If there was an award for most improved player, Mason Holgate would certainly be a contender. Long derided as too error-prone, as having poor positioning, and simply being 'Championship Standard' (the much-used criticism labelled at our youngsters).
Personally, I always thought there was a good player there, but he has even surpassed my expectations in the last few months after dislodging Michael Keane from the starting 11. His loan at West Brom has certainly improved him, and now a big future awaits the young man. The question I have, though, is: What will his ultimate position be?
Having been too much of a risk for central defence when he broke into the team, his athleticism meant that the bulk of his games so far have been at right-back. Certainly not his best position, but this has given him experience of playing further up the field.
Against Watford, he stepped into midfield, as he had done with Duncan Ferguson in charge, and looked the part. He's got a good touch, reads the game well, and knows how to pass a ball.
So, in the long term, could Mason step up and make the defensive midfield position his own?
Reader Comments (149)
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1 Posted 03/02/2020 at 17:56:59
However this could only happen if we sign Zouma who, now that Rudiger is fit, will spend the rest of his time on the Chelsea bench, or another athletic central defender as neither Mina or Keane offer the pace needed in today's game
2 Posted 03/02/2020 at 18:01:14
Do you think Zouma is still a target after a change of management? Or will Carlo have his own ideas for an additional centre-back?
3 Posted 03/02/2020 at 21:38:45
Nor am I forgetting Tom Davies. The character he has shown, the determination not to hide (playing, by the way, beside the world Hide-and-do-not-Seek champion, Scneiderlin) has been remarkable.
I judge a young player on their best form and their ability to battle through temporary loss of form. Tom's best is excellent and will return. Three top young players.
4 Posted 03/02/2020 at 22:02:04
If he keeps going the way he is this season. with his positional flexibility, hell be heading to the euros, and I think DCL will be there with him too
5 Posted 04/02/2020 at 03:14:45
In my opinion, he should stay in the CB position and we need to acquire a very good central midfielder – I still have high hopes for Beni Baningime coming good for us. Hope he gets the opportunity to show us what he's got.
6 Posted 04/02/2020 at 04:50:36
7 Posted 04/02/2020 at 05:06:31
Paired with a more aerially dominant partner he should do well as his strengths are exacerbated and his weaknesses mitigated.
He deffo needs more work on his heading, and moving the ball left, so I wonder might he make a defensive midfielder? Maybe. Perhaps I'm projecting, because we are utterly deficient there atm. He's physically durable and very calm.
Find him a superior left sided dominant centre half partner to that of Mina and we could have a decent defense...
8 Posted 04/02/2020 at 05:22:36
You keep persisting with this "Can't pass to the left" lark. It's just plain wrong.
Digne has been poor this season, He simply hasn't shown, except for when he comes level with the man in possession, or drops even deeper. Holgate looks for the progressive pass and CHOOSES not to play that pass.
Holgate has been deployed mainly on the left in a central partnership. That means most of the pitch (and his options) are to his right. That doesn't stop him looking for Digne on the occasions he shows the same attacking devilment as last season.
If a footballer can pass, he can pass in any direction simply by manipulating the ball or adjusting his body. Your repeated claim is one of the most bizarre campaigns I have ever heard.
9 Posted 04/02/2020 at 06:54:38
10 Posted 04/02/2020 at 16:51:38
11 Posted 04/02/2020 at 17:03:59
Let's focus on what happens in a game rather than supposition. I'd go further and ask you to look at his body position when a midfielder, Pickford, or his partner gets the ball. His body position is closed off and rarely does he let the ball run across him to allow all the options. Surely that would be better?
If, as you say, Digne is not showing for the ball, then he can pivot back to right. If that were the case I think you'd be right, but he doesn't give himself the chance. So I remain unconvinced by your ‘clairvoyancy'.
Add in that it becomes hugely predictable and too many passes inside from his area of the field will encourage an opponent on to you, and we have no balance to our attacking play. Granted this feature is not solely down to Holgate. You would want Holgate and the team to have better variety, surely?
I was indicating it's an improvement to be made (whatever the actual reason); after all, he's a right-footed player on the left of the field and it's very hard to get a left-footer of quality in there.
Digne has been poorer this season but has five assists, I reckon; I'd rather give the ball to him or Bernard than Coleman, Delph or Schneiderlin. One to ponder but you need to more than that to convince me!
12 Posted 04/02/2020 at 17:30:01
However, I think some people might be going ever so slightly over the top with praise... ie, comparisons to one of the world's greatest ever defenders.
13 Posted 04/02/2020 at 17:55:48
The rest of this season should be spent seriously assessing just what we urgently require especially in the midfield area, hopes will be high at the start of next season if we sign the right type of players, it will be a familiar feeling for us blues supporters, one of these seasons I'm praying we may just get it right.
14 Posted 04/02/2020 at 18:29:08
Not as physically imposing as any of our other CBs, yet Morgan is stronger, more tenacious, more skilful and more of a leader than all of them.
Repeatedly dropped for every lapse in concentration, he really benefited from his loan spell where he was played regularly and appreciated.
Great to see him grab his chance so well. Who better to further learn from than Carlo? I expect our younger players, who are already the main leaders of the team, to come on a ton under Carlo.
15 Posted 04/02/2020 at 18:40:23
As to the premise of the piece, I think Holgate is best at CB. To me his ball-carrying and man-marking skills are more valuable there, and you want your best ballwinners playing DM. Mason is not a Gana and never will be. (Nor will he ever be Bobby Moore, Andy. Sorry.)
16 Posted 04/02/2020 at 19:02:25
17 Posted 04/02/2020 at 19:20:13
It does seem a bit bizarre. But good to see the lad's form this season.
It's got me humming about passing the Dutchie on the left-hand side!
18 Posted 04/02/2020 at 19:21:54
He's been playing balls to the left all season, long before you got this daft bee in your bonnet. If he doesn't play them, that is a choice; footballers are faced with them all the time.
I'm amused how your daft claims that he can't, can be construed (even by you) as "fact".
