Toffees hopeful over Pienaar

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Everton are still confident they will be able to tie midfielder Steven Pienaar to a new long-term contract.

The South Africa international, 27, has two years of his current deal to run but has been engaged in negotiations that will give him a pay rise and extended stay. The club's initial offer has been rejected, but talks are set to continue.

A club source said: "Everyone is still talking, and we are confident there will be a happy outcome."

Pienaar is currently with the Everton squad in Salt Lake City, Utah, preparing for Wednesday's warm-up match against a Major League Soccer representative side.

Everton lost the first match of their tour of Canada and the US, going down 1-0 to River Plate in Edmonton.

The match saw teenager Jack Rodwell play his first pre-season match, having been given extra time off after appearing in the European Championships for England Under-21s.

Rodwell played in central midfield, despite suggestions that he would soon operate in central defence, with Phil Jagielka not expected back to fitness following his knee injury until November.

Rodwell said: "I am not sure where I will be playing this season. I started for the first team in midfield last season and played most of my games there, so maybe it will be the same again - I am not really sure.

"I have had a few days' training now and it has been hard getting back into it. It is about getting back to a good level of fitness and I managed to play the full 90 minutes.

"I was pleased to get my first game behind me and hope to play on Wednesday. The MLS have some really good players playing and it will be tough."

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Premier League
Phil Jagielka
Steven Pienaar
Jack Rodwell

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