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Fans Comment
Dutch Schaeffer


James McFadden!
2/4/06

I believe Everton have moved forward with Moyes at the helm and I hope he can continue to improve things. But even I have to admit that I was frustrated when the January transfer window passed and the only striker movement at Everton was Marcus Bent departing for Charlton. I thought Moyes had made a mistake. Beattie was improving but my faith in McFadden had pretty much run out.

When McFadden joined Everton on that final transfer day along with Martyn, Kilbane and Jeffers, I was most excited about the player some touted as 'The Scotish Rooney' and I was happy to see former favourite Jeffers back at Everton. Funny how things work out: you would never have guessed at the time that Martyn and Kilbane were the transfers who would be most benefical to Everton.

McFadden made an impressive debut at Everton against Middlesbrough, even though that game ended in defeat. But for some reason McFadden's Everton career after that failed to launch. It was more frustrating then that rats-tail he sported.

Maybe you can blame Moyes for failing to find a position for McFadden to play in. He was too often deployed as a winger and never had much of a start as a striker. But McFadden never seemed to help himself either. He was a player who always seemed to do stupid things. For example sometimes Everton would battle hard to gain possession of the ball only for McFadden to then lose it by trying to take on three defenders. A simple pass always seemed to be dumped in favour of attempting something more difficult.

McFadden also struggled to find the net. I can recall at least two 'open goal' chances which McFadden wasted. In fact, it took an amazing 16 months for McFadden to score a goal in Everton colours something which was really annoying because he seemed to score in every game when playing for Scotland.

At the start of this season, McFadden continued to look a poor player. The skill and talent which has always been there looked gone as his form dipped and his confidence hit an all-time low. I was giving him stick myself and questioning why Moyes didn't cut his losses. I wanted Moyes to part exchange McFadden for Rangers player Michael Ball.

Then something unexpected happened in December last year. McFadden scored in two consecutive games. Then something else unexpected happened. Moyes didnt sign a striker and showed faith in McFadden. Did Moyes have a word with the player to tell him this was a make or break chance?

In January, McFadden scored against Chelsea. Then in March he scored his first home goal against Fulham; the very next game he scored against Villa and yesterday he got another against Sunderland that's 6 goals this season!

Now I'm not silly enough to suggest Everton have found the answer to their goalscoring problems but it does look like McFadden is at least strating to look a decent player. His form and confidence is high and his James Gang partnership with Beattie is developing nicely.

It also looks like Moyes has got the message through to the player he doesn't do so many silly thing while in procession of the ball. Does this mean Everton no longer need a striker in the summer? Of course they do it's a priority, alongside a new keeper.

But it does mean that McFadden is at least good enough to be challenge for a striker's place. Next season, McFadden, Beattie and hopefully a newly aquired top striker will give Moyes a pretty potent leading line.

McFadden hasn't won me over yet; this could just be a good run of form... but at the very least he has moved away from being deadwood at Everton. McFadden has shown us enough to suggest he could be good enough for the Premiership and Everton.
Dutch Schaeffer


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