The best pass any Everton player made on Saturday was from Holgate. Guess what? It was to the left. The direction in which you had already claimed, he can't pass.
You are very welcome to elevate my ability to see these many passes and his reluctance to play balls he doesn't want to play, to the status of "clairvoyancy"... I would be more inclined to describe it as the inability to avoid the blindingly bleedin' obvious.
You might want to ask yourself: If this is actually something that happens... how come nobody has ever mentioned it before?
19 Posted 04/02/2020 at 19:26:12
20 Posted 04/02/2020 at 19:29:14
21 Posted 04/02/2020 at 19:29:52
I'm happy with the left handed track
22 Posted 04/02/2020 at 19:30:44
23 Posted 04/02/2020 at 19:33:59
24 Posted 04/02/2020 at 19:40:51
Looks like all my selections will be going right...
25 Posted 04/02/2020 at 19:57:07
26 Posted 04/02/2020 at 19:59:29
That's a brave leap of faith, Brian. I'm on Defi Du Seuil for the Champion Chase 11/2.
27 Posted 04/02/2020 at 20:24:49
I know he can pass to the left as highlighted by the one pass he did make on Saturday. You believe in that entire half he chose just that once to pass left. Behave yerself! However he took the ball and strode out with it before sliding the ball inside the full back high up the field. A very different proposition to the number of times he receives the ball at the back and goes right.
Id of thought youd want Everton to have a more balanced attack? Whatever the rights or wrongs of why he chooses to play the way he does, it limits us tactically, does it not? Digne is far more measured and capable than the right hand side, no? His tandem with Bernard give us way more options than our midfield or right hand side. That side is much more progressive.
If as you say Digne is not in the right position why isn't Mason, either prompting him or getting on his case to make himself more available? What I can see is Digne waving his arms like a mad man at Holgate.
I did also concede you maybe right, isnt there one part of my bizarre claim that makes you think, mmm maybe its worth a second look? Id encourage a revisit. Ill gladly try and discern if Digne is hiding, sat in a position Mason cannot reach him.
In the meantime Ill go tend to my one bee resident in my makeshift apiary. It strangely only flies round in circles to the right. What to do. 😜
28 Posted 04/02/2020 at 20:30:17
Early last season he was trying to out-muscle players and coming off second best, and now hes thinking a lot more and only trying to win the ball, when its there to be won, and this is something Mina, could learn, because hes been exposing himself lately, by trying to win balls that are not there to be won, instead of just staying tight, and keeping his opponent with his back to goal.
Paul T, very good point about our younger players being the leaders, mate.
29 Posted 04/02/2020 at 20:35:48
I think most of his headers went left, WTAF? 😃
30 Posted 04/02/2020 at 20:36:13
It's also clear that, like Calvert-Lewin and Davies, he looks like he wants to learn and apply the learning, which is a good thing in any walk of life.
32 Posted 04/02/2020 at 20:42:15
33 Posted 04/02/2020 at 20:43:27
34 Posted 04/02/2020 at 21:20:34
Yeah, it's on the to-do list, John... Honest!
35 Posted 04/02/2020 at 22:02:41
You and I know, Mike, that I am given to hyperbole. There are no half measures, it is all in, be it Duffy or indeed Seamus. But here's what it is for me with Mason Holgate:
He reads the game, a cliche, I know, but watch him, he really does. He can pass inscisively, both right and left, if the options are available. He is athletic, quick over a short distance, calm and confident. He has something about him that John Stones, whom I also compared to Bobby Moore, hasn't. It is hard to define but I will call it presence, or just... IT!
Rooney had it in spades, more than any young player I have ever seen. Rio Ferdinand had it... and a few others I can't recall.
Alan 'Sniffer' Clarke had it back in the seventies. It is just a feeling you have about a player that makes you champion them and defend them to the hilt.
However, just to argue against myself. More than Rooney, more than Stones and Holgate, the best feeling I ever had about a young Everton player was at the Milk Cup. It was Francis Jeffers...
What do I know???.
36 Posted 04/02/2020 at 22:10:44
Moore, incidentally, was capable of errors including, happily, a rather bad one which gifted Alan Whittle the winning goal against West Ham in the 69-70 title season.
37 Posted 04/02/2020 at 22:28:33
What I want to see is more players like Holgate coming through the academy, lower leagues and (don't laugh) Scotland. Young hungry players who feel honoured to play for Everton. We add to them a sprinkling of top quality.
I'm glad we didn't buy Vecino to move the dial ever so slightly. When we spend money it needs to be on younger players who have the potential to be outstanding – not very marginal improvements on Delph. This weird season has been rescued in some ways by seeing Holgate and Calvert-Lewin really grow up and believe in themselves. We need more like them.
38 Posted 04/02/2020 at 22:31:23
39 Posted 04/02/2020 at 22:55:41
John #29, re Holgate being superior to Mina in the air on Saturday, I would point out that every time he went up, Mina was against Deeney. Holgate was against everybody else who was Not Deeney.
Andy #35, the IT that I see in Holgate over Stones is intelligence, or maybe even simple common sense. Stones was confident on the ball, even cocky, sometimes flashing his talent and trying stuff to show everybody how good he was -- thus the mistakes. Holgate has the calm without the show-off element. He stays within his capabilities. Could be it's because he's been so bloodied and humiliated the past couple of seasons, or just because he's a more grounded guy, but I think he's gonna turn out better than Stones has, even with less native talent.
Robert #37, I'm pretty confident that both Mina and Holgate will continue to grow from their first seasons as starters in the Prem. And remember they've only played a handful of games together. As they start to get used to each other, they may turn out to be a CB combo for the future.
40 Posted 04/02/2020 at 23:09:38
41 Posted 04/02/2020 at 00:37:26
I will look out for it.
As for a central defender who can only play it to the right full-back, step forward, Michael Keane. Jagielka used to be the same, although thankfully, unlike Keane, he was a superb defender.
