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Distin needs to fight for his place

21/10/2014  Comments (56)  jump

Roberto Martinez says that Sylvain Distin is an important player in the Everton setup but he needs to fight for his place in the first team.

The Frenchman hasn't played since the disappointing League Cup defeat at Swansea last month and he spent a couple of weeks on a break in his native France before returning to Finch Farm over the international break.

Martinez admitted that Distin is doing well in training and that the number of upcoming games will give him opportunities to play but he also suggested that Antolin Alcaraz was better positioned to step into the void left by John Stones for the win over Aston Villa at the weekend.

[Sylvain] is training really well, but just sometimes you need to make the decision on who has looked sharpest in training, Martinez said in the Echo.

I think for Antolin it is the first time he has had a solid 16 weeks of work with no niggles or problems. He looked really, really sharp in training so it was just that he was probably a little ahead in his match fitness than Distin, who had a little knock and a few times not training.

Antolin looked ready for the opportunity and he showed everyone he is ready to fight for his place and I was very happy with his performance. Distin in a very important player and he will carry on that way.

Sylvain [...] has lasted so long as a professional because he understands that in football you need to be at your best and ready to compete. Nobody is better than Sylvain at understanding that.

Quotes sourced from Liverpool Echo

Reader Comments (56)

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Tony Abrahams
1 Posted 21/10/2014 at 07:53:10
ItÂ’s the only way to do it as every player should fight for there place anyway. If Distin had played, then it wouldnÂ’t have sent out a good message to Alcaraz who looked about a stone lighter and a hell of a lot leaner than he did last season. IsnÂ’t it a shame we canÂ’t trust Robles at the minute as well!
Jim Bennings
2 Posted 21/10/2014 at 08:05:55
You canÂ’t really argue with the decision to take Distin out of the side because the defence has improved since others have stepped in.

Stones was a huge loss of course but Alcaraz filled in on Saturday like heÂ’d been playing 30 games on the spin. We all know that fitness is AlcarazÂ’s greatest nemesis and it debatable whether he can play in a run of matches but whenever I have seen him play I have been quite content.

We canÂ’t judge him on the Anfield Derby in January, the lad was nowhere near fit physically and frankly the Redshite were blowing everyone away at the time; to put that down to Alcaraz is foolish and shortsighted. Fitness permitted he is a solid competent and experienced defender.

I feel sorry for Distin because he has been the one to suffer for our horrendous start defensively but I suppose somebody had to. HeÂ’s been a really good player for Everton this past 5 years, perhaps not valued enough sometimes, but I appreciate what heÂ’s given to the club and I hope we see a bit more of him before his time is up.

Mark Andersson
3 Posted 21/10/2014 at 08:54:01
Distin is still a good player. ItÂ’s really annoying when fans start this "thanks for the memory but ship him out" stuff. Distin will have a point to prove so fighting for a place in the team can only be good.

ItÂ’s a long season and we are going to need all the players at some point, so do what supports are supposed to do and back every one 100 percent.

Drew Shortis
4 Posted 21/10/2014 at 09:20:30
Distin, Alcaraz and Jagielka are now in competition to partner Stones when he is fit again. A bit of competition is healthy and helps avoid complacency. I think all three can still do a good job for us, but only when playing at 100%. I was disappointed that we didnÂ’t manage to bring in a younger defender over the summer as a long-term partner for Stones. One of Dier, Mustafi or Martins Indi would have done for me.
Ajay Gopal
5 Posted 21/10/2014 at 09:54:47
Drew, I think Galloway and Browning together with Stones will be our long-term central defenders. Distin will play 10-15 games this season, and possibly a few games next season before he fades out. Jagielka has a good 3-4 seasons left in him and Alcaraz (provided he stays fit) can play for another 2 seasons.

Having said that, I think Martinez will target one more good defender in next summerÂ’s transfer window.

Oscar Huglin
6 Posted 21/10/2014 at 09:50:06
Jim (#2):

"We canÂ’t judge him on the Anfield Derby in January, the lad was nowhere near fit physically and frankly the Redshite were blowing everyone away at the time, to put that down to Alcaraz is foolish and shortsighted."

