr) needs time to be ready and after a time resting, he needs time to recover his best condition,” said Gracia. “I expect he will be ready as quick as possible. I am sure he is going to help us this season. He has a lot of skills, good qualities to help us. He is a very good offensive player: he has speed and an offensive mentality as a winger and as a striker. I'm sure we will be stronger offensively with him.”

Gracia reported than Gerard Deulofeu was replaced at half-time on Saturday because he had been unwell on the eve of the Brighton game.

“Gerard had a stomach problem the day before,” Gracia said. “He was at the hotel, he didn't have dinner and he was in his room. At the end we decided he can play but we know he made en effort and it wasn't possible to play all the game.”

The Head Coach also revealed he has three more options to chose from his week. 

“Masina, Quina and Chalobah are well – only Peñaranda is training out of the team but the rest of them are training with the team all this week and they are available for the next game,” said Gracia.

First Team 15/08/2019

Sarr’s First Day: Access All Areas

By Kevin Affleck

Ismaïla Sarr impressed the medical staff with his fitness levels after he was put through his paces on his first day with the Hornets after completing a club-record move from Rennes.

Sarr, 21, watched his new team in action on Saturday at Vicarage Road and then returned to France to collect and finalise all the paperwork required for him to work in the UK. 

He reported for his first day at just before 8.30am this morning at the club’s training base in London Colney and after meeting his new teammates and the coaching staff on the training field, he headed straight back inside to be put through a series of rigorous physical and physiological tests overseen by Alberto Leon, the Head of Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation.

“It was the first day with the player and the first approach is a positive one,” Leon said. “He came in a good condition and we did all the tests to see more deeply how he is.”

Sarr was tested, among other things, for his weight, his fast mass, his range of movement, a neuromuscular assessment and his levels of lactic acid by the team of more than 10 working alongside and under Leon. The blood lactate concentration is obtained via a sample from the ear lobe during different levels of fatigue in a punishing session on the treadmill.

“With all this information we have created a profile of the player and we can see if there is an imbalance or a weakness point,” said Leon. “We are still collating the results but all the staff say he is in a normal shape and this is not a player we are going to have to work a lot on different things. He came with a good baseline, he looks good and we are really happy with the player. He looks a good athlete.”

The profile gleaned will be passed onto Assistant Coach Juan Solla and he will devise a carefully-crafted plan on how and when the Senegal international, who has been on holiday for two weeks and not had a pre-season, will be integrated into full training. Long gone are the days when a high-value player is plunged straight into the thick of the action. Even Roberto Pereyra, who is in his fourth season with the club, has been slowly reintegrated after his own extended summer break.

“Juan will evaluate all the information and from that point he creates a plan for the player,” Leon said. “He will decide if he is ready to train with the squad, if he needs time to adapt, in how many days he can join the team. He will decide what is the next step and when he can join in.”