42 Posted 05/02/2020 at 00:46:40
43 Posted 05/02/2020 at 03:19:43
There are plenty of people on here who have been forced to change their opinion of Holgate, but there is also quite a few who dismissed him and are now claiming "I always said he was a good player". You are front and centre of the second group.
When you recently claimed to be the only one on this site saying we didn't need to sign Zouma because we had Mason, I almost fell off my chair laughing. I had many a debate with you last year and you repeatedly dismissed Holgate as a centre-half. When he came back, you repeatedly said he couldn't pass. Now he has demonstrated that he can see, create, and execute a pass and the rest of the team can't, you have latched yourself onto this crackpot idea that he can't pass to the left.
Show me any post anywhere, where you have said this before the game on Saturday? – I bet you can't.
Your problem with Holgate stems from your repeated claim that Mina will prove to be top, top class. Whenever Holgate was complimented by anyone on here, you have seen him as a threat to your prediction. You have always made comparisons to the two players. And in your view (only) Mina always came out on top. Only this week, you were claiming Mina was a better passer. Last week it was he was a better reader of the game. On this very thread, you are arguing the point raised by somebody that Holgate is the better header of the ball.
You will continue to be proved wrong about Mina. No shame in that, we have all been wrong about one player or another... but by first dismissing Holgate and then continually picking imaginary holes in his game in order to make Mina look better, you end up being wrong about both players.
Read the title of the thread. It's a question that will never be asked about Mina.
Deeney isn't a great header of the ball. He is a muscle man who has remarkably made a career out of ruffling the feathers of soft-arsed centre-halves. Mina did not seek him out. It was the other way round. He knew Mina did not have the composure or patience to mark him. He knew Mina would try to climb all over him and give away daft-arsed free-kicks. I guarantee you, next time we play Watford, the journeyman striker will make a bee-line for Big Yerry.
On the question of playing the ball out to the left. I will try one more time, then I'm done.
When a player takes the ball from his keeper on the left side of the box, he will see the overwhelming majority of space and options to his right. If a player takes it on the right hand side of the box, the situation is reversed. Natural footballers are very seldom show-ponies – they play the way they are facing.
Ancelotti has very publicly stated that he does want to play from the back, but he does not want a repeat of the total fucakaroundery we witnessed at Mordor. To say Holgate CHOOSES to play the progressive forward pass into midfield as opposed to playing out crab-like passes to Digne (who will almost certainly give him it back) is not conjecture. It's not mind reading. It's not 'Clairvoyancy'. It's the most basic common sense. An observation that a natural footballer is doing what natural footballers do and he is doing it with the blessing of his manager.
Ancelotti's half-time team-talk – "Look Mason. I've fucking had enough of this. You may have been playing the progressive football I am calling for, and Yes, you may have just played another fantastic half, but You haven't once played the crab ball to Digne... What's the matter? Can't you do it???"
44 Posted 05/02/2020 at 06:02:38
45 Posted 05/02/2020 at 07:27:01
We had this last year when we were out the cups and then when there was no pressure on the players and we started winning a few games everyone started to think we just needed a tweak here or there.
Then unsurprisingly when the pressure was back on we didnt perform.
Lets wait and see what Mina and Holgate are like over a prolonged period next season when the pressure is back on to truly compete and they are up against Liverpool, City and Tottenham etc and then we can see if they are really improving and if one or both of them can be a key player for us long term in a side hopefully being successful.
46 Posted 05/02/2020 at 07:30:16
47 Posted 05/02/2020 at 07:48:33
1. I NEVER dismissed Holgate. On the contrary, I have always liked him, and if you look back on my posts from last spring I shared multiple glowing reports about his performance on loan at WBA. I did definitely dismiss his chances at Everton because Silva had clearly, obviously lost confidence in him two seasons in a row, even banishing him permanently to the stands after five games last year. I said he would never get another chance from Silva. I was wrong, although I was right up until October, when circumstances forced Silva's hand and Holgate was finally able to prove himself. But I was also the only one last summer insisting that it would be a waste for Silva/Brands to go after another CB at that time, because Mason could do the job. I openly dismissed our pursuits of Zouma, Rojo at el, and argued constantly with those here who insisted we had to bring Kurt back. I challenge you to find ONE post -- just one -- where I dismissed Holgate.
2. You're drooling like a basset hound over that one superb pass Mason made last weekend ("he can see/create/execute a pass the rest of the team cant"??? So suddenly he's the best passer in the side? Ridiculous!!). Fact is, he improved at West Brom from godawful to decent, and is continuing to improve this season, but he still makes ugly mistakes, like the two scuffs against Norwich and three giveaways in five minutes in the Derby. He has a lot further to go before he can do what "the rest of the team cant". And yes, Mina is a better passer than Holgate, both long and short. His passes are easier to handle and he makes fewer turnovers off them.
3. Hate to call BS on you again, but I never predicted Mina would be a "top, top player." You're simply making that up. What I did predict, multiple times (I found the posts, and you can look 'em up yourself if you want), was that while he would likely have multiple major mistakes the first half of the season as he got used to the Prem, Mina would emerge by midseason as one of the best young CBs in the Prem. I was wrong about the major mistakes -- he's actually made surprisingly few of them -- but I was absolutely right in my prediction. Who among the first-year CBs in the league has improved more over last season or is performing better? Maybe Tomori. That's it.
4. As for Holgate passing the ball mostly to the right, I hadn't really noticed it before. It became obvious Saturday with Digne, wide open out on the left wing and 20 yards advanced, waving his arms on three different occasions as Morgan never even looked that way. Lots of people on the Forum noticed and commented. (You were just an occasional Forum visitor that day or you could have debated the point then.) And, by the way, the NBCSN commentators noticed it too, and chuckled about it.)
5. Your ability to magically discern the thoughts of Holgate, Deeney, Digne and Ancelotti from your remote vantage point in the stand, in front of the TV or orbiting whatever planet you're currently visiting is nothing resembling common sense. It is ESP. Extremely Silly Presumption. I salute the self-cited football expertise required to so assuredly create these fantastical interpretations, but they're not remotely based on fact.
