Everton boss Ronald Koeman has turned to Wayne Rooney to help get his squad over their current confidence issues.
Morale within the Goodison Park dressing room is low after the Toffees have won just two of their first 10 matches in all competitions so far this season, leaving them 16th place in the Premier League with just seven points.
Koeman dropped Rooney in their last outing against Burnley for 'tactical reasons', and after losing the game 1-0 in front of a frustrated home crowd, Koeman has told the Mirror that he is set to recall the former Manchester United man to the starting 11 for their clash with newly promoted Brighton on Sunday as his vast experience is vital for the team at this difficult time.
He said: “He’s always in my thoughts to start. Of course, it’s the time for all the experienced players, for everybody who starts to be a team and get a good result.
“In that team there are experienced players who can deal with the pressure."
Koeman also admitted he saw his players' confidence shatter when they went behind against Burnley, and when only Crystal Palace have been trailing for longer so far this season, he admitted his players are struggling with self-belief.
He added: “OK, of course going behind is difficult. In the game against Burnley, if you go ahead compared to going behind, that makes it totally different.
“I saw the reactions of the players when Burnley scored the goal and it was ‘s**t again!’, doubting, mentally it’s difficult when out of one chance, they score a goal.”
Koeman has been trying the build his side's confidence back up, but conceded that their busy schedule so far this season has made matters worse.
He said: “You try to give the confidence in training sessions to support the players. But we know we have so tough a schedule of fixtures that we don’t have good training sessions.
“Also we have not one new player, but eight or nine new players. That all makes it really tough.”
Everton will be looking to kickstart their season with a win over Brighton on Sunday, before they face three tough tests in their upcoming fixtures.
They begin this testing run with a home game against French side Lyon in the Europa League on Thursday, before hosting Arsenal in the Premier League next Sunday, and then just three days later travel to London to face Chelsea in the Carabao Cup.