To the end & beyond...

Gareth Clark 28/04/2018 19comments  |  Jump to last

This Season

Between now and the end of the season, there is little to play for. However, there are players who have been given a chance and have not performed. There are players who have been given very little chance and have been accused of being inconsistent, and there are players who have been given no chance at all.

Now it’s fair to say that I do not know what happens at Finch Farm, in terms of who trains the hardest, effort levels, attitudes, etc... But what I do know is that what I’ve seen on the pitch has been very disappointing.

Players such as Rooney, Tosun, Bolasie, Davies and others have been given a chance and to different degrees, have not performed. Personally, I think in the last two or three games, the likes of Klaassen, Vlasic, Funes Mori & Niasse should be given a chance.

Players that have actually done well have been removed from the line-up - such as Niasse. Which makes absolutely no sense to me. Rooney needs to have a break, Tosun too. With Baines and Calvert-Lewin’s injuries, I would give them chance to recover and go with this line up:

I’d like to see a starting line up of:

Coleman Jagielka Keane Funes Mori
Gueye Schneiderlin
Vlasic Niasse Walcott

Subs: Robles, Williams, Cuco, Davies, Rooney, Bolasie, Tosun

Schneiderlin has impressed recently, which warrants a stay in the starting XI – if he’s 100% after his knock in the last game.

In all honesty, Sam would win over a lot more fans if he did give the others a go – but knowing him, he will try win all the games to try stay here next season.

These players will give everything on the pitch to try impress for next season & in that way, I think we might actually have a better chance of winning the remaining three fixtures with the likes of this team.

Next Season

Moving on to beyond the end of the season – it is difficult to know what we need in terms of transfers in and out for next season. Players like Schneiderlin who I thought was destined to go, have completely changed my mind.

Then there are those coming back from loan and youngsters already in the squad:

Onyekuru, Lookman, Dowell, Robinson, Pennington, Connolly, J Williams, Galloway – as well as Davies, Holgate, Kenny, Baningime, Vlasic to name a few.

In terms of outgoings... I see Mirallas and Williams heading the list. And quite a few loans or sales of youngsters – with looking at buy-back clauses.

In terms of incomings...

Centre-Backs: I feel we need at least one and possibly two in. Jagielka has been great this season, but he is getting on and the time will come when he needs to fill the squad role. It is vital that we have a ready-made replacement. Furthermore, I think we need a backup for Baines, someone who will push him for a start. I think the two best options at centre-back are Lascelles of Newcastle and Mawson of Swansea. Both young, dynamic, intelligent and passionate players, who will offer us a lot.

Left-Backs: I’d like to see either Bertrand or Chilwell come in. Also, I think that Robinson has a really good chance of making the first team. So either another loan with the option to call him back when needed, or we give him a proper chance and let them battle it out, without looking to get another left-back – and then, if we have Martina as third choice, a squad player for right-back and left-back.

Wingers: Onyekuru and Lookman coming back provide food for thought. Are they ready? Should we look for someone else? Walcott seems to have nailed down one wing. Now Bolasie, Onyekuru, Lookman, Vlasic & also Calvert-Lewin will be the options and competition for both.

Midfielders: we have Gueye, Schneiderlin, Davies, Rooney, Klaassen, Baningime and McCarthy too coming back from injury, plus Besic out on loan. Out of these, I can’t see anyone leaving except for Besic (unfortunately).

Schneiderlin was seen to be leaving but, with his rise in form, I doubt anyone would want that just yet. It’s also very unlikely that McCarthy would move on with his current injury. Klaassen is probably the most likely to leave other than Besic, due to the way he’s been treated and lack of game time. I really do hope he gets his chance.

As sad as it is to admit, the signing of Rooney provided the most frustrating, as he expects to start every game & unfortunately hasn’t quite been good enough, and doesn’t really have a specialized position - he drops too deep to be a Number 10, but has minimal defensive ability, which rules him out of a CDM role & he can’t function in a midfield two.

Upfront we have Tosun, Calvert-Lewin & Niasse – and if they all stay, they are very good and give us depth and versatility. I don’t feel we need anything else up top at the moment, unless there are outgoings. Niasse has given us 8 goals this season, with mainly substitute appearances, at an average of a goal every 120 minutes... That is a great option to have as impact off the bench, or starting in a front two with Calvert-Lewin to offer more pace upfront.

