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Direction and Identity are top of Everton’s Christmas list

Direction and Identity are top of Everton’s Christmas list

A month has passed since Ronald Koeman was relieved of his duties at Goodison Park, and yet we are still no closer to knowing who will take up the reins as his full-time replacement.

A lot of speculation has been made in the press over two men in particular who have both made storming starts to the season with their respective clubs. But who, if either will be unveiled as the next Everton manager.

Photo by Sandro Schuh on Unsplash

The men in question? Sean Dyche of Burnley & Marco Silva of Watford.

Two men with contrasting methods and approaches to coaching but both who have proven to be shrewd tacticians and have excelled at getting their teams to perform to the best of their abilities consistently this season.

Make no bones about it, one of Everton’s biggest problems with their pedestrian approach to this campaign is a major lack of identity. Mr Moshiri splashed the cash in the summer almost £150m of it, but for what?

By not adequately replacing hitman Romelu Lukuku and almost bulk buying No.10’s has left the Everton squad looking very thin in certain departments.

The toffees historically have been a club that has used its fullbacks well, with the crossing threat of Leighton Baines and the acceleration of Seamus Coleman as key figures.

The gamble to sign Wayne Rooney & Gylfi Sigurdsson hasn’t worked so far. Koeman hoped that they could dovetail off each other, instead, they have clashed, with both wanting to lead and dictate the tempo of games.

Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

Someone needs to decide what direction the club is going to go from here before relegation becomes a real prospect.

Let’s take a deeper look at the two men who have been made the bookies’ favourites.

Marco Silva

If Messrs Kenwright & Moshiri want a quick fix, Silva is your man. He has breathed new life into Watford. After a lacklustre season under Walter Mazzarri, Watford fans are now having the time of their life, what a contrast of emotions.

In a matter of months, Silva has taken a team who narrowly avoided relegation to arguably the most improved side in the league. He’s re-installed fight and passion to an uninspiring Watford and made smart signings like the impressive Richarlison and Will Hughes.

They play expansive football, it’s fast, dynamic and end-to-end action. It’s been all positive for Watford fans this season bar the 6-0 home defeat at the hands of Manchester City.

Watford FC Formation. Image courtesy of Fantasy Premier League

It’s clear to see that Silva is an ambitious man who has big plans for his future, so the opportunity to take over at Everton, a club with a glorious history, a fantastic fan base and an owner who backs his manager must be incredibly appealing. Only time will tell if he leaves the Hornets, but Watford fans must know that his time at Vicarage Road is numbered, as his stock continues to rise with each victory.

So far in his short managerial career at Watford, Silva has favoured flooding the midfield with a solid back three in defence which can allow the more creative players such as the aforementioned Richarlison to wreak havoc on the opposition. A big difference to Watford this season compared to last is the intensity which Marco Silva has installed, they are also getting many more touches on the ball.

Jose Holebas was the only Watford player to break into the Premier League top 50 for touches during last season’s campaign, and he came 40th in the list. This season Abdoulaye Doucoure is taking Watford to new levels, sitting 11th in the same listing.


Sean Dyche 

Man of the moment Dyche has certainly proved his doubters wrong. After a superb start to his coaching career with Watford and ensuring their best-placed finish in 4 years, Dyche found himself fall foul of Watford’s ‘manager a season’ approach.

Watford’s loss led to Burnley’s gain. It’s been refreshing to see a manager be given considerable time to set in place his philosophy and tactics and see them come to fruition. Even more impressive is that Burnley stuck with him even after relegation from the Premier League after 1 season, what a decision that has turned out to be.

Burnley currently sit 7th in the league on the same amount of points as Arsenal, quite the turn around from Championship football only a few years ago.

As much as Burnley fans like to dream, Everton would be a major step up for Dyche. He would bring with him a stability that Everton crave, but without the attacking gusto and intensity that Silva would install.

He’s made his Burnley sides hard to beat and often praised for their herculean effort in terms of distance covered in games. Although sometimes it’s fair to say style has been sacrificed for the result, something Everton supporters would relish to see now from their beloved Toffees.

