Tom Davies – The missing piece of the top 4 jigsaw

by   |   21/02/2021  106 Comments  [Jump to last]

Championship player at best, can’t pass, can’t tackle, gives the ball away too much, not big enough, too slow etc. Tom Davies has had a lot of criticism levelled at him in the last few years. Could he now be the missing piece we have been searching for in our quest for the top 4?

Think about it: at the start of the season with a fully fit squad, the team picked itself – that is, apart from that niggling debate as to who should be the third midfielder alongside Doucouré and Allan. Gomes started the season, but always looked like the weak link, Sigurdsson had a go but was largely anonymous. We had Allan in that defensive midfielder, Doucouré next to him and the third spot up for grabs; that third spot was commonly believed to need a bit of creativity.

"How can Davies fill this role then?" I hear you ask. After all, he isn’t exactly the creative output we need there and all his impressive displays have come in the defensive midfield role previously filled by Allan. The answer, I believe, is found in Marco Silva’s tenure and the departed Idrissa Gueye.

When we had Gueye, the theory was that Gueye could hunt for the ball in midfield and we could take advantage of turnovers higher up the pitch, thus using a higher defensive line. Whilst I don’t know how good Davies could be in this role, I believe Allan could be excellent in it, leaving Davies in the role he is currently excelling in. We wouldn’t necessarily need a creative third midfielder if we had Doucouré and Allan pressing the opposition midfield high upfield as we would already be in a position where James, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin and Digne could take advantage, rather like the first goal against Liverpool. The added benefit of this against teams like Newcastle and Fulham, is that we would suffocate them in their own half and destroy their confidence, rather than allowing their defenders and midfielders to pass at will like we have done.

The danger with this, is that we would need a relatively quick centre back so we don’t get hit on the counter. Therefore, I believe we would have to play one of Holgate or Godfrey at centre-back regularly.

There we have it… Any defensive combination, a midfield 3 of Allan, Doucoure and Davies, a front 3 of Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin and James. Top 4 here we come!!!!!

back Return to Talking Points index  :  Add your Comments »

Reader Comments (106)

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Mike Gaynes
1 Posted 22/02/2021 at 20:14:07
Kev, you make an imaginative case, and there's no question Tom is earning himself a future role, but he's not a starter in a Top 4 club. Tom might be among the most improved players in the Prem this season, but his improvement is largely about maturity, composure, smarter positioning and elimination of those passing mistakes. He contributes nothing in the attacking zone and isn't a dynamic ballwinner in the mold of an Allan or a Gueye.

We need to add pace, lots of it, and more creative drive in midfield to be a Champions League club. Tom won't give us those. He'll continue to play what you call the suffocation role, but when we reach the next level, he'll be only a supporting player in my opinion.

Jay Harris
2 Posted 22/02/2021 at 20:22:36
I believe Tom has come on leaps and strides in linking the play and not giving the ball away with wayward passing but as Mike G says he still has some way to go before being a regular starter.

I believe and hope that Ancelotti will bring in 2 or 3 quality players in the summer one of whom will be a better quality MF player in the mould of Gomes but who can create and score goals.
That is the gap we have been lacking this season. Just look at the effect Fernandes has had at Utd.

Bill Watson
3 Posted 23/02/2021 at 02:38:08
Tom Davies has been a revelation playing in front of the defence and, at last, seems to have found his best role, or Ancelotti has!
His superb 30 yard pass to Richarlison set up the second goal and he seems to be much better facing the play rather than chasing around midfield trying to win the ball.
I've been one of his biggest critics but he's been outstanding, recently, and it's like having a new player.
Darren Hind
4 Posted 23/02/2021 at 06:02:03
Tom Davies was always going to be a Premier League player. There was never any doubt in mind about that. Not ever.

The problem we have with players coming though our ranks is the number of fans who have no comprehension of what a potential top-flight player looks like. Unless they are Wayne Rooney, they're quite simply hammered.

Calvert-Lewin got it in spades. He was never going to be a natural goalscorer like Aguero... so they murdered him, "Championship at best" ... "Nowhere near as good as Tammy Abrahams".

Holgate got it too but, luckily for him, he was able to get out of here for a year, just as the ill-informed abuse was reaching fever pitch.

Tom has had it worse than any of them. I've been in alehouses after games and seen whole threads dominated by his name, even when he has only played a few minutes. To be frank the level of bile directed at him made me consider whether I wanted to be part of this club, I'd seen too many years of this rage directed against youngsters learning their trade.

I remember one particular match against Newcastle when he gave away a free-kick miles from our goal. We had 11 men to defend a punt into our box. We failed. The explosion of anger directed at the youngest player on the pitch filled me with revulsion. There is a regular poster on here who claims he supports the junior teams, yet I see him lie in wait for the slightest error from him and he is straight in with the poison.

The poor judges (because that's what they are) are now seeing Tom starting to realise his potential. They will hide their poor judgement by claiming it is the manager who has turned this ugly duckling into a swan, but that's bollocks. I feel Carlo has given him some very sound advice and I know Davide has made a big contribution regarding his development. But you can't put something into a player that wasn't already there. You can only help bring it out.

I said earlier that I always knew Tom Davies would prove the poor judges wrong, but he has started to exceed the expectations of even his biggest supporters. He may not be content to be just an ordinary swan. Looks to me as if he is hell-bent on becoming a very fine one indeed.

How much did he cost again?

Peter Bourke
5 Posted 23/02/2021 at 07:15:22
Kevin, you are spot on and I'm sure Carlo thinks along the same lines. I also think Gylfi has been unfairly singled out at times, but hey this is about Tom.

Wow, Darren. Brilliant comments which deserve a thread of their own. Totally agree with everything you say.

Mike Gaynes
6 Posted 23/02/2021 at 07:29:25
Darren, sorry you were revolted, but the stick Tom took in that Newcastle game -- 13 months ago now -- was thoroughly deserved.

Up a goal with just seconds to go, not even enough time for the Barcodes to get the ball down to our end of the pitch, he committed an idiotic, pointless foul that gave them 30 extra seconds and a free punt into our box -- which he misjudged, missed completely and allowed to reach the guy he was marking. One nightmarish scramble later, a win had become a draw.

Certainly there was blame to go around, but Tom was the most culpable. And he was no callow, persecuted child -- young, yes, but a veteran of 100 first-team appearances who should have known better. Carlo obviously felt the same, because, as I recall, Tom didn't even make the bench next game and barely got on on the pitch for the two after that.

I give him full credit for the remarkable progress he has made this season, and I take great pleasure in seeing that he's not doing dumb stuff like that anymore. But I don't regret a word I wrote on the Live Forum that day.

Eddie Dunn
7 Posted 23/02/2021 at 08:09:24
Tom is having a good season, whether it is him simply maturing, or Carlo's coaching, or finding a role he is more cut-out for.

The thing that makes me laugh is the amount of people who suggest that a guy with loads of Premier Leagues appearances could be labelled a "Championship" player. If you have more than 50 appearances in the Premier League (never mind Tom's got 150 or so) then surely you are most definitely a Premier League player.

Does anyone recall one of Gana Gueye's last performances for us when he broke out of defence, nutmegged someone, and went on a long run upfield nearly scoring? It was fabulous, and I wondered whether labelling him as a defensive player and giving him a huge workload had lost us a creative weapon?

When we lambast players like Tom and Gylfi in particular, criticising backwards and sideways passes, we often overlook, in our ignorance, what their coach has told them to do. Gylfi is known for accurate set-piece delivery and astute through-balls but he has had to fit-in in various roles over the last couple of years. We don't hear him complaining, and he tries to do the job he has been tasked with. Tom is the same and, with James in the side, the coach might have instructed Davies to do A, B and not C, "Just give it to James"... We really don't know.

We have though struggled when too many square pegs have been squeezed into round holes. Now that only Gbamin seems unavailable, it is more than coincidental that we look a better side. The squad is thin on quality and, once Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison or Digne get crocked, we look more ordinary.

