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Simms to make Kenya trip

| Wednesday, 26 June 2019 70comments  |  Jump to last
Ellis Simms has been told he will be part of the Everton squad that will play Kariobangi Sharks in Nairobi in a fortnight's time, an indication that he could get his chance in the first team this coming season.

The Mirror report that the 18-year-old will be included on the trip to Kenya and that Marco Silva will resist calls to send Simms out on loan.

Simms was already set to make the step up from the Under-18s to the Under-23s in 2019-20 and while he could be offered opportunities in the first-team squad over the next 12 months, the club are likely to be cautious over how much exposure he gets in the senior side while he is still developing.

Reader Comments (70)

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Neil Wood
1 Posted 26/06/2019 at 22:22:37
Why are there always suggestions we should be “cautious” all the time?

If he's good enough, play him. Simple.

Si Smith
2 Posted 26/06/2019 at 22:23:20
Great news, sink or swim is the way in this day and age, all this talk of being thrown in at the deep end is nonsense.

If the kid holds his own as a bench player, then we build him up carefully; if not, then we need to be aware of him and see how he develops for next season.

Dick Fearon
3 Posted 26/06/2019 at 22:42:44
The best players explode onto the world stage at a very young age.

Using the analogy of ruining the cakes by keeping them in the oven for too long, is it possible that the Trinity might not have reached their potential had they been held back as teenagers?

James Flynn
4 Posted 26/06/2019 at 22:58:10
At 18, Lukaku scored 15-16 goals as a top-league part-timer. At 18, Rooney was probably the best player on any pitch he walked onto. Simms scored a ton of goals playing against kids. Likely there's good reason for Marco to show some caution.
Hugh Jenkins
5 Posted 26/06/2019 at 23:43:49
Some people are physically mature at 16 but mentally young – others are still mentally immature at 30 but also physically old beyond their years.

The marriage of mental and physical attributes is essential. If Simms has one, but not the other, it will show.

However, oftentimes a quick footballing mind will outpace the body's development and a knock now and then can be shrugged off because the body can cope.

Hopefully, young Simms falls in that category.

Derek Thomas
6 Posted 27/06/2019 at 01:23:03
Or could it be that Calvert-Lewin and a few others have just finished (or are still in) tournaments and thus are on holiday, so he's there to make up the numbers, with the bonus that the boss gets a look at him outside his usual kids' league.
Andrew Keatley
7 Posted 27/06/2019 at 01:24:57
There's an interesting piece on the BBC website (link below) about Matthew Briggs, who was the Premier League's youngest ever player (until Fulham's Harvey Elliott broke his record last season). He lost his way very quickly, and by his own admission he struggled to deal with the spotlight, and the subsequent return to junior football.

Not many young players are able to capitalise on their first foray into first-team football – the impact players like Wayne Rooney and James Milner have gone on to make is very much the exception. I think of Brendan Galloway; called upon in an injury-crisis, he performed well, but was then back in junior football. It probably felt like a fall from grace, and he's struggled ever since.

I imagine that Silva will have assessed Simms and decided that he has the strength of character to deal with it. My fear (and this is speculative) is that Simms's recent contract might have stipulated some pre-season first-team involvement – and he (and his agents) want to fast-track him, whether he's ready for it or not.

Ari Sigurgeirsson
8 Posted 27/06/2019 at 02:06:08
You could think across the park about two players who were used too much when they were 18. Both of them kind of burned out several years before 30.
Fran Mitchell
9 Posted 27/06/2019 at 02:08:53
Think Derek has it about right. Tosun injured, Calvert-Lewin still on vacation, Richarlison too. So makes sense.

But a lad with such scoring prowess hopefully will get a chance. Rashford was highly thought of, and got his chance and took it better than anyone expected. Simms could do the same.

Maybe he will thrive and grow faster given the exposure and confidence it could give him. We have no idea of the lad's mentality.

But he is a talent, and seriously, there are a glum lot on here who are writing him off already because he ain't Mbappe.

