Virginia back at Finch Farm

Tuesday, 7 January, 2020 35comments  |  Jump to last
Everton have recalled goalkeeper Joao Virginia from his season-long loan at Reading.

The young Portuguese stopper's time with the Royals did not go as planned: just two league appearances and two defeats later, Joao was dropped to the bench for the next six matches before a change of manager eventually left him out of the squad entirely. The loan has now been terminated early to allow him to return to Finch Farm and assess his next options.

Virginia was signed for the Blues' academy from Arsenal under Marco Silva's tenure and was, at one stage, being groomed as Jordan Pickford's understudy prior to the acquisition of Jonas Lössl last summer.  


Reader Comments (35)

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Derek Knox
1 Posted 07/01/2020 at 17:36:00
Not quite sure what has happened to the lad since going to Reading, but clearly didn't impress whilst there. The lad was full of confidence before he went and believed he was good enough to challenge for the first team GK Bench.

I do hope his confidence has been dented too much, because when I have seen him for the U23's he has looked decent enough, and possibly too good for them.

Derek Knox
2 Posted 07/01/2020 at 17:37:19
* hasn't * predictive text, bah!
Gary Reeves
3 Posted 07/01/2020 at 17:43:08
Well word is going around that we might have to sell a couple of players. Just a theory but it's January and one of our more valuable assets (rightly or wrongly) is our goalie! Is this linked?
Jim Bennings
4 Posted 07/01/2020 at 17:46:18
Why do we end up with so many players that just disappear up their own crack?

Goalkeepers that are brought in but never have a hope in hell of playing, I don’t see the point in having a squad of certain players aren’t good enough to step up.

Steve Ferns
5 Posted 07/01/2020 at 18:13:18
Derek, He was given every chance and played the first three games. He was hopeless and got demoted to the youth team and didn’t even make the bench.

I highlighted before he left what a bad idea this was and sadly exactly what I said came true. He’s now behind Lossl and fourth choice when he should have been 3rd choice ready to move up to 2nd choice in the summer when Stekelenburg’s contract expires.

As for Jim’s comment, this is a brilliant young keeper we lured away from arsenal due to our Portuguese management team, and the chance to work with Hugo Oliveira. I suspected that Joao would have been earmarked to oust Pickford in a couple of seasons, as he is extremely highly rated in Portugal.

The failure at Reading is simple, never loan our teenage keepers, there is too much to lose on a keeper who has yet to finish his education.

Andrew Keatley
6 Posted 07/01/2020 at 18:20:51
Steve (5) - Sorry but that is selective nonsense. Yes, Virginia made errors - and obvious ones that cost goals - in his starts for Reading, but that does not mean that the idea of loaning out young goalkeepers is something to be dismissed out of hand. There are numerous young goalkeepers whose careers have been built on successful loans at a time when they need to be playing games (and lots of games at that). Aaron Ramsdale (excellent), Freddie Woodman (decent) and Dean Henderson (knocking on the England door) are three obvious examples. Joao Virginia did not take his chance, but he should be out on loan again to a club that needs to play him, even if it means dropping down to League One or going abroad.
Peter Mills
7 Posted 07/01/2020 at 19:17:51
I’ve only seen him once, for the U23s, was impressed.
Steve Ferns
8 Posted 07/01/2020 at 19:29:51
Andrew, Ramsdale was 20 at the time of his first loan. Dean Henderson was 19 but played in the 6th tier, and slowly worked his way up only playing in the 2nd tier at the age of 21. Freddie Woodman was the same only playing in the Scottish PL at the age of 20.

So it hardly disproves what I said. Teenage keepers should not be loaned out, there is too much to risk, and if you do, loan them out at a lower level they should thrive at.

Jim Bennings
9 Posted 07/01/2020 at 19:56:45
If he’s that good then why has soft arse Mr England Number 1 been allowed to get away with so many daft capers over the last 18 months?
Steve Ferns
10 Posted 07/01/2020 at 20:22:42
Because he is 19 Jim. He's too young. Most of being a goalie is mental skills. That is me quoting big Nev by the way. He said you can run a goalie training session down the pub because most of what you need to know is just talking through situations. Personally, I'd prefer a classroom, but I see Big Nev's point, and he was being tongue in cheek and critical of the way it is done.