Although I agree that Alcaraz looked solid against Villa on Saturday, he’s hardly proved the doubters wrong. Liverpool were not ’blowing everyone away’ at that point – it was that victory that started their winning run. I have honestly never seen a poorer defensive performance by an Everton player than Alcaraz’s in that game.

I really do hope heÂ’s turned a corner, but turning on the Â’I told you soÂ’s ("whenever I have seen him play I have been quite content"... seriously?!) after keeping a clean sheet against arguably the worst attacking side of the season so far (Villa havenÂ’t scored since August) is rich to say the least.

Time will tell whether heÂ’s finally managed to adjust to our setup, and you never know, he could become a solid regular in StonesÂ’s absence. But that doesnÂ’t put right some of the piss-poor performances heÂ’s turned in since he signed.

As negative as this post seems, I’m actually very optimistic at the moment. A run of good performances against inferior teams could really get our season going – we’re only four points off 4th and, as OFM used to say, you should never judge a start until November!


James Stewart
7 Posted 21/10/2014 at 10:47:50
I would have liked to have seen Browning given a go. He has deserved a chance.
Gavin Johnson
8 Posted 21/10/2014 at 11:12:46
I donÂ’t think we should put too much pressure on Alcaraz, expecting him to play every game. So I hope Distin plays against Lille on Thursday, but only because of needs must!
John Malone
9 Posted 21/10/2014 at 10:03:39
Distin will be straight back in and will be needed on Sunday up against a physical Burnley side with plenty of aerial battles to be contested.

Alcaraz never won one first ball Saturday shoulder to shoulder against anyone, all his cleared headers were unchallenged. He is decent on the deck but nowhere near as good in the air or in a sprint.

I just hope with whateverÂ’s gone on between Martinez and Distin he does whatÂ’s best for the team and puts egos aside; both Lille and Burnley have pacy, physical forwards and Alcaraz will struggle one-on-one.

Paul Dark
10 Posted 21/10/2014 at 12:11:32
Personally, speaking, I worry about Alcaraz very much. I think Distin is a much better defender. He played no worse than Jags at the beginning of the season.

Still, competition will do him good. I expect him to prevail.

Steavey Buckley
11 Posted 21/10/2014 at 12:17:48
I am afraid the centre of defence is still EvertonÂ’s weak point, which should have been sorted out before the start of the season, but was not, especially with Stones having a long-term injury problem.
Max Wilson
12 Posted 21/10/2014 at 12:15:31
I have to agree with our Jim. There are some decent claims now for our defensive places and no-one here has mentioned Browning. Alcaraz did an okay job against Villa. Distin has been a great Blue but it looks like the time has come to allow others to follow.

"Has-been" is not a positive way to finish; after his career magnifique he should retire gracefully with his pride intact.

John Voigt
13 Posted 21/10/2014 at 12:27:35
I appreciate all that Distin has done. That said, he turns 37 in December. If Distin proves heÂ’s still a quality Premier League central defender, he may be back next season, but I think his contract is up at the end of the season.

Everton may need to look to buy a central defender, but IÂ’m hoping the young Everton center-backs are given the chance to develop and make buying a central defender "Plan B".

IÂ’m more concerned about our goalkeeping. Tim Howard isnÂ’t getting any younger and he needs better competition for his place.

Jay Rollinson
14 Posted 21/10/2014 at 12:38:04
"He played no worse than Jags at the beginning of the season."

Maybe not, but Jagielka was in the worst form of his Everton career. Distin has had previous error-prone spells. The manager had to act to change it up and (it looks like) he made his choice. The correct choice in my opinion.

Trevor Lynes
15 Posted 21/10/2014 at 12:35:14
We have at least two good youngsters in Browning and Garbutt who will be regulars for us in the future but, at present, the three we have to choose from are better than most.

Distin has been monumental for us since he signed and is one of the best signings we have made in recent years. Unfortunately he is now 36 years old and that alone will be a reason for challengers to his position.

I do not think that Alcaraz will be the answer except in the short term. I honestly believe that Alcaraz would be perfect in defensive midfield as a rotation player with Barry. McCarthy will really benefit from having the likes of Barry and Alcaraz around to help his development.

