There have been many an articles and comment on this site berating the lack of leadership on the pitch in this Everton team. Indeed, on a recent thread I added my thoughts about the naivity that we have shown this season in a number of games. Both ring true and as such it has got me thinking how best to sort this problem.
The parallels to the the eighties team are many. We had a young team who lacked confidence and conceded goals. The manager was under extreme pressure and most believe was he was probably twenty minutes from the sack. Yet we had youth and quality in our ranks who needed guidance, confidence, drive and leadership.
Enter Andy Gray. A footballer way past his best whose glory days were surely gone. His body was half broken, his stock was on the wane ( pardon the pun) and his signature was met with mixed feelings in our fan base.
Two and a half years later we had turned into the most exciting, confident and driven team in Europe. Andy Gray brought knowhow, aggression, passion and self belief that rubbed off on all around him. He was a massive missing piece of the jigsaw.
Here we are thirty years later. A youthful team with bags of ability. Confidence is low, especially at home and the ability to get over the line, to have the knowledge and experience of how to win in tight situations is missing. The manager is under pressure and maybe he was a penalty save away from the sack.
Enter Wayne Rooney. A divisive figure certainly (although less and less with each passing visit to goodison). The character that he shows, his passion, his drive and his experience draw many a parallel to Andy Gray. Yes, he too is past his best and yes, he also has a body that is showing the wear and tear of many years at the top. However, the arrival of such a player to join the ranks of our inexperienced youthful and exciting team could just be the catalyst to much bigger and better things for our club.
So, is Wayne Rooney the missing link?