Blues Abroad: Richarlison, Jordan Pickford, Anthony Gordon
Usually, the prospect of an upcoming international break is a source of great frustration for football fans. However, a two-week break from club football was surely welcomed by almost all Evertonians, coming off the back of a 4-0 defeat at Selhurst Park, the latest disappointing result out of so many this campaign.
But in spite of the Toffees’ poor run of form, there were still many first-team players who received the call-up to their respective national sides.
Nathan Patterson’s two appearances for the Scotland senior side were perhaps the biggest talking point from an Everton perspective after a video clip of a surging run from the full-back in the first match against Poland made it onto Twitter, making supporters question just what the January signing needs to do to start ahead of Seamus Coleman, who is clearly past his best. The 20-year-old, signed from Rangers for an estimated £16m, certainly impressed in draws against Poland and Austria.
Jordan Pickford was also a name thrust into the spotlight last week as the inexplicable scrutiny of his position as England’s number one continued. Certainly no Everton fan could say his club form warrant him being replaced and his heroic displays throughout last summer’s Euros appear to be forgotten by pundits and journalists alike. In any case, he silenced the doubters with a resolute performance in England’s 2-1 win over Switzerland at Wembley, including a magnificent reflex save onto the bar from Fabian Frei’s back-post volley. Aaron Ramsdale was then given the nod in the second match against Ivory Coast.
Richarlison scored three goals across two World Cup qualifiers for his native Brazil side. Coming on as a sub on 75 minutes with the score already at 3-0, the forward bagged the fourth against Chile in the dying embers with a low, curling strike from just inside the area. He then proceeded to start the next match and scored two tap-ins in another 4-0 win for the South American giants, this time over Bolivia.
Anthony Gordon also had a successful international break as he carried his stellar form for the Blues into his England under 21 performances. Coached by popular former Everton midfielder Lee Carsley, the winger started the match against Andorra on the bench but was brought on after 71 minutes and scored with a terrific volley to seal a 4-1 win. He then started the next match as the Three Lions won 3-0 in Albania.
Abdoulaye Doucoure made his very first appearances for the Mali national team, after switching allegiance from France. He joined up with the Eagles for their two-legged World Cup qualifier against Tunisia, starting the first leg and coming on a sub in the second, as his new national side failed to qualify for the tournament with a narrow 1-0 aggregate defeat.
Seamus Coleman captained the Republic of Ireland national team to a 2-2 draw against a second-string Belgium side. The 33-year-old’s performances and fitness for Everton continue to be called into question and it was perhaps telling that the full-back did not make it onto the pitch for Ireland’s second match, a 1-0 win over Lithuania.
Salomon Rondon started both matches for Venezuela in their World Cup qualifying group. His side were battered 3-0 by Argentina before losing 1-0 to Colombia as they finish bottom of their group, with their failure to qualify already confirmed months ago. The 32-year-old centre forward is clearly used to playing in a struggling team, for both club and country.