Sigurdsson looks poor playing midfield, box-to-box, but pop him up, off Calvert-Lewin and he might find a little dink to put him in. It's more quality players that we need and Tom Davies is showing that he can stay here and fight for his place.

Jim Jennings
8 Posted 23/02/2021 at 08:09:30
Quite simply, Tom Davies is the most disciplined of any of our central midfielders and has carved out a niche for himself as a Number 6 sitting in front of the back four.

It's not a role which comes naturally to Allan who seems more a hunter and gatherer, or Doucouré who is more box-to-box. Davies has grasped his chance and by all accounts, been given some sound coaching under the current regime.

For anyone who is a subscriber to The Athletic, there is an excellent article on Tom recently which touches on how introspective, self-aware and hard working he is as a footballer. Tellingly, it also quotes people close to him and his family who maintain that the burden of captaincy placed on him by Silva impacted his development.

There will be times when he gets caught in possession or looks off the pace of the game. But, if we are to get to where we want to be, then the ready-made signings (James, Allan etc) have to be supplemented by home rown, inexpensive players like Davies.

Tony Abrahams
9 Posted 23/02/2021 at 08:22:15
A sentence in Darren's post epitomizes what it's been like supporting Everton, for many fans over the years. TO MANY YEARS OF RAGE, DIRECTED AT YOUNGSTERS LEARNING THEIR TRADE!

Steve Ferns
10 Posted 23/02/2021 at 08:58:46
This place doesn't change. When it should be full of optimism after undoing a voodoo hoodoo that has been a millstone around our necks, and on a thread dedicated to our best player 22 and under, there's still negativity.

Always said it, Tom Davies will play for England. The lad was singled out since his mid-teens. Everton cleared players out of his path to give him the chance to progress into the first team (John Lundstram and Ryan Ledson). England was getting him into first team training at 17. Scouts from around Europe were watching him. Every manager from Koeman onwards kept playing him. But nah, some on here knew better.

I've always said it, central midfield is a very difficult position to play. It's not like a winger where your natural talent of beating a man can shine, or a forward who can rely on electric pace. Central midfielders need to link up play. They need to read the game. They need to have eyes in the back of their heads. They need resilience. But most of all they need experience.

Look at his England competition. First off, Declan Rice. They've both played the same amount of PL games (124 for DR and 121 for TD). I've seen plenty of games where Rice struggled. But West Ham were a poor side and the managers kept faith.

Harry Winks was Tom's age now when he first made a breakthrough and he's still trying to get regular football. Despite being 3 years older, he's played 20 less PL games.

Mason Mount is another who might be mentioned, but he's an attacking midfielder. Chelsea have world class players like Kante to clean up behind him. His mistakes go unpunished.

Tom Davies is, as Darren says, still learning his trade. There was always a player there and we needed to be patient. He's fulfilling that early promise now, but he will get even better and Kevin is damn right, he is top 4 quality by the time he's the same age as Harry Winks.

Robert Tressell
11 Posted 23/02/2021 at 09:02:06
Nice to see the young english lads really kicking on. Keeping them together and adding to the core will give us stability and a team spirit that's been lacking for a long time. I think there's more to come from Holgate too if he can settle into a position / formation.

High hopes for Branthwaite and Gordon, plus the 3 stars of the U23s in Small, Isaacs and Onyango. But like Davies they'll all need some patience as they mature into the first team.

Paul McCoy
12 Posted 23/02/2021 at 09:17:44
I'm really pleased that Davies is finally starting to be better than bang average. Because for the last few years that is exactly what he's been.
Ernie Baywood
13 Posted 23/02/2021 at 09:31:23
We seem to forget that when Davies came into the side he was a dynamic player prepared to drive forward, pass forward, tackle and work his socks off. He had a tendency to lose the ball in doing those things.

People focused on the fact he lost the ball a bit. So did our managers. They moved him into different positions, and seemingly got him to play safer.

As a result we saw a player who wasn't doing the things that got him into a premier league team in the first place. Let's not forget that he was previously a standout at international level, being asked to train with the senior side and captaining the U17s.

There's a saying that if you focus your time on your weaknesses then the best you can hope to be is average. Focus on your strengths and you can be great.

I think that's what Carlo is doing with Tom. Have him doing the things he's good at. Same goes for Doucoure and James. The team is the sum of its parts - not everyone has to be good at everything.

All may get replaced eventually for players who bring a better balance. But at 22, Tom has more improvement in him.

As a quick PS - I'm not convinced Allan, Davies and Doucoure are the perfect midfield 3. There'll be a time and a place for them to all play but I wouldn't want to be breaking down a Burnley type with that midfield.

Derek Thomas
14 Posted 23/02/2021 at 10:29:26
He's improved in the last 2 months...that is now his base line minimum...but it is only 2mths.
Will he go on Improving, moving up the gears from success to success in the manner of a latter day John McGovan, culminating with the European Cup...will Everton for that matter.

We set a level at the weekend, Tom was there setting his level too.

I hope both he and Everton drag each other along, up through the gears for the next, 7, 8, 9 years...will it happen though? Could do. Who will get left behind?...the next12mths will tell.

David Graves
15 Posted 23/02/2021 at 10:44:56
You may wish to revisit the replays of the Newcastle goal. Tom did indeed give the free-kick away but was hardly most culpable for the Sunday league defending that followed.
You're right that Tom sat out the next couple of fixtures as he was replaced by either Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson or Delph.
But who did Carlo turn to for the fixtures against United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal or Tottenham?
Perhaps Carlo was demonstrating his excellent man-management skills or perhaps he realised that it was the young Tom Davies that would match up better than the 3 players named above?
I posted on another Davies thread earlier this month that
he's been up against some of the latest 'great young things' recently in Winks, McTominay and Rice and has acquitted himself very well. We can add Liverpool's Alcantara to that list now (although he's hardly young!).
As I also said a couple of weeks ago like any young player at Everton he is going to have good and not-so-good games. It's those that write him off before a ball has been kicked that frustrate the most. Chances are though they are the same people who wrote off Godfrey and Calvert-Lewin and are now piling into Holgate.
Never fails to make me laugh when people post with no sense of irony that they are happy to have been proven wrong about their earlier 'predictions' about Davies, Holgate, Godfrey, Calvert-Lewin etc. but will then quickly revert to type when one of them has a difficult game. Some on here twist and turn so much they must go to bed dizzy.
Rob Dolby
16 Posted 23/02/2021 at 10:49:34
Tom Davies is a premier League player to argue otherwise is ridiculous. He already has well over 100 appearances in our engine room and will no doubt get a lot more.

Central midfield is arguably the only place on the pitch where you don't need blistering pace. The ability to read the game, break up and link play are more important. Tom is still improving and under Ancelotti is beginning to understand his game. Does he move the ball quick enough? We are still weak in midfield and to take the next step we need to buy players.

In our squad his only real competition is Allan for the holding role and truth be told Allan isn't suited to that position similar when we have tried Sigurdsson or Gomes there. All full internationals that our local boy is proving to be better than in the holding role.

Tom has an important role to play for us. I would love him to be integral to a push for top 4 though I see him as a squad player if we are to seriously challenge top 4.

Tony Everan
17 Posted 23/02/2021 at 11:00:16
Kevin, Thanks for the article,

Tom's progress cannot be seen as anything but a positive. I read his interview a couple of weeks ago on the club website and I think his upturn in consistent form is down to a few things coming together.

To have played the amount of PL games he has at 22 is one hell of an apprenticeship. It has given him a greater maturity and an understanding of the game. The club sticking with him is bearing fruit.

He mentioned about doing extra time in the gym and extra training sessions. He is looking physically stronger now, there is more muscle on the bones. He is more than holding his own in that tough central midfield berth. This strength conditioning has been big plus for him, I think that gives him a bit more confidence and stamina.

