The Renaissance

Had Morgan Schneiderlin left Goodison last summer, few would have been surprised or, it’s fair to say, even been that concerned. Fast forward a year and the Frenchman has undergone quite the revival in form and favour.

Lyndon Lloyd 13/05/2019 40comments  |  Jump to last

By the tail end of last season, a tumultuous campaign that saw a once-promising managerial tenure come to an abrupt but merciful end and an altogether less palatable one ushered in in its place, few players had a lower stock among Evertonians than Morgan Schneiderlin.

The fact that boos rang out around Goodison Park in February last year when then-boss Sam Allardyce brought the Frenchman on as a substitute in a game against Crystal Palace was as damning as it gets and, at the time, it was hard to see a way back for a player who had once been hailed as Everton's midfield “Rolls Royce”.

As was noted on these pages at the time, Schneiderlin had “come to exemplify the lack of desire, discipline and application that has undermined this most disappointing of seasons”. Sent off in Lyon as Everton's Europa League campaign continued its collapse, he attracted further criticism for an apparent lack of effort in Premier League games that fuelled a growing resentment among Evertonians at one of the club's highest earners.

Schneiderlin's involvement in a training ground incident soon afterwards, in which interim head coach David Unsworth ordered he and Kevin Mirallas to leave training because of a lack of focus and commitment, seemed to indicate that he had downed tools.

Recently married to his wife, Camille, and on a fat salary at Goodison Park it seemed that even in a World Cup year, his focus was elsewhere and that there was precious little motivation for him to up his game when Everton had really needed him.

Had he left Goodison last summer, few would have been surprised or, it's fair to say, even been that concerned but one would assume that new manager Marco Silva either trusted him enough by reputation to keep him around or had faith in his own ability to get him back to the best so that he and Marcel Brands avoided having to fill one more pressing recruitment need.

Fast forward a year and Schneiderlin has undergone quite the renaissance with a run of form over the final few weeks of this season that was as good as anything he produced when he first arrived. Largely demoted in the pecking order, first by Tom Davies and then by the form of loan signing André Gomes and distracted briefly by the loss of his father towards the end of 2018, the former Southampton and Manchester United player gradually worked his way back into contention, to the point that when Gomes was injured or suspended in the latter weeks of the campaign, it was Schneiderlin to whom Silva turned to fill the void.

Perhaps it was his opportunity for reflection after losing his father or the fact that he welcomed a son of his own, Schneiderlin has been a rejuvenated presence in the Blues' side and it could leave Everton with a dilemma this summer.

On the one hand, at the age of 30, mid-way through his contract and having re-found his form, Schneiderlin is at peak value in terms of Brands's desire to bring down the average age of the squad. His wages could prove to be a stumbling block for most clubs outside of the Premier League — that might explain why a move back to France didn't materialise last year — but he could be a valuable addition for another top-flight English side and a boon to Blues' transfer kitty.

On the other, given the revival in his form, he could provide a valuable, stable and experienced option in Everton's squad for the next couple of seasons, particularly if Gomes isn't persuaded to stay with the Blues on a permanent basis. Schneiderlin has been in England for 11 years now and his family is settled; as such, he might not favour a move abroad unless it was to somewhere glamourous like Italy or Spain but even then he might prefer continuity and familiarity for his young family over one more move.

The pleasing thing is that whatever the decision is by player, club or both, the outcome should be a positive for Everton and you wouldn't have been able to say that last summer. The turnaround in Schneiderlin's performances may have been surprising but he deserves full credit. He will also get the support from the Blue faithful because there's always a way back if you're prepared to give it all for the shirt.

Reader Comments (40)

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Mike Gaynes
1 Posted 13/05/2019 at 23:58:37
Lyndon, I find myself shaking my head in disbelief, but this all makes sense. Whatever happened in between may never be known -- and it was as infuriating as anything I have experienced as an Everton fan -- but the fact is that the Schneiderlin we saw when he joined the club in 2017 has returned in 2019. He is once again a valuable contributor.

Renaissance? It's a freaking resurrection.

