Season 2011-12
The Mail Bag

Ins and Outs!

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On the whole satisfied with our dealings in the window. Saha and Bily out, Jelavic, Gibson and Pienaar in. Surprised that Neither Mucha or Hahnemann moved on, and although Moyes has strengthened the squad, I feel he would have wanted a youngster or two to build on. Dont know why the Manolas deal fell through? So what does Moyes do now? What team will he pick if all are injury free? I think these three are going to be bench warmers soon.

DUFFY ? Will Duffy be forgotten again? After being loaned out and doing a good job, then brought home due to an injury crisis and pulling his weight in the PL, gets dropped for the least gifted full back in the PL. If it was me a transfer request would have been on Moyes desk next morning. Soon Distin and Jags will be back and he drops even further down the pecking order.

STRACQUALURSI ? What will happen to Straq, now that Jelavic is here? He has shown he has a better touch than everyone thought, a great attitude, holds up a ball well so we can move up, and gets on the end of crosses. Could be quicker, but must be worth a run in the team as we pump in umpteen crosses every game. Will Moyes have the balls to play 4-4-2, with him and Jelly up front? Or.....find himself back on the bench and used as a power-sub. I fear the latter!

DRENTHE ? After a really positive start, he has turned out to be a quite average player. Loses possession more than Bily did, although he has pace and a good shot. On the whole, he has shown that he is an undisciplined, egoistic type of player with the attitude of a 12-year-old. I suspect he will soon find himself on the bench, as most Evertonians are dying to see the Baines/ Pienaar partnership again. On the right?...when Donovan leaves, I would rather see Coleman back. Royston's biggest hope is if Coleman suddenly becomes a right back again.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD ? When all are fit then Moyes has a real headache here! Cahill, Felli, Rodwell, Osman, Gibson, Barkley, Baxter and maybe Heitinga. A headache or a luxury problem? One of the things we have learnt about Moyes is that he is a back-to-the-wall manager. Give him eleven players, he will make it work, give him a squad and he will usually make a balls up. Bad team selection, bad tactics and bad substitutions.

One thing I hope he gets better at is, that if players do a good job, then let them play. Hibbo did okay against City, but Duffy would have done the same job AND given us extra threat from corners.

It's going to be interesting for the rest of the season, with lots of debate here on TW.
COYB!!

Tony Cheek, Haugesund, Norway     Posted 01/02/2012 at 09:29:02

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David Barks
609   Posted 01/02/2012 at 14:32:58

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Duffy should hand in a transfer request? Honestly, I stopped reading after that ridiculous line. God forbid a youngster has to wait his turn. All Moyes did was praise Duffy's contributions when he played. Get sat for one match against great opposition in favor of a more experienced defender (who came in and did a great job) and he should be wanting a transfer?? What a joke.
Dan McKie
621   Posted 01/02/2012 at 14:53:11

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People going on about Hibbert playing yesterday. I'll admit, I raised an eyebrow or two to it, but could see why Moyes did it. For the decision to be then vindicated by a fantastic performance from Hibbert against a class forward line, and it still be questioned? C'mon eh? I've been a big Moyes critic this season, but credit where it's due. If Wenger or Ferguson had have done the same, it would be seen as a masterstroke.
Dan McKie
622   Posted 01/02/2012 at 14:57:18

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I can see now why Drenthe is on the bench most games. He clearly does not do what he is told when he goes out on the pitch. That quick free kick he took last night was one of a long line of stupid decisions he made. He has potential and I love his unpredictability, but he needs at least an ounce of disipline to go with his massive talent.
Jack Wilkinson
623   Posted 01/02/2012 at 14:58:42

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Hibbert starting was a sound decision. What you need against the big teams is experience, especially in defence.
Nick Entwistle
628   Posted 01/02/2012 at 15:19:26

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Hibbert was also CB in one of those trips to Lisbon. Just saying... 5-1?
James Stewart
632   Posted 01/02/2012 at 15:19:31

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What a crock of shit. We won last night largely down to drenthe. He commits players and is the only one we have who can beat his man. Yes it doesn't always come off but at least he is positive everytime he gets the ball.
Would be madness to bench him and I expect he will be a starter especially when Donovan leaves.
Dan McKie
633   Posted 01/02/2012 at 15:21:07