Your fanciful assumptions don't bother me a bit, however. What does bother me is when you deliberately misrepresent what I've written in the past. Which you have done here. I'm able to admit when I'm wrong. How about you?
48 Posted 05/02/2020 at 08:12:21
In saying that, you can't expect everything from a young centre-back, and we must have the youngest pairing in the Premier League at present.
I agree with David @45, but with contradictions everywhere, I also think they are improving as a partnership, hopefully learning from both their own, and each other's mistakes, and it's also quite possible they could become a top-class pairing, given time.
49 Posted 05/02/2020 at 08:28:28
I think John Hurst set out as a centre forward before becoming such an accomplished partner to Labone at the back. Snodin, for me, disappointed in midfield but excelled at full back, as did John Collins.
Ratcliffe was a liability at left back before finding his true role in the centre. Will be interesting but I've a feeling he'll find his mark in a more forward position.
But of course, this being Everton, he'll have to suffer the obligatory hamstring injury first.
50 Posted 05/02/2020 at 09:36:24
51 Posted 05/02/2020 at 10:32:30
If I was comparing him with a player from the 60s, I would say he is more John Hurst than Bobby Moore.
52 Posted 05/02/2020 at 11:43:53
From what I have seen I think Mason could be a brilliant defensive midfielder. He has the poise, control, anticipation, change of speed/direction, tough uncompromising physicality and determination.
Above all he plays with his head up and can read the game. It's these qualities and his quick thinking that are the core attributes of a great Defensive CM, these things along with consistency [which has been so far commendable] are the definition of a class player.
All the great midfielders have that split second of extra time on the ball due to this sharpness of football brain that they have been born with and which has been nurtured. Mason Holgate has been sprinkled with this stardust.
It's still early days and anything could happen with his career, but all the signs are if he continues to work hard and push himself and importantly ignore the inevitable hype, he is going right to the top. He will win things with a resurgent Everton. International honours will be a formality.
A point of issue is who would be playing behind him. It would have to be the right person to allow Mason to flourish as a DCM. If we brought Zouma back to play central defence. With Mason playing in front of him and Mina I think that would be one of the best defensive units in the country. With Digne and JJK as full backs, and Keane waiting for his opportunity.
Re-signing Zouma needs serious consideration as the summer priority signing if Carlo thinks, like a lot of us do, that Mason Holgate could be a first class Defensive CM.
53 Posted 05/02/2020 at 15:05:13
Lots of people did not (as you falsely claim) pass comment on the live forum. It was only mentioned by John Pierce. You didn't even pass comment yourself. Its a bandwagon you have since jumped on - the forum hasn't been wiped if you want to take a quick scan. When everyone else is praising Holgate. You find reason to have a dig.
I haven't misrepresented you. By your own admission on this very thread You saw Holgate as improving from being "Godawful" ( Really rated him really highly then) to decent. You have repeatedly had a go at him. Even now on this thread you are trying to drag up every error you "CLAIM" he's made.
You are perfectly at liberty to jump on Pierce bandwagon with you ESP jibes, But I know what Ancelotti said because I heard him say it. I know what Deeney did because I saw him do it. I know what Holgate did for the same reason I know what Deeney did.
Rocket science, it ain't
Perhaps that stems from the fact that
54 Posted 05/02/2020 at 15:18:56
We largely agree on Holgate's overall ability, and always have (whether you consider it "shameless" or not), and we largely disagree on Mina, and that's where we will leave it.
55 Posted 05/02/2020 at 15:23:14
56 Posted 05/02/2020 at 15:32:49
Colin #55, only if you're the VAR official. At least we'll get an entertaining ruling.
57 Posted 05/02/2020 at 16:17:37
58 Posted 05/02/2020 at 16:42:53
59 Posted 05/02/2020 at 17:03:40
60 Posted 05/02/2020 at 17:07:47
I would get frustrated playing with Everton's midfielders though. Their instincts are to rarely look forward, they never look to play one-two's, and if things are tight, some of them look to hide behind the opposition, especially away from Goodison Park, and although there is absolutely nothing wrong with keeping things simple, maybe Holgate's head goes at times, because he's expecting more off the players in front of him, and this is possibly when his inexperience might kick-in?
61 Posted 05/02/2020 at 17:13:11
62 Posted 05/02/2020 at 17:23:39
63 Posted 05/02/2020 at 17:29:55
64 Posted 05/02/2020 at 17:34:54
The whole not passing to the left argument maybe because he's right footed and he likes to be progressive.
I definitely would like a left sided player in the summer and for Mason to be used as his partner or in the midfield depending on the opposition.
Andy, great post about our youngsters.
Paul Tran throw away your docket- Chacun pour soi is a machine. He just hammered Min who loves the track and he dis Defi when he was only a novice.
Great stuff between Mike and Darren and some great points on both sides regarding the two CB's.
65 Posted 05/02/2020 at 17:36:03
I also mentioned on TW ages ago that I considered DM to be Stones best position. Less opportunity to make costly mistakes. I also think that Holgate might be our best player in that position. He has an elegance about him and his reading of the game has improved impressively. I expect wealthier clubs to have noticed and would not be surprised if the likes of Man City, Chelsea etc were to try to prise him away.
66 Posted 05/02/2020 at 17:40:15
Your point about the midfield was one I was trying to develop. Frequently we passing into players who are really the weakest part of the team. I doubt many would argue our central midfielders collectively rank any better than a bottom six team. They barely have an assist or goal between the lot of them.
Delph who really had a shocker Saturday frequently played with his back to goal. Sadly asking a guy who was a bit part player, with a recurring injury record to play more game than we thought has bitten us firmly on the bum. His poor attitude has possibly been the worst part of the sorry tale.
Digne despite playing below the standard hes set has 5 assists to his name. My money would be passing to him to make better things happen and let our water carriers in the midfield do the graft. Our better players are on the flanks, Id use the middle just as pivots until we get some quality in there.