Finally the biggest factor is the lads desire. I see a similar mental fortitude as DCL and Holgate. Tom Davies has had his ups and downs and been in and out of the team. He gets criticised more than most, sometimes fairly, mostly not. The lad's determination and desire is unaffected by it, he dusts himself down works at improving his game and goes again. DCL and Mason have been through that too and respond the same way.

The result of it all is that Tom has been fantastically consistent. It's starting to look like he can play well week in week out.

With regards to top 4, we are now in with a shout. We've got the players to do it if they can stay fit. We have to address inconsistency as a priority. No more Fulham type performances! Starting with Southampton next Monday.

However, there is still some strengthening to do to progress further and be a regular top 4 challenger. I am confident Brands and Ancelloti will be signing one or two quality players in June.

Dave Williams
18 Posted 23/02/2021 at 11:01:50
Excellent article Kevin and great post from Darren and Steve.
I agree with Mike more often than not but not with his post above. Regardless of how many games a young lad plays, he is still young and raw at times and needs understanding not vitriolic abuse which I think is what Darren is manfully trying to get across. Would any of us direct that sort of abuse at our own son if he made an error in a school game which he had made in the past? Hopefully not, we would talk him through where he went wrong and put it down to the fact that youngsters make mistakes.
I see no reason why Tom can't be our deep lying midfield general and he reminds me more of Peter Reid every game.
The boo boys really need to take a good look at themselves. They have targeted Stones( who is now coming good again at City),Holgate,DCL and Tom. Some wrote off Godfrey after a couple of games as not good enough( what a joke that was). Why don't they pack it in and give these lads a chance. Next up will be Small and it would be nice to think his own supporters will be behind him and encourage rather than rip into him. These players get into the first team as young lads doing battle with hardened fully grown men who know all of the dirty tricks and don't hesitate to use them. Wouldn't it be nice if they knew their own fans were trying to help them rather than do damage by eroding what confidence they have?
Picking on young players is pathetic and cowardly.
Steve Ferns
19 Posted 23/02/2021 at 11:03:20
I think some of you miss how important Tom Davies is to this side in the dressing room. A big part of success is having a tight knit dressing room, with strong characters. If you look at what ex-players say about Tom, the likes of Bolasie, Niasse, Martina and others recently departed, they all go on about what a great lad he is. Tom is very intelligent for a footballer too. He's got personality in spades. You always see him with his arm round someone. It looks like he's one of the guys to pick others up off the floor after defeats. And let's not forget, in a dressing room with a decreasing number of proper Evertonians, he's one of the few who will really hurt after a defeat.

We don't get many glimpses into the dressing room, and probably gonna be less of that if the Athletic is true about the club not being happy with Nkounkou posting a video of the Derby celebrations, so we can just dismiss that as fans. But, in reality, games are won in the dressing room. Good sides to go on dismal runs when there is a bad atmosphere in the dressing room. Everton sides under Moyes performed well because they had a strong dressing room. There is no doubt in my mind that we have not had such a dressing room since he left. There's been too many cliques (such as the French speakers and the Portuguese speakers).

No, I don't have a great insight into the dressing room. I'm not in the know or any of that. But there's enough snippets from players and ex-players (who don't have to toe the party line) and videos floating around to know that Tom Davies is one of the biggest personalities in that dressing room and so a very important player for the team as a whole.

A further point, did anyone see how he spent his Sunday? Him and Baines were out in Liverpool City centre feeding the homeless. No big deal made of it, they did it because that's what they do, not for the cameras. It's only known about because fans posted it on social media.

Mike Gaynes
20 Posted 23/02/2021 at 15:07:20
Eddie #7, agreed.

Steve #10 and #19, good to see you post, and an excellent point at #19.

David #15, I did review that video before posting, and it was exactly as I remember -- the ground-level replay angle made the blunder look even worse -- so I stand by my opinion, then and now. (I would point out that I wasn't yelling at him from a seat in the stands, I was venting on a chat board he'd never see, so I don't think it qualified as "vitriolic abuse" as Dave says or was comparable to shouting at my son.) Also I recall that after his subsequent 3-game exile, Carlo brought Tom back against United and he played the full 90 in a draw, and then in that March disaster at Chelsea he was culpable for the first goal, made several errors and was pulled before 60 minutes. And then the season was stopped.

I think Tony at #17 is on to something. I'd be willing to bet that Tom spent the spring lockdown not only working out to gain strength but watching video and talking to Carlo and the staff. And I think the penny dropped, as you folks would put it. He was still up-and-down in the summer games -- wasn't he pulled at halftime against Norwich? -- but gradually I began seeing a more confident, composed player.

He has come a hell of a long way in one year.

Fran Mitchell
21 Posted 23/02/2021 at 17:08:46
PRSD (post-Rooney distress disorder) has been plaguing our fanbase since Rooney left.

When Rooney came through, he was already 90% the finished article. He was 16 and he was the best player at the club. He offered a brightened future and it was a sucker-punch when he left.

Ever since, we've expected our young lads to come through and immediately be the best player, immediately be faultless.

When Tom came on the scene, there was a little bit of that expectation. This teenager who's been called up to train with the England national team (still no idea what that was about). His emergence coincided with a period of hope and expectation that a new golden period was ahead. New Billionaire owner, world renowned football royalty as manager, and now this kid comes from the academy and scores a worldie against Man City in a 4-0 thrashing of the billionaire Champions. It was exciting. And it was a lie.

Koeman was a conman, our owner's millions got wasted on premier League journeymen, and our new found hope was actually still a young player in development.

So Davies took the brunt of this frustration. The complaint: not being Lionel Messi.

Like any young player, he needs guidance and coaching and under Koeman, then Allardyce and Silva, this was all clearly lacking.

He looked lost on the pitch, he looked as if he didn't know what he was supposed to be doing. One minute he's trying to mimic Gana Gueye, the next he asked to play box-to-box, then He's shifted to wing-back, then he's on the left of a 4, and more and more.

But the lad was a blue and would work hard, he'd try to do things he thought would help, but no guidance for him, and it resulted in poor passing, giving the ball away. In the Silva years, the biggest problem of all was a complete lack of any clear strategy, any gameplan.

He either made it too confusing, or he didn't have one. And Tom, like the whole team suffered.

I saw an interview with Godfrey and Holgate on Rio Ferdinand's YouTube channel, well worth the watch. On it they talk of how Ancelotti simplifies things, how some managers try to complicate football when in reality it isn't that complicated. How Ancelotti is calm, and talks really simply about what you should do to improve.

Tom Davies has clearly benefitted from this council. His game has been simplified and he knows exactly what his role is. And now he can focus on that and let himself excel in what he's good at.

The Derby was his best performing yet, but I'm sure he'll get better and better.

Him as a deep-lying ball player, he could well become the Scouse Pirlo.

Well done to the lad, he's a mad blue, and it must have hurt when his own fans were calling for his head, it would have been easier for him to ask for a move. But he's shown character by staying and fighting.

Also, his friendship with Calvert-Lewin is great to see. Shows that a great morale must be developing between the players that two (much maligned in the past) players can become best mates rather than just teammates.

Graham Mockford
22 Posted 23/02/2021 at 17:13:10
If anyone thinks this squad is Top 4, you must have missed at least eight games this season.
Mike Gaynes
23 Posted 23/02/2021 at 17:48:53
Great post, Fran. As usual.
Dave Williams
24 Posted 23/02/2021 at 17:51:45
Mike, just to be clear I am not accusing you of vitriolic abuse. You speak your mind quite rightly but the written and verbal stuff directed by others is what has always bothered me.
Terence Leong
25 Posted 24/02/2021 at 15:43:26
I think what Kevin is suggesting, is very similar to the model adopted by Liverpool under Klopp. None of their midfielders can be considered creative. The ones who are, don't play regularly, or are straddling between the forward and the midfield role (eg, Shaqiri and Oxlade-Chamberlain).