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Nick, we have failed to win 3 of the 4 games that Duffy was so brilliant in...just saying.
Tommy Coleman
634   Posted 01/02/2012 at 15:22:46

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James Stewart - I agree about Drenthe, I thought he was our main player going forward and can't understand why he's been rated so lowly after last nights game. I guess people see different things and look for different things from performances.
Dan McKie
636   Posted 01/02/2012 at 15:24:00

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Drenthe needs a free role, perhaps behind a striker. We all know Moyes' love of free roles though. His moto is 'you're a defender first, then whatever position you play in after that'.
Dave Wilson
649   Posted 01/02/2012 at 15:07:07

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Duffy has every right to feel disappointed, he has shown more composure in a few games than Phil Neville has in six years.

The decision to leave him out was a brave one.
If we`d have taken the hiding the neutrals were predicting, Moyes would have been hammered, but he went with experience and on this occasion his selection was vindicated.

I wouldnt mind betting Moyes regrets not cashing in on Jagielka - I know I do - and Distin isnt getting any younger.
Duffy`s chance will come again, cream always rises.

Transfer request ? what a strange idea, he is popular here and as already began to make his mark.

This boy already looks a more acomplished footballer than Jagielka, Neville and Hibbert but he has a ways to go defensively. Very Center halves get anywhere near their peak until they reach mid/late 20s.

Lets hope he watched really closely last night, because if defending is an art, this was a masterclass. The City superstars didnt get to see the whites of Tim Howards eyes at any stage.
Tony Cheek
657   Posted 01/02/2012 at 15:44:28

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David #609.........You dont think Duffy has waited for his turn? I think he has, and he has not let us down. And I did not say he should, I said that I would if it was me. Dont just read it all, read it properly.
James #632......If Bily had given the ball away as many times as Drenthe did yesterday, he would have been slaughtered on here. Just tell me what he done apart from that lovely shimmy that took him past a player leading up to the goal. What game were you watching?
We will see if he is going to be a key player from now on, and if he is , I will be the first to admit I was wrong. Not a crock of shit...just my opinion!!
David Sheen
659   Posted 01/02/2012 at 15:50:59

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Hibbert was dealing with super Agile and short Aguero in large portions of the game. It was genius by Moyes in a way. Man city play the ball on the ground. T

People who moan about Drenthe need to understand that our attack would be none existent if not for him. If you play counter-attacking football you need players with PACE.

Who ran forward with the ball just before we scored on a counter-attack?? Drenthe.
Mark Stone
664   Posted 01/02/2012 at 16:02:31

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I very much doubt Duffy would be hugely disheartened. He's come in and done a good joband will be delighted with the way things have gone for him this season. His being 'dropped' wasn't because his performances weren't up to scratch, but rather because a more experienced player was back to fitness. That experienced player came in and proved why it was the right decision. I hope that Duffy will have a long and succesful career at Everton but there are not too many 20 year old centre halfs in the premier league. Just because he's not first choice yet doesn't mean he never will be!
Tom Bowers
665   Posted 01/02/2012 at 16:11:27

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Don't expect the wonder of Hibbert to continue. The whole team worked hard yesterday and who knows what the result may have been if Duffy had played.Suffice it to say what we had out was enough to capitalize on a City team currently playing below par evidenced by 2 poor showings against Redshite.
We have options in attack and midfield now and if we can cure the bad habit of giving the ball away cheaply then perhaps we can get some more good results.
Keith Glazzard
672   Posted 01/02/2012 at 15:53:46

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Moyes won the tactical battle last night, which is more or less what Mancini meant by saying that he got their preparation wrong. Hibbo for Duffy surrendered the battle in the air - which this 'continental' team feel is beneath them and don't use - and invested in experienced cover, block and tackle on the ground to stop them.

Don't forget, Tony Hibbert has played more European games than any other Evertonian - ever.

Duffy, a good player already, cold be our anchor in two years at the fine old age of 22.

Drenthe - the backheel flick which set him free down the left - but unfortunately led to his card and withdrawl - was fabulous. City must have been delighted to see him go.

