Player By Player Analysis Of Moyes’ Young Squad

With the ruling, the number of youth players allowed at David Moyes’ service on match day is unlimited, and as such, Everton chose to name a only 21 man squad for this forthcoming season. They are:

Getting on a bit:

Tony Hibbert

Remarkably, this man has racked up more European appearances than players such as Kevin Sheedy, Graeme Sharp and Pat van den Hauwe. Undoubtedly, “Hibbo” is Mr Everton, and never in doubt as an inclusion. He may yet still have his purpose at Goodison, and having been a product of Everton’s academy, he is nothing if not a shining example to the other burgeoning athletes. There is no doubt that his number of starts will soon decrease with Seamus Coleman’s influence, but his improving distribution may keep him in a royal blue shirt for longer than expected – he is only six months away from eligibility for a testimonial.

Philip Neville

A no brainer, the decision to include Neville that is. He is the captain of Everton Football Club, and will continue to lead the line for a long time. His devastating injury (at Fulham) last season coincided with a run of four straight wins, but soon the lack of on-pitch leadership became apparent as Everton went into a nosedive down the table. The man who made “that tackle” against Cristiano Ronaldo (the kickstart to Everton’s successful 2008/09 season) is firm but fair, and will always work his shift for the Everton cause.

Leon Osman

Has looked completely anonymous so far this season, despite demonstrating a good eye for goal at certain times. Osman is not only poor against the horrible “Sky Four” but has now extended his weakness to playing against physical teams such as Blackburn and Wolverhampton, who are shockingly underrated. There is every reason to believe that he will grow into this season (if not the jumper his grandmother knitted for him), but Osman needs to start showing a greater sense of urgency, or he will be on the transfer list faster than Mark Clattenburg can pull on a Liverpool shirt.

Dennis Rodman Louis Saha

Probably the classic super sub, comparing his clinical finish against Huddersfield to the stage fright experienced in the Premier League games this season. It is widely agreed that Saha just needs one goal to get the ball rolling (preferably into the back of the net), and will no doubt score a few belters this season. His injury prone nature remains a concern, and unless he can learn to be more creative and daring (just shooting for goal, since the midfield service has seemingly dried up) he won’t just be bringing himself down, but the whole team.

Sylvain Distin

The Frenchman is becoming something of a rock in defence for Everton, and provided that the attackers are incapable of running at speeds exceeding 5 m/ph, he is an extremely valuable asset to Everton. If nothing, his presence is off putting, and after blocking attacks on the goal-line to great effect, may see out his career at Goodison.

Tim Cahill

Tiger Tim looks like he’s staying put as well. Time after time he defies his tag as an aging player, by playing to his strengths. Unfortunately, the squad presently lacks such chemistry and cohesion to allow him to enter the comfort zone of heading and in-box finishing. As such, Cahill (like Saha) would be most effectively used as a “super sub”. Ultimately, Cahill is as loyal as they come – he will fight for the cause.

Ayegbeni Yakubu

The man who was reputedly off to West Ham United has stayed after all that speculation. This will be a wise move, since he is Everton’s only proven goalscorer with the physique necessary to take on burly defences. With a powerful shot, Everton’s attempted passing game may pay dividends if he can surprise defences by shooting first time. In 2007/08, he became the first player since Peter Beardsley to find 20 goals, and most of these were attributed to his ruthlessness, combining placement with power. Although his running and trickery has never been a strong point, Everton need the Yak to start afresh before it’s too late.

Steven Pienaar

Didn’t go anywhere, and now it is anyone’s guess as to whether he is happy to stay at Goodison and negotiate a contract. Presently, he is proving to be disturbingly ineffective, and even though he showed an improved attitude against Huddersfield and Aston Villa, his delivery remains inconsistent and usually poor. Ultimately, the first win (whenever that may be) will have a galvanising effect on the whole team, with Pienaar often playing his best football when the rest of the team are also on the crest of a wave.

Mikel Arteta

The best little Spaniard Evertonians know hasn’t got the knack at the moment, and although (unlike Pienaar) he does not have a continuing contract negotation over his head, he is still worryingly off form. His free kicks might as well be taken by Hibbert for all the effect they’ve recently had on opposing defences, and ultimately he is also partially responsible for the goal drought which has seen Everton plummet into the bottom three. These are worrying times, and although there is no danger of him going anytime soon, everyone has their price.