He's big and powerful, and will get bigger and more powerful as he ages and is trained to be so. He is a natural finisher.

Hopefully he'll break into the squad this coming season and save us £60 million on a striker.

No pressure like.

Fran Mitchell
10 Posted 27/06/2019 at 02:13:30
Ari, Owen and Fowler suffered due to injuries. Messi and Ronaldo came on the scene at 18 and it didn't do them any harm.

Funny, Calvert-Lewin is 21 and people say he should be banging 20+ goals by now. Simms is 18 and people say he is too young to even try.

Ari Sigurgeirsson
11 Posted 27/06/2019 at 02:30:26
Exactly what I meant. I think they got injured so much because they played too much too young. And in my opinion, Messi and Ronaldo are both very special, and in no way comparable to Owen and Fowler.
Si Smith
12 Posted 27/06/2019 at 02:35:05
Owen, Fowler were a different era, one where sports science was light-years behind where it is now.

Also, this may sound harsh or maybe even something else but, if we're all honest, a team like ours doesn't really need to look after our young striker's welfare.

Fact is, if Simms or anyone else smashes 25 or 30 goals a season, we won't keep him long enough to see his so-called prime years of 26 to 30. It's a shame and you may all call me for being all doom and gloom, but the fact remains we can't ever keep our stars once the bigger clubs come calling

If they're good enough, they're old enough; if they rip it up at 18, then hope we get to age 24 or 25 out of them before taking mega money for them and reinvesting in the team.

Richalison is the next big one for us, he seems very level headed but, by 2022-23, he will be at Barca or Real if he's good enough; it's just the way it is.

Mike Galley
13 Posted 27/06/2019 at 02:46:14
I'm 100% with Ari on this. With regards to Rooney (and if facts prove me wrong I'll accept I'm off the mark), I seem to remember that Moyes tried to nurse/nurture his early career but when he went to United he was a very regular starter. Again, I accept this is just my memory and might not be completely true.

I also accept that young Wayne's lifestyle choices might not have helped him either, but I get the feeling that he was the sort of player who would've played every minute of every game in any position if it was up to him.

I know Ari wasn't talking about Rooney, but about young players playing too much.

Fran Mitchell
14 Posted 27/06/2019 at 03:25:30
But is anyone saying about him playing "too much"?

The suggestion is whether he can be a squad player, taking say Tosun's current role? Would that destroy his future?

Mike Gaynes
15 Posted 27/06/2019 at 04:03:25
By the way, noting the mention of Rooney, he scored a goal for DC United tonight.


[Double-click for full screen]
Bill Watson
16 Posted 27/06/2019 at 04:39:09
Moyes used Rooney cautiously but Ferguson had no such reservations.

If they're good enough then they should play.

Brendan Fox
17 Posted 27/06/2019 at 07:23:19
If Simms is good enough, he's old enough!

Hopefully his form and goals for the U18s and U23s means he's given some exposure to the 1st team environment and minutes on the pitch, a reward for the great season he's just had.

If the youth players are not given exposure to the 1st team environment when they're on form, how else does the coaching team know if they'll ever make the grade?

Peter Warren
18 Posted 27/06/2019 at 07:39:21
No idea if this guy's potentially good enough for our first team, I doubt it at this stage. Thanks for the Rooney link – what an unbelievable talent we had – such a pity he left us as a teenager. As somebody else said, although Moyes tried to protect Rooney, there is literally no point in us doing this as harsh as it seems.
Kris Boner
19 Posted 27/06/2019 at 07:53:06
If I remember properly from one of the guys on here, they said that Simms was exceptional in the U18s but had struggled in his first forays into the U23s.

Perhaps we give him some confidence in pre-season and then tell him to smash the U23s till January and then re-evaluate.

Geoff Lambert
20 Posted 27/06/2019 at 07:56:22
Fran #10, Calvert-Lewin was 22 last March.
Geoff Lambert
21 Posted 27/06/2019 at 08:04:32
This is worth a read in the red echo.