This poses the question: Do we need any other reinforcements in these areas? I feel there are plenty of really good options – we just need a good manager who can utilize their abilities as best as possible. If anything, Richarlison of Watford would be a good option on the wing, and Dendonker of Anderlecht would be a good central defensive midfield option (if Schneiderlin or someone else were to leave), who can play a similar role to Dier at Spurs – as he can slot into defense too.

Our best/most likely starting line-up this season has been:

Coleman Jagielka Keane Baines
Gueye Schneiderlin
Walcott Sigurdsson Bolasie

Doesn’t seem to be too good, especially due to injuries and lack of form and consistency. For next season, with an already big squad, I think it’s necessary to get rid of a lot of players – a lot of loans – which need to benefit the players. We need a team of about 22 players competing for 11 places, and a couple squad players of younger & older players.

My personal choice of incomings:

Centre-back: Lascelles & Mawson
Left-back: Bertrand

(I think that Bertrand is more gettable than Chilwell at the moment. I think we should use a system that Spurs use for their full-backs, in terms of rotation and sharing the load, with Baines and Bertrand rotating – this means that Robinson should go on loan one more time and then, after next season, Baines shifts into a squad-player role and Robinson and Bertrand rotate.)

The 2018-19 squad before outgoings is far too big:

Goalkeepers: Pickford, Stekelenburg, Robles, Hewelt

Right-back: Coleman, Kenny, Martina
Right Centre-back: Keane, Holgate, Jagielka, Williams, Pennington, Feeney
Left Centre-back: Funes Mori, Galloway
Left-back: Baines, Robinson, Garbutt

Right Central Midfield: Klaassen, Davies
Central Defensive Midfield: Gueye, Schneiderlin, Baningime, McCarthy, Besic
Left Central Midfield: Sigurdsson, Rooney, Dowell

Right Wing: Walcott, Bolasie, Vlasic, Mirallas
Striker: Tosun, Calvert-Lewin, Niasse
Left Wing: Onyekuru, Lookman, Sandro

Players who need to be sold:

Besic (best of luck - great attitude)
Pennington (buy back clause)

Players who need to go out on loan:

Holgate (I think he would grow a lot by having a full season in the championship)

(All of the above with a call-back option, if injuries occur)

J Williams

All these guys need good loans where they play all season and grow a lot physically and technically. Over the next season or two, a lot of squad places will change, with these the most likely to make the first team:

Holgate ➡️ FunesMori
Vlasic ➡️ Bolasie
Dowell ➡️ Rooney
Baningime ➡️ Schneiderlin
Robinson ➡️ Baines
Hewelt ➡️ Stekelenburg

I would keep Galloway at the club and let Unsworth fix his confidence by playing him in the U23s to get him up to speed again. The poor loans have wrecked his confidence.

I would also keep McCarthy – firstly because it’s unlikely he’ll leave after his bad injury, and also he offers a lot when back fit, as a squad player and a starter too.

Final 2018-19 squad:

Goalkeepers: Pickford, Stekelenburg

Right-back: Coleman, Kenny
Right Centre-back: Keane, Holgate
Left Centre-back: Lascelles, Mawson
Left-back: Baines, Bertrand

Right Central Midfield: Klaassen, Davies
Central Defensive Midfield: Gueye, Schneiderlin, McCarthy
Left Central Midfield: Sigurdsson, Rooney
Right Wing: Walcott, Bolasie
Striker: Tosun, Calvert-Lewin, Niasse
Left Wing: Onyekuru, Lookman

That’s 23 players – with 3 or 4 squad players:

McCarthy (when back fit)

Squad Numbers:

1. Pickford
2. Kenny
3. Baines
4. Keane
5. Mawson
6. Jagielka
7. Bolasie
8. Sigurdsson
9. Tosun
10. Rooney
11. Walcott
12. Lascelles
13. Bertrand
14. Onyekuru
15. Cuco
16. McCarthy
17. Gueye
18. Davies
19. Niasse
20. Klaassen
21. Schneiderlin
22. Stekelenburg
23. Coleman
24. -
25. FunesMori
26. -
27. -
28. -
29. Calvert-Lewin
30. -
31. Lookman
32. Galloway


I’d like us to use a Man City/Liverpool formation mould, a 4-3-3 with one defensive midfielder and two box-to-box midfielders.

I’d also like us to use two different starting teams based on different games.

