Rodwell blow compounds Everton's problems

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Everton manager David Moyes will be without nine regular squad members on Thursday when his team face BATE Borisov in the Europa League.

Promising midfielder Jack Rodwell has become the latest to be sidelined - following Steven Pienaar, Phil Neville, Phil Jagielka, Mikel Arteta, Victor Anichebe in being out injured, while Louis Saha is suspended and recent arrivals John Heitinga and Lucas Neill are both ineligible - and did not travel with the group to Belarus as Everton seek to build on their 4-0 victory over AEK Athens.

"While it is disappointing we don't have the pick of all our players, that doesn't make our involvement any less enjoyable," Moyes said. "It (Europe) is something that we as a club always wanted. Finishing fifth last season and qualifying was a great achievement for us, so I am really looking forward to this match."

Rodwell remained at home to rest up and recover from flu symptoms, with South African winger Pienaar, as expected, absent with a knee injury. Pienaar's setback occurred following a challenge by Portsmouth's Aaron Mokoena - his national team captain - in the victory at Fratton Park at the weekend.

Pienaar, while disappointed referee Alan Wiley did not take action at Portsmouth, is aiming to return to fitness as soon as possible.

"I'm still in a bit of pain, but hopefully I will be okay in the next couple of days," he said in an interview with EvertonTV.

"When I landed on the ground it (the knee) was just sore. I thought that maybe the pain would ease off.

"As soon as I got back on the pitch I tried to run it off, but it was sore and I couldn't turn or move my knee. All I've been able to do is to stay at home and put ice on it. But that's all I can do.

"I was disappointed that we didn't get a free-kick for it. I saw the clip and he was a bit late, but I also know that it is part of his (Mokoena's) game to get stuck in.

"Maybe the referees are supposed to protect and blow for a free-kick, but everybody makes mistakes."

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Europa League
Mikel Arteta
Premier League
Aaron Mokoena
Lucas Neill
Phil Jagielka
Phil Neville
Victor Anichebe
Steven Pienaar
Louis Saha
Jack Rodwell

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