Henderson, Fabino, and Wijnaldum basically press, win the ball back, and then pass to the full-backs or their front three.

Henrik Lyngsie
26 Posted 24/02/2021 at 16:20:16
To me it is looking like Tom benefits when he plays number 6 in a compact team. He seems to thrive as the defensive lynchpin in such a setup like in the derby.

He seems slightly more challenged when we play the offensive variant of 4-2-3-1 and the two holding midfielders have to cover a lot of ground.

I also think Tom is challenged when we play the 4-central-defenders version of 4-2-3-1. Here I think that the combination of Holgate, Godfrey and Tom is challenged on the ball. Holgate and Godfrey are not very good on the ball as full-backs and that limits Tom's options and I don't see Tom thrive in that setup.

Don Carlo is a master tactician and quite flexible in his tactical setup and I think he is a good manager for Tom. And I agree with the posts on his off-the-field influence.

Tony Everan
27 Posted 24/02/2021 at 16:58:12
Something Tom has been working on is his body shape when he receives the ball. I think he has been watching and talking to Allan about this.

He will receive the ball in a deep midfield position and instead of just trapping it he has been controlling the ball on the move rolling it around whilst he turns. This has been working great guns. he has been leaving the forward-pressing player behind him.

Credit to him for having the intelligence to improve his game. It shows he is no Billy Big Bollocks and is ready to learn and work for the good of himself and Everton.

Andrew Ellams
28 Posted 24/02/2021 at 17:20:39
One minute he's 'Championship at best"; next, he's going to take us to the Champions League. Let the lad play football.

But, if he's played with the wrong combination in midfield, he'll look ordinary again. Looking forward to seeing him, Allan and Doucouré together.

Jay Harris
29 Posted 24/02/2021 at 17:41:21
Graham, you may be right but I hope that post comes back to bite you.
Graham Mockford
31 Posted 24/02/2021 at 17:52:20

Me too

Danny Broderick
32 Posted 25/02/2021 at 15:17:46
Tom has benefitted from having a clear role in midfield. I see him as being understudy to Allan. He has clearly benefitted from working with Ancelloti and basing his game on Allan's role. He's an important member of the squad now, and he has achieved it himself.

In the past, all of the different managers wanted something different from him. This hindered his development. Is it any wonder he had some ups and downs? He was breaking through in the most topsy turvy period that I can recall in Everton's history. I think Ancelloti is his 6th manager already and he's only 22! (Unsworth, Koeman, Unsworth again, Allardyce, Silva, Ferguson, Ancelloti?). And I have to say, some of his midfield partners in that time were absolute dross. Imagine being a young lad lining up next to Schneiderlin and Sigurdsson in midfield, aka the invisible men! Even with Gueye in there, Tom had the responsibility to create, which is not his best game.

I have to say that the fans do not do the young lads any favours. There is no patience shown. Even in this team, DCL was getting it. He came good, they then focus on Tom. Tom comes good, they criticise Holgate. Why can't we just support the young lads especially? This is not a new thing, it's not even since Rooney. The young lads have always got it at Everton, Barkley, Hibbert and Osman, John Ebbrell, Davey Unsworth got it, even some of the 80s team got it before that team came good.

Any problems we have at Everton are not caused by young lads coming through who would die for the badge. We've got mercenaries and players who don't try half as hard as the young lads who get a pass, while the young lads kop all the flak. We should all learn from the examples of DCL and Tom Davies. Not every player breaks through as a star. Even Harry Kane couldn't do that at Spurs, and he may well go on to break all the records for the Premier League and England. Let's support the young lads and give them time...

Si Cooper
33 Posted 26/02/2021 at 14:11:23
‘But you can't put something into a player that wasn't already there. You can only help bring it out.'

You can only help bring that out. but that is what differentiates the great parents, teachers, mates, mentors, coaches and managers from the rest, isn't it? Or are they not allowed to be credited for their help?

Glad to see that someone has posted that Tom is doing extra gym work and training sessions. I've been waiting to see something on those lines for a couple of years. Onwards and upwards.

Jay Wood

34 Posted 26/02/2021 at 15:29:48
As well as playing well on the pitch in recent weeks, Tom (and EiTC) is also pretty hand off the pitch, too.

Tom Davies Saves Liverpool Fan's Life

Paul Smith
35 Posted 26/02/2021 at 15:38:38
I've slated Tom on here and at the match. Happy to be proved wrong and shows my brevity of knowledge around football. In regards to Jays link I can understand fans frustration with EITC when we have been shit on the pitch for years but some things are more important than football, mental health support for one (it's hard to get) Keep doing the good with Everton.
Martin Mason
36 Posted 26/02/2021 at 16:06:35
I've just read that the massive improvement this year was advice from Carlo to simplify his game massively such that his reduced repertoire was played well and the vast majority of his mistakes eliminated. He isn't Messi, he will never be Messi but he is very good at that withdrawn midfield role getting the ball forward from defence. His tackling stats are good and while it's said that his positive passing is limited I'd say that this is completely wrong, some of his passes have been amazing. To say that only being able to play this one role limits his value to the club is wrong. Michael Carrick was a superb asset in this role as Henderson has been for Liverpool. I hope that Everton give Tom a good contract soon, his form this year has been that of a 㿞MM buy.
Tony Everan
37 Posted 26/02/2021 at 16:22:18
It's remarkable how Carlo Ancelotti can make an important difference to a players form and end product. We saw it with DCL's transformation into a lethal one touch finisher. Now he has simplified Tom Davies's game and the mistakes have all but disappeared. Tom looks much more assured and confident. I think when Carlo talks to a player they listen, take it on board and execute it. I think it's a combination of the respect the players have for Mr Ancelotti and also the authenticity of his communication.

Thomas Richards
38 Posted 26/02/2021 at 16:26:57
Very much improved this season. All down to Ancelotti's guidance and tweaking of his game.

One- and two-touch football, as opposed to his usual five-plus touches, means he doesn't get caught in possession. It's not rocket science.

Dave Abrahams
39 Posted 26/02/2021 at 16:44:49
Jay (34), I watched that interview with Tom and the Liverpool supporter who had been through a hard time mentally over a period of years, Tom was very good, just lent an ear and took in what the lad was saying, I thought he was very mature and genuine, listening and enjoying the conversation like he was a mate, the lad was showing his nerves and Tom kept him talking about his struggles and how he was getting better and feeling better in himself. I think the best and richest gift you can give to anybody is time, Tom gave the young man plenty of that and he didn't appear to be just going through the motions, the lad seemed to be very happy to be in Tom's company, very impressive, to me.
Martin Mason
40 Posted 26/02/2021 at 16:53:55
Perhaps I'm unfair to suggest that he can only play in the withdrawn midfield role even though he's filling it so well now. It may be that his improved game can equally be applied to the box-to-box role, his engine seems to be good enough to?

It will be interesting to see Monday night's team. He may start and be subbed by Allan or he may sub Allan later, in which case, he's perhaps being pegged as a back-up player for Allan. If they both start? I never did figure out why Tom was twice substituted after an hour while playing really well?

Nothing has made me happier in many years than Tom's improvement. So special when one of your own makes the grade. Apparently Anthony Gordon played superbly for Preston against QPR too.

Brent Stephens
41 Posted 26/02/2021 at 17:10:14
Yes, good improvement in Tom - and Dom as pointed out already. In Carlo we trust!
Jay Wood

42 Posted 26/02/2021 at 17:27:28
Do you mean this video, Dave?

Tom Meets Ryan

Tom is totally natural. Genuine. Concerned. Scouse humour.

Equally, the lad Ryan is genuinely grateful to both Tom and EiTC in the community for what they have done for him.

Good feel news story.

Darren Hind
43 Posted 26/02/2021 at 17:46:16
Lol – funny that those poor judgers who denigrated Tom as being "Championship at best" are now claiming Carlo – not the boy himself – has proved them wrong.