4-3-3 in difficult games:

Coleman(c) Keane Lascelles Baines
Gueye Schneiderlin Sigurdsson
Walcott Onyekuru

Subs: Stekelenburg, Mawson, Bertrand, Davies, Rooney, Calvert-Lewin, Niasse

4-3-3 against bottom-half teams:

Coleman(c) Mawson Lascelles Bertrand
Klaassen Gueye Sigurdsson
Walcott Lookman

Subs: Stekelenburg, Keane, Kenny, Davies, Onyekuru, Calvert-Lewin, Niasse

And then, to mix it up, 5-2-1-2:

Coleman(c) Mawson Lascelles Funes Mori Bertrand
Gueye Schneiderlin
Calvert-Lewin Niasse

Subs: Stekelenburg, Keane, Davies, Klaassen, Onyekuru, Bolasie, Walcott

I know this is getting tiresome but this gives us such good depth & competition for places without having too many players in the squad.

Coleman(c) Keane Lascelles Baines
Klaassen Gueye Sigurdsson
Walcott Onyekuru

Kenny Mawson Funes Mori Bertrand
Davies Schneiderlin Rooney
Bolasie Lookman

Next season, what differences would you like to see?

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Reader Comments (19)

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Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
1 Posted 28/04/2018 at 18:43:23
Phew... Football Manager overload warning!

Gareth, you had missed out Robles. I added him in when formatting your piece, but assumed you expect him to leave. However, going down to just two keepers may be considered foolhardy. Don't you think Premier League sides need at least three keepers? Perhaps Hewelt is good enough... I don't know.

Interesting that you, like Steve Ferns in a recent piece, aren't going for a "massive clearout", to quote many a knee-jerker on here. I think you are right that the squad is too big, but that (in the main) our better players should be good enough to take us forward — under a decent manager who can motivate them.

Sorry, but's that's as far as my focus will take me right now: Allardyce Out!

Jerome Shields
2 Posted 28/04/2018 at 18:47:38
I had forgotten that some of the players mentioned where still on the books!

Under Big Sam, they will never see the light of day, if they survive the Summer.

Paul Birmingham
3 Posted 28/04/2018 at 20:09:54
Excellent read Gareth. That's taken some compiling. In view of contracts etc that will bear on easy wins in context of players available, and right to go... Some we won't be able to give away.

For now let's get done after West Ham, and then hopefully, the club will show some guile and steel and tell the Everton supporters what Farhad Moshiri's plans are.

Today's a win, and hopefully, we can finish flush on back-to-back wins. To win and play good football too?

James Flynn
4 Posted 28/04/2018 at 22:29:02
Good stuff Gareth.

Sam wants those 54 points. He'll stick with what's got him to 48.

And, if he gets them . . . . . . . . he still needs to go. Ha!

With that, getting to 54 points is all I have left this season. So, I want all 54, too.

Andy Crooks
5 Posted 28/04/2018 at 22:38:17
Michael, I agree this is football manager overload, but I love this stuff. Gareth your enthusiasm and knowledge are just top stuff, great read.
Derek Thomas
6 Posted 29/04/2018 at 04:03:26
Never mind your Wengers & Artetas get Clark and Ferns in... you can sort out between yourselves who will be Clough and who will be Allison.

Short Version; Taxi !

Gareth Clark
7 Posted 29/04/2018 at 09:22:51
I think in terms of keepers - having Stek as back up is good enough at the moment. If any injuries occur - then maybe look at bringing in a back up or calling Hewelt back.

I don’t see any point in keeping Hewelt at the club as a third choice, who will play u23’s and get no game time at the top level.

I have heard very good reviews on Hewelt, great shot stopper and very mobile - similar mould to Pickford.

I think he will be ready if called upon - BUT I think a loan move to a championship side where he will be a guaranteed starter, will make him grow and learn & have the best chance of fulfilling his potential.

He won’t learn or grow by staying in our u23 team - he’s been here long enough.

Gareth Clark
8 Posted 29/04/2018 at 09:26:48
I can’t seem to edit my comment - but one last thing:

I think Vlasic played well yesterday, struggled at the beginning - but grew into the game. He deserves to start for the rest of the season for me.

Rooney on the other hand was shocking! And has been for a long time. He’s been given a chance & he hasn’t performed at all - surely it’s time to give Klaassen a chance.

Sam says he’s “doing everything to get the fans on board”... Maybe give some players like Klaassen game time - especially when the current starters aren’t performing.