Im sure Mason will have checked in on TW realized his error! The bandwagon has themed snacks. Wagon wheels and Blue Ribband choccy biscuits!!! All aboard!
67 Posted 05/02/2020 at 17:42:12
Antonio Bartolomucci is one of the most respected Italian football journalists for many years (and a famously ugly guy, looks like Gérard Depardieu on a bad day). This week he was interviewed on a radio network called Kiss Kiss Napoli and said this:
“Lets face it, Carlo Ancelotti is the greatest living Italian coach, among the best in the world. You see what hes doing at Everton? For me hes better than Gattuso and Antonio Conte, theres no doubt hes stronger than them and has more experience. But he has one flaw: hes very “Milanese” in one respect. When he sees a flaw he doesnt correct it right away, he lets go and then fills it in later. Unlike Gennaro Gattuso. The current Napoli coach is generous, he attacks you and then immediately hugs you, but immediately corrects mistakes, unlike Ancelotti.”
Some folks here have commented that Carlo doesn't seem to make immediate changes even when the problems seem obvious. The comments from a journalist who has covered him for years makes it clear that this is no aberration -- it's Carlo's style. The more impatient among us are just going to have to get used to it.
68 Posted 05/02/2020 at 17:47:30
He is exactly what we need, its given the players a consistency theyve not had for some time. I also think the Everton ether has settled down just be he is Carlo Ancellotti.
Thats not a free pass but certainly an endorsement, more cool aid arrived today.
69 Posted 05/02/2020 at 17:52:59
Tony #63, I remember seeing old black-and-white film of that. Always found it hilarious. That famously happened in an NFL playoff game as well, about 30 years ago in Washington DC. To celebrate a touchdown, 80k people slung their free promotional cushions. Looked like a colorful invasion of giant locusts. Took about 15 minutes to resume the game. And never again has any team in America repeated that particular giveaway.
70 Posted 05/02/2020 at 17:55:12
I took a couple month's break and just wanted to pop in to say hello.
On topic: Mason is amazing and I genuinely hope he's our long-term captain, soon. It may be covered above, but I want him to stay at centre-back, not central midfield.
Cheers all, hope (most of) you are enjoying the turnaround since Carlo joined us.
71 Posted 05/02/2020 at 18:47:58
Maybe bandwagon is stretching it a little. After all, only Mike who has jumped on - belatedly. Perhaps a tandem ?
Kudos to you though. when I looked back at the forum after Mikes post, I noticed you'd made the claim FIVE times by half time.
That's impressive determination and should deffo earn you the right to choose the colour.
No bandwagon, but you and Mike.Sure look neat. Upon the seat. Of a bicycle made for two
72 Posted 05/02/2020 at 19:01:17
73 Posted 05/02/2020 at 19:13:40
You can however have a Backsie if you change your mind! UTFT!
74 Posted 05/02/2020 at 19:18:08
75 Posted 05/02/2020 at 19:19:06
76 Posted 05/02/2020 at 19:36:10
Kudos to your memory! Youre probably the only guy on TW that remembers anything Ive ever posted and I include myself in that.
To me, Stones has “ lost his way” at City. His big money move may have done wonders for his bank account but his career has grounded. Hed be better off dropping to a none CL club and playing every week and becoming the player we all thought he would become instead of the bench warmer he is at City.
I hope Holgate doesnt just chase the cash if the likes of City try to entice him away. Hell become a better player at Everton under Ancellotti. At DM or CB.
77 Posted 05/02/2020 at 19:44:06
He immediately identifies any issues or flaws and then works directly with his coaching staff and the player himself to correct it, during training. I wasn't entirely clear on the quote above though, which would appear to indicate that he sees a flaw, shrugs his shoulders, and comes back to it sometime next month. Nothing could be further from the truth. If he's saying this about in-game management, I've personally never seen that happen but, then again, I'm not privy to what he sees as an issue.
Mentioning Ancelotti in the same sentence as Gattuso and Conte is borderline treason, lol!
78 Posted 05/02/2020 at 20:01:03
79 Posted 05/02/2020 at 20:11:57
Dave #74, have you considered that if you do what Gattuso does then you can achieve the opposite of what you want to achieve? By immediately correcting a flaw, you can unsettle the morale of players, the balance of the team, or simply create another problem elsewhere.
If Carlo's approach is to slowly correct it, then he can keep everything good in tact, but then work to correct the flaw without the adverse consequences. Rino Gattuso is mentioned and it's worth noting that he's yet to achieve anything of note in his managerial career, to date his best achievement is to get AC Milan to 6th amidst off the field turmoil, but they ultimately sacked him. He's had a bad time of it, slipping into Carlo Ancelotti's shoes in Naples, but the last two games have seen wins over Juventus and Sampdoria, so they might have just turned the corner. The turnaround coming after Everton-linked Allan dropped out of the side and also without Chucky Lozano.
80 Posted 05/02/2020 at 20:16:35
However, more than happy to see Mason continue his progress at centre back and I think thats where he will settle long term.
81 Posted 05/02/2020 at 20:17:20
I'll stick with my annual money-spinner Defi, though its going to be a cracker of a race!
82 Posted 05/02/2020 at 20:17:47
If all you have to do is train hard, do your best, and keep away from temptation for a few years while some bugger pays you £5m a year and you cant manage it. loads of regular people are struggling with personal problems without the cushion of a bulging bank account.
If his problems are of a family or health perspective then thats another matter.
83 Posted 05/02/2020 at 20:22:23
84 Posted 05/02/2020 at 20:22:49
85 Posted 05/02/2020 at 20:24:37
86 Posted 05/02/2020 at 20:24:50
I like him at centre back, a big plus for me his ability to read a game. Many in that position tend to react to situations, but to be able to read a game as well as he does is a rare talent for a centre back. He also has good pace another plus for a centre back, I think it was Zoumas pace that helped when he partnered Michael Keane who has no pace. I am sure Ancelotti will have been very pleased with Mason so far, and Mason can only get better working under Ancelotti.