I'm glad they won't admit they were as wrong about Tom as they were about Calvert-Lewin. Makes it all the funnier.

Graham Mockford
44 Posted 26/02/2021 at 17:54:09
I still don't think he's a top 4 player. He's played well in the last month but – as is the habit on here – everyone's getting a bit carried away.

Don't get me wrong: I like him, he has heart... I just don't see anything special. I could literally name a dozen midfield players in his position in the Premier League better than him.

Dave Abrahams
45 Posted 26/02/2021 at 17:55:27
Jay (42), yes that's the one Jay, just made me feel good about Tom and how he was helping the lad, just came so natural to him, as you say.
James Flynn
46 Posted 26/02/2021 at 17:57:49
Carlo's doing what he has to do given the players at his disposal. I'll be disappointed if we don't get in more Doucouré-type pace this Summer.

We are slow as molasses with Gomes and Davies in mid-field. Neither is going to get faster, no matter what advice from Carlo or extra gym work they do.

Thomas Richards
47 Posted 26/02/2021 at 17:58:42

You have let yourself down there lad.

How many managers have you played for? Why did you wait for this particular manager before you showed us the self-improvement? You could have showed us it under Martinez, Koeman, Silva, Allardyce, Ferguson but no. You had to wait for Ancelotti before you self-improved.

Graham Mockford
49 Posted 26/02/2021 at 18:22:56
I think maybe some have a little invested in this. As ever I'd love to be proved wrong.
Thomas Richards
50 Posted 26/02/2021 at 18:34:23
I forgot to add Rhino to the list of Tom's managers.
Martin Mason
51 Posted 26/02/2021 at 18:37:56
I read the article about how Carlo had worked with Tom to unlock the obvious potential that was in there so I can see the input that the coaches have had.

Having said that, I have refused to accept the criticism that was aimed at him, always seeing the potential. It can be club and player, it doesn't have to be just one or the other. I think how Tom is blossoming is a reflection of how the club is blossoming as a whole.

When you see the very good talent we've added (Godfrey, James, Allan, Doucouré) and the real improvement in others (Keane, Yerri, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison) it's possible to see a great team emerging.

John McFarlane Snr
52 Posted 26/02/2021 at 18:58:15
Hi Dave [45] I have made small donations to EITC on match days, not knowing exactly what they did, but having just watched the video put forward by Jay Wood [42], I'm proud to be an Evertonian. Proud also of Everton themselves, EITC, and the players who take part in helping those who need it. I now believe that we've earned the right to be called 'The People's Club'. If David Moyes did nothing else for us he aptly gave us a name to be truly proud of. Apologies for all the "proud's" but that's exactly how I feel.
Brent Stephens
53 Posted 26/02/2021 at 19:00:09
Jay #42 ta for the link. Tremendous. Davies, great work. EITC great work. These are lives which are almost literally being saved. Brilliant.

Darren Hind
54 Posted 26/02/2021 at 19:07:56
I loved when Rhino threw Tom Davies in there and his team brought the house down at Goodison. I can never make my mind up what Rhino's best achievement was. Was it when he badgered Kenwright to sign this great new centre-back for Roberto? Was it winning two titles at a club who had forgotten how to win?

Or was it rescuing us from free fall and steering us to safety when Koeman was fucked off?

I have to admit that those who come on here to denigrate him are right... Good job he decided he was not cut out for the top job. We would never have made the relentless progress from Roberto's 5th to Carlo's 7th if he was allowed to stay in charge... Even given the 𧼐M we have spent in that time.

Rag dolling the hardest forward in Premier League history in a Cup Final means nothing... Even if it was for our only trophy in the past 30 odd years.

Respect isn't sycophancy, you know. Sycophancy is something freely offered by empty heads to non-achieving, Zombie producing managers who have zero expectation placed upon their shoulders.

What do you take us for? A bunch of bingo callers?

Kieran Kinsella
59 Posted 26/02/2021 at 19:23:59
Most rational people thought he was a decent prospect. Then he stalled, now he has raised his game again. But you always get hyperbolic individuals who go over the top with criticism.

At the same time, you get people who bait them with completely ridiculous over-the-top praise for caretaker managers and so forth. The two groups of extremists feed off each other's lunacy.

Liam Mogan
60 Posted 26/02/2021 at 19:25:47
Darren 54 - such a brilliant post that pal. The stick some of our own (and make no mistake Rhino is one of us) get on here is outrageous
Dale Self
61 Posted 26/02/2021 at 19:29:31
Without irony I suppose. The show must go on.
Thomas Richards
63 Posted 26/02/2021 at 19:32:21

Genuine question. A simple yes or no is plenty:

In your opinion, have Ancelotti and his coaches had anything at all to do with Tom Davies's improvement this season?

Tony Hill
67 Posted 26/02/2021 at 20:41:47
There's calmness and appreciation of space by Tom now. He's slowed himself down in his head, that's the difference.

I have shared some of the scepticism about Ancelotti because we've had some absolute horror shows with him. But Guardiola said today that there's a Buddhist tranquility about our manager.

I think he's right. No-one's going to panic or rush our man; and no-one's going to panic or rush Tom now. Or any of our players if they listen to Carlo. The best midfielders move in their own time – Tom is starting to develop that and let's enjoy seeing where he goes with it.

Davies will have more bad games, but he's found himself. As ever, most of it is in the mind, as our manager knows. Keep it simple and build a rhythm.

Martin Mason
68 Posted 26/02/2021 at 20:56:04
We must also remember that Tom is young and developing still, very much work in progress and he will be for a few more years yet. To judge him so bitterly now was always wrong.

How can we expect players to develop from the academy to first team when they have to run a gauntlet of bile for several years when what they need is support? We were always classed as fair and knowledgeable supporters so how did we become possibly the worst in the Premier League for slagging our own?

Beautiful Tony, I think the Carlo way is the way.

Christine Foster
69 Posted 26/02/2021 at 20:56:54
Over the years at just about every club you can mention, we see young players with great potential. Some make it; many don't... and fewer still become stars.

There are a number of reasons that players fail to kick on from early promise: some relate to attitude and poor decision making, some to the lack of faith shown to their potential by the clubs themselves, and some due to the lack of influence of others to develop the player.

I am sure you could cut it a thousand ways but therein lies the nub, because externally all fans see are the performances on the pitch with no insight into the role the coach insists they play. The result is that fans rarely see potential developed but rather it is sacrificed to the coach's expediency. Good coaches develop potential to bring the best out of players as footballers and as individuals – if you're happy, you will play better!

If you looked at our own previous coaches, they were under intense pressure to succeed and, as a result, kids with potential rarely got a look in, were poorly coached and then shipped out, disillusioned with the club, confidence gone.

As fans, we are also responsible; us armchair warriors think the anonymity of the internet gives us licence to destroy players. Do we think they don't read these pages?

Criticsm if constructive is not abusive; abuse is the destructive use of words intended to denigrate and damage. Yes, 'frustration' walks hand-in-hand with 'Evertonian', but so does 'hope'.

Good coaches create positive atmospheres which bring out the best in players, they juggle potential with fit, tailor their skill sets to complement each other, they stop trying to force round pegs into square holes. For too long, being a kid with potential at Everton has been just that, leaving fans wondering is the potential going to be realised or is that it?

Personally, I see the development of Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin this season as being one of being coached well and given the confidence to do what they are good at. The coach? Their job is to develop the person, develop the skills, and eliminate the word 'potential' from a player's CV.

Tony Abrahams
71 Posted 26/02/2021 at 21:11:26
I'm glad Tom Davies has started to do well, and I'm certain this upturn in form is down to him being given a defined role in the team.

Thomas mentioned all the managers he has already played for since he made his Everton debut, and although they all picked him, I'm not sure many of them done the kid many favours. I personally think he's been pushed from pillar to post, whilst trying to learn his trade in arguably the most difficult position on the pitch.