The “long term options”:

Diniyar Bilyaletdinov

Literally and metaphorically, a very slow start to the season, and although he has proven his finishing credentials from outside the box, he has now had has “year of grace” to adjust to the Premier League. The Russian could still grab a decent prize if Moyes he doesn’t start to deliver, but there is always a sneak feeling that the commentator’s nightmare will soon find form.

Marouane Fellaini

The long lost twin of Screech has looked imposing and tough amongst a sea of midgets, and he also appears to be slowly curbing that habit of giving away silly fouls – while getting booked every single game. He is certainly one for the future, and Moyes would be very wise to keep Fellaini as a protector of the defenders, since John Heitinga seems to have lost his mojo.

John Heitinga

The midfield “enforcer” looks like a shadow of his former self who dominated the pitch, to an extent Joleon Lescott never did, earlier this year. He was mostly responsible for Wolves’ equaliser two weeks ago, and was the only player on the pitch against Huddersfield who produced a distinctly poor performance, with an own goal and a penalty miss. Obviously everybody has their barren patch, unfortunately the entire squad seem to be going through one, but if Heitinga regains his form, then defence and midfield will become more assured, leading to clean sheets, wins, and a more relaxed approarch to goal – with strikers safe in the knowledge that a quick break will be chased down.

James Vaughan

A surprise inclusion, especially since there were many rumours of moves to Blackburn, Leicester and Derby being bandied about throughout the summer. Certainly one for the sceptics to ponder as his opportunities remain limited, but there is probably time for one last hurrah before the inevitable finally happens. Suffice to say, he is not (as many once believed) the next Wayne Rooney.

Leighton Baines

“Mr Consistent” has been the only player who has truly impressed this season, not exactly a hard standard to achieve given the excrement around him, but it is always pleasing on the eye to see a burgeoning homegrown England international playing at this level, still with his best years ahead. His delivery is still not as good as it could be, but without him, Everton are truly done for.

Phil Jagielka

Showed his true mettle in an England shirt on Friday night with an impressive performance, even one bereft of an own goal! Jagielka remains an important part of Everton’s future (whichever league that may lie in) and will no doubt maximise his performances as just the right time, by finely balancing club football with increased international appearances.

Victor Anichebe

Was always going to get in by virtue of low numbers, and unless he learns to be versatile in a squad which seems to gel and un-gel like Jekyll and Hyde, his days in an Everton shirt are severely numbered. Ultimately, many believe that there is still something to come from this lad, but time is quickly running out.

Iain Turner

The Scot appears to have matured with his pre season displays. The man who once handed Manchester United a recovery opportunity (who eventually won 4-2 from 2-0 down) and got himself sent off on his debut against Blackburn has put himself back in a favourable light. He won’t get anywhere near the sticks, with Tim Howard and Jan Mucha in front of the custodian queue, but a third goalkeeper is a third goalkeeper. Expect him to go for good soon enough.

Tim Howard

No questions asked…

Seamus Coleman

The man who Moyes hates to love cannot get a starting place for love nor money. This utterly beggars belief, since he has proven himself to be an unquestioned talent, with industry at right back and on the flank. He is just the player for which Everton have been screaming out for years on end, but his entitlement to a starting berth on the wing was taken by Jack Rodwell – a central defensive midfielder!  Some might say Moyes is losing the plot, others may give him the benefit of the doubt and put it down to fear of inexperience. Either way, if Moyes is reading this he should start this man at every opportunity, because he sure doesn’t look inexperienced!

Jan Mucha

It would be extremely imprudent not to start Howard in every game after such service over the years, but Everton’s second goalkeeper looks like a safe pair of hands, even if he has yet to be regularly tested. Watch this space…

Jermaine Beckford

He signed for free, so even if things turn out, it’s not the end of the world. At 26, Beckford is more than ready to go up a notch and into the Premier League, but naturally it will take some time to adjust against resolute defences with pace, as well as strength. He was shut out of the Aston Villa game through both a lack of support and the concentration of defence on him, the lone striker. Ultimately, Beckford may operate most effectively at 4-4-2, but only time can tell what this man is capable of.

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