Alan McGuffog
22 Posted 27/06/2019 at 08:51:14
Imagine the player Colin Harvey could have been if he hadn't been blooded as a callow youth against Inter
Ray Roche
23 Posted 27/06/2019 at 09:05:06
Mike, thanks for the link to Rooney. Great goal.
Dave Abrahams
24 Posted 27/06/2019 at 09:21:52
I put a post on another Everton web last night and I said I thought Everton were not letting Simms go out on loan to protect him, as I thought the lad is not good enough (yet) to play in the Championship.

He is not strong enough mentally to play in the leagues below that league, so he is much better staying here and training with the first team squad where they can monitor his progress. Keep playing him in the U23s and put him on the bench for certain first-team games, mixing with the squad and possibly getting on to the field when the game is won.

As big as the lad is physically, he is not anywhere near ready to play for the first team, in my opinion.

Nicholas Ryan
25 Posted 27/06/2019 at 09:32:32
It's true, that some players are ready at a young age and some are not; but think about this – A Premier League striker these days has got to out-muscle Kurt Zouma; out-think Virgil Van Dyck, and outpace Kyle Walker …. it's a very unforgiving arena!
Neil Wood
26 Posted 27/06/2019 at 09:32:44
What exactly are we protecting them from? Like someone mentions above, sports science, nutrition and other factors are light-years ahead of even 10 years ago.

Rashford – again mentioned above is a great example. He was given chances and took them and is now realistically a £100 million pound player in today's market.

I have often watched players at that level then looked on a Saturday afternoon at the likes of Kone coming off the bench, Niasse and many more and then look at the starlets we have and just think that surely there's a better chance of a return from them... they are unproven but have the desire to impress. They ain't on a £60k a week contract but boy do they want that!

If Simms is special, his development will not be hindered by being given chances. He is a man albeit a young one but will be fully aware of the chances in front of him. If he doesn't take it and fades into obscurity or drops divisions, then he isn't special. Brutal I guess but it's true.

Derek Thomas
27 Posted 27/06/2019 at 09:38:08
Ari @ 8; you could possibly add Joe Royle and Norman Whiteside to the early start early finish list too... and who can tell, maybe even Lukaku.
Sam Hoare
28 Posted 27/06/2019 at 09:42:22
Great season for Simms in the U18s but he has to start scoring for the U23s before he can be considered seriously for the first team. Or do the same on loan.

I'd imagine he'd have at least 6 months in the U23s and then, if he does well, maybe a loan to a League One or Championship team. Very few players go straight from academy into first team these days. Only really exceptional talents.

Dave Williams
29 Posted 27/06/2019 at 09:44:24
It will do him no harm to travel with the squad and maybe get some minutes on the pitch. If he explodes, then great... but otherwise, do as Dave #24 suggests. Keep him here where we can look after him with a few games from the bench if he shows signs of being able to cope.

Playing against kids is one thing; playing against a monster centre-back who threatens to break your legs if you go near him and is 10 years older and a full grown man is something else. The likes of Rooney was equipped to deal with that but lots of kids would be intimidated if they were presented with that too early.

Of course we have to be cautious!

John Keating
30 Posted 27/06/2019 at 09:53:56
I think we should put at least one youngster on the bench at every game to give them the experience of going with the first team, sampling the preparation and atmosphere.

If it looks the game is won, why not throw them on the last few minutes? Surely it would do their confidence a power of good and encourage them to do even better.

Kevin Prytherch
31 Posted 27/06/2019 at 10:00:09
Ellis Simms travelling with the first team is a sad indictment of the U23 strikers (unless they're going too, I've not seen the squad).

The U23s won the double last season based on a solid defence and a lot of 1-0 wins.

There is a huge void that anyone with any potential can fill this season. For all our young talent, we don't really have much attacking-wise.

Pat Kelly
32 Posted 27/06/2019 at 10:00:57
Throw him in against the Sharks, see if he sinks or swims.
Chris Gould
33 Posted 27/06/2019 at 10:15:10
Kevin, the top scorer for the U23s last season was Sambou with 9 league goals. He's out of contract and refused to sign a new one so will be off this summer. Not that he had a hope of ever making the first team. I guess that leaves Hornby who also hasn't set the U23s alight.