Alcaraz has comfortable ball control, positional sense and distribution which is better than most. He also adds strength in the air against big sides.

Distin is also great in the air and still has pace against quick strikers. Jagielka when on form is excellent at tackling, blocking and marshalling the middle of the defence. I do not see Cahill as superior to him by any means. Jags and Distin have gone season after season providing excellent defensive stats without disciplinary cautions that abound for players in their positions.I believe that Stones and Browning may well be the centre backs of the future but both need older heads around for quite a while to teach them positional sense.

Garbutt will eventually be another Baines as he reminds me so much of him. The lad has great pace and a fantastic left foot. He needs to master the defensive side of his game and then he will be a future star.

I do not know where we stand on Henen as the lad has bags of ability and pace. He could develop into a second Henry!!!

Tim Greeley
16 Posted 21/10/2014 at 11:31:33
Distin back on home turf, a natural fit. He wil have to factor in at some point and IÂ’d rather not see him in a Premier League lineup until he shows better form elsewhere.

He has been a very good player for us overall so I donÂ’t want to see him get scrap-heaped. But he has oddly shown nerves of French lace in some bigger moments......

Anthony Jaras
17 Posted 21/10/2014 at 13:24:45
IÂ’d just sat down in my seat on Saturday as the team news cam in and at that moment I thought: "Distin is finished at Everton!"

Not sure what has been going on but I feel the fact that we had no real cover on the bench at centre-back spoke volumes about the way Martinez feels about Distin.

All this "Antolin was sharp in training, so I picked him" may have been true, but it didnÂ’t explain why Distin wasnÂ’t even on the bench.

Dave Abrahams
18 Posted 21/10/2014 at 13:40:47
Distin is still a good player and there is plenty of football left in him. He will play plenty of games during the rest of the season and I for one will always be glad to see him in the team.
Harold Matthews
19 Posted 21/10/2014 at 13:36:13
In his pre-season interview on the official website, Distin talked about all the new young faces in the dressing room and how he was old enough to be their dad. It almost sounded like a farewell speech.

Things were getting harder for him and pre-season training was more difficult than usual. Nothing to do with the new regime. Everything was still the same apart from the new playing style which he didnÂ’t seem too excited about.

"Everton have nothing to worry about. With the talent already here and the youngsters coming in, the future looks very bright."

If he does retire at the end of the season, weÂ’ll certainly miss his lightning pace and physical strength. Young lightweight CBs will be too easily bullied by the likes of Van Persie, Costa, Dzeko and Aguero..... even Jelavic. Alan Shearer dwelt on this point the other night and he was an expert.

Thomas Surgenor
20 Posted 21/10/2014 at 14:30:52
Unfortunately it looks like it was a season too many for Distin. I think even he realises that now.

I hope he gets a run in the team before the end of the season and can redeem himself. He has been a great servant to the club and I would like to see him go out on a high rather than fizzle out as a boo-boy. He deserves to be fondly remembered.

Jay Harris
21 Posted 21/10/2014 at 14:31:10
First of all we cannot judge Alcaraz (or Jags) on the basis of one game against a very weak Villa side.

I have said all season that it was not our centre-backs that were the problem it was the structure of the side with too many forwards and not enough midfield players.

I therefore credit Saturday's result and performance in the light of beefing up midfield with Barkley and Ossie (although I would prefer Besic against tougher sides than Villa) at the expense of luxury players such as McGeady and Eto'o (when played with Nais and Lukaku).

I also credit Naismith who must have covered every blade of grass on Saturday.

Distin is far from finished IMO but I don't know what went on with Roberto Martinez.

Phil Walling
22 Posted 21/10/2014 at 16:26:11
Would have been very disappointed if we had seen the last of Sylvan over a spat with Martinez. He's been a fine warrior for many a year and still has much to offer. Roberto will have been looking for an excuse to bring in his old favourite although I suspect it wont be for long.
Linda Morrison
23 Posted 21/10/2014 at 16:40:40
Agree with you Phil, (22) maybe the pressure was getting to Roberto about the players he knew being out injured for so long and he didn't want to have any more of it.

