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EVERTON PAST PLAYER PROFILES

Gary Naysmith

Squad number 3
Position Left Back
Joined on 17 October 2000
Joined from Heart of Midlothian (Sco)
Signed by Walter Smith
Transfer fee 1.7M
Debut as sub v Newcastle Utd (a),
21 October 2000
Full debut v Aston Villa (h),
5 November 2000
Contract duration 5 + 3 years
Contract expires June 2008
Final v Portsmouth (H)
5 May 2007
Left Everton for Sheffield Utd
5 July 2007
Transfer fee 1M
Born Loanhead, Scotland
Date of birth 16 November 1978
Height 5' 8 "
Nickname(s) Nayce
Honours Scotland international


STRENGTHS
Tenacious
Good pace
 
WEAKNESSES
Lacking genuine Premiership quality?
Goalscoring


Soccerbase Datafile

As Richard Dunne was finally shown the door, Walter Smith went back to his roots in October 2000 and snatched up the 21-year-old Gary Naysmith, who was all set to make the switch from Tynecastle to Coventry City.  After some sneaky intervention by Everton, he was redirected to Goodison Park.  Coventry had made a bid but they couldn't reach agreement with Hearts and when Everton came in with a bigger bid, Hearts couldn't refuse, much to Coventry's annoyance.

Naysmith is one of a number of talented players that Hearts have unearthed over the last few years but have been unable to retain because of money problems, the most noteworthy being McCann and Johnston (Rangers), David Weir (Everton) and Ritchie (Man City). 

Everton fans needed to be patient with the young Naysmith.  He was talented but he had a lot to learn in a better-quality league.  This was apparent in the first 20 minutes of Scotland's 2000 World Cup Qualifier against Croatia when he looked raw and exposed.  But he recovered to play a very good game.

Gary Naysmith graduated from Hearts reserves to make his senior debut in September 1996 – a superb win cup win over Celtic.  Initially he was in and out of the team as he found it difficult to displace the vastly experienced Neil Pointon.  After Pointon's departure, Gary made the left-back position his own and developed into one of the best young defenders in Scotland.  His trademarks include cushioned headers / chest-backs to the goalkeeper, surging runs down the left flank.  

But the Hearts fans were far from happy with his departure:

"Naysmith is the best left-back in our game, which is why he is in Croatia with Scotland.

"Hearts offered him an extension to his current contract but he turned it down because it did not reflect his status.  No one can blame him for that.

"The fact is that Hearts cannot afford to hold on to their top players.  Gary is the latest in a long line of players - Neil McCann, David Weir and Paul Ritchie - who have left Hearts.  Losing Gary will be a massive blow. "
Gary Naysmith is more of an attacking player than a pure defender.  He settled in well at Everton and, in his second full game, got the winner at Bradford City.  But for much of the 2000-01 season he fell victim to the chronic Everton injury syndrome.

With good pace and tenacity, he was ahead of  David Unsworth and the injury-prone Alessandro Pistone in claiming the left back role in 2001-02.  He also often found himself employed in left midfield as Walter Smith struggled with a seemingly endless injury crisis.  

Naysmith was not spectacular but he was getting consistently good reports by the sporting press in general.  He was not the sort who plays a blinder but neither did he have really poor games.  Under David Moyes, he was turned into a good squad man, able to fit in at left-back or wing-half.

But as the pace (and work rate?) increased with David Moyes pushing the team to greater heights in 2004-05, Naysmith struggled increasingly to make an impact.   An early red card cost him dear, and injuries kept him mostly in the Reserves, and the rumours of an imminent departure were rife as the season drew to a close.

Yet David Moyes was probably relieved when Gary finally agreed to a three-year deal, reducing by one the number of senior squad replacements he would need to merely maintain the numbers into next season.  Then Naysmith injured his foot and needed an operation that kept him sidelined for most of the new 2005-06 season and he did not play again until March 2006.

The 2006-07 season wasn't much better, with long-term injury against reducing his appearances to a handful that only tended to confirm the widely-held view of Gary Naysmith: just not good enough.  Despite becoming a regular member of the Scotland team (we know how good they are... *cough!*), there was some fairly widespread relief when he moved to Sheffield United in July 2007 for 1M, partly in response to Everton's acquisition of Phil Jagielka.

With the left-back position covered by Valente, Lescott, and hopefully the fit-again young prospect in Paddy Boyle, this brought to an end the somewhat unimpressive seven-season Everton career of Gary Naysmith.

By Michael Kenrick
Last updated July 2007


Everton Career
Season Squad
Number
League
Apps (sub)
League
Goals
Cup
Apps (sub)
Cup
Goals
Total
Apps (sub)
Total
Goals
2000-01
15
17 (3)
2
1 (0)
0
18 (3)
2
2001-02
15
23 (1)
0
4 (0)
0
27 (1)
0
2002-03
15
24 (4)
1
3 (1)
1
27 (5)
2
2003-04
15
27 (2)
2
4 (1)
0
31 (3)
2
2004-05
15
5 (6)
0
4 (0)
0
9 (6)
0
2005-06
3
7 (0)
0
0 (1)
0
7 (1)
0
2006-07
3
10 (5)
1
1 (1)
0
11 (6)
1
  Totals 113 (21) 6 17 (4) 1 130 (24) 7

Prior Club Record
Season Team Appearances (sub) Goals
1997-2000 Heart of Midlothian 94(4) + 25 3 + 1


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