Olympic players won’t get time off, says Moyes

EVERTON manager David Moyes will not give any of his players additional time off in the summer if they are selected for the Olympics.

Great Britain coach Stuart Pearce is currently sounding out the individuals who may be available for the London Games. But with the Olympic football tournament not finishing until 11 August Moyes, who prefers to run a small squad, does not think he can afford to give any additional time off to anyone involved.

“Quite a lot of our players have had letters of invitation,” said Moyes, who will not apply the same criteria to players involved in Euro 2012. “Am I worried? I am because there’s a lot of them got all sorts of things going on over the summer so I am a bit worried about the whole thing. It’s a real difficult one. It would be hard to say to players not to but in the same breath, this [Everton] is their bread and butter and this is where they get paid.

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“They do need holidays and they can’t then be asking for spare time off that doesn’t fit in. If they say ‘I’m playing in the Olympics then I might need a week off to recover’, there can never be anything like that.”

Moyes added: “We accept international tournaments. What we’re willing to do to those boys is give them a bit of extra time off because the players definitely need a holiday. But I think the players going to the Olympics will have to consider their own holiday time and it couldn’t be eaten into the club’s time.”

Everton defender Tony Hibbert (groin) is fit for tonight’s FA Cup fourth-round tie against Fulham at Goodison Park. Moyes will consider whether to recall the long-serving full-back and reshuffle his back line or stick with Shane Duffy in the continued absence of Sylvain Distin (hamstring) and Phil Jagielka (knee).

Fulham will again be without Mousa Dembele after the Belgium international missed last week’s defeat of Newcastle with a hip injury. Fellow attacker Orlando Sa (hamstring) is also out and is joined on the sidelines by Mark Schwarzer (spine) and Zdenek Grygera (knee).