Roberto needs to be careful. Distin's contract is up this summer and by what he has said he is telling us all he won't get another. If Alcaraz gets injured again then we will need Distin and a Distin who feels part of the team. Whatever happened between him and the manager until recently all the team were very poor. It took players coming back from injury and a poor Villa side to get the win.

We will need Distin for the next 2 games, his power in the air especially. I hope he plays on Thursday; if not, it seems to be a very poor way for a good servant to the club to be treated. Almost made a scapegoat.

Gavin Johnson
24 Posted 21/10/2014 at 16:49:13
I think a fully fit Alacraz has the edge over Distin: He's more comfortable on the ball and fits better with our passing game.

Distin's going to have to play again with the number of games we've got coming up, starting with Lille (where I expect him to play). That being said, I think Stones absence could be an opportunity to finally give Alcaraz a run in the side. It might also be the making of Browning like it was for Stones last season if he's given a chance to make the shirt his.

I think both of them are preferable to Distin. I've got no time for players spitting their dummy's out and risking disharmony in the dressing room. He's been a good servant but I think he should only be played as a last resort now.

Trevor Lynes
25 Posted 21/10/2014 at 17:10:15
I cannot agree with you, Gavin. Young players must be played with older heads to show them the way. Distin has lots to give and I reckon he is one of the quickest players on our books, plus he is big, strong and good in the air.

Some fans are quick to dismiss older players and totally forget that Distin and Jags carried us defensively for season after season. Those two are STILL our best defenders.

Stones and Browning may make the grade but they will need Jags, Distin and Alcaraz to show them the ropes. Browning has played less than two games so get real.

Guy Hastings
26 Posted 21/10/2014 at 19:28:47
I don't believe we can afford to lose a good, quick (still) centre back who knows our system inside out. Maybe he criticised RM's shoes? Who knows? What I do know is that the word 'upcoming' has no place on the site. Cease forthwith.
Brian Waring
27 Posted 21/10/2014 at 19:43:47
I think a fully fit Alcaraz has the edge over Distin: He's more comfortable on the ball and fits better with our passing game.

Distin's going to have to play again with the number of games we've got coming up, starting with Lille (where I expect him to play). That being said, I think Stones's absence could be an opportunity to finally give Alcaraz a run in the side. It might also be the making of Browning like it was for Stones last season if he's given a chance to make the shirt his.

I think both of them are preferable to Distin. I've got no time for players spitting their dummies out and risking disharmony in the dressing room. He's been a good servant but I think he should only be played as a last resort now.

Peter Laing
28 Posted 21/10/2014 at 20:21:42
If he had two left feet he would be mustard, but when the ball is anywhere near his right peg my nerves begin to jangle.
Phil Walling
29 Posted 21/10/2014 at 20:17:26
Linda: Felli certainly looked at home up front for the Mancs - and what a great goal !. Their supporters tell me that Moyes would never play him 'up top' for fear of allegations he was turning United into Everton!

Gavin, we shall see Barry at centre- half before Browning gets a game - unless its at Brentford !

Brian : Agree. 'Opportunity' would have been a better chosen word than 'excuse'.

Martin Handley
30 Posted 21/10/2014 at 20:32:33
I personally think that Sylvain can give us another year but not as a week in week out player,at 37 years of age it would be foolish to expect him to. But I would certainly keep him around for his experience. Nobody knows what went on between him and Roberto if in fact anything did.

As another poster said he's been a brilliant player for us I wouldn't want to see him turned into a hate figure.

Danny Broderick
31 Posted 21/10/2014 at 20:39:38
Distin has been brilliant for us for the last few years. However, he hasn't been quite the same player this year. Added to this he will be 37 on his next birthday, well I'm sorry but we are getting to the end.

He's done a great job for us, and lasted longer than anyone would realistically have thought. So he's been a great servant, but it's time to move on.

Brian Harrison
32 Posted 21/10/2014 at 20:29:26
I think it is quite obvious that there has been a falling out between Distin and Martinez, the guy has been a regular for most of last season and the start of this season. So to start criticizing him regarding fitness seems a lame excuse to me.

