Rodwell set to step in
Marouane Fellaini injured his ankle in last weekend's 2-0 victory over Sunderland, ruling the midfielder out for the rest of the season, but has absolved the club of any blame after reports emerged from Belgium claiming that his father blamed Everton for aggravating the injury through negligence.
"I am aware of comments that have appeared in the media and all I can say is that I was fit to play against Sunderland," Fellaini told the club's official website.
"I trained well the day before and I wouldn't play in such an important game if I wasn't ready for it and I wouldn't be selected if I wasn't fit enough.
"I am bitterly disappointed to have my season ended early but these things happen in football and I just have to work through it," he added.
"It happens and nobody is to blame."
Fellaini's comments will no doubt be welcomed by manager David Moyes, who had earlier responded to the reported criticism from the player's father by telling reporters: “Marouane was fit and wanted to train, so I'm really surprised by the comments.
“I've let him go home for a couple of days, so I am looking forward to seeing him and him explaining what it was all about.
“He always wants to be out there. He wanted to train on the Tuesday [after Chelsea] and we held him back. He wanted to train again on the Thursday and I said no.
“The boy was desperate to play, so we never saw this coming - there was no risk at all of him playing.”
Jack Rodwell is likely to play against Newcastle today as a direct replacement for Fellaini, as the England Under-21 star looks to secure a regular starting berth.
With Fellaini out injured Moyes would like to see more from Jack Rodwell,
“There have been signs of Jack coming back and realising, 'Hey, you're not just a boy. You're a man and if you are in the team, you have to play like a man'. He has realised it is not easy.”