Steve Ferns
9 Posted 29/04/2018 at 09:33:56
Very good Gareth. I see you agree with me that we need a centre half and a left back. I added a keeper on a free and a cheap striker as a squad player. Basically a big signing is needed at left back and a clever one at centre half. A keeper on a free is also essential, as Robles will leave, Stekelenburg seems permanently injured (set to retire?) and Hewlett needs a loan as you say.

Good to read your thoughts and it seems most others agree that Moshiri won’t sanction another spending spree to get us into the top 6 so we need some consolidation and careful progression.

The man to do that isn’t Allardyce. We need a top coach and some progressive tactics.

Gareth Clark
10 Posted 29/04/2018 at 11:13:18
Ferns #9

I don’t think we actually need a spending spree - with a squad as big as we have, there is always going to be unhappiness & that’s going to further degrade team chemistry & confidence.

I think Bertrand would be a great signing at Left-Back. Baines’ career will be prolonged by the arrival of someone that can challenge him & give him rest too. That allows us to rotate & keep the team stability that has been lacking throughout this season.

I also think that given the chance - Klaassen would thrive in a midfield three, similar formation used by City & the red shite. He has the work ethic and box-to-box attitude we need, and that Rooney lacks. Sigurdsson too has the work ethic to play in a midfield three & his ability is great too.

A midfield 3 of Gueye at centre-defensive mid, and Klaassen/Davies and Sigurdsson is one that can offer a lot going forward & more than enough on defense too.

Rooney unfortunately is a luxury player & needs to fill a squad role as back up to Siggy - and if he doesn’t like that, he’s going to have to move on to China or USA.

It’s nice to see that Keane seems to be settling down. Jags has been a stand out & getting reinforcements at Centre-Back should not be seen as him not being good enough, but he will fill a squad role, so that when we rotate due to fatigue or lack of form - the team is still balanced.

I think Bolasie still has a lot to offer & a full pre-season will do him the world of good to get him up to speed. But again, there needs to be competition between him, Walcott, Onyekuru & Lookman. But not too much competition that would lead to discouraged players. Ive heard that Onyekuru’s work rate is also very high, and his skill and ability too.

I think Tosun also needs a full pre-season to get to full fitness & maybe get into peak condition. He looks a little slow & I think at full fitness his pressing, movement off the ball on attacking and ability on the ball, holding it up & finishing will only get better.

I really don’t think we need any other strikers - Tosun, Calvert-Lewin & Niasse, plus Walcott can play uptop too and Onyekuru also.

My dream starting team for next season would be:

Coleman(c) Keane Lascelles Bertrand
Klaassen Gueye Sigurdsson
Walcott Onyekuru

Stekelenburg, Mawson, Baines, Schneiderlin, Davies, Calvert-Lewin, Niasse

With a back-up squad that are pushing hard for the starting team of:

Kenny Mawson Mori Baines
Davies Schneiderlin Rooney
Bolasie Lookman

Niasse as a super sub or starting in a front two - great option and impact.

Steve Ferns
11 Posted 29/04/2018 at 11:46:50
Gueye can’t play as a defensive mid. Not unless you’re talking a different role to me. He’s no Lee carsely. He can’t just sit and hold. That’s Schneiderlin.

Gueye is a destroyer. And Lee Carsley could never do what Gueye does. You either play two players like Gueye, ie Davies or Bangime, and a more creative player at be apex of a midfield three, or if you want someone to sit like Schneiderlin then he’s one of the two ahead with another guy who’s got a better skill set in the final third.

Sigurdsson clearly gets about the pitch, but I’d have Gueye and Davies behind him for defensive support, but the three are also mobile enough to get forwards.

I certainly think a ^ shape is the best for this current squad in a midfield three. It’s only a slight change though.

Sam Hoare
12 Posted 29/04/2018 at 12:08:13
I agree we need a new CB and LB (though Robinson has been one of our more promising loan performers).

I'm not sure I have your faith in Schneiderlin who may have had a few good games of late (shop window?) but has been absolutely woeful for most of the season. I think our central midfield has been the one of the main shortcomings this year and definitely needs a new signing. Possibly 2.