Simms has electric pace and is strong. It would be great to have a kid that may be able to produce something exciting and unpredictable from the bench. Of course, it may be too soon for him, but pre-season is the time to find out and it will be nice for us fans to get a better look at him.

Steve Ferns
34 Posted 27/06/2019 at 13:43:10
Too many here clearly don’t know enough about the lad. They look at the stats and think he’s worth a shot.

What’s Ellis good at? He’s big, strong, and very, very fast. He’s quick on the ball as well as off it. He’s got a good shot on him and can finish from distance as well as close up.

He stepped up to the u23s with limited success. He was no longer so big, or so strong, and so fast. He needed to adjust to that. He dropped back down.

When he plays for the first team he will not be the fastest, he will be weak rather than strong, and his dribbling will be harder as players will give him no respect and less time on the ball.

This is why he needs caution. He’s not got outrageous skills and technique like Rooney. He’s well ahead of his age group physically. He will lose all of that in the first team.

He needs to step up a level and be given time to adjust.

Dale Rose
35 Posted 27/06/2019 at 14:02:35
Neal Wood, bang on the money, Mate.
James Stewart
36 Posted 27/06/2019 at 14:07:07
Hopefully Simms gets a chance. At least he knows where the goal is, which is more than you can say about Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who hasn't scored consistently at any level.
Peter Gorman
37 Posted 27/06/2019 at 17:04:04
Borrowing Dick's analogy, you obviously don't want to leave the cake in the oven too long but neither do you want to eat the raw ingredients. You'd be sick for a start.

Simms made no impact in the U23s when thrust in at a very early age so I suspect that his remarkable success at U18s has a lot to do with his comparative size and strength. I'd caution about thinking he is a prodigy just yet.

That said, why not include him in the first team squad for a bit, at least to give him a whiff of what he can expect if he keeps working hard. Good luck to him.

Derek Knox
38 Posted 27/06/2019 at 17:12:46
Mike G @15, thanks for the Rooney clip, the lads still got it!

Geoff, @21, thanks too for the Echo article, I personally can't see any harm in elevating him to senior level, at such an early age, especially in the lower key, pre-season games to see how he fares. Like in the words of the Sinatra song "If he can make it there, he can make it anywhere" but obviously not in New York.

Pat K, @32, I believe a Kariobangi Shark makes a Great White look like a stickleback!

Michael Lynch
39 Posted 27/06/2019 at 17:38:34
Steve @34 is correct in my opinion. Simms is a man amongst boys in the U18 set up, he's physically very advanced for his age. There's absolutely no reason to suspect he'll be able to make the step up to the U23s, let alone the first team squad. Having said that, I think it's great to take him along for a pre-season friendly – give him some minutes, maybe he'll surprise us. And, as has been said, none of our other strikers are available yet so someone has to play!
Tommy Carter
40 Posted 27/06/2019 at 17:53:17
@ Mike 13

Your memory is correct. Moyes did indeed think managing Rooney like this was the best way to develop him. He featured in quite a lot of games but often coming on as a substitute.

It was laughable really, we were fighting relegation and Rooney had been a regular starter at International level for 12 months. Yet Moyes wouldn't play him. What he was waiting for, I'm not quite sure.

He transferred to Man Utd and became an immediate starter, Champions League, top end of the Premier League — the lot.

The point being, if they're good enough and better than what you have, they have to play.

Why on earth would you not play your best players?

Jay Harris
41 Posted 27/06/2019 at 17:55:57
I see the lad's physical prowess as a plus.

Yes, he might be bouncing young kids around because of his physique but he is still growing and giving him more coaching at higher levels will see him fast track to the level the management feel he is capable of – be it U23 or Premier League.