Do the Everton board go down the pathway towards attacking flair or welcome the stability that Sean Dyche will undoubtedly bring with him.

If it was my decision I’d go for Silva, but make sure he signs a very long-term contract because it won’t be long until Europe’s elite will come calling for Marco.


Road to Rio….Youngsters given chance to shine as Hodgson names England World Cup squad


Image Courtesy of godin2017,

Image Courtesy of godin2017,

After months of speculating, players supposedly putting their hands up for selection and every football fan on Twitter turning in to a broadsheet journalist (myself included), England’s World Cup squad has finally been announced.

For all the permutations discussed in the build-up, the actual announcement proved slightly anticlimactic, much like the Premier League denouement. With injuries ruling out the likes of Theo Walcott, Kyle Walker and Jay Rodriguez, the final England squad virtually picked itself. There was to be no hint ‘bolter’ this time around but it’s fair to say Roy Hodgson has taken a leap of faith in selecting players who have impressed domestically, yet have little experience on the international stage.

The main talking point will be that of the selection of Luke Shaw and the subsequent retirement of Ashley Cole….a bold move from Hodgson and one that he admitted “was one of the toughest he has had to make.” As an England footballer, it is difficult to find fault with Cole. 107 caps, including three World Cups, only tell half the story of a man who has to go down as the country’s best ever in his position.


Image Courtesy of Kody Platter,

Image Courtesy of Kody Platter,

What a shame that we seem to be inundated with high-class left-backs when the rest of the defence looks a touch shaky. While the backline was rarely tested in qualification, there were signs in the home friendlies against Chile and Germany (and even Scotland) that there are weaknesses to be exploited.

If the defence creates an air of negativity and gloom then the midfield provides the antidote. Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are three supremely talented and confident young men who can all expect game time out in Brazil. It is Adam Lallana, though, who I am most excited about. He is highly regarded by Hodgson and is a player who has gone from a wildcard to make the squad, to almost a guaranteed component in England’s opening game against Italy on June 11th. Given his form for Southampton and his three appearances for his country, he deserves nothing less.


In attack, the only real issue was whether Hodgson thought Andy Carroll had done enough since his comeback from injury to force his way into the England squad. Alas, Rickie Lambert has got the nod instead, with Carroll subjected to the standby list.





Image Courtesy of Kemal1998,

Image Courtesy of Kemal1998,

Much attention will, of course, be paid to Wayne Rooney, who has another opportunity to show the world what he is truly capable of. A lack of match fitness and suspension has blighted his international tournament career ever since he burst on the world stage at Euro 2004. The news that he plans to take a physiotherapist on holiday with him will be well-received by just about every Englishman, as we look to him and the ever-maturing Daniel Sturridge to supply the necessary firepower for Roy’s boys.






Image Courtesy of Ryu Voelkel,

Image Courtesy of Ryu Voelkel,

All in all, this is certainly an exciting England squad, one which suggests that Hodgson has one eye on the future. Yes, there is a lack of experience but also a lack of tournament heartbreak and fear which can bear fruit. If you look at the German side of 2010 (that 4-1 humbling still hurts), there were few household names, yet a plethora of talent which had progressed from the under-21 side together. Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira and Thomas Muller all left South Africa with reputations enhanced and better players for the experience. One hopes the shackles are taken off our youngsters and they are allowed to express themselves as they have done domestically all season. I’ll end this blog with the words that are sure to be bellowed from living rooms and pubs up and down the country this summer…COME ON ENGLAND!




Squad in full:
Joe Hart
Fraser Forster,
Ben Foster
Leighton Baines
Gary Cahill
Phil Jagielka
Glen Johnson
Phil Jones
Luke Shaw
Chris Smalling
Ross Barkley
Jordan Henderon
Steven Gerrard (Capt)
Adam Lallana
Frank Lampard
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Raheem Sterling
Jack Wilshere
Rickie Lambert
Wayne Rooney
Daniel Sturridge
Danny Welbeck