Point is you are not ready at 19 to play in front of 40,000 and face the ire of the crowd if you drop a howler. And this is always possible for a keeper, the best have all done it.

I hope Everton now end the nightmare loan of Korede Adedoyin, who like I predicted made the wrong decision to go to the SPL at the age of 18, and has not made a single appearance for Hamilton, not even on the bench. Absolute madness going there and he needs to be brought back. He's never even played for our u23s, he went straight from the u18s.

Charlie Lloyd
11 Posted 07/01/2020 at 21:42:27
Good call Steve. Decent acquisition from Arsenal. Watched him play for U23s several times and looked very assured. It just started badly at Reading and then they signed an experienced keeper before the deadline. Get him back in the fold and see if U23s or another loan would suit.
Ray Smith
12 Posted 07/01/2020 at 22:09:52
I’m so disillusioned that any sort of win on Saturday will only paper over the cracks.

Pickford overrated.
Coleman sell by date gone, great player in his time.
Keane our of his depth.
Mina would do better with quality players around him.
Digne good but flatter to deceive.
Holgate has taken his chance.
Baines best days have gone but still class.
Scheinderlin waste of space.
Sigurdsson ditto.
Davies untapped potential.
Delph bit time player when fit.
Iwobi hasn’t justified his price tag as yet, but playing with current squad who would.
Walcott bye bye.
Richarlison worth keeping prima Donna.
Bernard squad player.
DCL must try harder or bye bye.
Kean jury out.

Gomes quality.
Gbamin untold.

There will be others I’ve missed out, but the above are not a team. All good players, but not a team.

Bill Gienapp
13 Posted 07/01/2020 at 22:24:26
Gary (3) - no need to read too much into it. Virginia, unfortunately, got off to a terrible start at Reading and was stone cold dropped. There's no point in persisting with the loan if he's not going to play.

I know a lot of people are down on Pickford, but we don't have any sort of viable replacement in our ranks at the moment.

Andrew Keatley
14 Posted 07/01/2020 at 23:52:50
Steve (8) - Either disingenuous from you or downright poor research. If you’re going to go to the trouble of looking things up then at least get them right.

“Andrew, Ramsdale was 20 at the time of his first loan.”

He wasn’t. He was 19.

“Dean Henderson was 19 but played in the 6th tier, and slowly worked his way up only playing in the 2nd tier at the age of 21.”

Henderson was 18 when he first went out on loan to Stockport.

“Freddie Woodman was the same only playing in the Scottish PL at the age of 20.”

Come on! Woodman went on loan to Crawley Town when he was 18!!!

I’ve tended to trust much of your research but I am now beginning to think you might actually be the Johann Hari of ToffeeWeb.

Justin Doone
15 Posted 07/01/2020 at 23:56:14
The loan system works for all players in any position as long as they play.

Generally between the ages of 19 and 22 are really important years for the final stages of learning and developing good habits, instincts by putting into practice what you know and improving on it.

This means real life game time. Gaining real experience against professionals. Playing more often in a lower league is better than hardly ever playing at a higher level. Experience is only gained by playing competitive matches.

Any loanee not playing needs to be recalled and found a new lower level team to gain experience.

Mike Gaynes
16 Posted 08/01/2020 at 00:09:40
Ray #12, WTF???

I was right with your comments until I got to this little bomb:

"DCL must try harder or bye bye."

I know John Sr. doesn't like me to cuss, but HOW THE FUCK COULD HE TRY ANY HARDER??? His work rate shades every striker we've had for the past 20 years except maybe Nais.

DCL has some issues to address in order to make his game better. Lack of effort is not among them.

