Back of the Net's John Foster on the Africa Cup of Nations-induced selection headache facing Everton boss David Moyes (not really...)
EvertonÃ¢ÂÂs Tony Hibbert has been spotted in Gabonese capital Libreville, leading to speculation the gaunt right-back may be playing in the African NationsÃ¢ÂÂ Cup.
Gingery lynchpin Hibbert has no scouting experience, has not been given leave by his club, and is not believed to be working for any media organisations. In addition, he is not eligible to play for Gabon, nor any of the other participants in this yearÃ¢ÂÂs competition. Both his parents and all four of his grandparents are English, meaning HibbertÃ¢ÂÂs international options are limited to England and the Republic of Ireland.
"He missed training on Monday, but I assumed heÃ¢ÂÂd asked the gaffer [David Moyes], and the gaffer assumed heÃ¢ÂÂd asked me", commented assistant boss Steve Round.
"Then we saw the pictures from a Libreville street market of Tony making a last-ditch tackle on a tricky fruit vendor. It has to be him. Nobody else would be wearing a Gabon shirt with Ã¢ÂÂHibbertÃ¢ÂÂ on the back."
Everton are now investigating the absences of other first-team players who may or may not be playing in the African NationsÃ¢ÂÂ Cup.
Ã¢ÂÂI was doubtful about Seamus Coleman being from the Ivory Coast, but then he showed me on Wikipedia so I had let him go,Ã¢ÂÂ continued Round. Ã¢ÂÂI thought Victor [Anichebe] wasnÃ¢ÂÂt going, because Nigeria havenÃ¢ÂÂt qualified, but he told me he was actually from Niger, and I got embarrassed and let him go too.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂI was sure Diniyar Bilyaletdinov wasnÃ¢ÂÂt African, but then, I was also sure the Upper Volta was in Bulgaria, and it turns out itÃ¢ÂÂs in Africa, like Tony Hibbert.Ã¢ÂÂ
An anonymous source close to Goodison Park has told FourFourTwo that EvertonÃ¢ÂÂs stars are planning to take in a safari and do a spot of trekking, before going to Kono to meet Joseph YoboÃ¢ÂÂs parents.