And I've seen loads of progress in his 'responsible' play - tracking back, covering, cleanly winning the ball. He's getting better without losing the good stuff - I hope we can afford him. Madrid watchers must already have lots more ticks in their boxes.
John Crossley
677   Posted 01/02/2012 at 16:32:51

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Thought Moyes got the tactics spot on last night; I felt sorry for Duffy, but he certainly joined in the celebrations at the end of the game, which showed the fantastic team spirit in the squad.
Tony Cheek
683   Posted 01/02/2012 at 16:54:09

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David #659....I agree fully that pace is very important in todays PL, and we have very few "quick" players in our squad. I just feel that Drenthe wants to do "brilliant" things every time he gets the ball. We are not that sort of team and he won't fit in if he doesn't realise it.

What became very clear last night is that we do not have the players that suit playing fast football. Every time we try it, it goes pear shaped. Strangely enough we look much better with methodical build-ups. Some teams do it well, we do not!!
Mike Allison
691   Posted 01/02/2012 at 17:13:49

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Drenthe is anything but average. Brilliant sometimes, highly frustrating (read 'terrible' if you prefer) others, but he is something special, something different. If Fellaini's tackle had fallen to any other player, we would not have scored that goal last night. Moyes' job is to set the team up to maximise the strengths of a player like Drenthe and minimise his weaknesses, that's what managers get paid for.

I also felt he worked pretty hard as well, and tracked Micah Richards every time. We need someone like Drenthe, as there are times when the opposition, no matter how good they are, will not be able to stop him. He can't be the only one however, we need threats from different places. I'm looking forward to a line-up that contains him, Pienaar and Donovan all at the same time.
Tony Cheek
704   Posted 01/02/2012 at 17:35:55

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Ok Mike...sounds like I am in the minority, maybe my expectations were too high after his first couple of games. But as I said, lets wait and see. Personally, I think he will be on the bench more than he plays, but as we all know Moyes always surprises us.
Jamie Barlow
708   Posted 01/02/2012 at 17:43:00

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I just think Drenthe needs to calm down a little bit. He was very lucky not to have been sent off last night. Credit to Richards for jumping straight up. Any other player and he'd have gone.
James Stewart
710   Posted 01/02/2012 at 17:58:47

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Drenthe plays at a hundred miles an hour and sometimes that is gonna get him cards and in trouble. You can't take that edge away from him though as you would lose part of his magic.

Personally I think the guy is class and his stats back it up. More prolific than Nani, Bale, Nasri, Mata, Young I could go on.
See http://theexecutionersbong.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/new-picture-119.png

When he plays we look twice as likely to score and even Moyes knows this.
Dan Brierley
712   Posted 01/02/2012 at 17:43:38

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Shocking. The Centre Back partnership of Hibbert and Heitinga last night, silenced the most potent attack force in the entire Country. And the response is? 'I can't believe Moyes didn't play Duffy, he should hand in a transfer request'.

Truly truly pathetic. Thankfully, our footballers don't have this mindset, Duffy was jumping for joy when we scored, and at the final whistle. Duffy saw the benchmark last night, and whilst he has been good, none of his performances have come close to what Hibbert showed. Duffy is a good tackler, and offers a goal threat at corners. But his positional play, anticipation and general reading of the game is light years behind Hibbert. But that will come, and I am sure he will be a good player for us. Its just sad that some people just refuse to give credit where credit is due.

And Drenthe won the game for us? Another crock of shit. He gave the ball away more than any other player last night. But I do admit, his tracking back was excellent, and he really became a team player last night. But going forward, he lost the ball far too many times by being too cocky, when he didnt need to. He was also VERY lucky not to be sent off. Richards not making a fuss, was the only reason he got a yellow. If he can show some consistent end product to his game, he will be one of the top players in the world in my eyes. But he hasn't up to now, and that is the only reason he is playing for us. Lets hope Moyes can develop his game further, and become and effective player, as opposed to someone who is merely pleasing on the eye.
Anthony Lamb
716   Posted 01/02/2012 at 18:05:23

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James, I am somewhat bemused by your reference to Drenthe's stats showing he is more prolific than Nani, Nasri....BALE????? Precisely what stats are you putting your trust in here? Are you seriously putting Drenthe in the same breathe as Gareth Bale? Leaving aside your stats if you were offered Gareth Bale or this somewhat unreliable loanee are you seriously suggesting needing time to make your mind up? With regard to your comments about last night's contributions to the victory then I am afraid if you are putting Drenthe's contribution in the same breathe as that of Hibbert, Hettinga or the effort of Straqualersi then these statistical sources of yours must be something else!
Michael Mcloughlin
727   Posted 01/02/2012 at 18:31:36