Sanguan A.
17 Posted 08/01/2020 at 01:33:47
Ray#12
>Digne good but flatter to deceive.
>Holgate has taken his chance.
Am I the only one who saw this?
Since Holgate played at left-side CB, Digne’s form has dropped rapidly. In the Derby, I noticed that every time the ball was passed to Holgate, his first reaction was to turn his body to his favorite right foot. Most of the time, it ended up to a pointless return pass to Mina or a long hoop toward our right wing which would curl toward right corner flag and difficult for our forward to pick up accurately. When above did not happen, it would take a few more seconds before he would pass to Digne also with his right foot. That would make it very difficult for Digne to pick the pass and continue his usual play due to slight mispass would have gone out of the touch line. I hoped Holgate would choose to use his weaker left foot more often.
Nicholas Ryan
18 Posted 08/01/2020 at 03:09:52
David Unsworth said again and again, what an exceptional talent he thought Jao Virginia was. He was effectively loaned out, because he was considered TOO GOOD for the U23s, not because he was thought to be NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

Arsenal were absolutely furious, when we managed to bring him here.

I suspect that what happened at Reading, will end up being a short aberration, in an otherwise successful career.

And remember, this is a 19-year old, who not only comes to a new country, but then moves from a city where he knows some people, to a town where he knows no-one.

Finally, if you want to know how important confidence is to a goalkeeper, ask Joe Hart … if you can find him!

Alan J Thompson
19 Posted 08/01/2020 at 04:22:16
I was somewhat surprised when we sent out on loan a young lad who didn't seem to have been half a season with the club, and a goalkeeper to boot.

How do you pick a club where he might improve? Look for one that plays good football so he learns how to combine with a well drilled defence or a bloody awful one so that he has more to do. I suppose it helps if you know the coach/manager at the club to which you are sending him. I don't watch many full games other than Everton's but from those and highlights I have seen the standard of goalkeeping in England is atrocious, and they all seem to make the same mistakes. Sliding around on your knees seems to have been replaced by sticking a leg out and the number of times it goes between the keeper's legs is incredible. Has anyone ever put a keeper on the other side of the ball so that when he sees the angle of the boot etc then he will have some idea of the intent. Similarly with penalties, stand still and make the taker do some work as most seem to wait until the keeper moves then put it the other way.

I could go on but things of this nature seem, to me, far more important than his kicking. Pickford seems to come in for a lot of criticism for his but he seems a lot more proficient than some of our outfield players who have difficulty with short passes never mind three quarter the length of the pitch stuff and I think some keepers worry more about what to do with it after rather than actually catching the bloody thing.

Bob Parrington
20 Posted 08/01/2020 at 07:03:22
A friend's son (Father born Sweden) 18 years old, very good GK and very strong character, went to play in Sweden about 2 years ago. Stayed with friends of the family. Started very well until the GK coach was poached. He asked to move to another club some distance away with a GK coach that was interested in him. Got the move and changed accommodation.

Got homesick and now recently back in Australia.

I mention this because, GK or out-field player, youngsters need to be nurtured to some extent, more some than others.

Maybe it was similar with Virginia. Just getting to have some local mates and then moved away???

Dick Fearon
21 Posted 08/01/2020 at 09:00:31
Bob P @20, You speak of 'mates' but are they the right sort. In just a few years we have seen talented youngsters in the wrong bunch go astray.
I am not suggesting that happened to Virginia but unless an alternative reason comes to light the club could be getting castigated when it was only trying to help the lad.
Bill Watson
22 Posted 08/01/2020 at 09:04:04
Steve; as in normal life every goalkeeper is different.

Gordon West was 18 when we signed him from Blackpool, for a world record fee for a GK. (£18K)

At the age of 19 he was winning a League Championship medal.

Dave Abrahams
23 Posted 08/01/2020 at 09:25:09
Wasn’t there a Portuguese coach in some capacity at Reading, and that was one of the reasons Virginia was allowed to go there?
Steve Ferns
24 Posted 08/01/2020 at 09:42:49
Andrew Keatley they were all teenagers playing in low tier football. They were not playing in the league that boasts the third biggest crowds in Europe, which is what the Championship is (above all the other European Leagues except for the Bundesliga).

The Echo has a report with a local journo commenting that Joao Virginia looked extremely nervous dropped a few clangers put pulled off some good saves. The good saves did not matter but only the clangers are remembered. The thing with keepers is that it only takes a bad experience and a keeper's whole career can be destroyed, because so much of their game is mental. A 19-year-old is fragile and you need to be careful.

