Ronald Koeman coy on James McCarthy's Everton future

Everton manager Ronald Koeman refused to be drawn on whether James McCarthy would remain at Goodison Park following the January transfer window.

McCarthy, 26, has endured an unhappy season to date, managing just four Premier League appearances under Koeman with Gareth Barry and Idrissa Gueye preferred when fit.

Matters have been complicated by a club vs. country row between the Toffees and the Republic of Ireland, after the midfielder aggravated his injury on international duty and then withdrew from the next get-together.

When asked to comment on reports that McCarthy is looking for a fresh start, the Koeman said only: "I don't know. I did not speak with James about his situation.

"For a long time he wasn't available for the team. Even last week he had only two training sessions and this week ... yes, he did train and is available for the weekend.

"About the future of James, the future of other players, new players ... that is not the focus I need to show at this moment."

Koeman was more forthcoming about his recent social media faux-pas, in which he posted an innocent festive snap of his Christmas tree on Twitter only to be reminded in by Everton fans that his choice of red decorations was not wise given the club's rivalry with Liverpool.

"This was a big mistake of my wife, put her under pressure!" he said, before reasserting his allegiances. "I understand the fanatic blue people. Of course I am the Everton manager, I'm a blue and will do everything to be successful at this great club.

"But I like a glass of red wine ... I don't need, if I drink a glass of red wine, to mention and to show I am a blue. But okay, it's funny. Don't take it too seriously."

Koeman's side have won only one of their last eight matches but also boast an unbeaten league record at Goodison Park. Manchester United are their visitors on Sunday, when a home win would see Everton leapfrog the Red Devils into sixth place.