Everton supporters in the Transfer Tavern were thrilled with their side’s win over Sunderland on Wednesday, bringing to an end a run of four successive defeats.
The Merseyside outfit began the season with a 1-0 win over Stoke City and indeed qualified for the group stages of the Europa League, but things have not gone well for Ronald Koeman’s men in the last few weeks.
The Toffees have lost to Chelsea, Tottenham, and Manchester United to slip into the Premier League’s bottom three, and a 3-0 loss at Atalanta last week has not got their European adventure off to a great start either.
Yet Everton hit back with a 3-0 win over Sunderland at Goodison Park on Wednesday to advance to the last 16 of the Carabao Cup, with a brace from Dominic Calvert-Lewin and an Oumar Niasse strike sealing a fourth round tie at Chelsea next month.
And with eight of Wednesday’s starting eleven under the age of 25, and with an average age of 23.6, it begs the question, is youth the way to go in a bid to solve Everton’s recent troubles?
Yes, the calibre of opposition must be taken into account, with this Sunderland side themselves stuck in a rut in the Championship, but the manner of Everton’s performance, and indeed the displays of some of the younger individuals, must give the Toffees faithful optimism ahead of both the future, and indeed the present.
Forward Calvert-Lewin has been excellent in their Europa League clashes this term, netting against Ruzomberok, yet hasn’t started any of their last three Premier League matches despite contributing in both of their first two against Stoke and Manchester City.
And Wednesday was further indicative of the 20-year-old’s huge talent and undoubted potential, and given he was hauled off after 66 minutes, he may be in line for a deserved start against Bournemouth on Saturday.
But it wasn’t just Calvert-Lewin who seriously impressed, others also gave Koeman something to think about going forward.
Jonjoe Kenny and Mason Holgate performed admirably at full-back, the latter in a slightly unfamiliar position of left-back, while Muhamed Besic continued his rehabilitation from injury last year with another solid effort in the middle.
Add in fine displays from Tom Davies, Nikola Vlasic, and a short cameo from Ademola Lookman, and the future is certainly bright at Everton, yet it could also benefit them in the present as well.
Everton weren’t at their best at all but the young players got the victory under enormous scrutiny, having gone into a game they were expected to win despite no win in six, and delivering the goods in the end.
That could be a sign of things to come from this young batch of players – players who showed little fear in the second half, and dealt with the pressure of the situation impressively.
It’s unlikely they will all start against Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday, another must-win game for the Toffees, but Koeman will certainly have something to think about when selecting his side against the Cherries.
After all, these youngsters are the future of the club, but they could play a huge part in the present as well.
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