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Starting line-up with an Old Squad?

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I was reading some articles saying that we have been left with an old squad so I started to write out the team I would play against Norwich, assuming we didn't sign anyone... and no-one else left. My team would be:

Howard 34
Coleman 24 Distin 35 Jagielka 30 Baines 28
Mirallas 25 Gibson 25 Fellaini 25 Pienaar 31
Barkley 19
Jelavic 27

That's an average age of just under 27 and I feel a good first team. I think Duffy could easily play a lot more this year as has looked good when needed; so, if he replaced Distin, that would bring the average down a lot.

This does rely on Jelavic finding his form again but I think he will as long as he doesn't have to chase full backs; I feel Martinez will bring a lot more attacking football to Everton.

I would love us to sign Honda; it's unlikely if Milan are after him... but you never know. Fer before someone snaps him up as I feel he is class and by all accounts wants to play for us. Negredo would be amazing but I see him going to City now... so maybe Bony as he looks good as well. If we did that, we would have a great side.
Ben Hayes, Taunton     Posted 30/06/2013 at 18:43:06

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Dennis Stevens
084 Posted 30/06/2013 at 22:29:50
The average age of the team would be a bit higher if you selected Osman instead of Barkley, which is more likely, imo.
Tony Marsh
086 Posted 30/06/2013 at 22:30:16

Fellaini and Baines might both be sold by August but good to see you don't have a place for Hospital Ball Osman. Hopefully Roberto will give a proper chance to both Barkley and Duffy, something Moyes was to afraid to do.

In fact, I suspect Moyes did his best to ruin Barkley after they had a bust-up in 2011. I have never known such a good young prospect that Barkley is to be treated in such a terrible manner. Good riddance to bad management and I can't wait to see the new look Blues in action.

Peter Warren
090 Posted 30/06/2013 at 22:44:03
Definately exciting to see a fearless manager with different philosophy in charge.

I hope he is able bring players he wants to the club without the need to sell although I believe it unlikely.

Mat Fearon
093 Posted 30/06/2013 at 22:59:44
Last season we were the 7th highest scores and only conceded more goals than Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal. Keep the defence as tight as last season and score approx 10 more and we will be in a good place.
Mark Frere
102 Posted 30/06/2013 at 23:16:28
Ben, you really confirm that its a myth that we have a ageing squad. We are the same as nearly every other club in the PL who have a few older players that need replacing eventually.

We have plenty of good young talent, who are more than capable of stepping up to the mark, players like: Junior, Stones, Barkley and Duffy. I've seen Junior play a few times and nearly always he's outshone Barkley. Junior reminds me a bit of M Fernandes, he's a bit more raw and not as polished but I think he's got the potential to be just as good as Fernandes, if not better.

I think when RM signs more players, apart from Alcaraz they will all be under the age of 27, thus bringing the age of our squad down even further.

Tony Marsh- Have you forgot the shambolic situation our squad was in before Moyes took charge all them years ago?The squad Moyes has left us with is considerably better than the one he inherited. Yes Moyes had his faults, but please don't try and make out he somehow ruined our squad

Edward Simpson
115 Posted 01/07/2013 at 00:56:48
Tony- What a load of tosh, whenever I've seen you post all you do is bash Moyes. It's really boring.

Barkley has made a lot of improvements recently, especially in the U-20's World cup where he was England's best player.

Harold Matthews
120 Posted 01/07/2013 at 02:16:45
Maybe, after watching Brazil, Martinez will gradually put together a group of hungry super athletes playing as a team.

Right now we have too many slow, comfortable sick notes.

James Martin
157 Posted 01/07/2013 at 10:08:08
The old myth about an ageing squad that is constantly perpetuated. What a load of rubbish. People talk as though half the first team is over 35. Being 30 is not old. Jagielka, Pienaar and Osman are all still in their prime especially Jagielka as a defender. That leaves Distin as the only real oldy in need of replacement. Our squad has a healthy blend of youth and experience and is no different to the makeup of most squads in this league.

Athletes who can play football cost the most money of all. Stoke are a team of athletes yet are rubbish. We probably went too far the other way and packed our team with small slow footballers like Osman Pienaar Gibson Fellaini (well at least he's not short) but they could all play.

It's easy to look at teams like Brazil and wonder why Everton can't play like that but then just take another look at their players and ask yourself what their values are. Its a bit like when people used Spain or Barcelona as a stick to beat Everton with wondering why the football wasn't as good as that. To play good football well, you need good players.