John Pierce
42 Posted 27/06/2019 at 18:06:40
There is absolutely no harm in trying the lad out. He may, despite valid reservations, take to playing at a much higher level, well. His limitations when he was given a short spell in the U23s are not just about his game but the players around him too. Whatever we think about age-group footy, it's miles away from the real thing.

For me, most younger players do well in a team which is already doing well. Rooney an obvious exception. The environment is a key factor, Everton also need short cuts, and to over-achieve to catch the top six. Give him a go and find out, you can always pull him back.

Jay Harris
43 Posted 27/06/2019 at 18:20:40
Tommy, Do you ever stop criticising?

Moyes was our most successful manager in the Premier League era – despite being hamstrung by Kenwright.

Rooney made over 50 appearances for the Blues and only became an England international by playing reasonably regularly.

Okay, initially he was used sparingly but that IMO is the correct way to manage a 16-year-old boy.

I am sure, if we had to take someone's opinion and management of a player, we would take Moyes's first.

Please try and get your glass half-full, mate, because you've now tried a demolition job on Kenny, Zouma and Moyes.

Martin Nicholls
44 Posted 27/06/2019 at 18:24:29
Ray #40 – I picked up on that too!

As for Simms, the bottom line is that Silva obviously thinks it is worth trying him in this game, so why not? Davies trained with the full England squad when he was around 17, so maybe thinking is the same?

Dennis Stevens
45 Posted 27/06/2019 at 18:37:00
Jay #45,

Moyes may well win out for longevity but only one Manager has actually brought us any silverware in the Premier League era – Joe Royle.

Tommy Carter
46 Posted 27/06/2019 at 18:37:08
@45 Jay

It's not a demolition job.

I have nothing but respect for the job Moyes done at Everton Football Club

I doubt Moyes was ‘hamstrung' by Kenwright. We broke our club record transfer pretty much each season from 2005-2010. Moyes is on record about how great his relationship was with Kenwright. So if anybody is doing a demolition job, it is not I.

However, 40 starts in 2 seasons I felt was too sparing for the use of Rooney. Particularly at the end of the 2002-03 season when Blackburn pipped is to a European spot. And then again at the beginning of the 2003-04 season.

He then went to a manager who played him immediately. One who had a record of developing world-class young players, including Giggs, who played pretty much as a regular throughout his entire career.

Darren Hind
47 Posted 27/06/2019 at 18:55:26
Man Utd pulled off one of the great football robberies when they signed Wayne Rooney. He was still short of his 19th birthday when he signed for Man Utd, but had already featured in 67 Premier League games.

At times Rooney looked like the not-long-out-of-school teenager when wearing The Royal Blue, but his brilliance was unmistakable.

Sirallex used Rooney even more sparingly than Moyes – he featured in less than 30 games in his first season at Man Utd, but he used him far more wisely. None of this "Go and win it for me, kid" with 15 minutes to go.

Ferguson was a better manager than Moyes (of course) and he had far superior players who could either assist or replace Rooney, thus enabling him to bring the young man child along at exactly the right pace.

Hated the move, still angers me, but it was a complete no-brainer for Wayne.

Dave Abrahams
48 Posted 27/06/2019 at 19:29:09
As Darren (49) says, Rooney was stolen off the Blues. Moyes didn't know where, when or how to play the lad. Walter Smith knew how good Wayne was, wanted to play him when he was 15 and still at school.

Rooney was known by plenty of clubs, how good he was before he was a teenager, and anyone who saw him even at that young age knew he was going to be a very good footballer. I'd heard about him long before I saw him, and took it all with a pinch of salt.

Then, I saw him at 16 versus Spurs in the FA Youth Cup... it took me 3 minutes to realise what everyone had been raving about.

The game had just started when the Spurs left-back was undecided whether to trap the ball or wellie it down the field... in the 3 or 4 seconds the lad was making his mind up, Wayne was in and at him, whipped the ball off his toes and was away down the right-hand side of the field, looked up and planted the ball right onto the head of Michael Symes, the Everton striker, who quickly dispatched it into the back of the net.