87 Posted 05/02/2020 at 20:26:59
Maybe Mike can clarify with reference to the original article?
88 Posted 05/02/2020 at 20:29:05
Brent #75, a few posts ago it was a bandwagon, now it's a unicycle. From four wheels down to one is a very discouraging trend. One more post and I'm gonna be sitting on my ass on the ground, waving a little flag.
Steve #87, I posted the entire quote from the radio interview, so I have no further information, but I think you've got it right.
Brian #86, I read an article probably two years ago that said Holgate was Everton's fastest player at the time. That was before the arrivals of Walcott and Richarlison, so it's probably no longer true, but he's certainly among the paciest we have, and you're right, that's another reason to prefer him in the back.
89 Posted 05/02/2020 at 20:30:17
I agree with you it will take an exceptional horse to beat rock solid defi and I believe Chacon is...his jumping is electric and like you I can't wait for it.
90 Posted 05/02/2020 at 20:34:04
91 Posted 05/02/2020 at 20:34:04
92 Posted 05/02/2020 at 20:39:24
93 Posted 05/02/2020 at 20:41:54
Steve and Ray, here's the Stones article:
"It was reported that Stones's poor play could be a result of alleged trolling by his fellow players over his new relationship with Ms Naylor. The player's new romance is alleged to have been widely discussed on players' WhatsApp groups, with Ms Naylor well-known on the Manchester party scene and a regular at clubs frequented by rival Manchester United players."
94 Posted 05/02/2020 at 20:43:58
He didn't have a lot of choice either tbf. We know the club wanted Zouma so I history might suggest he'd go with a couple of tall lads. Do you think he'd changed his mind over Holgate?
95 Posted 05/02/2020 at 20:48:33
96 Posted 05/02/2020 at 20:51:27
Zouma is perfect for Silva but Keane and Mina was completely wrong for him. I don't know why he didn't switch to Holgate quicker. There was some hesitation there. But let's remember that Silva played Holgate in for the West Ham home game and since then (Brighton away) he started every game. That was six consecutive games under Silva at centre back.
He also played at centre back in each of the cup games under Silva which hints that Silva was trying to get him ready by giving him game time. So, it looked to me like Silva had more confidence in Holgate.
97 Posted 05/02/2020 at 20:52:31
98 Posted 05/02/2020 at 20:59:32
Holgate on the left, with the ball on his right foot has the whole pitch open for him. He's been encouraged to play the ball through or over the lines. That's what Carlo Ancelotti wants to see, he keeps saying it in press-conferences. Under Silva he did pass regularly to Digne and when he went long it was balls over the top, and never through the lines. They tended to be more vertical passes and less of a diagonal.
It should be noted though, Silva tended to play Mina on the left and not Holgate. Ancelotti has made that switch, and I think it is to allow Holgate to be the one on the left to try to make the vertical passes. He can look long to Calvert-Lewin's head, or into the channels for him to run onto, the short ball into midfield is a pass often made, and clearly Carlo likes the ball for Sidibe to run onto and overload down the right.
99 Posted 05/02/2020 at 21:00:03
It would appear that his antics arent appreciated by his team mates then.
Not sure Id want a tool like him back at Everton.
Thanks for the link.
100 Posted 05/02/2020 at 21:01:09
However I do see Lucas waving like a nutter to Mason to pass him the ball...
All eyes on Mason come Saturday! 👀
101 Posted 05/02/2020 at 21:33:23
102 Posted 05/02/2020 at 21:38:03
103 Posted 05/02/2020 at 21:55:50
Sadly it looks unlikely now as it seems he has lost his way. It can happen to anyone.
Lets hope the people close to Mason Holgate look after him both on and off the pitch.
Too many great players have failed to reach their potential in life due to off field distractions such as booze, gambling, drugs, “etc”.
104 Posted 05/02/2020 at 23:31:43
As far as Holgate is concerned, Silva (and Brands) were scrambling for a new centre-back at the tail-end of the summer transfer window, and only dubious planning/negotiating/executing meant we ended up without one. Silva deserves credit for developing DCL and continuing (on the whole) to show faith in him - but there just isnt the same story there with Holgate, to the extent that other clubs (Sheffield United were one) were allegedly already queueing up to make offers in the January window. Silva was not backing Holgate as one of his three first-choice centre-backs by anything other than default.
105 Posted 06/02/2020 at 00:53:37
Back in the day we were taught the football equivalent of the 3Rs - The 3 Gs; or, 4 dependeing on how technical your teacher was.
This works from front to back, all over the pitch.
Get it (the ball that is) Give it, Go...and the 4th G - Get it back. Rinse and repeat.
One Centre Half goes, one covers, Holgate is the '3Gs' guy who 'Goes', 'Gets it' and 'Gives it'
106 Posted 06/02/2020 at 01:01:49
My memory is terrible but I thought from recollection that Mina only played on the left of a back five under Silva, ie, Liverpool, Leicester City. When he played with the four Mason was normally there? I thought Mina was moved to the right when Keane got dropped.
107 Posted 06/02/2020 at 01:11:17
I still don't know why, because I was dazzled by his talent, and he gave me a memorable thrill with the top-corner chip penalty against Juve, but I just didn't feel he was going to be great. Something was missing. And I thought £50 million for him was a brilliant piece of business, the smartest thing (maybe the only smart thing) Koeman/Walsh ever did for us.
Stones is, however, only 25... so there's still time for him to resurrect his reputation and get back in the England picture if he pulls his head out of his doggie door sometime soon.
108 Posted 06/02/2020 at 04:23:50
The reason England have been so crap, for so long is (imo) because we have not been able to produce central defenders who can play – cultured footballers whose ability hastens what we now refer to as transition. From an early age, our boys are drilled to by unqualified idiots "Get rid of the fucker". We admire stoppers, lighthouses. No nonsense Row Z merchants.