Playing with better players will help him, and playing with workhorses like Doucouré will also help him, but getting asked to use his brain – by keeping it simple – in a position that is all about awareness and discipline, seems to be the best thing that has happened to Tom Davies; he's stopped chasing the game, and seems to be coming at play from a much better angle at present.

Thomas Richards
72 Posted 26/02/2021 at 21:23:42
In a nutshell, Tony.

From a young age the kid suffered because he could "do a job".
As you say, the position is the most difficult on the pitch to learn, even more so if you are not given a run to settle into the position.

Imo, the vast improvement is in the fewer touches he is taking. Control, pass and move. He has been prone to chewing the ball in the past; he plays a simple game now.

Massive improvement and plenty more to come.

Kevin Molloy
74 Posted 26/02/2021 at 21:24:19
I've no idea if he will make the grade or not. Really no idea, when someone like Jordan Henderson can, age 27, move into one of the "Best Midfielders in the World" category, from nowhere, sometimes you just need to acknowledge that nobody knows anything.

There are so many things we as fans just wouldn't understand, it seems to me, such as the correct position at any time, the orders he is under, so many variables. What I do like about him though is his character. He is a calm tough presence who never hides. That's unusual for someone of his age.

His form though at the moment is one of the many upsides of having Ancelotti as manager. His impact on our playing group cannot be overstated.

Graham Mockford
75 Posted 26/02/2021 at 21:34:22
Fernandhino, Rhodri
Pogba, McTominay
Henderson, Fabhino

The defensive midfield players in the teams above us.

Where would you put Tom in that list?

Darren Hind
76 Posted 26/02/2021 at 21:42:16
Tom Davies is quite simply showing the development the shrewd money predicted all along.

Hopefully you will have learned a little yourselves and won't be so quick to murder the next kid.

Breath not being held here...

Graham Mockford
77 Posted 26/02/2021 at 21:48:20
Well, I never murdered him, he's done alright in the last month. Still not good enough though.
Mark Murphy
78 Posted 26/02/2021 at 21:49:28
People using Henderson as an example.

I watched Henderson as an up-and-coming midfielder for England U21s in partnership with one of our own for in an international at St Mary's years ago. He was over-shadowed by our lad, Jack Rodwell, who ran the game.

Henderson has had the time to mature that Rodwell threw away for the City bench. Tom Davies, given time, can be a Blue legend! UTFT

Thomas Richards
79 Posted 26/02/2021 at 21:49:46
I posted about his strength of character last week, Kevin. He is growing in confidence now the coaching is kicking in. A far better player due to the changing of his role in the team.

Tony Hill
80 Posted 26/02/2021 at 21:50:52
Graham @75, in Tom space.

Kevin @74, very true, mate. It's fun talking bollocks on here, but we know fuck all. Which is just as it should be.

Darren Hind
81 Posted 26/02/2021 at 21:53:16
Never said you did, Mockers.

I think your judgment of this boy has been fair and consistent.

It's the backtracking that makes me laugh.

Ray Robinson
83 Posted 26/02/2021 at 22:03:16
Tom Davies is a great lad, recently much improved and I would dearly like him to succeed but has he got the turn of pace to become top notch? Stamina yes but pace, no. Same applies to Gomes.
Tony Hill
84 Posted 26/02/2021 at 22:11:36
Ray @ 83, I used to think that but I don't think it's true. Take your pace in your head is the motto for Tom and others like him. Move around in your own zone born of intelligence and timing. Find your space by thinking ahead and trusting to instinct.

Rodriguez, for example, is a snail but thinks and positions himself like a cheetah.

Ray Robinson
86 Posted 26/02/2021 at 22:24:07
Tony, I take your point but James is a more forward-thinking player who is worth cutting some slack for because of his fantastic spatial awareness and creative play. With all due respect, Davies will never be in that league.

Today's really successful sides have midfielders who both think and move quickly. We clearly cannot accommodate too many players lacking decisive pace in our midfield if we are to speed up the tempo of our offensive play. But I really do understand your argument.

Mike Gaynes
87 Posted 26/02/2021 at 22:38:46
Tony #84, a "snail"? Not hardly. He's extremely quick to the ball over short distances, always seems to get his touch in ahead of the defender, and gets open to receive a pass in 3-4 steps. It's not just his brain that works quickly. His feet do too. Snail darter, if you will.
Brent Stephens
88 Posted 26/02/2021 at 22:40:35
Mike, that quickness in the step is something I liked in Gana as well. So often it allows him to nick the ball without going to ground.
David Thomas
89 Posted 26/02/2021 at 22:47:31
Tom has played well in the last few games in my opinion but I also think in approx 90% of the games he has played for us he's been at best bang average.

I hope his good form continues for as long as possible but in my opinion he is definitely one of a number of players that we need to upgrade in the summer if we are to push on and build a starting 11 that can compete regularly for honours.

Don Alexander
90 Posted 26/02/2021 at 22:50:28
I doubt, regrettably, that Tom will ever be top-draw, simply because of his lack of pace.

Against Liverpool I genuinely compared him to how Reidy used to play but Reidy never failed to say that Bracewell did all his running for him, and he was largely right. These days anyone with any defensive responsibilities will get found out by top teams, and Tom will always have defensive responsibilities because he just doesn't have the skill-set to be a No 10 for anyone.

I hope he proves me wrong, but pace is either there or it's not, and pace is near the top of every manager's wish-list.

Tony Hill
91 Posted 26/02/2021 at 22:52:21
A snartah, Mike @87.

Is it true that our boy hasn't recorded a single sprint? I do hope so. It would be disappointing to think of him hurrying, over any distance.

Ray @86, I understand yours too.

Mike Gaynes
92 Posted 26/02/2021 at 23:39:49
Beats me, Tony... I don't know where to find that statistic... but it wouldn't surprise me. He even jogged over to hug Richarlison after the goal.
Andrew Keatley
93 Posted 26/02/2021 at 23:54:00
Some people really have a dog in this fight, don't they?

Ian Jones
96 Posted 27/02/2021 at 06:26:28
There was a thread the other week about Tom Davies. I think I posted that I saw Tom as more of an all rounder, not a regular starter, a useful player that would put a decent shift in any position asked to play, an Alan Harper type. If he was happy to be part of the overall squad and be prepared to sit on the bench alot, then that was great for us obviously not great for him as he has talent and would no doubt be first choice on many teamsheets.

His performances recently have surprised me. There will be bumps along the road, but hopefully Tom can cement a place in a Top 4 team, as long as it's our team.

I think many of us would love a local lad done good story, where one of ours becomes a talisman to the team/club devoting the majority of his career to one team and hopefully becoming a serial trophy winner, like Gerrard/Carragher/Adams/Terry.

Tom Davies has already captained us a few times when there have been more senior players on the pitch, which must stand for something.

With all the stuff he does in the community, away from the club and his potential, let's hope we have our own version of Captain Tom!

Martin Mason
99 Posted 27/02/2021 at 08:45:16
Darren, I agree with your defence of Tom. We should be proud that one of our own has reached such a good level and been such a nice lad with it.
Steve Brown
101 Posted 27/02/2021 at 09:33:58
Tom always tries to play a progressive pass, he creates space to give and receive a pass, he cuts off space, he has positional discipline and he is now taking less touches on the ball. I think he has benefited from a settled role in the team since he began covering for Allan.

As regards his lack of pace? I wouldn't describe Allan as particularly rapid; compared to other squad midfielders, Tom covers ground well. The point Darren is making is to stop over-criticising and writing off young players while they are developing their games. If Tom, Dom and Mason had played into better squads with better managers over last 4 years, they would have enjoyed a smoother progression. The fact that they have come out the other end to be valued players is a testament to them.

I would estimate a total transfer value of 𧴦 million for Tom, Dom and Mason right now; however, some of our supporters would have chased them out of the club for almost nothing.