During the rest of that game, Rooney convinced everyone who was present what an absolute beaut of a player we had; IT took Moyes much, much longer... and then, as Darren said, we (or Kenwright) let him go for peanuts.

Even today, fans talking about young players say “He wasn't as good as Rooney at that age.” No-one was as good or as tough as Wayne at that age – he was unique.

John Pierce
49 Posted 27/06/2019 at 19:49:25
Dave, the last quote in your post... is that our problem? Do we measure everyone by the unique force of nature that was Rooney? Brutish and yet had a rapier for a brain... could any prospect we have ever get close?

I think we will always suffer that mindset, because he, like other generational players, might have lifted us from squalor into rarefied air, only to have him snatched away.

As for Simms... give him a go and let's see.

Andrew Keatley
50 Posted 27/06/2019 at 20:03:08
The teenage Rooney was a total phenomenon. He was as good as there was anywhere in the world in his age group during those first three years of his professional career.

I agree with Jay (45) that being over-reliant on a boy, and playing him in every game, is likely to be a mistake. The old “if they're good enough, they're old enough” needs a few caveats, and not many young players have the wherewithal to adapt to senior football as well as Rooney or Giggs.

As for Simms, as Steve Ferns says, the transition might be tricky. He's been so physically superior in Under-18 football that he's almost seemed to be coasting. Take away that advantage, it'll be interesting to find out how good he is.

Tommy Carter
51 Posted 27/06/2019 at 20:12:14
Rooney made he bench under Walter Smith I believe in the 2001-02 season. A multi-championship-winning coach and his coaching setup believed Rooney to be good enough then. It's a shame he never featured.

I've always thought that Sven had regrets about not taking Rooney to the 2002 World Cup because I think the England coaching setup probably knew he was good enough to be playing. And he was. Within 6 months of that tournament when we played Blackburn at home and his performance and goal that were astonishing. I was pinching myself as we left the ground.

I think this is why they took Theo Walcott in 2006 because I honestly believe they were worried about missing another opportunity like this.

Tommy Carter
52 Posted 27/06/2019 at 20:13:49
My mistake. He made the bench under Moyes in April 2002, not Walter Smith.
Dermot Byrne
53 Posted 27/06/2019 at 20:19:38
Agree with you, Darren. It was a no-brainer for a young Rooney and his agent.

What I hope the new regime may do, in time, is make some of our talent think there is actually a chance of winning something at Everton.

We, just like every team, will face times we lose our best. Someone will always offer more, a better place to live, better team mates etc etc.

But... maybe we hold them longer and in that time they just may become loyal.

Always hopeful

Dermot Byrne
54 Posted 27/06/2019 at 20:27:32
Andrew K: this has nothing to do, with football, but I would like to share my inability, for most of my life, to say the word "phenomenon".

James Hughes
55 Posted 27/06/2019 at 21:00:43
I do take umbrage at Jay's statement

Moyes was our most successful manager in the Premier League era

Successful at what exactly, lining his pockets? Convincing everyone he was doing a really good job and having a love-in with Boy's Pen Bill?

Yes, there is no argument he stopped us from being perennial relegation favourites. He also got us into the top 4 — ONCE! A cup final... ONCE!!!

A great manager who should have buggered off about five years before he did. Yet was too busy milking the myth about glass ceilings and knives to gunfights. The only thing worse than the final years of Moyes was appointing Allardyce as our manager.

Fuck Moyes — he is a one trick pony whose trick everyone knows. And breathe!!!!!!

Dave Abrahams
56 Posted 27/06/2019 at 21:04:41
John (51), I'm saying it's unfair for fans to compare our present-day young players with the “one-off” who was Wayne Rooney.
Justin Doone
57 Posted 27/06/2019 at 21:17:16
Walter was a gamble from the Scottish league that failed badly.

Moyes was great for the club as a whole.

Martinez is/ was a 'media' manager. No issues with his attacking set up but he seems happy to concede goals believing his team will outscore the opponents. A coin toss every game.

Koeman failed us although a good coach and the Walsh partnership muddies the water so I'm not sure who to blame for the terrible transfers.