Bill Watson
2 Posted 14/05/2019 at 00:12:50
Lyndon; it's almost as if we have a new player. Whatever Silva puts in the drinks, at FF, I'll have some, please.
Andrew Keatley
3 Posted 14/05/2019 at 00:33:21
Not for me. A handful of adequate performances do not make up for 18 months of nicking a living. I hope we can move him on.
Fran Mitchell
4 Posted 14/05/2019 at 00:56:20
I presume it will depend on Gomes' future.

If we lose Gana, Gomes, and McCarthey also leaves, it would be too damaging. Schneiderlin has been solid and if he remains playing like this, he would be a valuable member of what will be a young and inexperienced team.

If we keep hold of Gomes, i'd assume Schneiderlin will move on, as he is at peak value, and would be an excellent playing for a club like Brighton, Newcastle, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and co, or even West Ham should they lose Rice.

Derek Knox
5 Posted 14/05/2019 at 01:25:19
Got to agree with fellow posters who are sceptical as to why we suddenly have the player, we thought we had 18 months ago.

I won't hide from the fact I was one of his biggest detractors and critics, but he has been decent the last few games, I ask why?

Peter Gorman
6 Posted 14/05/2019 at 02:34:24
Couldn't stand the guy this time last year and frequently he was my go-to boo-boy (along with Keane) whenever I chose to vent my spleen.

However, truth be told, he has been very good this season and not just in these last few games. He impressed from the off and kept playing well, or at least to the standard of the team, up until Gomes took his place.

Despite the Silva-imposed hiatus, he finished the season exactly as he began: unrecognisable from the player we suffered last year.

No idea what to make of it all.

David Ellis
7 Posted 14/05/2019 at 03:05:36
We need to keep him. Still frustrates me that he does n't move the ball forward more often and more quickly. But playing alongside Gomes or a now more condifdent Gana this is less damaging than before.

But we need to keep Schneiderlin unless both Gana and Gomes stay... and I think that's pretty unlikely. I'm not sure where or how Davies fits in. I would say a defensive midfielder as Davies hasn't the skill or guile to be an attacking mid. But Davies hasn't got the discipline to play DM either (but at least this can be learned) - so we need Schneiderlin to play this role.

Bobby Mallon
8 Posted 14/05/2019 at 09:18:37
Maybe his form went by the wayside because his dad was dying and then died. His wife may have been having a bad pregnancy. Let’s just be glad he’s playing well
Sam Hoare
9 Posted 14/05/2019 at 09:24:08
Brands has been tasked with making the football side run more like a business which means buying young and selling old. Schneiderlin has surprised me with his consistency over the last month but if a decent offer (£20m+) were to come in then I'd be tempted to take it. He's going to be 30 at the start of next season and I don't think his high wages reflect his worth to the team.

That said it would be nice to keep some continuity and if Gueye, McCarthy and Gomes all leave (as others have said) then its probably worth retaining some of our current first team.

Phil Sammon
10 Posted 14/05/2019 at 10:24:09
I think it’s getting overlooked that Schneiderlin has the easiest gig in the Premier League. As Gueye battles and wins every ball defensively, Schneiderlin seemingly has no onus on him to be a defensive enforcer nor an attacking threat. He offers very little in either direction as far as I have observed. Credit to him for improving his form but I would get rid while his stock is relatively high. Of course that will be nearly impossible given the money he’s on.
Jerome Shields
11 Posted 14/05/2019 at 12:03:56
Schneiderlin is player that is very much in the mould of what you get on the tin is the same as inside. In footballing terms this last five years have been tumultuous for any player, especially for a player like Schneirderlin.

Schneiderlin covered the back four and didn't stray too much from that , on his own assessment of those playing around him. He was first on the team sheet for successive Managers prior to the arrival of Silva, and could be said to be very much in Silva plans as well. His assessement of Big Sam would probably be unprintable, but he done his job and took the abuse. He wasn't the only player below par, because who he had to play with eg Keane. The difference is that Schneiderlin now has a bit more confidence in those that he has around him and is straying a bit further.

In my opinion Schneiderlin was always a good player, but the team he was playing in wasn't. At last things have changed, Schneiderlin is happy and does not get the same abuse. I never attacked Schneiderlin throughout.