Tony Abrahams
102 Posted 27/02/2021 at 09:34:57
The diverse opinions sometimes have me scratching my head, especially when I see people who agree with Peter Reid, because he said Bracewell, done all his running.

Reid was a master, a great brain, and the man who controlled the 'wolfpack' mentality that made Howard Kendall's Everton a great side during a period that just never lasted long enough, imo.

Good players don't get caught in bad positions, I heard Brian Clough say on the telly one day, and that was Reid's greatest gift, and what made one of the slowest footballers I've ever seen perform so consistently during that great period.

Davies got caught in a bad position at Anfield last Saturday night: back to goal, out wide in his own half, but it only happened once. Liverpool are great at hunting you down further up the pitch, but I've been impressed with both Davies and Doucouré hunting down their opponents, and I think it was the main reason we knocked Spurs out the cup. Let's hope it continues and they both keep improving!

Steve Brown
103 Posted 27/02/2021 at 09:43:41
Jay @ 42, that is a wonderful video. Tom's work in the community makes me proud he plays for us!
Mike Gwyer
104 Posted 27/02/2021 at 09:47:44
I've never had a lot of time for the boy myself, but the lad has persevered and grabbed hold of that holding position in front of the back 4 or 5.

I tend to agree with Kevin Molloy at #74, we have no idea as to what happens at Finch Farm or what Carlo and his team have actually said to the boy. One thing is for sure though: Tom has played well this season and, for me, it can't be the moaning mob that were affecting him coz we are cack at Goodison and it's an empty stadium.

Hey Darren, it's a shame we didn't have inter chat discussions back in the '70s and '80s instead of the running battles. I can just imagine you standing in the Park End having a good verbal with rival fans. You're really fucking good at it.

Dave Abrahams
105 Posted 27/02/2021 at 09:58:02
I have always seen Tom's potential but thought he was a slow learner. Possibly he has listened to Ancelotti and is starting to understand the game more and the role he plays in it.

I think most of us, Tom's supporters, have had doubts that he would make the grade and I think Graham Mockford expresses those doubts that we feel with his honest assessment of how he feels about Tom. He certainly hasn't made it yet, but this last month has shown what he is capable of becoming to the Everton team.

I don't think it needs to be said but all of us Bluenoses want Tom to succeed and will be happy if and when he does.

Si Cooper
106 Posted 27/02/2021 at 10:06:51
Steve Brown (101), does giving your honest opinion about his merits and his flaws count as writing him off?

I have to ask because the other week I stated I was more interested in judging his worth to the team based on information regarding his training activities rather than focusing on his persona and extracurricular good deeds – I got accused of ‘denigrating' him.

I must be missing loads of posts because I am unaware of the significant group of people who apparently wrote Tom Davies off. Not saying there weren't any but I've never noticed a real groundswell and couldn't name any. Most of the critical stuff I've been aware of has been pretty much confined to "not there yet", "not yet convinced he will ever be upper echelon" – which I would say would have been a fairly balanced assessment until the recent raising of his game.

Thomas Richards
107 Posted 27/02/2021 at 10:28:18
"I am unaware of the significant group of people who apparently wrote Tom Davies off. Not saying there weren't any but I've never noticed a real groundswell and couldn't name any."

Come on, you can do better than that. Invent some imaginary dissenters. Say anything, ANYTHING at all that you think enhances your point.

(It doesn't.)

Jason Li
108 Posted 27/02/2021 at 10:44:41
I prefer to see Tom develop as he is doing, holding that position in front of the back two, so no-one gets into the box into a shooting position, or worse a one-two/wall pass so they can't get a one-on-one with Pickford.

This means having to hold like Brazil's 2002 Gilberto Silva and give the ball quick, even if he can stroll out due to the quality of the players around him creating space.

I like Pogba, Matic and plenty of other very good players in the league. The problem with these two is that they like to run beyond the attacking midfielders and if they lose the ball, the centre-backs are back-peddling. Pogba does this often, caught in possession in his own half and then the midfielder whose won it off him gets a clear run at the back line.

Anyway, we have a chance of top 4 this year, and I'm sure next year too. At least when it happens, we can put this debate to bed and just sunset this and say Tom is a top four player, because he took part in the season in getting us into the top 4 (if it happens this year of course). This will then had included facing up players like Thiago Alcantara who is a Champions League winner during the season.

Keep going Tom, go for the record outfield appearances record too, see if you can get up there and add to your achievements.

Darren Hind
109 Posted 27/02/2021 at 11:39:20

I don't think Tom needs defending any more. I think any match goer or regular on here would be aware of the relentless criticism he has taken over the past few seasons, but he has come through it. The "Championship player at best" had played over 100 Premier League games before Carlo Ancelotti got here and I fully expect him to play hundreds more when he`s gone.

I've always seen the over-the-top criticism of our youngsters as the ugly side of our club's culture. I know some will deny this happens, but too many lifelong Evertonians have testified to it for it not to be true.

It's not just at the match were it happens, I have seen whole threads dominated by Tom Davies. I've seen hundreds and hundreds of posts – especially on the Live Forum – quite literally hammering him.

It makes no difference if you hammer away at at youngster at the match, or on a website, or the Live Forum, or even do it under your duvet. Once you go down that route, you make yourself part of that culture.

I accept (but don't agree) that there is an argument that these youngsters are as much fair game as senior pros, but please don't tell me it doesn't happen.

Anyone who hasn't heard the abuse directed at Tom Davies at the match must be mutton... And I can only assume anyone who hasn't seen the countless derogatory comments on websites... must be either immune to it, or part of it.

I have never in my life heard one player take as much stick as Tom Davies took after that Newcastle game. Tom had come on as a late substitute, gave away a free-kick near the half-way line leaving a whole team to defend it... Quite why so many people would direct such fury at the youngest player on the pitch when they failed to do so, has always been something that I can't get my head around.

I accept I could be wrong... but, to this day, I still don't understand it.

Tony Abrahams
110 Posted 27/02/2021 at 11:39:42
I reckon most footballers are told to stay away from a lot of forms of social media, especially fan websites, because it might make for unpleasant reading?

It's different on the pitch though, especially when the ground is full and there is no hiding place. I've heard Davies take a lot of unmerciful stick at the stadium, which must be horrible, especially when you're trying hard, but nothing much is coming off for you.

Through the despair, Tom Davies must have had loads of these moments, and that's why he deserves great credit, because he's never hid, and that takes a special kind of spirit.

I'd say reading these pages, Davies has been written off by many, and still has loads of doubters now, despite his upturn in form.

Andrew Ellams
111 Posted 27/02/2021 at 11:47:44
I forget who it was but a couple of years ago the England U21 coach stated Tom's best position was an old-fashioned Number 6 and stated that this would be his regular position in that team.

It's taken how many Everton managers and coaches to finally work that one out?

Ian Horan
112 Posted 27/02/2021 at 12:04:05
AE @111,

Aidy Boothroyd, manager of the England U21s, said he was the best No 6 he had seen, based on Tom's reading of the game.

Graham Mockford
113 Posted 27/02/2021 at 12:09:39
I don't personally agree with getting on the players backs at the ground, it's counter productive at best. Although it usually happens when someone is playing shite. And it doesn't only happen to young players. Walcott gets it, Schniederlin got it in boatloads... and so it goes on.

Any comment made on a forum makes no difference to anyone unless a player was stupid enough to read a fans forum. As for what is said under the duvet, well if you are talking about Everton in bed... you definitely have a problem.

Martin Mason
114 Posted 27/02/2021 at 12:17:19
Darren, couldn't agree more
Brian Harrison
115 Posted 27/02/2021 at 13:13:56

You say you have never heard a player take as much stick as Tom did after the Newcastle game. I think the stick that Pickford got after the last minute goal at Anfield was a lot worse than Tom got after the Newcastle game.