Silva is back towards Martinez style but wants the whole team to defend. Not have forwards who switch off when not in possession.

As for Simms, I'm happy for the lad but he's got a lot of improvement to be a Premier League striker. He's got time and a good set-up to develop so, with Sambou leaving U23s, he can hopefully grab his chance.

Tommy Carter
58 Posted 27/06/2019 at 23:29:17
I disagree that Walter failed badly. When initially backed he signed Marco Materazzi, John Collins and Olivier Dacourt. Hutchison and Barmby also realised form under Walter that was absent prior to his arrival at the club.

You have to consider that this was a rebuilding effort for a squad that had featured players such as John O'Kane, Gareth Farrelly, Michael Branch, John Oster, Carl Tiler, Tony Thomas, Mitch Ward and Claus Thomsen

Ferguson was sold without his knowledge and then he was forced to sell Materazzi and Dacourt just as he'd finally found a strike partnership in Campbell and Jeffers to compete with. It was no coincidence that our results at the end of that season were incredible, it was a really good side.

That summer, we were flat broke and were only able to bring in Richard Gough on a free and then Joe-Max Moore on another free in the new year. As well as Tommy Johnson.

Walter could choose players, don't worry about that

Andy Crooks
59 Posted 27/06/2019 at 23:43:18
Tommy@ 58, spot on. Walter Smith is unfairly maligned. He was dealt a shit hand and played it better than he gets credit for.
Martin Nicholls
60 Posted 28/06/2019 at 08:04:48
Tommy #58 - the players you list who, collectively, Andy accurately describes as a "shit hand" have their modern day equivalents in today's "deadwood"! How have we allowed lightening to strike us twice??
Peter Gorman
61 Posted 28/06/2019 at 08:56:26
Didn't Walter Smith once quip "I can't turn shite into honey"?

Yes, the man bought some players and cleared the deadwood but he never got Everton going. He also loved using players in the wrong position, hence his prompt sacking after the cup drubbing against Boro.

As Bobby Martinez will forever be known as 'phenomenal', Walter will always be 'disappointing'.

Tommy Carter
62 Posted 28/06/2019 at 11:46:26

I think the deadwood back in 1998 was far worse than what we have now. But possibly easier to offload because of lower wages.

At least Besic, Sandro, Mirallas, McCarthy etc have decent pedigree, in most cases international standard.

The squad of the summer of 1998 was full of players who'd been bog-standard First Division players. Oster, Farrelly, Williamson, Mitch Ward, Tony Thomas, Graham Allen, even Cademarteri was rubbish despite some promising performances early on.

This was a big job for Walter, we should've been relegated the season before. But, by the time he had a settled squad, from March 1999 onwards, we were really quite strong.

The 1999-2000 season followed in which Walter had to sell Dacourt and Materazzi. Thankfully Bakayoko went who'd been a flop and possibly the poorest signing he'd made up until that point. Simonsen was big money but Peter Johnson was certainly behind that transfer.

Walter had no money to spend at all in the summer of 1999. Yet the 1999-2000 season started well and at no point were we in a relegation battle.

Unfortunately, we brought back Duncan Ferguson in the summer of 2000. That was a mistake although I think this time influenced by Kenwright. Gazza clearly didn't work and Nyarko was a disaster.

However, players like Carsley and Gravesen proved to be very good buys for the club. Radzinski also was a decent signing as well as Stubbs and Weir who would play many games for the club. Linderoth was also a good player that never really got a chance at Everton.

When he had to buy players, I generally feel he got more right than wrong.

By late 2001, I think his tenure had become stale and it was absolutely the correct decision to move him on. But Moyes benefited from the squad Walter left, no doubt. And on that basis, I can't say he did a bad job, he just didn't progress as we'd have liked.

He certainly left the club and squad in a much better place than when he found it in 1998. And Moyes likewise from 2002 to 2013.

Matthew Williams
63 Posted 28/06/2019 at 12:26:13
Good news, shrewd move too, the lad deserves to play at least some of the match...