Steve Ferns
12 Posted 14/05/2019 at 12:16:08
Well said Jerome. You could also add that Schneiderlin offers a particular set of skills and those skills do not transfer to every team. In the season we finished 7th under Koeman, we were at our best when counter-attacking. Watch the City game and Davies is pouring forwards, whilst Schneiderlin holds.

The next season, last season saw a dramatic change in tactics from Koeman. First Rooney was up top, and so the build up play slowed, and we became ponderous and static. Therefore, Schneiderlin's passing ability was hindered as there was less runs for him to find. The team played in a way that did not suit him, and he did not suit it.

Then Allardyce changed things dramatically again. 11 men behind the ball and hoof it up the pitch. This suited Schneiderlin even less. Come the end of the season, and we were safe, we started to play a little more expansively, as Allardyce likes to point out. Sure, by this season's standards it was still hoof-ball, but there was a slight change, a loosening of the shackles and Schneiderlin was able to find some form.

This season was disruptive for him. Marriage in the close-season, followed by birth of his first child, and then death of his father. As things settled and he got back into the side, Everton started to become more of a counter-attacking side. So, when we played the top 6 and we could play 100% counter-attacking style, Schneiderlin excelled. When we are given the ball and expected to take the game to the opposition, then Schneiderlin is not as effective, ie Palace.

Kevin Prytherch
13 Posted 14/05/2019 at 15:32:14
I posted an article a few months back titled “come back Schneiderlin, all is forgiven”. I didn’t expect him to come this good again!!

I think a lot of it stems from his limitations, he is not mobile enough to play as a midfield 2, which is what we did when we played a 4-2-3-1 with attacking wingers. Therefore when him and Gana played in this formation, we looked exposed in the middle.

I think that Silva has worked very well in getting the wide players back when we transition from attack to defence, this masks the limitations of Schneiderlin as there is less space through the middle for him to be exposed.

It is no coincidence that he has looked his best in a midfield 3 (with Gana and Davies) and then recently in a midfield 4 (which is what we essentially transition to in defence in the last 11 games).

If we don’t sign Gomes and Gana stays, I can see Schneiderlin having a big role next season.

Anthony Flack
14 Posted 14/05/2019 at 15:55:23
It’s impossiblr to know what leech to his near total decline and I think at the moment a little premature to suggest Renaissance it Resurection

I still think he has some way to go and he shone recently alongside a team performing relatively better than previously

If the going gets tough I worry he might be hard to find.

If he can keep it up - then welcome back

Kevin Molloy
15 Posted 14/05/2019 at 16:27:51
this for me rates as one of Silva's greatest achievements this year. how on earth do you motivate a millionaire on his last contract, especially when the type of game he plays isn't particularly 'enjoyable'? well, Marco's done it, and saved the club north of £30m in the process
Jerome Shields
16 Posted 14/05/2019 at 17:11:13
Steve # 12

I agree with your assessment of how best Schneiderlin skills fit in to Everton's counter attacking style. When you see Schneiderlin poping up around the opposition penalty area you know Everton are on top of their game Schneiderlin would not be there if they weren't.

The Palace game was a real concern. I blamed it on The attitude during the week at Finch's Farm. Schneiderlin once he senses poor motivation, just goes into his shell like a tortoise and did in the Palace game. You could abuse and throw cans at him and he won't come out

Everton are always at their best as a Offensive relentless attacking team. To Brands credit Everton are a team based on traditional their strengths and Silva has been able bring them to the fore.
The relentless attacking style is part of this offensive style and needed to overpower teams like Palace. In otherwards attack from all sides and they think they are surrounded, but on that day Evertons motivation was woeful.

Andrew Presly
17 Posted 14/05/2019 at 17:43:20
We are operating on slim pickings if this is one of the main positives going in to the post season, we really are.

Best thing this player does is to serve as an example for future transfer activity, namely stop buying rejected players from rival clubs like Man Utd when they have already gobbled up the big contract & are no longer hungry.

Younger players who are fully motivated at all times whether that is for themselves or for us, ideally both, are the way to go. So for that lesson, Morgan, cheers. Otherwise, keep jogging on and good luck to you.

