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[the Goodison Gazette]

Season 2002-03

Moyes expects high standards from Wright
17 August 2002

Richard Wright: Debut marred by an error that allowed Les Ferdinand to score what could have been the winner

David Moyes had no qualms about letting debutant goalkeeper Richard Wright know that he should have done better with both of Tottenham's goals in the 2-2 opening day draw at Goodison Park this afternoon.

The Everton manager has made no secret of his desire to see all his players perform to the highest standards possible and he was disappointed to see his side squander a 1-0 half-time advantage and then slip behind 2-1 to a goal by Everton's very own nemesis, Les Ferdinand.

While Moyes was slightly critical of his £4.5m summer acquisition over Matthew Etherington's 63rd-minute equaliser, both he and Wright know that it was sloppy of the former Ipswich and Arsenal goalkeeper to allow Ferdinand's first touch to squirm underneath his body and into the net.

"I've told Richard that he should have saved both goals," Moyes told the Official Site.

"Richard knew he should have done better, but overall I thought that his contribution to the game was very good. I thought that he kicked well, commanded his box, was sharp out behind the defenders. When you admit your mistakes, you've always got a chance to improve. It happens, especially with young goalkeepers."

Indeed, Moyes was also quick to stress that Wright is still young for a goalkeeper: "He's not here on the short term, he's here for the long term. He's 24 now, you've got to think how he'll be when he's 27 or 28."

Of course, calamity between the posts is nothing new to Everton fans who have seen Thomas Myhre, Paul Gerrard and Steve Simonsen (who is, ironically, younger than Wright, but the manager obviously rates Wright more highly) fail to make the number one jersey their own because of inconsistency and being error-prone.

The blame for two dropped points doesn't all lie with Wright, of course. Moyes's decision to employ a three-man attack consisting of Wayne Rooney — also making his Everton debut, Tomasz Radzinski and Kevin Campbell paid dividends in the first half but his midfield (which included another debutant in Li Tie) appeared to tire in the second, allowing Spurs to come into the game, really for the first time.

The home side took the lead when Radzinski laid the ball off to Rooney who, in turn, found Mark Pembridge and the Welsh international blasted home Everton's first goal of the season to make it 1-0. Rooney himself had a couple of opportunities to makr his debut with a goal but was foiled by Casey Keller.

The Blues' equaliser came 9 minutes from time when Radzinski tore down the right flank and despatched a left foot exocet that gave Keller no chance.

The result, seen by a capacity crowd of 40,120, puts Everton in 5th-equal place with Spurs overnight, with three more games still to be played this weekend — although the table is meaningless after just one game!


More on this story: Official Everton website