Everton 0 - 1 Schalke 04Updated Tom Cleverley played an hour and Steven Pienaar for the first half as Everton Under-21s were beaten in the Premier League U21 International Cup by Schalke 04 this evening.
Cleverley has been out of action for almost two months since he suffered ankle ligament damage in the goalless draw against Tottenham Hotspur but took the next step in his return to fitness with a runout for the Blues' second string.
Pienaar, meanwhile, hasn't figured for any Blues side since pre-season when it looked as though he could finally be surmounting a catalogue of injuries over the past two seasons but he broke down again and has been forced back into rehabilitation.
David Unsworth's side took on the German club's U21s at Goodison Park and other senior squad members in the form of Bryan Oviedo, Joel Robles and Tyias Browning were also on show in the second match in this competition. The U21s' first PL U21 International Cup game saw them win 2-1 over Spurs in August.
According to the Liverpool Echo, Leighton Baines also had an outside chance of being involved against Schalke but he wasn't involved. He, too, has been stepping up his training in a bid to be fully match fit by the middle of next month.
The Blues almost got off to the perfect start when David Henen was felled in the area after just three minutes but his penalty was saved by Wetko.
The Germans' 'keeper then denied Conor Grant before the visitors took the lead at the other end. Florian Pick's deflected effort had enough to roll over the line to make it 1-0 to Schalke with 10 minutes gone.
Pienaar was withdrawn at half time and replaced by Liam Walsh and the young midfielder almost made an instant impact when his free kick came back off the woodwork and Grant' effort off the rebound was saved.
Cleverley then made way for Connolly on the hour mark with the score still 1-0 to the visitors but the Blues were unable to find a way back into the contest.
Everton: Robles, Browning, Oviedo, Kenny, Holgate, Ledson, Grant, Cleverley (Connolly), Henen, Pienaar (Walsh), Dyson.
Subs not used: Hewelt, Jones, Williams, Charsley, Evans.
Reader Comments (53)
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1 Posted 20/10/2015 at 08:48:58
2 Posted 20/10/2015 at 09:07:04
Both Cleverley and Baines will be a massive boost to the squad with a good run of fixtures coming up that I'd hope us to be picking up a shed-load of points from.
3 Posted 20/10/2015 at 09:56:18
Cleverley has been a big loss, he adds that creative avenue we've lost of late, showing in games such as the derby and Swansea where we had lots of the ball and played well but without a goal, and even the Spurs game in which Cleverley was injured.
I think Cleverley could be fundamental to how Roberto likes to shape our side an is in some ways similar to what Moyes had in Pienaar. Cleverley is suited to one of our wide positions without actually being a winger, allowing the full back behind him the licence to push on.
His return may go hand in hand with Baines's return too and should see many more chances being created as Naismith and Galloway have given their all to do a job over on the left-hand side, and have looked solid enough without ever really creating too many chances.
Hopefully we can kick on soon though as our so-called good start is now proving to not be so good after all. Points thrown away in the derby, vs Swansea and Spurs plus the two games vs the Manchester clubs where we were outplayed have put us back into a similar position as last season. The game at the weekend vs Arsenal is always going to be tough so we could find ourselves back in the bottom half of the table very soon.
Myself I'd rather have a change of manager but I can't really see that materialising so we have to make do. The return of these vital players may prove to be a catalyst on which we can build.
4 Posted 20/10/2015 at 10:51:16
"Given his all", Naismith was dragged off at half time last game as he was so dreadful.
6 Posted 20/10/2015 at 11:32:14
I would like to see Barry or McCarthy play the defensive role depending on the opposition, not both. Cleverley and Barkley should be the centre-mids in front of one protector.
7 Posted 20/10/2015 at 11:47:15
McCarthy was very good in his first season with us, bringing lots of much needed energy to the midfield, but became lazy last season and has carried on the same this season, and he's never offered us anything going forward.
Maybe it would help Barkley too, but I'm more & more convinced that he's going to fall well below the hype and expectations... I hope I'm wrong!