Jay Harris
18 Posted 14/05/2019 at 18:00:55
I appreciate the turnaround in form but still find him too slow. He can get picked off very easily by a high pressing team and is a bit inconsistent with his awareness.
Good squad player for me.
Danny Broderick
19 Posted 14/05/2019 at 21:19:43
It’s true that he may have had a tough time off the pitch, and this may have affected him on it. However, do we want a player who can go missing like that? You cannot carry people in the Premier League, especially in centre mid.

Compare him to Tom Davies. Tom hasn’t had it easy at times in the last 2 years, but every time he goes on the pitch he never hides. He tries his best and always wants the ball.

I didn’t see that with Schneiderlin, and neither did the majority of fans. He simply went missing. He didn’t want the ball, there was no heart or desire to his play when he was representing us. He didn’t park his problems and get on with giving us his all. He let us down.

He was great for us in his first 6 months. He’s done well for the last 2 months of this season. That’s not a great return. I’d be concerned he will go missing if the going gets tough next season again...

If we can get £10 million, i’d cut our losses next season. Get him off the wage bill. Bring in some tough, hungry players. Not nice guys going through the motions.

Gary Russell
20 Posted 14/05/2019 at 21:34:14
Errr, yeah but err...

SHITE, erm sorry, not good

Stephen Brown
21 Posted 14/05/2019 at 21:43:27
Agree with lots of the posts in here about him regaining form but for me he is a sellable asset that will raise decent money for not a great loss! That's assuming Gueye and Gomes stay?

I can't see us getting much for Niasse, Mirallas, Bolasie et al...

Ian Bennett
22 Posted 14/05/2019 at 21:51:06
He isn't going anywhere. Whilst he's turned it around, I can't see anyone coming in for him on the transfer fee and wages we outlaid.

Plenty of others to move on ahead of him, and a deal concern that Gomes and Gueye won't be here next season. McCarthy looks the better player to move on.

Justin Doone
23 Posted 15/05/2019 at 13:18:46
Happy to read that some fans see his qualities and think he could be the answer.

It's easy and often done to form opinions of players from the different games we watch or from where we sit and watch from.

However IMO Schnides is only the answer to the question who is the biggest disappointment at our club who continues to to fail to deliver or do anything meaningful on the football pitch?

I just hope he is sold this summer so we can get some cash in, remove one of the highest earners from the payroll and move forward bringing in genuine quality.

There are hundreds of names will be linked but either of the relegated huddersfield midfielders Billing or Mooy would be a massive improvement.

Tom Bowers
24 Posted 15/05/2019 at 13:40:17
Like all players he has the ability but goes through down patches but with the injury to Macca I am glad he stayed.
However I like Macca better but he has become somewhat of a sick note player and may be released but Schnods needs to show consistency if he is to impress the fans.

I am not totally sold on Gomes or Gueye but they did have some impressive games. Sadly neither may stay around.

James Flynn
25 Posted 15/05/2019 at 21:59:02
Not interested. Far as I'm concerned he was showcasing himself. I hope some club was as impressed as some in here were. I hope we don't lose sight of the fact that the guy he replaced was a much better footballer; Barry. So he's not all that good to begin with and has questionable motivations. Hopefully, Brands can make some magic happen.
Gerry Ring
26 Posted 15/05/2019 at 23:04:33
He has had a few better performances by his standards and I mean by his standards. He’s not the answer by a long shot. Weak in the tackle & generally lazy around the pitch, it won’t be long before we see the real Schneiderlein back. Take Gana out of the midfield & see how Schneiderlein copes. I’d keep McCarthy instead.
Martin Mason
27 Posted 16/05/2019 at 17:58:06
He was really rated at Southampton. There's obviously a good player in there somewhere.
Mike Gaynes
28 Posted 16/05/2019 at 18:11:12
Gerry #26, the question is whether the real Schneiderlin is the one that lazy-assed through all last season, or the one that was probably our best player for the last four months of the 2016-17 season.

I would certainly take him over an imaginary player we have no clue about. That would be McCarthy.

Paul Birmingham
29 Posted 16/05/2019 at 20:30:02
None of us know what went on behind the scenes with Koeman and Allardyce but his form dipped.

He's done well this season in wake of becoming a dad and losing his father.

Football is unforgiving and on the park good players don't hide. I'm glad he's shown some good form, and can he sustain and maintain next season?