Mike Oates
181 Posted 01/07/2013 at 12:10:46
"Moyes did his best to ruin Barkley" is an absolute joke, Tony Marsh. The lad is always an inch away from disaster and greatness. He creates, scores goals but he also looses the ball far too much for a PL player.

I can't see him breaking through yet; Martinez will need to see the lad managing the ball better. You just cannot loose the ball as easily as he does in our own half.

Colin Glassar
188 Posted 01/07/2013 at 12:43:14
This age thing is a bit of nonsense IMO.

Distin is 35 and is still one of our fastest players. Milan won Serie A titles and CL with a squad of mainly over 30 players e.g. Maldini, Seedorf, Ambrosini, Pirlo etc.... Teddy Sheringham and Phillips were still banging them in in their late 30s. Look at Ryan Giggs, Pirlo, Lampard etc....they seem to get better the older they become.

So I think this age obsession is a bit out of date as training, nutrition, sports science etc...increases the time athletes can compete. Oh, and I forgot Mayweather. He's still knocking out youngsters at 40.

I'm not saying we shouldn't play the kids, we should, but to start worrying about players in their late 20s, early 30s is ridiculous.

Paul Gladwell
190 Posted 01/07/2013 at 12:47:11
Mike, Coleman was very similar and what changed that was the injury to Hibbert forcing Moyes hand to play him more and now look at the lad.
James Stewart
191 Posted 01/07/2013 at 11:34:58

Have to agree there. 30 is not old! Lots of players are hitting their peak in their 30s. Better that than to do a Michael Owen and be totally burnt out by 25.

Paul Gladwell
192 Posted 01/07/2013 at 12:52:25
From watching him for England under 20s the problem I thought he had was his work rate off the ball.
James Morgan
197 Posted 01/07/2013 at 12:45:37
Squad or first eleven?
Surely our "squad" is even younger. Oviedo in for Pienaar or Baines would bring the first eleven age down even more. It will be interesting to see who RM promotes and brings in. I think the 18-20 area is quite strong, I would like to see more lads come in at 25-27, although I won't grumble at a freebie 30-year-old.

I see Swansea are talking to Gomis, I believe he is quite special.

James Martin
200 Posted 01/07/2013 at 13:03:04
James it will be interesting to see what Martinez does with Oviedo. Hopefully it should help answer a few questions about what his best position is, whether he is good enough, or whether Moyes just coudn't bear to drop Baines. I'd love to see Pienaar more infield perhaps ahead of Gibson and Barkley and us working the ball out for Oviedo to gallop onto in space ahead of Baines. Then we'd get Baines on a proper overlap rather than the current game of roulette we play on the left side every time Baines and Pienaar start backheeling it to each other with no defensive cover at left back.
Phil Sammon
208 Posted 01/07/2013 at 13:12:04
The people touting Oviedo as our left winger clearly have no understanding of how and why Baines is the best left back in the league. It's no coincidence that Pienaar's mid-season lull coincided with Baines run of relative mediocrity. Pienaar's ability and instinct to come inside onto his favoured right foot is exactly why Baines has so much space. Add to that a forged understanding and two players of great ability and you have the recipie for a good creative partnership.

As a fellow left footer Oviedo seeks the touchline that Baines likes to occupy. When neither one particularly wishes to cut inside the opposing defender's job becomes much easier.

I'm not against Oviedo playing there for spells in games. I think he looks very lively - I just don't think he's the man I'd like to see starting games there.

And our squad isn't old - Moyes just insisted on playing older members of the squad. Neville, Hitzlsperger and hopefully Heitinga replaced with younger players and we've got a good average age again.

James Martin
221 Posted 01/07/2013 at 13:52:35
Phil, the Baines - Pienaar partnership has been a great one and it undoubtedly gets the best out of Baines but does it get the best out of the rest of the team? Our only chances seem to come from Baines crosses because we've built our whole team around it. Fellaini brings down the ball brings in Osman or Pienaar who work an opportunity for Baines to cross for Fellaini. Jelavic is not in that equation.

It also doesn't work particularly well on the counter attack. In my opinion Pienaar in an attacking mid role (normally where he ended up anyway) would be able to fulfill the same role but would also slide balls in for Jelavic and it might be Oviedo giving us the penetration down the left rather than Baines putting in herculanean efforts every single match to get up and down for every attack.

The team might be more balanced if Baines attacked when the overlap was on (when the LW was held up) rather than just pounding up the wing on every opportunity regardless of whether its on or not. Distin then has to move over and there's suddenly a huge gaping hole in the middle of the defense that led to us conceding countless times last season.