8 Posted 20/10/2015 at 11:57:17
9 Posted 20/10/2015 at 12:29:09
There was a feeling about Martinez before he came to Everton that he might go on to manage some of Europe's elite. As a result, players like Lukaku wanted to play for him. Who are we going to get now that Stoke are out-spending us? Changing the manager won't help that.
Maybe Laudrup? Porchetino has struggled WITH money at Spurs and he's a good coach. Bilic is happy at West Ham because they'll be well outspending Everton soon. I just don't know who we'd get in.
If Ancelotti wants to come (or Klopp before he went to the Shite) then fine. They always get results and attract big players but anyone else is just as much a risk as giving Martinez time to bring all these youngsters through into regular first-team players.
10 Posted 20/10/2015 at 12:56:53
Roberto does pull off a surprise win against the top 4 now and then and basically that's about as much as we can hope for. As long as we don't drop into the bottom 6 he will be safe, and we just have grin and bear the mediocrity. But we still have the right to have a moan especially after Saturday's performance.
Maybe a League Cup win would lift the club and give us some hope. The thought of Cleverley returning hardly fills me with inspiration, he's much like the other midfielders we have.
11 Posted 20/10/2015 at 14:34:16
Mid-table has beens are all we are now, and have been for a long time. Who in there right mind would give a job to a manager that got his last team relegated. Oh yes our fucking waste of a time board.
Have we improved since Martinez took over mmmm Na. Sure argue that we have beat some of the top 4, but hay ho some of the lesser teams done so too and the same teams have beaten the red shite but have we No.
I'm on the bones of my arse, and yet these over paid prima donnas can't put a consistent shift in to entertain us poor people. Other than that I'm quite happy.
13 Posted 20/10/2015 at 15:49:42
Solution to this problem? Get Pienaar fit or make a good signing in January. Don't hold your breathe for either.
14 Posted 20/10/2015 at 16:14:13
We're going to need them all, for sure.
15 Posted 20/10/2015 at 17:18:59
It's all about balance. We have some good players but the left hand side has been patched up and looks unbalanced with some not knowing when to go forward on stay back.
Cleverley is very good player and will become a fave and can do a job there. I think Pienaar sadly looks to be coming to the end of his career as the prem and his injuries catch up with him.
16 Posted 20/10/2015 at 17:22:30
Another boy I'm interested in is Leandro Rodriguez although we might be building up his body strength for later on. This fella can play. With several veterans coming to the end of their careers and one or two being transferred out, we'll already be thinking of next season.
Schweinsteiger and De Bruyne are not for us. We can't attract them, we can't afford them. Our future will be built on the likes of Besic, Deulofeu, Galloway, Browning, Rodriguez, Pennington, Holgate, Garbutt and other youngsters who might emerge or be snapped up. I haven't included Stones, Lukaku and Barkley because money clubs might fancy them but Cleverley, McCarthy, Oviedo, Lennon, Funes Mori, Baines, Jags and Robles will probably still be around for a while. Naismith may seek regular football elsewhere and there must be question marks about Mirallis.
A decent squad but many clubs are spending big and a top ten finish is no longer a piece of cake. I probably won't be around to see it but the future looks very interesting indeed.
18 Posted 20/10/2015 at 18:34:45
I'm going to the game tonight, hope Rodriguez plays, a lot of senior players look like they will be used, how many are they allowed.
Hope to see a good game with some attack minded ideas from The Blues, if it is like last Saturday I don't think I'll last til half time.
19 Posted 20/10/2015 at 19:12:21
20 Posted 20/10/2015 at 19:39:22
I can't even remember what Pienaar looks like.
21 Posted 20/10/2015 at 20:46:36
We may squeeze a game out of him here and there but I don't expect to see Pienaar too often on the pitch this season. His best days are long gone and I'll be glad when we get his 60k/week off the wage bill next summer so we can use it for a younger less injury prone player. Same goes for Gibson, Osman and Hibbo - contracts all expire nest summer, so about 200k/week extra for new players who'll actually play.
