It’s hard to believe we are almost a month into the season, but with the international break upon us and the transfer window now firmly shut, it’s time to look at some of the players who have played key roles in Everton’s early season form.
Where else could we possibly start? Of all of the incoming transfers at Goodison this summer, Wayne’s was quite rightly the one greeted with the most fanfare. The world and its dog watched on as the boyhood blue returned home, past indescretions forgotten and a new chapter in Rooney’s love affair with Everton embarked upon.
In terms of on-pitch performance, Rooney looks reborn. Playing with a zest and an appetite that has been absent from his game for the last few seasons, he seems to lift those around him and crucially still has that nack of producing game changing moments. His winning goal in the opening fixture against Stoke providing a timely example of how Wayne Rooney possesses the ability to provide that touch of class that makes the difference in a first half that was otherwise uninspiring.
Dominic Calvert Lewin
He had been labelled a failure before his career had even taken flight by many Evertonians, but Dominic Calvert Lewin has started the season really well. After along lay off last season due to an injury sustained just 6 minutes into his full debut against Southampton, it’s great to see that the Yorkshireman has battled his way to full fitness and now, with centre forward options limited, is seizing his chance to lead the Everton line.
Calvert Lewin’s all-action style is sure to excite the Goodison crowd as the season progresses, but what has been particularly impressive is the maturity and composure his early season displays have produced. Not only his cool, precision finish against Rozomberok, but also his intelligent cutback and subsequent calm side-footed pass to assist Wayne Rooney’s goal at Manchester City showed us that ‘DCL’ has a football brain which betrays his tender years.
Signed over the Summer from Burnley for a cool £30M, Michael Keane had been a target for Ronald Koeman since he took the Everton hotseat. Judging by his early performances, it’s easy to see why. Keane has slotted into the Everton back line seamlessly and gone about his business as though he’s been there for years. The centre back’s youthful energy and mobility allowing veterans Jagielka and William’s to prosper alongside him, and his aerial prowess has shown him to be safe at the back but also dangerous in attack, as demonstrated with that emphatic headed goal against Hajuk Split. No doubt there will be numerous clean sheets ahead for Keane and Co. in Everton’s defence, but with the acquisition of Gylfi Sigurdsson to provide some quality ammunition from set pieces, I wouldn’t bet against him chipping in with a few vital goals.
Last, but by no means least, I’d like to finish with my ‘Man of the Month’, goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. The big Mackem shot stopper has been a breath of fresh air for Everton fans from the moment he stepped between the sticks for the blues. The heart in the mouth feeling of a cross being floated into Everton’s penalty area is fading fast, Pickford seeming to pluck deliveries out of the air with ease. The young goalkeeper exudes confidence and owns the 18 yard box, and with a shot stopping ability to match it would appear he has Everton’s (and undoubtedly, England’s) number one spot nailed down for years to come. BUT THERE’S MORE. Pickford’s distribution of the ball is a thing of beauty. He sprays passes around the pitch like a midfield maestro, and his signature side-volley drop kicks seem to have the accuracy of heat seeking missiles. All in all, Pickford appears to be the full package and (whisper it quietly) on first impressions fully deserves the comparisons he is drawing with a certain mustachioed Welsh legend.
So, there you have it. Thanks for checking out my August review, be sure to come back for September’s, and in the meantime don’t forget to post any comments on any of the players mentioned, or let me know if you think anyone’s been overlooked.
– Rob (@RobbyFaux)