Alan Smith
223 Posted 01/07/2013 at 13:47:29
Oviedo is a left back by trade anyway. However an outside left winger would be more useful than Pienaar in certain games too. In tough away matches were Bains can not get forward. Or when coming inside with Pienaar dwelling on ball so much, that he is slowing our attacks down and condensing the play.

I think a striker would rather a quick early ball comes in now and again.

I think people get carried away and see things that aren't the magical understanding Pienaar and Bains have. They are just two top players.

If Bains played with bale or messi, he would strike up a better understanding within five minutes. Just as Pienaar would effortlessly slot in with cole, evra, or lahm

There were matches last season when Coleman and mirralas played better. We need the option of a touch line hugging pacey winger off the bench if needed to change the tactic and give the rest of midfield more space.

Colin Glassar
227 Posted 01/07/2013 at 14:06:07
Distin seems to be keeping himself busy, and in shape, if you believe the scum and it's dizzy blonde story today.
Phil Sammon
236 Posted 01/07/2013 at 14:28:55

We are certainly over reliant on Baines, I agree with you there. The thing is, Pienaar, Osman, Fellaini - none of them are likely to break away, run with the ball and slip one through for Jelavic. So instead we dawdle in midfield and only when Baines presses on do we get a two on one situation and a chance to penetrate. To be fair, Mirallas and Coleman have really improved us and I think we saw a bit more imagination towards the end of the year.

David Pearl
241 Posted 01/07/2013 at 14:39:42
Baines is most effective because of his movement IMO. He not only goes outside Pienaar but also runs inside... bringing the CB or Midfielder out of position. Oviedo would need a run of games and is undoubtedly a LB not a LW - we would only see that if Baines moves on. Moyes has left us with a very good team and some potentially great youngsters coming through. We are not a million miles away from Europe with a couple of good signings. It's just a case of how long it takes for RM to get us firing. Coleman was the most improved player last season - him an Mirallas - looking forward to seeing them improve even more. COYB
Mark Frere
257 Posted 01/07/2013 at 14:56:28
I think the partnership between Pienaar and Baines is over-rated, Pienaar's form last season was very inconsistent. I actually think he was a bad signing because he isn't getting any younger, and 4.5 million was a lot to spend on a player past his best and no re-sale value. The best form of Pienaar's career was when we had him on loan from Spurs, never before or after that spell have I seen him play as good.

Baines form was never a issue after Pienaar was sold to Spurs, so its a myth they are somehow reliant on each other. Also, I saw many games last season where Mirallas was played LM and Pienaar RM. Miralles isn't reliant on Coleman and Pienaar isn't reliant on Baines.

I think its silly to say Oviedo can't play LM because we haven't seen enough of him there, and when we did he looked very energetic and useful in my opinion

James Stewart
263 Posted 01/07/2013 at 15:20:54
Mark I'm not sure you are talking sense there. Statistics wise Pienaar had his best season for us last season! His goals and assists prove that.

Baines works well with Pienaar because he constantly cuts inside which free up space for Baines to overlap. It would work equally well with Mirallas or whoever providing they cut inside. This means a right rooter though so I don't see how Oviedo would work in the same way

Andrew Ellams
264 Posted 01/07/2013 at 15:25:53
Mark whilst I think overrated is a bit unfair I do think it's overhyped in true Sky Sports fashion. One of those things that gives them something to talk about and show video clips of in that dead hour before the matches actually kick off
James Martin
265 Posted 01/07/2013 at 15:22:01
Mark, Baines' form did suffer a bit without Pienaar - remember his semi final humiliation at the hands of Stewart Downing of all people? Pienaar is so good positonally that he rarely leaves Baines 1 on 1, some of the best full backs have to defend 2 on 1 and this is what Baines was doing less successfully when Pienaar wasn't here. On the contrary Pienaar continued to play well at the end of last seaosn when Baines was injured and he only had Distin behind him. Sometimes he looked a bit more adventurous knowing the left back hadn't gone on ahead of him and losing the ball wouldn't leave the whole team undone. Pienaar's quality and probably has the ebst footballing brain in the team. Its no coincidence that once he's come back the football has improved. He can't keep up his top form for a whole season and that's why you need a squad. Him and Osman as playnmakers were relied upon too heavily last season. If Pienaar got injured who could adequately replace him?
Mark Frere
280 Posted 01/07/2013 at 15:44:28
Pienaar might of had good stats, but stats can be misleading. I know what I saw with my own eyes last season, Pienaar's form was very patchy, a bit like Osman's form in that respect. I remember the West Ham away game last season and Pienaar and Osman totally run the show that day they were terrific, but I remember many other games when they were both dreadful. I was really dissapointed with the overall consistency of Pienaar last season.