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I would like to offer my apologies that I doubted Moyes last night when i seen the team. Thought Moyes had lost the plot with hibbo and heity centre backs. BUt my oh my what a performance. I thought they were awsome. I notice that a lot of people are slagging off Drenthe for losing the ball and generally being like a chicken wiht no head. Well my take on him is that he did an excellent job running at the players with the ball and that pace he has really disrupted the opposition.
It concerns me that people are suggesting that Duffy puts in a transfer request. Everton over the last couple of years have been so short on playing staff and competition for places that the team has almost picked itself. I think it is wonderful that there is competition for places and that can only be good for the club. My take on last night was.
Howard: Couldnt really fault him Did all that was necessary. Possibly could have given a pen with that assault on Lescott.
Neville: Actually thought he had a good game. Broke up many attacks and was always on hand to recieve the ball when the team was pressured. Again oine who could have given a penalty away but did well.
Hibbert: Was bloody fantastic but if there was a negative he was not strong enough preventing forwards turning off him.
Heitinga: Was my man of the match. He never stopped runnning and grafting. Some amazing defending. I have not been a fan of his but will eat my criticisms now.
Baines: He did ok and was busy all the game as it appeared the city team targetted his side of the pitch in the second half. Did well blocking a number of crosses.
Drenthe: As already described above. Loads of energy.
Gibson: Kept busy all the game never stopped running and challenging. Great goal. Actually dont think he is fit enough and is a bit overweight but happy with him.
Fellaini Brilliant and my number 2 for man of the match. Broke up so much play and took control of midfield he was awsome
Donavon; Was a bit quiet for large parts of the game and got caught iwht the ball on a number of occasions. He did show flashes of briliance and was pleased he kept his head for the goal
Timmy; Thought this was his best game of the season. Really harried and chsed everything down. He epitomises the grit of everton
Straqualarsi; Great team player never stopped running Was unlucky not to get the goal but played an absolutely crucial role up front. He lacks the finesse wiht the ball at his feet. But makes up for it with the control with his head and chest

Baxter: Was bsy without making ot much of an impression
Tolos came on and chased everyting down. Proud of the lad

Brian Waring
731   Posted 01/02/2012 at 19:05:00

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Wonderful performance last night. I was a tad bemused when Hibbert was chosen over Duffy, but being a Hibbert fan, I was made up for the lad.Hibbert gets undeserved shite on here if he makes a mistake, but the darling that is Jags never gets any grief when he fucks - up.

Michael Mcloughlin
732   Posted 01/02/2012 at 19:12:35

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Jags gets loads of greif when he fucks up along with his aimless punts upfield
Dave Wilson
749   Posted 01/02/2012 at 19:52:53

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I`ve noticed a few people saying Donovan had a quiet game last night. I thought he was tremendous.

I kinda looked at what he couldnt do rather than what he could when he was here the first time round, but the guy is a born competitor.
I think he sacrificed a lot of his own game for the good of the team last night,

I think City fancied getting at Neville and at times they were queing up to get down that side, but time and again Landon tracked back to help out. nothing spectacular, but absolutely vital during the times were were struggling to contain them

Drenthe did his fair share of tracking too and he doesnt seem to be getting credit for it either.
Mike Allison
751   Posted 01/02/2012 at 20:07:49

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Tony I think he's the type of player who will do that, he'll produce something brilliant and you'll wonder why he doesn't just do that every time, so it makes his bad stuff seem worse, but if he could do it every time he'd be Messi or Ronaldo and not on loan with us.

A winger or creative player like him can basically afford to be shite about 80-90% of the time as long as the other 10-20% produces chances, assists and goals. Obviously the same is not true of players in other positions, eg. centre back or goalkeeper, but you should have players in the side with a licence to take risks, something we've lacked for a long time and that excites me about Drenthe.

Only just noticed this from Dan:
"And Drenthe won the game for us? Another crock of shit. He gave the ball away more than any other player last night."

