Two Toffees stars that could have a big 22/23 campaign if they stay injury-free

by   |   11/07/2022  0 Comments  [Jump to last]

It has been a tumultuous last few months for Everton supporters. Staring the real threat of relegation to the Championship in their collective faces, there has been a genuine sense of relief following the Toffees’ narrow escape from the drop. Now that the dust has settled, fans will be desperate for Frank Lampard to ensure 2022/23 is by no means a carbon copy of last season.

If Everton are to push back into the top half of the Premier League table, it’s likely they will need the availability of two important faces in the first team squad. One of which was unable to help the team in their hour of need during the closing stages of last season, and the other missed around four months of the campaign, blunting the team’s attack.

There is no denying that the physical demands on Premier League footballers are greater than ever – particularly those with aspirations to compete on multiple fronts and represent their respective countries too. It’s one of the main reasons why José Mourinho used to speak about sacrifices in team selection, with fixture congestion academically proven to affect a player’s on-field intensity, even if they still generally cover the same distance over the course of 90 minutes. Combine that with the mental exhaustion of the Toffees’ squad following a difficult, relegation-threatened season, and it’s no surprise that several key players succumbed to injury.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s return will be a seismic boost – if he remains an Evertonian

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One of those stars was talisman Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The England front man, who notched a career-best 21 goals in 2020/21, missed around four months of the 2021/22 campaign to the immense detriment of the Everton XI. The 24-year-old described his leg issues as “soul-destroying”, with a four-month lay-off prescribed following a hat-trick of blows to the same leg.

Calvert-Lewin first sustained a leg problem in August last year, when experiencing pain in his quadriceps. It was a bitter blow given that he’d hit the ground running with three goals in his first three Premier League appearances in 21/22. He said that injuring the same leg three times took him to “the depths of a mental battle”. He found it “difficult” watching the team struggle in front of goal while feeling “so far away” from first team action.

Five appearances since the turn of the New Year have given Calvert-Lewin a boost ahead of the close season, which has come at the ideal time for him to continue his rehabilitation and reach peak fitness and sharpness for the early start of 2022/23. His winning goal in the 3-2 win over Palace, guaranteeing Everton’s Premier League status for next season, was just reward for his dedication to recovery. It also whets the appetite for Everton fans ahead of next season, providing the club holds firm and rejects any potential advances from the likes of Newcastle United for his services this summer. Much of which depends on the club’s financial position, both from a regulatory and affordability perspective.

Nathan Patterson looking to build on last season

20-year-old right wing back Nathan Patterson could provide a great deal of attacking threat for the Toffees next term – providing he stays free from injury. Patterson was one of Rafa’s final signings in the January transfer window from Europa League finalists Glasgow Rangers. The 6ft defender sustained an ankle injury at the start of April that would keep him out for the rest of the season, forcing Lampard to make do without him.

The eight-capped Scottish international is keen to make an early impression during pre-season to try and make his first team debut in an Everton jersey soon. Patterson was held in very high regard by the Rangers faithful and is still a major part of Everton’s plans going forward – as evidenced by the five years remaining on his current deal.

Patterson said he has used the downtime to get himself “bigger and stronger” for the season ahead. Having worked closely with the Toffees’ sports science department, he is confident he’ll be “stronger” to feature in 2022/23. Summer international appearances will keep his hand in with match fitness, with Scotland’s Nations League clash with Armenia a great chance to gain some sharpness.

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