Everton's Swiss training camp ended with a friendly against FC Sion.
David Moyes fielded a mixed team with the absence of various senior
players, giving a chance for the youngsters and a certain Dutch player,
Andy van der Meyde.
It was an interesting chance to see a number of the
younger players — Baxter, Kissock, Irving, Rodwell, Agard, Jutkiewicz —
who could well form a real reserve crew for Moyes's depleted threadbare,
Finished work at 2.30 and thought sod it, can’t make the Forest
friendly with my best mate (who’s a Forest fan (poor man)) later in the
month, so spent a fiver on Everton tv for the preseason games instead.
Here’s my analysis of our opening friendly.
FC Sion are a week away from the start of their season and their
advanced pre-season preparation was evident throughout the match;
looking sharper, faster and more fluid. However their limitations as a
footballing side were fairly evident and we will be facing much sterner
tests next season in the Uefa Cup.
I would hope we will be fielding much stronger teams though as we
started the game with four players yet to make their premiership debut
(see below for player ratings). There were some positive performances,
most notably from the centre backs Lescott and Jagielka who looked
assured and comfortable throughout. Rodwell looks to be eyeing the
Carsley role and made himself available for the defence to move the ball
out to whilst also putting himself about to break up Sion (although he
was partnered in central midfield by Neville and may not have the same
level of defensive support with a more attacking team-mate).
The outstanding performance in a blue jersey for me though came from
Andy van der Meyde. Shaven-headed and lively, he was our most creative
player, showing the most desire and certainly surprised me. Even if he
was ultimately not effective enough to produce an Everton goal, we have
to remember he was playing along side an extremely junior forward
line-up which wouldn’t have even featured regularly in the reserves last
GK: Turner: 6/10 Looked a little flappy with balls into the box and not
confident claiming balls, but had no chance with Sion’s goal.
RB: Irving: 6/10 Had some good moments showing he could read the game
well, but struggled a little for pace and also showed inexperience when
dealing with a player running at him.
LB: Valente: 4/10 Sluggish and ineffective. At fault for Sion’s goal (in
that he was beaten for pace and position). Maybe it takes the older
players longer to get sharp in preseason but I for one am hoping Baines
gains full fitness soon.
CB: Lescott: 7/10: Looked in good shape to continue the form of last
season. Very important player to have in the side.
CB: Jagielka: 7/10: Assured and strong, hasn’t improved passing.
RM: VDM: 9/10: (Relatively) Best player for us, fingers crossed for next
season, some good touches, accurate passes and if we’d had some senior
attackers on the park he would undoubtedly have been more effective.
LM: Kissock: 7/10: A young Osman. A bit rusty and looked like a work in
progress. Ran at players but lost the ball (maybe a young Faddy then…).
Wouldn’t be happy to see his name on the team sheet for the opening game
of the season, but maybe later on…
CM: Rodwell: 8/10: Also lots of potential but more of it has been
realised. Comfortable on the ball and makes simple passing look easy ala
Carrick/Huddlestone. Had a great break into the penalty area near the
end. Exciting prospect.
CM: Neville: 7/10: Solid without being inspiring. What’s new?
AM: Baxter: 6/10: Difficult to judge due to lack of senior fellow
attackers, but looked anonymous and has some way to go.
CF: Lukas: 5/10: Not a great game although did hold the ball up well at
times (strength and neat feet), but so little support. 451 is a tricky
formation for a young striker to lead (although…see below)
CR: Agard 8/10: Much more dangerous than Lukas. Pace, strength and given
a some decent service I could see him doing very well. Had or was
involved in some of our best chances. If we are short of forward players
for whatever reason he is a realistic option (more so than Lukas on the
evidence of this game)
CM/AM: O’Kane: 8/10: Can pass, attacking, decent touch and whilst I
wouldn’t expect him to breakthrough this year, definitely a prospect.
LM: Molyneux 5/10: Not sure he got a touch (although my wireless
connection did drop off occasionally)
All in all not a great performance, and the most worrying thing was the
lack of senior players involved (Osman, Vaughan, Baines injured…AJ?).
But for the first game of the pre-season not entirely dis-heartening and
the performances of VDM and Agard were real causes to hope being ‘like
new signings’ as they will be. Rodwell, and O’Kane also showed that if
we are short of senior players the academy is continuing to produce
quality options. Would still love to see Fernandes/Moutinho/Cana in the
squad in the next few weeks though!
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