Can also move McGeady on whilst we're at it.
22 Posted 20/10/2015 at 21:13:50
23 Posted 20/10/2015 at 22:00:10
With Gibson now fit, it was obviously more important to give Pienaar and Cleverley minutes and get Robles sharp for his assumed role in the League Cup next week.
24 Posted 20/10/2015 at 22:26:16
Robles seemed slow to the deflection for their goal, but an excellent save from a header in the second half atoned for that.
Holgate and Browning were steady in defence and Browning made a couple of good runs in the second period which were encouraging to see; should make him more confident in his own ability.
Conner Grant was neat and tidy without getting really into the game; promising. In the second half, my favourite, Liam Walsh, came on and didn't let me down, very good immediately getting a grip on the game, great free kick from twenty yards which came back off the bar with the goalie nowhere, always showing for the ball and letting the Germans know he was there, very good 45 minutes from him.
Everton had enough chances to win the game but didn't take them. Apart from the slow build-up in attack, which needs to be changed, it was an enjoyable game.
25 Posted 20/10/2015 at 22:29:54
26 Posted 20/10/2015 at 23:06:37
Macca really needs to develop his game, as he offers nothing going forward. I see other teams with midfielders who can tackle, and harry, but can also attack and pass the ball more than 3 yards, but our lad seems afraid to try. Perhaps he has been told to restrict his play?
I hope that Cleverley can get back soon, and wouldn't it be marvellous if Pienaar played in a football match again!
27 Posted 20/10/2015 at 23:32:18
I sort of thought he was injured – again.
He is missed in the team.
28 Posted 20/10/2015 at 00:36:07
Don't worry, we know who your favourite is Dave. The boy Walsh is a quick thinking natural but I'm hoping he'll grow an inch or two. Is he as tall as Pienaar yet?
29 Posted 21/10/2015 at 00:45:52
I stated Naisy gave his all an I truly believe he gives 100% every game. My concern with him is what it's always been, Naisy is not a top 10 EPL player, he is no better than a John Walters at Stoke. He's a grafter who will do a turn no matter where he's asked to play.
Naisy has a lot of fans at our club, I know this as I've often had ago at him only for people to come out and defend him. That said, my opinion of him is such that I would have personally driven him down to Norwich for the £8m we were offered as I feel he's worth less than half that fee.
Many people will jump to his defence as they have in the past, but this is my honest opinion as a long term season ticket holder. I do feel though, as much as I do not rate Naisy, I could never fault his work rate.
31 Posted 21/10/2015 at 00:58:25
Bilic was ready made for us but that opportunity has long passed us by, De Boer is another big name who's looking at the Premier League with eyes wide open.
Going back to Martinez I would like to mention that Lukaku signed as no one else came calling. He had a choice of us or west Brom on loan followed by a lot of interest until the fee was quoted resulting in him joining us.
I'm delighted we have Rom but he quickly explained that we were a mere stepping stone in his career. After him who else has Roberto attracted? Del boy again had no other real options, Sevilla did not want him and nor did Barca.
Next up is who exactly? Kone, Alcaraz, McCarthy (all in the championship), Barry (3 year deal attached him), Cleverley always wanted to be local. Let's be honest, Roberto has no pull whatsoever.
I'm sorry to disagree but I can't help but feel you are wrong. There are managers out there with bigger balls than Roberto, and at 1-1 in a derby at home or 0-2 down to man United, bigger balls than Roberto's were needed. For me, Roberto is out of his depth.
32 Posted 21/10/2015 at 01:14:55
Holgate, composed, good on the ball, used it well (made Stones look a bit rough!) - sign the Barnsley defensive coach whoever he is.
Liam Walsh - a mini-Beardsley, bright and inventive and played some great passes. Kenny at right back did a decent Seamus Coleman impersonation.
Henen was energetic but a bit wasteful. Ledson was disappointing, lots of effort but not much creative output.
