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Fans Comment

A nervy path forward
Peter Fearon comes up with some interim solutions

12 November 2003

IF Everton lose Wayne Rooney before he reaches his peak it will not because of money, or ambition or disloyalty on his part.  It will be because we fail to surround him with players among whom he can be his brilliant best.

Ironically, that was never more obvious than at Blackburn, when Rooney was absent.  On one level it was a situation that cried out for his creative genius, penetrating passes and lethal finishing.  On the other, you got the feeling that had he been playing, he would only have been forced to win the ball himself, carry it through the midfield and cross it to himself in order to score.

Clearly, David Moyes understands this too and sees a future Everton built around McFadden and Rooney.  But the construction timetable has to be moved up.

Desperate situations sometimes require daring solutions and let no one kid themselves that this situation is not desperate. Forget the opening of the transfer window.  We have to amass a solid collection of points against Wolves, Bolton, Manchester City, Portsmouth and Leicester before reaching a terrifying Christmas and New Year precipice that includes Man Utd, Arsenal, Birmingham and Liverpool.  It has taken us 12 games to get 10 points.  Unless we can get the next 10 points in far fewer matches then, gentlemen, we are going down.

Heres what I would do:

  • Bring in Leon Osman.  Tobias Linderoth is shaky defending, mostly ineffective going forward and as anonymous as a ransom note much of the time.  Nyarko has skills but hes effete.  He cannot take the cold weather and hard surfaces of a Premiership winter.  Surely Leon has earned a chance.  Seriously, would that midfield be worse if Leon Osman was in it?
  • For similar reasons, its time to see what Alan Moogan can bring to the subs bench.
  • Start McFadden over Kilbane.  I just dont see what Kilbane brings to the table over McFadden.  He should be used as a utility sub at best.  When Faddy has subbed for him he has shown Kilbane up
  • Move Radzinski into a five man midfield, deep behind the front two of either Rooney and Jeffers or Rooney and Campbell.  Both Radzinski and Rooney have been forced deep anyway much of the time, such is the paucity of our midfield.
  • Play three men at the back.  At least they wont get in each others way.  We have to have an extra man in midfield moving forward.
  • Give up on Duncan Ferguson.  Chances are he will never be anything more than a wicked drain on our resources.  Might he still have a goal or two left in him, a few moments of heroism still ahead?  Possibly. But he will never be more than a shadow of what might have been.  He just isnt worth it.
  • Tell Jeffers that he is on his way back to Arsenals third string in the New Year if he doesnt make more use of his opportunities at Everton.

Despite the nightmarish scenes of carnage in defence against Blackburn, conceding goals is not really the problem.  It is our inability to score that has turned us into Premiership pushovers.  Think about this: If we had put away just four more goals since the season began we would be tenth and within striking distance of the European places.

Its no longer a question of how this season will turn out.  The season turns on the next four or five games.  And if Premiership football does leave Goodison Park you can bet next years season ticket Wayne Rooney wont be far behind.

Peter Fearon

2003 ToffeeWeb


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