I think Tom got a lot of stick because he wasn't playing very well at times, now you can argue that he was getting more stick than some expensive signings who were a lot worse than Tom, but that's how it goes sometimes. I think most Blues like to see local lads do well, and so its always great to be able to praise a local lad when they are doing well. Tom has improved a lot in the last few months, and he deserves all the credit for turning his game around. I heard Tom say that Ancelotti had told him to have less touches when he receives the ball and you don't often now see Tom caught in possession as he used to be. Tom also said he has been watching videos of Allan so I guess he rates Allan very highly.

Lets hope Tom can hold down a regular place and become a mainstay in our midfield for years to come.

Jay Wood

116 Posted 27/02/2021 at 13:20:38
First of all, I think Kevin's opening post and particular headline he uses - Tom Davies: The Missing Piece of the Top Four Jigsaw - is Kevin being Kevin. Playing the maverick and reeling people in mischievously.

And the repsonses on the thread possibly reflect Kevin achieves just that. From the sneering and scorning to the indignant and outraged both sides of the TD divide.

But his article raises a genuine and serious point too, IMO.

With Allan back in contention the assumption is that he will naturally replace Tom in the starting line-up. Personally, I wouldn't be opposed - depending on the opposition or the game situation - in seeing a midfield of Tom, Doucoure and Allan on the pitch together as Kevin proposes.

I'm really not arsed with all the 'noise' on the Tom Davies debate. I just weary at the absolutism of some. On his past and present performances. His future potential. His 'level'. His skill sets. His innate skills as opposed to what he has developed and learned under whom.

I would wager good money that Tom himself would acknowledge and thank any number of coaches, managers and players he has played under or with for his (continuing) football education.

To my eye, an already good (PL) player has got better this season. He is calmer and more composed on the ball. He is more protective of the ball in possession and less likely to give it up. He doesn't go flying in to retrieve a lost ball, coughing up a cheap free kick and earning a yellow card for his troubles with the frequency he has done in the past.

I see in his play the influence of learning from or observing the likes of better players in the squad. He now imitates Allan's excellence in getting his body 'twixt ball and opposition player with that sticky-out-arse pose of the Brazilian. Like James, he better understands he can take time on the ball rather than rush everything. And we are seeing some very, very fine through balls being played by Tom in recent games as a result.

I disagree with those who say in the position Tom plays that his lack of pace counts against him. What is more important than speed over the ground is speed of thought and speed of play in moving the ball on tellingly in the most contested zone of the park. Tom displays those qualities.

IMO he does get a disproportionate amount of criticism in comparison to others, here on the open forum. I can well imagine how scathing the vitriol is of Tom in the white heat of the Live Forum during a game (not a forum I frequent).

I can't and don't take seriously very recent posts by some saying things like 'he should never wear the shirt again'; 'you could pick someone - anyone! -out of the Park End and they will do a better job than Tom.'

Nor do I take seriously fabricated 'observations' such as 'I don't believe the defence or keeper trust Tom to pass to him' when the very reverse is self-evident. Tom, in this run of games, has been THE outball and player when transferring the ball from defence to midfield. And once he gets it, he protects it and moves it on purposefully.

Gomes, the supposedly superior player to Tom, fails in this time and time again.

You have an example of this from last weekend. Tom receiving the ball from Keane in the 'D' of our penalty area and not simply whacking it upfield to clear the lines, but instantly, accurately and calmly picking out Richy in a move that led to our pen.

In the same game, Keane again found Tom who laid a perfectly safe ball off to Gomes. The Portuguese dwelt on the ball and had his pocket picked which let to an opportunity on goal.

As for the likelihood of the players reading forums such as TW being negatively impacted by what they read, I should imagine if they do so it is only to laugh at us clucking hens and our observations.

Si Cooper
117 Posted 27/02/2021 at 14:00:59
‘Anyone who hasn't heard the abuse directed at Tom Davies at the match must be mutton... And I can only assume anyone who hasn't seen the countless derogatory comments on websites... must be either immune to it, or part of it.'
From the amount of pro Tom stuff lately I'd thought people were taking a swipe at any negative critiques of the lad.
If it's only the nutters who scream at the pitch or keyboard warriors venting then it seems appropriate. Not sure you can properly characterise those outbursts as firmly adhered to viewpoints. Surely there must be times when it's just an unfortunate consequence of their current personal problems?
Brian Williams
118 Posted 27/02/2021 at 14:04:01
Excellent post Jay (not that my backing means much) with many points well made, without a sniff of passive aggressiveness.
Darren Hind
120 Posted 27/02/2021 at 14:35:12
Yes Brian

I stand corrected. Jordan did take more stick for that game at Mordor. I thought that influenced a of the criticism he got later.
Hopefully he secured redemption and a greater self belief for himself with his performance last week

Tom Bowers
121 Posted 27/02/2021 at 14:38:33
Every game is different and opinions can change a little. Tom has been very good of late and works very hard but he needs to show he is better than most on a consistent basis. The same can be said of other team members.

The Derby match was as satisfying as any win this season even though RS could argue that injuries didn't help them. The RS had a full squad when they were crushed by an average Villa team so the writing was on the wall regarding their season to date.

However, the commitment and intensity shown by Tom Davies and the rest of the team was amazing and we all sincerely hope that finally they can string a few results together.

Steve Brown
123 Posted 27/02/2021 at 14:50:53
Si @ 106, I don't recall reading posts from you on Tom that I would assess as writing him off. Honest assessment of players' performances isn't a problem, at least to me.

However, Ton has been on the receiving end of excessive criticism from certain quarters in my opinion, while more senior pros who deserved it got a pass. DCL and Mason also fall into the same category.

John Keating
124 Posted 27/02/2021 at 14:54:44
Brian 115
Brian I was actually surprised by the reaction Pickford got after his cock up at Mordor.
I'm sure we played Newcastle at home after that game and drew 1-1 ?????
Anyway I remember saying to my brother when they came out and the team was announced how good a reception he got.
Mind you they were as bad that Newcastle game as they were a few weeks ago !!
Regards Tom I remember when Allardyce was here and the young lads were getting picked - some out of position - JJK, Dowell, DCL, Holgate, Tom. Without exception they all did themselves and the Club proud considering the situation and where we were at that time
Jamie Crowley
125 Posted 01/03/2021 at 00:59:10
I'm so glad I've stumbled upon this thread.

Tom Davies is the personification of patience.

I've been backing this kid forever and a day, along with a few others. I've even backed this kid against he who must not be contradicted - Mike Gaynes. I don't often take issue with Mike. I feel two boisterous and opinionated Americans swimming in a sea of Brit should stick together as much as possible. But when it comes to Tom Davies, I've backed this kid even against the opinions of the TW American stud.

Here's my long term "buy" with Davies.

He's come on in leaps and bounds. He will continue to improve.

Ride the Allan horse until he drops. In 3-4 years time you'll have the Scouse Allan / Gueye / dare-I-say Lee Fucking Carsley.

He will be brilliant for us for years to come. Patience. Let the boy keep developing and improving under Carlo. We have the 6 nailed down for 7-8 years between Allan and Tom.

I love this kid. He's a gem. I can see it. You may disagree, but with my limited "talent scouting radar", I see a young man with bags of talent. I always have, and really hope I'm proven correct with this one because this boy doesn't hide, he doesn't shirk, he give his all to Everton, and lastly -

He's one of you. It gives me great joy to see someone who so many of you call yours to succeed. I want a local boy to take us to heights unseen, and I'd argue all of you should, too.

Kid's tough as nails in a tackle. Looks to always play the ball forward and play that cutting pass. He's brave. He's Scouse. He's Everton.

Derek Taylor
126 Posted 09/03/2021 at 10:12:02
Derek Taylor
127 Posted 09/03/2021 at 10:17:23
You can add Carlo's name to the 'Davies Doubters' No fan of the 'own grown', he says nice things about our Tom but only includes him if the costly 'stars are unavailable - or knackered after an hour's play !

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.

About these ads

© ToffeeWeb