I read an article some months ago where Distin said that a couple of weeks before pre-season training he takes himself away with a fitness trainer and spends two weeks with him. Now does that sound like a player who would not be keeping himself in the best possible shape?

Maybe Distin questioned RM over his overpassing at the back, although I notice in the last couple of games that has happened a lot less than in the previous games. But when a player falls out with a manager there is usually only one winner.

As for Alcaraz I thought he had an excellent game against Villa but the true test of any player is how they perform away from home.

Paul Holden
33 Posted 21/10/2014 at 21:06:44
He's got a "dead leg"
Phil Sammon
34 Posted 21/10/2014 at 21:42:43
When a 27-year-old is playing poorly, he is 'out of form'.

When a 37-year-old is playing poorly, he is 'finished'.

I think, considering Distin's incredible physical attributes, that's a bit out of order. The fact is I saw him in pre-season last year and thought his legs might have gone. I was proven completely wrong in a season where he not only played well, but physically looked in his prime.

Something may have happened between the player and manager but I think he will be back in the team as the fixtures pile up.

For the record, I really like Alcaraz. The guy can pass well, read the game well and he can also win a header when we have a corner... which seemingly nobody else can do.

Conor McCourt
35 Posted 21/10/2014 at 22:50:38
Trevor, to say Jags and Distin are still our two best defenders is absurd. I echo the sentiments on here that Distin has been a great player for us but this season both in the pre-season and league matches he has been a disaster and only for his great history with us has he not been vilified on these pages. I don't think there has been a bust-up between him and Roberto and just feel he has taken a brave but brutal decision for the good of the team.

John Stones has been head and shoulders our best defender this season and I'm not talking about his distribution but in the air, positionally and in being solid. Against Crystal Palace for example they were basically just punting the ball forward and the two centre halves were all over the place and looked like scoring each time it crossed the half way line. I don't know why you mock at the suggestion of Browning as should he force his way into the team it will be alongside someone with experience in Alcaraz or Jags and certainly he has the physicality to play the role. He certainly couldn't be any worse than Distin was this season so to tell someone to "get real" for that suggestion while saying Distin is our best defender — I'd love to know what you base that assertion on.

Sylvain's been a great servant for our club but I think time has caught up with him. Perhaps you should heed your own advice.

Jay Rollinson
36 Posted 21/10/2014 at 23:55:23
"We shall see Barry at centre-half before Browning gets a game – unless it's at Brentford !"

What on earth are you basing that assertion on? Apart from your own prejudice?

I don't think a manager who happily gave Stones his head last season, and unexpectedly threw the untried Browning on in the heat of a Merseyside derby this season, can be accused of being someone who would never dare hand a youngster a prominent part to play.

Eric Holland
37 Posted 21/10/2014 at 23:57:48
Conor, I agree on the Browning situation; the lad has played at centre-back for most of his junior career. And, as said on here before, he is the fastest player on Everton's books.
Gavin Johnson
38 Posted 21/10/2014 at 23:53:27
Trevor (#25), Just to echo on from what Conor said really well. Yes, you do need experience but Browning wouldn't be playing alongside Stones. We're effectively in the same situation as last year, where at one stage we had both Jags and Distin out injured. So the decision was made to blood Stones into the side alongside Alcaraz.

So with the benefit of hindsight wouldn't you agree that giving Stones his debut was one of Roberto's best decisions? Or would you have preferred to stick with the tried and trusted.. and kept Johnny Heitinga to play alongside Alcaraz? (This is a rhetorical question, of course.)

Browning is in exactly the same position as Stones was last season and has the physicality and speed to cope. (Rhino has already said he's the best 1-on-1 defender in the squad) What he needs to improve is his reading of the game and this won't be done until he plays Trevor (alongside Jags or Alcaraz) Distin can jog on..

Gavin Johnson
39 Posted 22/10/2014 at 00:44:19
And just to clarify, I don't want to go 'all Paul Dark' on my assessment of Distin. I just think that dropping him has proved to be the right decision and at the age of nearly 37 we should consider giving a young talented player his opportunity. Next to Garbutt, Browning looks like the only player ready to step-up and doesn't have the competition that Garbutt has for a starting place.