It seems our really cultured Centre halves seem to be blighted by the same problem. Ledley King was plagued with injury, so too was Johnathon Woodgate. Is that just coincidence? The best centre-half I ever saw (bar none) was a willful Irish pisshead who managed to carve out a semi-decent career with Man United and Villa, by virtue of the fact that they excused him from training for years.
Steve F @98
You may think you are simply relaying the message Ancelotti has repeatedly given, However! Posts such as yours will be considered quite mystical among our blue brothers over the pond. I'm already "The Amazing Kreskin"... But by quoting Ancelotti almost word for word, you are showing very definite signs of possessing "The gift".
You're not the seventh son of a seventh son are you?
You're right of course. Holgate used to piss me off with his predictable one-dimensional crab passes to Digne back when Siva's tactics were taking us to hell in a handcart... or was it a bandwagon?
109 Posted 06/02/2020 at 17:33:42
Wouldn't surprise me if all the people who moan about us signing 'other people's rejects' are in a quandary when Stones is up for sale. Would we? Should we?
Not really interested in the Holgate passing left debate, but Kreskin? Now that takes me back!
I'm looking forward to the new astrology column in the Echo - 'Hind-sight'
110 Posted 06/02/2020 at 17:45:16
Stones was great with Jagielka and Kompany not so great when he was forced to be the lead guy.
I sense Arsenal might be his destination and we are beneath him. However, given his off-field travails, Everton would be ideal for him. The lack of spotlight from the national beady eye would help, at Arsenal that would still very much be the case.
111 Posted 06/02/2020 at 17:48:29
I'm not getting into the Stones argument. Suffice to say Man City will buy centre-halves in the summer. Stones won't play a lot of games under Pep next season. If he is still there that is.
112 Posted 06/02/2020 at 18:16:50
113 Posted 06/02/2020 at 18:36:14
I've always thought it remarkable that he won the PFA Players Player of the Year award a few years after leaving Manchester United when they thought he was finished due to the problems with his knees – but he played on for the best part of a decade after. What a player.
114 Posted 06/02/2020 at 18:38:46
As has been said many times, he makes mistakes, but he is a high quality player in short supply and we should be able to accommodate both Mason and John in a side for the future. Or do we prefer Schneiderlin in that role? I would be quite happy, however, to have Holgate in that role if we have a solid middle of the defence.
115 Posted 06/02/2020 at 19:19:41
My favourite memory of him was a World Cup match when Ireland lined up against the mighty Italians. He actually hobbled onto the pitch... I looked at him wondering why the fuck the Irish camp would play a man who could barely walk. I was expecting an almighty spanking for the Irish, but he went on to give the most brilliant of defensive performances I've seen and the boys in green triumphed.
As you say; What a player. If you didn't read his autobiography when it came out, make it your business to find a copy now. You won't be able to put it down.
116 Posted 06/02/2020 at 19:29:53
"Back from the brink"
117 Posted 06/02/2020 at 19:43:52
118 Posted 06/02/2020 at 21:10:00
Im with you on Paul McGrath. That performance he gave against Baggio & Signori in 94 is the best individual defensive performance Ive ever seen. All the more remarkable by the knee problems, alcoholism and also a shoulder injury he had that day. As an Irishman in his early teens at the time, Im surely biased but that was incredible. Hes incredibly popular in Ireland and theres a genuine affection for him among fans because hes such a genuinely lovely fella and of course the hardship hes hard to endure. And to think Ferguson tried to pay him off so he would retire. Five years later he was players player of the year at 33 or 34, from memory.
On the John Stones debate you are and were right about his injury issues last season. I think however theres more to it than that as others have alluded to. I hope he gets his mojo back because when City were rampant two seasons ago, he was exceptional. I thought he added physicality to his game to go with his ball playing skills. I would have him back in a heartbeat.
119 Posted 06/02/2020 at 21:19:58
Years ago we were over in Dublin for a long weekend. Nelson Mandela was in town at a big rally. There was a huge crowd, and when he appeared on stage, the roar went up, 'Ooh ah, Paul McGrath's Da!'
Now that is a true football legend!
120 Posted 06/02/2020 at 21:46:01
121 Posted 06/02/2020 at 22:16:13
There's something about innate talent making things 'too easy', leading to extracurricular activities. If I'm honest, I always liked the skilful mavericks and miss their like these days. They were the men you paid to watch that gave you great memories.
122 Posted 07/02/2020 at 07:17:19
That must have been some performance from McGrath, Darren and Jim, with my own personal best ever defensive performance coming from Ashley Cole, when Chelsea, went down to ten men at the Nou Camp, and came back from two goals down, and a person who Id never liked, produced an absolute masterclass, of defensive inspiration, just like Richard Gough did, the last time Everton won at Anfield.
Stones, is a great footballer imo, but I think hes made a proper fool of himself, and possibly lost a lot of respect from his team-mates, and I wonder if hes got the strength of character to get over this considering Evertonians, once had him crying in a service station?
123 Posted 07/02/2020 at 08:12:10
124 Posted 07/02/2020 at 08:53:02
Yes, the Mavericks of sport certainly brighten up the game and get you off your seats. Sadly that same Maverick trait can ruin careers and prevent players from really fulfilling their potential. One of the greatest players ever was out of top flight football at, what, 27? George Best. How great would it have been to be able to watch his genius for another few years, instead, he ended up turning out for teams like “SeaBee” and Hong Kong. Entertainers like Stan Bowles and the great McGrath had the flaw in their character that allowed demons like alcoholism and gambling addiction to interfere with their lives during and after their careers.
And Tony, Im not one of the do gooders you refer to, just someone who would have loved to have seen more of their God given talents.
125 Posted 07/02/2020 at 11:06:25
Doing what youre born for is natural, until the devil and his disciples, come and introduce you to the other side of life. Ask Andy Van Der Meyde!