Mirallas's performance against the RS playing on the LW at home was better than anything I saw from Pienaar all of last season

Chris Hannon
343 Posted 01/07/2013 at 18:48:22
Mirallas is the same, Mark; he drifts in and out of games, but he gets away with it because when he is on form he is unplayable, unlike Osman and Pienaar.
Ben Hayes
361 Posted 01/07/2013 at 19:14:22
I agree that Coleman and Miralles played really well in a few games hopefully if Miralles can stay injury free for the whole season we can see how great he can be as feel he could be an amazing player, well I hope at least.

I would like to see more of Oviedo as read that when he went to Copenhagen he took a while to settle in and find form but was really good by the end of the season.

I would love to see more youngsters but in not all together but one for a whole game then swap it to give each of them some real game time with first teamers and see if they can make it.

Our squad for my liking is pretty young and only Distan that is old but seems to stay as fit as ever.

Im excited for the season ahead, COYB

Ben Hayes
362 Posted 01/07/2013 at 19:14:22
I agree that Coleman and Miralles played really well in a few games hopefully if Miralles can stay injury free for the whole season we can see how great he can be as feel he could be an amazing player, well I hope at least.

I would like to see more of Oviedo as read that when he went to Copenhagen he took a while to settle in and find form but was really good by the end of the season.

I would love to see more youngsters but in not all together but one for a whole game then swap it to give each of them some real game time with first teamers and see if they can make it.

Our squad for my liking is pretty young and only Distan that is old but seems to stay as fit as ever.

Im excited for the season ahead, COYB

Peter Fearon
372 Posted 01/07/2013 at 20:30:07
Sylvain Distin may have lied about being a milkman - but he does deliver.
Ben Dyke
388 Posted 01/07/2013 at 20:40:30
The nice thing about looking forward to next season is it just all feels new, even if we have mainly the same playing staff. You can guarantee that next year we will still suffer the terrible feeling of 'should have won that', the amazing feeling of 'we got away with that one' and the slightly rarer great feeling of 'we totally outplayed that lot didnt we' and also the feeling of 'they battered us and I hate football and hate the clowns running Everton'.

The thing is we just don't know yet what proportion of each feeling we will have!

We are def in for Honda I have heard but it remains to be seen if he comes. I hope we get one 'marquee' signing and a few other additions to just spice things up for next year and stop us relying on Osman, Gibson and current forwards for every game as they will come up short.

You can take Kenwrights admission that we have to look to young players coming through more as his only criticism of Moyes and def something he will have discussed with Martinez - so watch out for more chances for youth next year.

Drew O'Neall
404 Posted 01/07/2013 at 22:05:29
To be fair the 'ageing squad' lime was trotted out as Moyes left by all the media (red) luvvies who were peddling the old 'punching above their weight' 'they'll be happy finishing in the top ten' bollocks but since then we've lost Neville, Mucha and Hitzelsperger, three of the oldest guys on the payroll.
Andy Crooks
461 Posted 02/07/2013 at 00:35:35
Tony, I agree to some extent that Barkley could have been handled differently. His attitude reminds me of James Vaughan. Opportunities are limited, so, when gets one he is nervous and desperate and likely to be injured or get a yellow card.

He may well be an arm round the shoulder confidence player and if that's the case I think Martinez will get more from him than Moyes.

Harold Matthews
588 Posted 02/07/2013 at 12:45:59
Thought we were pretty good last season. Certainly enjoyed plenty of thrills. The usual daft goals against and a whole host of missed chances stopped it from being well nigh perfect. Media sports pundits rated us highly and all our rivals dreaded meeting us, especially at Goodison.,,,,Apart from Martinez that is, but that dreadful day did expose our lack of pace and our inability to close down quickly in midfield. Let's hope these weaknesses are rectified.

My hope for this season is more understanding and appreciation for the lads who chase all over the pitch in an effort to regain possession. DM expressed his gratitude but blinkered fans hurled abuse.
The game today is not all about fancy stuff on the ball.

Jack Cross
686 Posted 02/07/2013 at 18:50:17
Well it looks like we maybe starting the new season without Baines. Man u have just upped the bid to £16 million.

I hope they tell Man u were to go, but I think a deal might be done around £18 - £20 million.

Oviedo's chance if given it. I think he could make that position his own no problem.

Fingers cross Baines stay.

Mark Tanton
697 Posted 02/07/2013 at 19:11:09
I'd like to see new squad number listings for the first time in years. I think Leighton will good luck to him.

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