LEEDS UNITED head coach Steve Evans insists he will play Sam Byram against Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow, stressing the full-back’s move to Everton is not yet a done deal.
Leeds have accepted Everton’s offer of £3.7m for the right back who has refused United’s offer of a new contract with the 22-year-old’s current deal expiring at the end of the season.
But Evans said he was still expecting the defender to train at Thorp Arch today with the head coach planning on selecting Byram for Saturday’s Championship trip to Sheffield Wednesday unless the player is actually sold.
Explaining the very latest on the Byram situation at Friday morning’s Thorp Arch press conference, Evans said: “I got a call late afternoon yesterday from the president to say that a fee had been agreed with a club in the Premier League and the reports are out there who it might be.
“But I am expecting Sam in this morning and I think he now leaves that to his advisors and his people to speak with Everton.
“But we are expecting him to train and that’s exactly where it is as I sit here now.
“It’s never my job to speculate on who is talking to the president but there has been considerable interest from the Barclays Premier League in Sam and it’s no surprise to me.
“He’s a gifted young man and in the event that he goes and plays in the Premier League then he will become a regular in the Premier League.
“He is very gifted both on and off the pitch with the way he conducts himself.
“But if nothing is concluded today then obviously I seek instruction from the owner to see whether we can include him in our team tomorrow because that would be an ideal scenario for me as the head coach.
“As yet, I am waiting to hear from the president.”
Asked if Byram’s departure from Elland Road was the “inevitable conclusion”, Evans reasoned: “Sam’s representatives made it clear that signing a new contract was not an option and of course the football club had the security of a tribunal system which is fair and balanced so I think the fee was already going to be a significant fee.
“But on the other side of the coin if someone doesn’t want to play for you and they want to go to new pastures then you have to make that happen rather than keep unhappy players. That’s never been a strategy of mine and it will never be.”