DINIYAR BILYALETDINOV has been warned that he could lose his place in the Russian national side if he does not play more for Everton this season.
The midfielder was an unused substitute for the Blues during their defeat by Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday, and is struggling to nail down a consistent starting place in David Moyes’ team as the manager comes to terms with his increased options in midfield.
But Russia coach Dick Advocaat has gone public over his concerns that the 25-year-old is not playing enough club football for him to retain his place in the national side.
The Russian FA is still recovering from Advocaat’s side’s failure to qualify for the World Cup, and the experienced coach believes some of his British-based players are rotting on the bench.
He said: “I’m not happy with the situation of Bilyaletdinov, Zhirkov and Pavlyuchenko not having regular match practice. This is very harmful to them and for success in national team they need to play more.
“Pavlyuchenko plays irregularly for Tottenham, though he played a full 45 minutes against Wigan and his team lost.
“He couldn’t help them. I think he needs to work even harder than he did before the Bulgaria friendly (earlier this month). But he remains a quality and hard-working forward. I believe in him.
“Arshavin is one of Arsenal’s leaders and a player of European level. But I’d like to see more players like that in our team.”
Russia, who are in the Republic of Ireland’s European Championship qualifying group, face Andorra on Friday and Slovakia on Tuesday week.
Moyes signed Bilyaletdinov from Lokomotiv Moscow last summer in a £9m deal, after then Chelsea boss Guus Hidink personally recommended him.
Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta has stressed that the debate over whether he should play for England is out of his hands, at least until he receives formal contact from the FA.
He said: “The situation is the same as it has always been. No-one has contacted me about it and I said really clearly last week my thoughts about it, and I’m going to repeat myself - if that opportunity comes I will consider it very seriously.
“But that’s all I can say. I don’t think it’s me that has to make the decision.
“The FA have to think about the situation, they have to propose something, they have to talk to me, and then we can talk about it.”
When asked if he would be contacting Capello to inform the Italian of his availability, Arteta insisted he is in no position to be contacting the FA about whether he should picked.
He said: “I don’t think it’s me who has to say anything because it’s not my job, but if Capello and the FA say it’s alright then I’ll say what I think.
“At the moment there is nothing. If one day there is something I will be as clear as I am now.”
Meanwhile, Tottenham have reportedly made an enquiry about Steven Pienaar’s availability. The Londoners have been linked with the South African frequently this summer, and with his contract impasse at Goodison still unsolved reports have surfaced claiming Harry Redknapp might make an offer for him before today’s deadline closes.
Everton are unlikely to be doing any business before the midnight deadline, unless a significant offer arrives for Yakubu or Joseph Yobo, and Moyes has previously insisted he would rather let Pienaar’s contract run out than sell him.