Wouldn't surprise me if he scored!

Andrew Keatley
64 Posted 28/06/2019 at 12:31:21
Back on to young players for a moment, there's a youngster at Celtic called Karamoko Dembele; he turned 16 at the beginning of the year, made his full debut on the last day of the season, and is probably likely to play a regular role in their first team from now on. I doubt he'll start many games for the next 12 months, but expect him to be in many a match-day squad and getting regular minutes off the bench.

He's quite something, and at only 5' 3" (still growing possibly) he is almost the anti-Simms - his lack of obvious physical advantage has meant that he has had to develop other areas of his game. Lighting quick though, especially over short distances - with and without the ball - and with incredible close control and vision, he might just be the next major world superstar.

Tom Bowers
65 Posted 28/06/2019 at 13:00:49
Many of us older fans have seen many, many youngsters at Goodison who were touted to do great things but alas just fell by the wayside. Hopefully this lad Simms will not fall into that group.

Wayne Rooney has been the only real world-class player who came through the Everton ranks and alas had most of his great years away from Goodison – and is still proving he has one of the best footballing brains ever seen on a football field.

Only Rooney, being one of a select few, could have scored that goal he just got for DC United, considering many think he is over the hill.

Tommy Carter
66 Posted 28/06/2019 at 13:55:15
@63 Andrew

Agreed. I was astounded by his performance when he came on as a substitute last month. It was literally a child playing with men and he was superb. There was even a cynical attempt to wipe him out on the half way line. He simply rolled back up on to his feet and embarrassed the defender who could only resort to this to try and stop him. If that was a sign of things to come then this young man will be very special. Good luck to him.

@64 Tom. Rooney indeed is possibly the only world class player that our academy has produced. And a player of his ability may only come around once in a lifetime.

Bringing through top class players is much more realistic. Unfortunately players like Jeffers and Rodwell never fulfilled their true potential.

McMahon realised his elsewhere. Jags and Baines were relseased from our academy and would go on to have first class careeers.

Phill Thompson
67 Posted 28/06/2019 at 18:05:55
Around about 2 years ago Simms made appearances in one of those youth pre-season tournaments, he looked big and strong and as likely to clatter the ball with his shin as score and did both in one match. He didn't get much game time in his first season at U18, Hornby was the No 9 and Gordon was the one in Simms' year who caught the eye.

His progress last season was remarkable, he and the coaches worked really hard to improve and his scoring record was phenomenal. This was also helped by the U18s style of play with three classy midfielders who just played the ball through to him to run onto and score.

But he still has so much of his game to improve on, like hold-up play, timing his run, playing with his back to goal, heading etc. At the end of last season, he was nowhere near ready to play 1st-team football yet some were clamouring for his inclusion as they do now. If he scores 20 goals for the U23s next season then we'll know we've got a player on our hands and he'll only be 19.

I'm happy for the U23s coaches to keep working with him and developing him next season, if he's as good as we hope he'll be moved up before the end of the season. My only concern is that our defensive style of play at U23s doesn't help development of attackers and Unsworth's strength is in developing defenders.

Steavey Buckley
68 Posted 28/06/2019 at 22:13:14
The only alternative to Simms is Sambou who was a regular with 9 goals for the Everton's under 21s, but wants out, proves Everton's striking options are limited for a club that wants to go somewhere else better than 8th in the league. Everton can have the best goal keeper and defenders but if they don't have strikers who regularly turns chances and half chances into goals Everton are a club that is not really going anywhere.
Dave Williams
69 Posted 29/06/2019 at 11:19:37
In Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin, we have two young forwards who could really take off this season. They won't peak for 3 years yet and I think they will surprise us. That said, we have no cover as Cenk and Oumar are not up to it.
James Hughes
70 Posted 29/06/2019 at 12:33:37
I see Mina scored in the penalty shoot-out but still went out against Chile. He also got into a brawl with Sanchez!! We do need players with a bit of fight in them. As much as Jags and Leighton have been great for us, they could be a bit too nice.

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