And there was a short guy on the left of midfield in the first half, some lovely touches. Could he have a future? We need a decent left sided midfield player.
33 Posted 21/10/2015 at 07:31:37
Thinking about Pienaar on yet another return to fitness... how many of the senior squad have been constantly injured the last year or two?
Pienaar, Gibbo, Hibbert, Oviedo are all strong players that have barely kicked a ball for two years. Add to that Baines, Mirallas, Besic, Cleverley and the shorter term injuries of Coleman and Stones... the results we've picked up this season so far have been very impressive!!!
34 Posted 21/10/2015 at 08:47:17
35 Posted 21/10/2015 at 09:02:10
Remember, if they're good enough, they're old enough.
36 Posted 21/10/2015 at 10:15:12
37 Posted 21/10/2015 at 11:00:09
38 Posted 21/10/2015 at 12:05:24
Central defence looks sound for years to come, with the likes of Galloway, Holgate, and Browning waiting to get a chance to play in their natural positions.
39 Posted 21/10/2015 at 12:10:55
I know he is still young, but the longer he is called a kid, the longer he his going to take, to shake this tag off. Said it before, but you can only be the best, if you think your the best. turn the pressure, into a feeling of this is what I want, and have as much belief in yourself, as a lot of the supporters have got in you, Ross.
If it was what you was born for, just go and do it, but another like minded ball player in the midfield wouldn't half help. How far away is this Walsh kid, Dave?
40 Posted 21/10/2015 at 12:33:51
41 Posted 21/10/2015 at 12:41:10
42 Posted 21/10/2015 at 13:21:08
Gibbo and Cleverly are very good replacements but not first choice for me as it stands.
I was hoping this season would be important for Besic's development but its been a frustrating one so far for the lad.
43 Posted 21/10/2015 at 13:29:10
44 Posted 21/10/2015 at 14:03:46
Barry's improved a lot this season, arguably our best player so far, so why are some of us so stupid to break up that partnership after one bad game?
I don't get it. Until they have a sustained bad period of form, I'd drop one of them. They could play amazingly against Arsenal and people on here would call them the best partnership in the league!
With the post, glad to see positive posts of the youngsters. People who watched the game, is Liam Walsh in the Number 10 mould, or does he play deeper? Perhaps Martinez is grooming him and may get some action in the next season or two.
45 Posted 21/10/2015 at 14:31:08
As somebody pointed out we've had to retrieve games after falling behind: Watford, Liverpool, West Brom, Barnsley and Reading; we've failed to score at White Hart Lane and Swansea and never looked like scoring. Chelsea and Southampton, although both games were won, they were not without their hairy moments but nevertheless both were good to very good performances. Man City at Goodison was almost as poor as the Man Utd game from an Everton perspective, therefore there have been more so-so performances than good to very good performances.
With nearly a quarter of the campaign behind us, there is as much debate on how the team is performing as there was prior to the season kicking-off. Our sojourn to Arsenal on Saturday may provide a surprise but likely it will follow the historical pattern of the last decade or so.
If the players aren't good enough for the top four or Europe, fine that's the way the cookie crumbles, but if as I believe the team are being set-up in a way, particularly at Goodison, that is detrimental to the players' performance and the fans' entertainment levels, then that needs addressing.
All managers have the problem of trying to satisfy short-term needs alongside long-term goals, but if the football is dire and boring, fans' patience will be tested far quicker than if the football is expansive and entertaining. I hope that Roberto finds the recipe to give us both long-term and short-term success with a brand of football that is a little easier on the eye than we have witnessed on most occasions so far this season.
46 Posted 21/10/2015 at 14:40:26
We are not rich enough to get in the top places and yes finishing above 10th is our goal and maybe a cup. We might one day spawn a Champions League place but as our top four teams play crap we will lose another place and will make it harder... we may never achieve it!
47 Posted 21/10/2015 at 14:41:27
If the Barry - McCarthy partnership was producing some amazing football consistently and making us solid, I would keep it. The sad fact is it doesn't – we have 2 DMs and yet still look exposed at the back.