Sylvain's been a great servant to the club but I'm of the opinion he's burnt his bridges in a lot of ways. We've had enough to contend with this season without him appearing to be arrogant enough to think he should still be in the team ahead of John Stones, and then sulk after being dropped.

Michael Penley
40 Posted 22/10/2014 at 06:15:22
If Browning is our best one-on-one defender, he needs to start right now. That's a skill barely anyone from the squad has. Watching opposition attackers being stood off while our defenders back off into the box is excruciating, considering how often we concede from deflected shots from around the box.
Trevor Lynes
42 Posted 22/10/2014 at 10:38:20
Gavin, if you read what I wrote again, you will find that I just pointed out the fact that Browning is still untested and cannot be considered before players who have already shown their abilities. So long as he plays alongside the likes of Distin, Jags etc, he will be carefully groomed to cover for the likes of Stones who is still developing.

It is still unknown whether Browning or even Stones will develop into top class players. Rodwell was similarly touted as the next star but he has not improved and is going through a barren period in his career. Some players reach their levels early and then hit a brick wall.

I played with lots of players who either did not progress or lost confidence after errors. I never recovered from a double fracture for instance but others do!! I just will not go over board on over praising youngsters at the expense of older more experienced players.

Coleman and Baines both waited for quite some time before cementing their positions in the first team. Even Rooney was played very sparingly at Everton compared to Barkley who I believe will surpass Rooney if he remains focussed.

We appear to have a few young players who could well make the grade at the top level. I actually think that Garbutt has terrific potential, but I am still careful about Stones and Browning. LetÂ’s just temper the praise and hope for the best!!

Everton is the best club for giving young British players their chance and perhaps we can loan in a few other top youngsters who can help us achieve our goals without needing big money to succeed.

Distin, Jagielka and Alcaraz are still needed in defence and so are Barry and Osman in midfield. All these players will bring on our kids and provide stability until the young players gain the experience and consistency to compete and take their places in the first team.

Conor Skelly
43 Posted 22/10/2014 at 11:32:39
I'm going to Lille as we speak and I for one hope he doesn't play. Good servant yes but good player? Really? I've always felt his bad attributes cancel out his good ones.
Steve Jenkins
44 Posted 22/10/2014 at 12:46:17
Ajay (#5), I agree very much with your post.

I think Stones, Galloway and Browning will be our long-term central defenders. All very pacy, strong and composed players and I’m excited by their potential.

We’ll obviously need to add more in the coming couple of years but I still think we’ll have at least another season maybe two out of Antolin and Distin and another three out of Jags – although after this season I think he will be more sparingly used.

We may lose one of Distin or Alcaraz in the summer and I see at least one more centre-back coming in.

Phil Walling
45 Posted 22/10/2014 at 14:45:59
Steve, I suspect that is a VERY long-term forecast. How long does it actually take 'for hell to freeze over'?
Denis Richardson
46 Posted 22/10/2014 at 16:54:49
With Stones out long term Distin is 100% still a very important player for us and I would not be surprised if he played tomorrow or on Sunday – probably Sunday as Alcaraz is better suited to European games. His form wasn't great at the start of the season but Jags was shite too – hard to drop your captain, though.

We only have 3 senior centre-backs and for those calling on Browning, I understand where you're coming from but the kid has played one league game – he's hardly ready to step in and play a few months on the spin.

I am glad Distin is still fit as we'll definitely need him before Stones comes back. No one can predict how long Alcaraz can go before getting another injury.

Steve Jenkins
47 Posted 22/10/2014 at 17:56:10
Phil, can you elaborate specifically. Not entirely sure what you’re referencing as being a VERY long-term forecast or why?

I can assume what you mean but can’t certain?

Browning, Galloway & Stones being 1st choice before others I can see within 2 seasons, especially given the age of all the other CB’s we have, I really don’t see that as VERY long-term.

Phil Walling
48 Posted 22/10/2014 at 18:03:25
OK, Steve. I meant NEVER !
Steve Jenkins
49 Posted 22/10/2014 at 18:31:46
A man of few words, Phil.

On what basis are you so certain, can you at least provide reasons why you believe this?