I said at the time that it was ridiculous to send out a 19-year-old who had only just arrived. He needed to continue his education for at least one more season before being considered. Now he comes back and instead of being 3rd choice, he's 4th choice and we have one keeper too many.

What about 18-year-old Koerde Adedoyin who is playing for Hamilton A U23s instead of our own? Another ridiculous loan. He would have played every game for our U23s and we have lacked quality in his position on the wing or up top, and he could have played 4 games of league football in the FLT.

Bill Griffiths
25 Posted 08/01/2020 at 09:50:35
Slightly off topic, has anyone any idea of what has happened with Nathan Broadhead? He started off well and was getting good reviews.

I haven't seen his name as a starter or on the bench for some time.

Steve Ferns
26 Posted 08/01/2020 at 09:53:36
Bill, he is on loan at Burton Albion. He is getting regular game time and if I remember correctly, he is getting good reviews.

Edit: Bill I assume you actually knew that, it seems he has played once since November (in December) and has not been in the squad. The fact that he made that one brief sub appearance but is not on the bench in any of the other games (as an unused sub) surely hints at injury. Burton did report in December that he had done his hamstring.

Bill Griffiths
27 Posted 08/01/2020 at 12:30:25
Thanks Steve, I guessed maybe he was injured, just wasn't sure.
I see odd pieces on the club's official site & Red Echo site sometimes giving updates on loaners but haven't seen anything about Nathan for sometime.

I'd like to see him do well as he'd a local lad from Bangor near where I live.

Andrew Keatley
28 Posted 08/01/2020 at 13:57:07
Steve (24) - You’re changing your argument to suit your own ends - so now it’s the Championship that is the problem, and the success of those other keepers is down to their starts in lower tier football.

Loans for teenage goalkeepers can be the right move - that’s my argument. Virginia went straight into the Reading first team because the powers that be thought he was ready; he made mistakes and was replaced. It’s a disappointing reality for Virginia and Everton to stomach, but I do believe that when he left on loan there was a world in which Virginia could have played 30+ games for Reading this season and be ready to provide a real challenge for Pickford for next season.

As for Adedoyin, I’ll repeat what I said when his loan was announced; we had supposed better options in the Under 23s leaving Adedoyin as probably sixth in the pecking order. You saying he would have “played every game for our Under 23s” is wide of the mark I think - he was probably unlikely to get much game time in the Under 23s at all, and therefore a loan made sense. Hamilton seems to have been the wrong destination but the logic of sending him somewhere to get playing time wasn’t.

Jerome Shields
29 Posted 08/01/2020 at 17:25:35
By the way, does anyone buy The Evertonian, the expensive glossy one?

I used to be able to buy it when it was a paper from a local Newsagents, the only copy. The owner died and it was apparently his copy which he resold, so alas my supply dried up.

I don't fancy the glossy new more expensive version, and anyway I had a bad experience with Everton's Marketing department years ago.

Steve, you certainly know how to unearth them.

Dave Abrahams
30 Posted 08/01/2020 at 21:01:51
Adedoyin has returned from Hamilton, he didn't play much up there. When he played for the U18s he was a player who looked very good and also uninterested and very poor in the same game.
Steve Ferns
31 Posted 09/01/2020 at 11:24:50
Great news Dave. I thought he was the standout player for the u18s and I like him through the middle off Simms.

Andrew, we are playing a centre-midfielder at right wing. we loaned our first choice right winger (Josh Bowler) out, we promoted Anthony Gordon who has ended up in the first team and right now it's Denis Adeniran playing there, with the younger Kyle John dropped back to right back. Adedoyin was ahead of John in the pecking order. I have no idea why you think he would have been 6th choice.

And no, I have not changed my argument on Virginia. I do not want a teenage keeper loaned out, because they need to continue their education, and the risks outweigh the rewards. You are right that it works for some. You can't just have a "sink or swim" attitude to the careers of youngsters, but cos of those who sink would have actually made it if they were handled more carefully. Goalkeeping is most mental, so says Neville Southall. Teenagers are fragile mentally. The Championship has the 3rd biggest crowds in Europe, and so the pressure can be immense. You can end up breaking a keeper who just needed to bide his time a bit more.