48 Posted 21/10/2015 at 14:52:14
The Everton manager's job is one of the safest in the league as his main goal is survival. Anything better than top half is a bonus. That has been patently obvious during DM's reign and now Roberto's. No top manager would work under the financial restraints of our once mighty club.
We have 13 points from 9 games and if that yield continues throughout the season we will have about 55 points and a top half finish. That would be a success story with this present squad IMO. It does not make me happy or proud but it is realistic.
49 Posted 21/10/2015 at 14:53:44
This squad has the quality to get top 4, we just don't have a consistent manager. Had Aguero has his shooting boots on Wigan could have lost that final 5-0. They then score from a corner that Martinez has admitted he doesn't practise. So he deserves credit for getting to a cup final but the actual winning of it had a lot of luck. Trophy or not, it still doesn't get away from the fact that we employed a manager who could not move Wigan away from the relegation zone throughout his tenure and finally dropped into it.
Good enough for Everton, not for me, but if you are one of these turnover v net spend ratio fans who are waiting for a billionaire investor before expecting any improvement in the football then I suppose the manager's position is an irrelevance.
50 Posted 21/10/2015 at 15:24:32
Don't look to me for answers because they are all bound up in 'what if's and 'maybe's so, I guess, all we can look forward to is more of what we've had so far. And that's 13 points from 9 games or an average of 1.44 per game which, if maintained over the whole season, would see us end with circa 55 points and probably 8th or 9th spot.
I have to say that sounds about right to me and the manager and his chairman will congratulate themselves on another 'safe' season – one that the likes of Stoke, WBA and even Villa would be proud of.
Only this is Everton we're talking about.
51 Posted 21/10/2015 at 15:29:44
Walsh was literally everywhere and asking for ball, some short passes and two or three long, one of which reminded me of Bobby Collins, split through the German defence for the winger to run onto.
Whether he is ready for the first team, I'd say no, but interestingly he was one of the subs for Duncan Ferguson's benefit game, so it's possible he could a few minutes here and there, I wouldn't rush him myself, but he seems to be a very confident and cocky kid so I doubt it would phase him if picked.
52 Posted 21/10/2015 at 15:59:49
Of course everyone wants entertaining winning football, but its fair to say if we had some of Man City's or Arsenal's players the manager might find it a tiny but easier. It's been discussed till the cows come home, why we have not won a trophy for 20 years. The bottom line is the quality of the players has never been quite good enough, the proof is in the pudding isn't it; depressing but true in my humble opinion.
53 Posted 21/10/2015 at 16:24:28
It's my opinion we're not getting any of the above. The amount of games we've come out with a lopsided line-up, players out of position, some of them not even match fit, and we've been battered even at home sometimes not even having a shot. If you think this is all down to how much money the clubs above us are spending then fine. My opinion though is we are hugely underperforming.
55 Posted 21/10/2015 at 16:53:05
Luckily he is a great athlete with determination and pace who has performed well in the left back role. I hope we keep him there while he works on his weak spots.
56 Posted 21/10/2015 at 17:03:22
Martinez's 1st season was good/great, last year was affected in my opinion by the Europa competition, it cost us 2-4 positions which I expected. Even so I concede it wasn't a great season.
This year we are in and out performance wise but the players also have a lot to answer for, let's see at the end of the season how its turned out.
I think you are overestimating the strength of our squad though, we are a 7-8th quality squad for me, as usual we are short a couple of class players.
57 Posted 21/10/2015 at 17:11:32
He was selected for the left-midfield role when last seen but pulled a hamstring as he burst into the box. A lad of tremendous character, I fully expect him to have a fine future in our blue shirt.
58 Posted 22/10/2015 at 09:38:03
When Moyes was here, lack of money was no excuse & there should be no limit on where we finished but under RM that's okay?
James is right in that there is no reason for us to be so slow, lethargic and devoid of passion in most games. That is not about money or not being one of the top 4 clubs.
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