/ Soccer

Moyes praise for Irish youngster Duffy

Updated: Friday, 27 Jan 2012 11:42

Shane Duffy has broken into the Everton team after injuries to Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin
Shane Duffy has broken into the Everton team after injuries to Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin

Everton boss David Moyes believes the club have a potential star in Shane Duffy but is only intending to ease the Irish defender into the first-team picture.

Moyes has given the 20-year-old a chance this month with first-choice centre-backs Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin out injured.

After appearing as a substitute against Tottenham earlier this month, the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international has started the last two Barclays Premier League games.

Duffy, who spent the first part of the season on loan at Scunthorpe, even went close to scoring in what was an impressive full home debut against Blackburn but Moyes is playing down expectations.

Moyes said: "Shane has done really well and he has got something.

"He will certainly have a good career in the game and we hope it is at Everton.

"But the level is going to step up - the more you play, people start to look for more from you.

"We want to Shane to keep doing things simply, not over-complicating it.

"He will be feeling good about himself and we want him to play that way, but we will have to keep an eye on him closely."

Everton v Fulham team news

Moyes must decide whether to retain Duffy for tonight's FA Cup fourth-round tie against Fulham at Goodison Park or reshuffle his back line by recalling fit-again veteran Tony Hibbert.

Sylvain Distin (hamstring) and Phil Jagielka (knee) remain out while Diniyar Bilyaletdinov drops out from the last squad with a move to Spartak Moscow imminent.

Seamus Coleman (thigh), Leon Osman (knee) and Jack Rodwell (hamstring) are still missing.

Fulham will again be without Mousa Dembele. The Belgium international missed last week's defeat of Newcastle with a hip injury and dropped out of training yesterday.

Fellow attacker Orlando Sa (hamstring) is also out and is joined on the sidelines by Mark Schwarzer (spine) and Zdenek Grygera (knee). Steve Sidwell is available despite coming off injured against Newcastle.

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