Steve, Stones was getting stick off a few fans because it looked like he wanted to leave, and he burst into tears, with a senior player having to console him, and tell the fans to leave him alone. He must be tougher now emotionally, because I bet you he takes a lot of stick when his backs turned, for leaving his childhood sweetheart, for someone who has been both round the block and on the scene for years?
126 Posted 07/02/2020 at 11:33:01
McGrath is seen as a hero by the working man in Ireland but other greats and not so great get more kudos and media jobs etc yet there is nobody more loved and admired by the ordinary man. The same when they eventually gave Best credit after years of neglect by naming Belfast City airport after him. It nearly didn't happen because of the outcry over his personal life.
127 Posted 07/02/2020 at 12:39:32
If I was Paul McGrath, Im sure I would sooner see my name cropping up on genuine football websites, especially if I was getting praise off genuine football supporters, whose teams Ive never represented, rather than a journalist who possibly couldnt kick a football down a hill, and is full of his own self-made importance?
128 Posted 07/02/2020 at 12:48:50
What would Best be worth in today's inflated market? If he'd looked after himself like Ronaldo has who would the public look at as being “The Greatest”?
Maybe an item for its own thread?
129 Posted 07/02/2020 at 13:06:53
It would make a great thread Ray. I listened to talk-sport once and they were comparing Best and Giggs. No comparison to most callers, who said Best was on a completely higher level, but who had the best career?
Despicable Giggs by far, but even for someone who never judges, what a horrible human-being he turned out to be.
130 Posted 07/02/2020 at 13:11:22
131 Posted 07/02/2020 at 13:30:17
132 Posted 07/02/2020 at 13:54:54
But that was never going to happen.
133 Posted 07/02/2020 at 14:04:20
134 Posted 07/02/2020 at 14:48:48
Lallana, is a good shout Martin, he ran us ragged the other week in that cup-tie, but its funny the way youve just come out with that mate!
135 Posted 07/02/2020 at 15:11:28
He's the best player I've ever seen and having met him a really nice, gentle, man.
136 Posted 07/02/2020 at 15:12:20
We've all come across 'em in our working and social life so it's no surprise they exist among the rich and famous as well.
137 Posted 07/02/2020 at 15:30:45
138 Posted 07/02/2020 at 16:04:21
Im sure the kids name was Kasey Palmer, and the coach said although he loved it at Charlton, his dad said it would have been stupid for the kid to turn down Chelsea, because they were offering a contract that would have made the kid a millionaire before he was twenty years of age.
Its fucking ridiculous the money in football, and too much, too soon, is never a good recipe, for keeping a kid on the right track in the long-term.
139 Posted 07/02/2020 at 16:12:44
140 Posted 07/02/2020 at 16:25:09
141 Posted 07/02/2020 at 16:33:36
I am afraid the money on offer to youngsters is bordering on the obscene. I heard a guy 12 months ago saying he lived in Cobham by Chelsea's training ground. He said everyday he sees Ferraris, Lamboughinis and every other top of the range sports car you can name, pull into the training ground. But they were driven by 18 year olds who hadn't even played for Chelsea's first team.
So if they can afford these type of cars at 18 you can only imagine the sort of contracts they are on. When I think back to all the great players I saw who were all on the maximum wage of £20 per week. Yes they had crowd bonuses and win bonuses but that was it. Now people can say the clubs exploited those players but the boot is firmly on the other foot now.
142 Posted 07/02/2020 at 16:46:33
Around about the time, Bally, Kendal and Harvey were strutting their stuff. Me arl fella shouted me in and said. get you coat on...Were going to Anfield. I thought he had some sort of mental breakdown. WTF was he talking about ?.
"We're going to see the greatest player in the world"
For some reason (I never bothered to find out what it was ) Man United were playing Arsenal. Mordor was full of Mancs and Gooners .. Imagine that today ?
I'd seen Best before. Twice in the flesh and several times on the box I knew he was brilliant.
We were sitting in crap seats right down the front, but it meant the magician spend long periods no more than 10 yards away. He was even more brilliant than I thought. but what really surprised me and was how hard he was. Arsenal were a notoriously hard team, but fuck me could Best look after himself. often getting his retaliation in first. He dazzled them with the ball and went to war on them when he didnt have it.
I dont think Belfast produced many softies back then. so it shouldnt have come as such a surprise. What is a surprise, is how this part of his game as a younger man is seldom spoken about.
Booze and women had taken the edge of him by the time he reached his mid twenties. The fire had gone out. He was more likely to be sent of for dissent than an attempt to cut his opponent in two.
George Best was one of the few players you could call Genius without fear of contradiction
143 Posted 07/02/2020 at 17:44:16
I remember him flummoxing three defenders right in front of my camera -- just moving the ball around and between them, playing keep-away all by himself for a good 20 seconds while all three kept stabbing at the ball and getting nothing but air. The crowd was laughing out loud.
Finally, of course, one of them got frustrated and whacked him in the leg.
NASL was an absolute godsend to a nascent footy fanatic. Not many people can say they got to see Pele, Cruyff, Beckenbauer, Best and Eusebio play in person. Yeah, they were all sorta past it -- Eusebio must have been close to 40 and his knees were gone -- but it was still a privilege to watch the legends for next to nothing.
144 Posted 07/02/2020 at 18:38:10
145 Posted 07/02/2020 at 18:47:49
146 Posted 07/02/2020 at 19:20:50
147 Posted 07/02/2020 at 19:51:35
148 Posted 07/02/2020 at 20:00:43
149 Posted 07/02/2020 at 20:28:01
George Best, although not getting anywhere as much as present-day players was well rewarded and deserved every penny of it, but it helped to spoil him having a much longer career, Tom Finney was every bit as good as Best, in my opinion, got very poor wages, buttons in relation to his talent but lasted three times as long as Best, was kicked even more than Georgie but just picked himself up and got on with it.
Different times, of course, and to be honest George's drink problem could have been inherited from his mother, she died from problems caused by her heavy drinking.
150 Posted 07/02/2020 at 20:48:36
I think Brian did better that day but couldnt swear to it.
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