He's earned the right to be in the squad, but the window opened will be interesting, in terms of who stays, goes on loan and is sold.

Gerry Ring
30 Posted 16/05/2019 at 22:25:30
Mike Gaynes. McCarthy' s contribution to Everton, even considering his injuries, has been far superior to Schneiderlein's.
Jay Harris
31 Posted 16/05/2019 at 23:04:28
IMO James always gave 100% no matter who he was playing for unlike Schneiderlin who was technically better than James but rarely gave 100%.
Gerry Ring
32 Posted 16/05/2019 at 23:13:04
Jay, very good summation. By the way, are you any relation to the famous Harrises who served Everton with such distinction in the ‘60s?.
Tony Abrahams
33 Posted 16/05/2019 at 23:40:42
All opinions, but I’m sure when McCarthy got his leg broke, he was rushing back trying to recover because he had given the ball away in the first place.

When he gave the ball away I personally thought Snhiderlhin had hid, because he offered nothing to James McCarthy, even though he could have helped him out?

If half the ground is actually booing an Everton player, then that is one of the most remarkable and also saddest things I’ve ever seen at Goodson Pk, and a statement from the fans, that a complete lack of effort is nothing short of a disgrace.

I think McCarthy will leave, but I would love him to get some game time under Silva, because I think he was a very good player before his injuries, and also think that our manager might just also make him become a better “FOOTBALLER”, when he’s got the “BALL”.

Jay Harris
34 Posted 16/05/2019 at 23:50:44
Sorry Gerry,
Harris is only my pen name so no relation to the great Harris's.

I got hit badly with identity theft a few years ago so decided on a name change for the internet.

I knew Jimmy Gabriels sister really well though if that counts for anything. LOL

Mike Gaynes
35 Posted 16/05/2019 at 00:01:10
Gerry #30 and Jay #31, past tense. Macca has barely glimpsed the pitch in three seasons. We last got a glimpse of his abilities in 2016.

You'd keep him over Schneiderlin based on misty water-colored memories of the way he was?

My guess is that if Silva thought he could play, he would have.

Jay Harris
36 Posted 17/05/2019 at 04:03:20
Personally, I wouldn't keep either of them.

I feel football (soccer to you, I know) has moved on and the pace and athleticism required with skill thrown in is too much for these guys.

I think it is imperative we keep Gana and look to improve on Gomes with a box-to-box midfield player who can contribute some goals.

I believe the addition of 2 or 3 quality players will enable us to compete with the establishment.

Gerry Ring
37 Posted 17/05/2019 at 08:39:39
Tony #33. pretty much what I think however as far as I recall McCarthy got injured trying to recover Schneiderlin’s mistake. I honestly think that Martinez moulded McCarthy into the type of player he is & totally agree that Silva May have been able to make him a better player. Whatever happens next I wish James McCarthy a long & successful career wherever he goes. Gonna miss the crunching tackles particularly in the derby games though.
Tony Abrahams
38 Posted 18/05/2019 at 08:41:49
Mike, when McCarthy, played against Arsenal, and then Liverpool, during Koeman’s first season he set the tempo for the rest of the Everton team.

He went off injured again against Liverpool and all’s Everton could do after this was defend, because we never had enough players to get after them once McCarthy had left the pitch.

You tell us that it takes two years to get over a bad leg break Mike, so maybe Everton, are actually being a lot more sensible with McCarthy, after seeing how Seamus Coleman, really struggled, because he maybe came back into soon?

Jack Convery
39 Posted 20/05/2019 at 17:31:54
He plays well when the team plays well – a midfielder needs to grab a game and get the team playing not the other way around. If he goes it will be because we have been offered good money for him, otherwise I reckon EFC will keep him. Secure Zouma and Gomes that's the important thing. I see Kante is on PSG's radar. If that's true, Gueye may well stay – let's hope so.
Andrew Ellams
40 Posted 25/05/2019 at 13:25:18
At the back end of the season, Silva tweaked the set up of the midfield. He sacrificed the modern holding shield type position and reverted to a more old school Reid and Bracewell type two central workers. This has suited all four of Gana, Gomes, Scheiderlin and Davies much more and they've all looked better players for it.

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