Jack Cross
50 Posted 22/10/2014 at 20:45:32
Distin as been a tremendous player for us. I don't think anyone can say anything to the contrary. Still got pace, but age and injuries are bound to take it out of any player. I would certainly give him a place in the squad but first choice? Well, you can only go on performance and he just hasn't been doing it.

There is no room for sentiment in this game; you're either good enough or you're not. I have given him some stick this season but, as I've said, you can only go on what you see and he just hasn't been good enough. But hey – he is 36.

Gavin Johnson
51 Posted 22/10/2014 at 21:45:50
Trevor, I don't think I missed anything in your original post, but if I did, I apologise. My eyes were drawn more to the bit of being told to "get real". So I got the impression you hadn't read my original post properly in the first instance.

I take your point on board. I just don't agree with it. That's why I used the example of Stones last season when the 'safe' option would have been to keep Johnny Heitinga in the January window to play alongside Alcaraz, when Jags and Distin were both injured.

I wouldn't expect Browning to be thrown in and play week-in, week-out until Stones returns and never suggested that. I just think he'd be a better understudy to play in rotation with Jags and Alcaraz rather than Distin because on his form this season Browning could hardly do any worse.

Gavin Johnson
52 Posted 22/10/2014 at 22:01:44
Trevor, John Stones is already a 'top player' and has more innate ability than Jags and Distin put together.
Jermaine Jennings
53 Posted 23/10/2014 at 05:44:04
Distin has been a tremendous player for us and last season was probably his best season. He was good against Chelsea and it was Jags who had one of his worst games and Jags who should have been dropped.

Alcaraz is a good player but not good enough for Everton. Actually a waste of wages in my view. Only a matter of time before Distin returns to the line-up.

Trevor Lynes
54 Posted 24/10/2014 at 22:35:54
Gavin, I reckon that is your opinion and I have mine.

Stones is still very inexperienced and that has shown to be true in a couple of games.

He does have the potential to reach the top but I do not agree with your view that he is better than Jagielka and Distin at this time.

You are obviously seeing things that are not apparent to me and I expect you wrote similar things about Vaughan and Rodwell at the start of their careers.

Steve Barr
55 Posted 25/10/2014 at 00:05:01
I agree with Trevor on his positive assessment of Jags and Distin and equally, on his more realistic assessment of the younger players like Stones and Browning.

Distin has been immense for Everton. Notwithstanding the occasional mishap, he has been one of our best buys over the past decade.

Stones is indeed excellent, particularly going forward, but can certainly improve defensively. Browning looks an equally good prospect from the few glimpses I've seen of him so far.

They will both benefit considerably from the experience and influences they will get from practicing and playing with the likes of Jags and Distin.

Beware we don't end up with a great blend of youth and inexperience!


Gavin Johnson
56 Posted 24/10/2014 at 23:47:04
Trevor, If you were a snooker player, you would be Eddie Charlton! It's true that football is a game of opinions and In your own, I think you are taking that RS pundits often quoted view that - "you won't ever win anything with kids". My own is that if you are good enough, you're old enough.

if Stones wasn't injured he would have been playing in the England squad for the recent qualifiers and I'm sure he'd have got some minutes on the field. He's the best English defender to emerge since Rio Ferdinand for his ability to pass and take the ball up the field. I've not seen seen many players his age with that kind of confidence and composure. I know I have more confidence in the defence when he is playing ahead of Distin, that's for sure!

I don't think it's fair to use the examples of Rodwell and Vaughan. The reasons primarily being that injuries have blighted and curtailed their development and careers. It didn't help matters in Rodwells case that he was often played out of position by OFM (he certainly wasn't a winger, that's a fact) Had he been played as an out-&-out midfielder and got a run without injuries he would probably be in the first 11 of a top four side and an England regular. Of course this is conjecture as we will never know.

So we can agree to disagree on this Trevor. I just think that you're being extremely cautious. With your kind of mindset you'll be saying that Ossie should be playing ahead of Ross next.

James Flynn
57 Posted 25/10/2014 at 00:18:17
Both at full fitness, Distin and Acaraz? Good. More options for Roberto.

Both fit, push to shove? Distin til he shows different.

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