I also don't have quite as much faith as you do in the kids. Onyeruku, Vlasic and Lookman all look like good prospects and I very much hope they get game time. But are they there yet? Are they ready to be part of first team that will hopefully challenge more convincingly next season. I hope so but i'm certainly not sure. None of them have put forward a convincing case on this season's evidence. In an ideal world they'd get loaned out till they are ready and we'd have a surer option.

I'd say we need:

and another playmaker (probably a winger but depends on formation)

Though this is Everton, not an ideal world.

Ian Bennett
13 Posted 29/04/2018 at 12:38:52
The Mirror article lends creadance that Moshiri is planning big changes on and off the pitch.

Left back - Shaw, Tierney or Bertrand
Dominant Centre Back from overseas
Cover Centre Back - Gibson swap for Besic and Pennington
Box to box midfielder - Nzoni type
Left wing - Fekir Lyon
Maybe another centre forward if something decent is available.

William Cartwright
14 Posted 29/04/2018 at 18:19:12
Besic and Funes Mori are two players who I feel have been under appreciated by the club and the crowd. Both have had bad injuries but when they have had runs in the side they have both looked good... very good, in fact.

They are both probably tired of waiting, especially after long periods out, and will likely move on in the summer. Great shame as I have a lot of respect for them both. Besic has been seriously good for Middlesboro and Funes Mori looked really solid and committed when he was on the pitch against Huddersfield.

Michael Kenrick
15 Posted 29/04/2018 at 18:37:34
Not sure about Besic, William, he has been given plenty of chances to show for Everton and has failed persistently.

However, I agree with you on Funes Mori. Maybe because he's a continental-style defender rather than an old-fashioned English centre-half, then he gets dumped down the banks by our knowledgeable and experienced cognoscenti. Personally, I like him a lot.

Kieran Fitzgerald
16 Posted 30/04/2018 at 07:34:05
It depends what package is offered to any new manager and what he will be prepared to settle for.

Moshiri and the Board are going to be under pressure to start putting up hard cash for the stadium deal. Moshiri, after the money spent on transfers in the last twelve months, isn't going to spend money on players and a stadium. I think that a new manager will be handed this squad and be told to develop it.

Andrew Ellams
17 Posted 30/04/2018 at 09:02:29
We need to be very careful with this summer's recruitment. Koeman and Walsh got a bit like the proverbial kids in the candy shop last year and lost any sense of a cohesive plan and managed to bring in a lot of players without building any sort of team or squad. I'd say five players maximum this year and plan them very carefully.
A good manager should be able to improve the team year on year but we need to be patient too.
Gareth Clark
18 Posted 30/04/2018 at 09:20:13
William #14

I was also very impressed with Mori in his short appearance at Huddersfield- whether he wants to stay as a squad player, I’m not entirely sure.

I think Besic has been a bit unlucky too - but for his own happiness- I’d want him to go to a team where he can be a regular starter.

Ferns - I agree & think Gueye isn’t a Centre-Defensive Mid. He roams a lot, but in games we should be winning & dominating, I think we can play a midfield 3, & ask Gueye to sit deep on defense, and as soon as possession is won back, then give the ball to the ball players such as Sigurdsson & Davies/Klaassen, or the fullbacks.

I think that in a midfield 3 that are essentially all box-to-box, with varying attacking & defending qualities, there is enough in there to do a collective job & cover each other when necessary.

I also agree that Schneiderlin is a CDM, I worry sometimes about his mobility and pace though. But I would play him in the tougher fixtures as the anchor, and have Gueye and Siggy slightly further forward.

I can’t stress enough how good of a job I think Klaassen will do in midfield... it is very hard to find box-to-box midfielders with that high work rate up and down the pitch, that also have great passing, dribbling and finishing abilities too.

The club needs a bit of stability - as I think that was the main issue this season. Too many incomings & outgoings, and changes of manager & injuries. We have a very decent squad, now time to work with it.

THE THING I WORRY ABOUT MOST: Is that Sam has a very specific type of player and team... He isn’t used to using skillful players. He likes the physical, old school type, and sometimes that works. But I fear for the likes of Klaassen, Lookman, Vlasic & Onyekuru, as well as youngsters coming through and back from loan... He won’t give them a chance, and I think that’s the worst trait of Sam. And a trait that is so desired but the Everton supporters.

Bill Watson
19 Posted 02/05/2018 at 05:17:56
Besic is a bit like Bolasie. The longer he doesn't play for us the better he gets!
Both are Championship players but good luck to Besic who, although undisciplined, has always put in 100%

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