Most of the examples you gave started out in the non-league and worked there way up gradually. Virginia was not playing for Southport in Non-League or Oldham in League Two, he was playing for Reading in the Championship at the age of 19, and that I think was wrong.

Andrew Keatley
32 Posted 09/01/2020 at 14:04:57
Steve - I cannot believe you are still peddling this "one size fits all" argument about not loaning out teenage goalkeepers. I've illustrated examples where it has proved beneficial, and you are determined to find caveats (the Championship is too big a stage) rather than just accept that sometimes it can work. There have been young goalkeepers that have thrived when given first-team opportunities - whether on loan or with their parent club - and different individuals deserve different treatment.

Maybe Virginia wanted to go out on loan; I assume he was onside with going to Reading and felt ready to do so. It didn't work out. He'll rebuild. Maybe the failure will be the making of him, and we shouldn't wrap our players up in cotton wool. Time will tell.

As for Adedoyin, I assumed that he would be behind Evans, Simms, Gordon, Mampala and Kieran Phillips - and certainly wouldn't be nailed on to start many games.

Steve Ferns
33 Posted 09/01/2020 at 14:21:12
Andrew, I do accept that it sometimes can work. As I above, I believe the risk outweighs the reward and I would have preferred to have not signed Lossl and had Virginia on the bench for a few games. He could still play for the U23s, despite training for the first team, as he did this all last season. I would wrap keepers up in cotton wool under they are out of their teenage years, as I would not want to be premature and ruin a keeper before he's ready, regardless of how much he is chomping at the bit.

Adedoyin would probably have ended up on the wing, he can play both. Phillips and Simms are strikers, Mampala has tended to play centrally but does play on the wing too. Evans was expected to be loaned out. I believe with his versatility, Adedoyin would have played regularly, particularly with the injuries to the U23s which has seen central midfielders play wide, and right-wingers like John drop back to right back.

There's some interesting quotes from Paul Tait, though, and he has said how the U23 league has got younger and that we have too many older players blocking the path of his lads, which is echoing the consensus above.

Some great news though, Lewis Dobbin is now 17 and has signed professional forms and is contracted until 2022. Link

Phil Lewis
34 Posted 10/01/2020 at 11:17:22
I've said it time and time again on TW. Everton will not improve until we buy a solid dependable keeper. My first impressions of Pickford have never changed, regardless of the odd spectacular 'tip over', or his penalty heroics for England. We should sell, while his National team credentials still command a fee. As soon as Gareth Southgate realises his aereal inadequacies, his value will plummet.

A few years back a newspaper report linked us with Kasper Schmeichal. How I wish that would have been true. Leicester continue to succeed to a great extent due to his contribution.

I have only read reports of Virginia and confess I've not seen him in the flesh, but Unsworth raved about him prior to his poor stint at Reading. However we have other keepers in reserve. Lossl should also be given a chance. Pickford is far from indispensable. I would happily cash in and sell him tomorrow. His purchase, I believe was made, in the advent of the new type of keeper, good with his feet.

In the light of results and Pickford obvious lack of confidence in the air, I would much prefer an old fashioned goalie, commanding and confident, coming for crosses and corners, with a safe pair of hands. A goalkeeper needs to be mentally strong. Pickford's fits of pique and manic grin exposes fragility that matches a lack of confidence in certain areas of his game.

Much publicised International performances and the odd spectacular save for us have thrust him to the forefront of his profession. Even among his staunchest supporters, those who watch him regularly at close quarters, are now realising what I suspected all along. That he is not and never will be, the finished article. Every successful team builds from the goalkeeper. England had Banks. Clough, with a team of no marks, had Shilton. Shankly had Clemence. Ferguson had Schmeichel. We had Southall. None would have achieved what they did without those goalkeepers. I believe that our hierarchy realised that we just got the wrong man.

Michael Kenrick
35 Posted 14/01/2020 at 07:30:34
There's more commentary from Sam Carroll in The Echo on the status and rebuilding job needed after this disastrous loan:

Everton first-team decision hands unlikely opportunity to returning loan star

Strange click-bait headline that tries to make something of the fact that Jonas Lössl has been dropped from the bench since Marco Silva's demise...

Only he was actually on the bench against Brighton, and Stekelenburg was dropped.

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