My second paragraph here along with the first from my original post show why I believe the opposite Dan. Such is the lot of being a forward, you can play shite all day and if you score the only goal you're the match winner. In this case, I believe Drenthe's acceleration past Barry (I think it was) led to the sort of 'transition' goal we hardly ever score and did provide the moment that turned a battling 0-0 into a victory.
James Stewart
755   Posted 01/02/2012 at 20:31:21

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Mike spot on. It was Drenthe beating his man that was pivotal to our goal.

Anthony the stats were taken at the half way point in the season and are based on assists and such like and game time. Say what you want about him he is the 4th best winger in the league according to it. It's not my stat anyway I was just using it as an example. As for Bale no I don't think he is that special but sure jump on the media bandwagon and he is a world beater.

Last night the three key men for me were Heitinga, Fellaini and strac. But there is no denying Drenthe had a massive hand in the goal which afterall did win us the game.
Peter Askins
758   Posted 01/02/2012 at 20:31:55

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Kudos for Moyes, winning the tactical battle (and ultimately the match) in selecting Hibbert in place of Duffy in central defence.

When I speculated before the match that Moyes might actually have called this correctly, the suggestion was met with a great deal of scepticism, if not downright hostility, on the Matchday Forum.

The threat from City was always going to be from their sharp little forwards (Aguero, Nasri, Silva), and the recovery speed of Hibbert was consequently going to be more important than the height of Duffy.

Strangely, I also recall some "fan" hoping that Dzeko would score with a header, to further highlight how Moyes had "lost the plot". Some fan.

On top of everything else last night, I was pleased to see Moyes smiling again. It looked like he'd got his mojo back !!!
David Hallwood
767   Posted 01/02/2012 at 21:15:17

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I posted on another thread about new players especially ones from overseas should be given time to settle in, because of the cultural differences on and off the pitch. Given a season Drenthe will be terrific, pace to burn and not afraid to take a man on; sometimes he'll lose possession, but that's always likely with a ball player-what would you prefer him to do, knock 5 yard passes sidewards?
Tony Cheek
787   Posted 01/02/2012 at 21:57:19

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Dan #712 and Michael #727 ..Read it properly before you criticize ...."IF IT WAS ME a transfer request would have been on Moyes desk next morning." Luckily Duffy isnt me...!!
Also the one time in the whole game Drenthe went past a man we scored a goal. Well, you would expect him to do it once a game would`nt you?
I just feel if he had not gone past that man, people would be giving him some shit on here. Because apart from that he was avarage to say the least!
I can assure you I will be the first to heap praise on him when he does the business.
Dan Brierley
792   Posted 01/02/2012 at 22:32:36

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So, Drenthe taking on his man was pivotal?

You guys astound me. Drenthe went past a man which was excellent, and laid it out wide, where a terrible cross was put in by Baines, which was terribly headed clear, Donovan then mis-controlled the ball first time, laid it off to Gibson, who's shot which was going straight into Joe Harts arms, but instead being deflected by Barry turning his back. If you are picking Drenthe's moment out as 'pivotal', why ignore every other passage of play before and after Drenthe? Fellaini's challenge to win the ball was also 'pivotal', along with every other event I have described above.

I think the lad will come good and get better, but some people are choosing to forget that he has already cost us two goals this season with slack passing, and missed laying off the ball in countless opportunities where he decided to run at players instead of playing others in.
James Stewart
795   Posted 01/02/2012 at 22:49:44

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It was pivotal that it was drenthe who picked up the ball there yes as if it had fell to anyone else they wouldn't even have attempted to run at goal. It was a decent cross by Baines and a nice lay off from Donovan and Gibson put his foot through it. The deflection didn't change the path of the ball all that much no way it was straight into harts arms, but keep on seeing what you want to see!
Ian Smitham
797   Posted 01/02/2012 at 23:00:10

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Just prior to Drenthe, watch what created the goal. THE tackle, wince at your peril.

And some doubt Fella
Roman Sidey
808   Posted 01/02/2012 at 22:53:26

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I was another obvious doom-monger when Hibbert was named ahead of Duffy (or anyone for that matter). His previous performances at centre half left a lot to be desired, and I honestly thought Moyes would put Neville there before Hibbo.

