Everton manager Sam Allardyce defended under-fire Morgan Schneiderlin after the midfielder was booed by his own fans.

Big Sam backs Schneiderlin

Big Sam backs Schneiderlin

The Frenchman has endured a difficult first 12 months at the club after arriving from Manchester United for £20million in January 2016, which reached its nadir when he and Kevin Mirallas were reportedly asked to leave training because of their attitude and dropped from the squad in early November.

That was under caretaker manager David Unsworth but since Allardyce took over, the 28-year-old has featured in every game, including yesterday's 3-1 home win over Crystal Palace.

However, the Toffees boss was taken aback when Schneiderlin was booed as he replaced the injured Idrissa Gana Gueye 10 minutes from the end.

'Surprised, very surprised. I've not heard it before,' Allardyce said. 'He is a very important part of the squad this year. Lots of players haven't played to the potential they have.'