Credit where it is due though, and the "worst player in the Premier League" (source: Sidey, often) put in a very good performance. I think the thing that people are missing here though is the influence that Heitinga had on Hibbo's performance, and, thus, the result of the match.

Since signing, Heitinga has played 3rd fiddle to Jags and Distin, much to frustration of a lot of us. Given the occasional game at the back in his first two seasons, he didn't impress everyone. Given a good sized run though, and his class is obvious. Also clear as day is his effect on other players around him. He talks, encourages, and leads by example in a way that Jagielka has never done. Not taking too much away from Jags, he is a work horse who has been a hero many times, but he just isn't in the same class as Johnny. Additionally, I think Johnny is highly responsible for Duffy seamlessly joining the first team.

On Drenthe, he's class. Okay, he gives the ball away more than he should, but he does what no one has done for us in long time - actually beat a player. He might not have "won the game" against City, but, as was stated above, he was pivotal in the move that set up the goal.

For those saying that he will be benched now that Peanuts is back, how bout a midfield of Fellaini, Gibson; Pienaar, Donovan; Drenthe. Drenthe being the "Cahill" role or a free roaming role?

Can't see it happening as Moyes still has his hard-on for Timmy, and as soon as Osman and Rodwell are fit they will be in the squad.
Alex Robinson
820   Posted 02/02/2012 at 00:27:26

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I think Moyes decision to put Duffy on the bench was partially Hibbo's return (experience), but also to give the lad a rest. He's played, what, 4 games in 3 weeks? If, as someone else has pointed out, young Shane was annoyed about being dropped for a right back, he would not have been bouncing around when we scored. Wouldn't be surprised if he goes to a Championship team this month though on loan (after Distin and Jags are fit), just to keep his feet on the ground.

Next up, Fellaini. Has anyone noticed he's not getting booked much any more? Was reading an article in the Times on Sunday and apparently Moyes asked for a conference with the referees union a couple of years ago after the Big Fella was being booked EVERY game. Shortly afterwards the bookings dried up...ish. Point is Marouane is confident to fly into tackles now without the fear of being booked for being over 6 foot and Belgian. And that led to the start of the goal :)

Other points:

Donovan ? Bit hit-and-miss but doing us proud.

Drenthe ? worth signing for his skill and exuberance. Would replace Bily as our champagne player if it comes off.

Johnny H ? has grown immensely since the start of this season.

Hibbo ? outstanding against City. One of the best tacklers in the game. Remember him keeping Ronaldo quiet in a game or two.

Stracq ? looking awesome atm. Could be a great supply line for Jelavic.

And speaking of newcomers, "Jelly" should have his work cut out, but sounds like he's up for it.

And as for Pienaar ? welcome home son...now show us what you used to do. A repeat of that goal against Arsenal would be nice. :)
Take it away, boys!
Tony Cheek
847   Posted 02/02/2012 at 05:40:22

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Roman #808....Don`t quite understand your comment on Drenthe -"On Drenthe, he's class. Okay, he gives the ball away more than he should"...
How does class and gives the ball away, go hand in hand. Its like saying "our butcher makes great sausages but they taste like shit".
Either he is class or he is not!
The point being, I think we are not use to seeing players with that much pace at Everton, and have been a bit blinded by it. I look forward to the day he starts using his brains by taking players on when its on, passing when its on, shooting when its on. It doesnt matter where he is on the pitch, his first thought at the moment is to go past somebody. Thats not class Roman.
Roman Sidey
908   Posted 02/02/2012 at 10:58:45

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I meant his natural talent, Tony. Like you said, if he can learn to control himself when needed, and, likewise, if Everton can learn to have him in the side, his class will be an assett. I fear he'll go to another club though when he's a Bosman.
Tony J Williams
920   Posted 02/02/2012 at 12:25:02

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We should definitely try and get Drenthe to sign but I have to question poeples eyesight on here. On two occassion in the first half he couldn't even be arsed to track back at all, leaving Baines without any cover at all.

The first time all he had to do was lines it...took it on and lost the ball, The second time, he had space to cross it but decided to run into the defender and lost it.

Each time he started to walk back towards the half way line.

He does needs to calm down slightly and get his head up and remember that he can pass it sometimes if he really has to.

Still an exciting player though...albeit a bit of a nutter too

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