Returning to the fold

Sunday, 16 August, 2020 65comments  |  Jump to last
Fringe players Gibson, Lossl, Kenny, Nkounkou, Besic and Bolasie all joined in the first day of training for Everton's senior squad who returned to USM Finch Farm on Sunday.

The former loan players joined new signing Niels Nkounkou, who has been elevated from the U23s to provide cover at left-back following the retirement of Leighton Baines after the last game of the extended season.

Numbers are needed in the short-term to cover for senior stars who have been granted extended leave and are not expected back before the end of the month. This list includes Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin, Bernard, Davies and Ramirez.

The first pre-season friendly is coming up on Saturday at Blackpool, and Ancelotti will still be missing a number of the squad who have been allowed to return late.


Reader Comments (65)

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Paul Birmingham
1 Posted 16/08/2020 at 23:29:13
Good point, and hopefully, will raise the profile and scale of the issue.

This is the season and all Evertonians know, this time we must deliver results.

Anthony Hawkins
2 Posted 17/08/2020 at 01:27:22
If the team don't deliver something this season, it'll set the project back so far, I fear the club will stall into mid-table, if not worse.

We need significant signings this close season.

Derek Thomas
3 Posted 17/08/2020 at 01:32:45
Returned late, why? Were they all on some gruelling 3-month lockdown endurance competition I missed somewhere?

Is Richarlison coming back from Brazil?

Is Davies suffering jet lag after the journey on the 78 bus from West Derby to Halewood?

Has Ramirez suddenly remembered he steals £125,000 a week from us and the shock is too much for him?

Derek Thomas
8 Posted 17/08/2020 at 07:25:06
They've played 8 or 9 games since March and what with quarantine, 2nd spikes, local lockdowns etc. They should be on a couple of weeks UK R&R / 'staycation' then back hard at it.

Extensions my arse, typical of the whole half-arsed way the Club is run.

Kunal Desai
9 Posted 17/08/2020 at 07:47:08
The club isn't going to be transformed with a number of new signings. Club finances across football have been hit due to Covid-19. Brands has already stated it would be a summer where spending would be low.

Being realistic, we will bring in one or two signings before the season kicks off with the majority of the deadwood still here another season. I don't see anyone buying these players on the wages they are on.

I expect results to improve, but marginally, finishing up a couple of places higher than last season. We all need to be realistic with expectations here.

Peter Mills
10 Posted 17/08/2020 at 08:01:42
Idle millionaires strolling around empty stadiums, overseen by VAR.

The cup of anticipation runneth over.

Dermot O'Brien
12 Posted 17/08/2020 at 08:12:09
Extended leave for Ramirez? Really? WTF?
Alan J Thompson
13 Posted 17/08/2020 at 08:22:55
Derek (#8); Tongue-in-cheek, mate.

Despite the pandemic, aren't players still permitted a regulation 3-week break between seasons, if they so wish? It may also make sense if you have overseas players despite a 14-day isolation period on return – and especially if you want their mothers to know that you have looked after them properly.

Gary Willock
14 Posted 17/08/2020 at 08:27:40
In the absence of any quality signings, I’d suggest that Kenny and Gibson should be in contention as first choice starters as opposed to “fringe players”.

Starting Lossl as number one may give Pickford a jolt he needs. Besic would give the midfield a bite it simply doesn’t have, and Bolasie may offer genuine wing play to help get crosses into the two front lads.

Not saying they are anywhere near a preferred answer, but if the market stays as shit as it is, at least they are options.

Brian Williams
16 Posted 17/08/2020 at 08:38:48
Ramirez isn't on £125k a week he's on £65k a week. Still a huge amount but let's try'n be reasonable!
Andrew Ellams
17 Posted 17/08/2020 at 09:06:39
In the case of Ramirez, could this be down to him quarantining on his return from Spain?

Also, didn't the Spanish season finish later than ours?

Martin Nicholls
18 Posted 17/08/2020 at 09:16:16
Andrew #17 - I think La Liga wound up a week before PL. Presumably Ramirez then "holidayed" in Spain before returning to UK for 14-day quarantine (aka another holiday!)
Ajay Gopal
19 Posted 17/08/2020 at 09:32:04
Gary (14), your post was like a breath of fresh air among the doom and gloom and pointless slagging off of players. If, as Kunal says, we are unable to do deals, and (hypothetically speaking), we start the season with the players that we have, the squad would look like this:

Goalkeepers: Pickford, Lössl, Virginia
Right-backs: Coleman, Kenny
Left-backs: Digne, Nkounkou
Centre-backs: Keane, Holgate, Mina, Branthwaite, Gibson
Wingers: Bernard, Gordon, Bolasie, Walcott, Iwobi
Midfielders: Gomes, Sigurdsson, Davies, Delph, Besic, (Gbamin)
Forwards: Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin, Kean, Sandro, (Tosun)

What would your choice of first XI and subs be for the season kick-off?

My choice would be a 4-2-3-1 formation:

Kenny Keane Holgate Digne
Gomes Delph
Richarlison Iwobi Gordon

Subs: Lössl, Coleman, Mina, Davies, Sigurdsson, Walcott, Kean.

If Carlo can work on this squad and up their motivation levels and composure with the ball, we could still have a decent season.

Derek Thomas
20 Posted 17/08/2020 at 09:45:57
Ajay @19; Very big 'IF' for our serial under performers if there are no new faces to stiffen their collective backbone.
Derek Taylor
21 Posted 17/08/2020 at 09:59:13
I think you are right,Ajay. If it proves impossible to bring in meaningful additions, it is not unreasonable for a manager of Agelloti's fame to bring about some improvement in the performance of the existing squad.

I'm sure he was not hired just to oversee the signing of expensive new players but also to 'get the best' out of those we have. Whilst he has so far effected little or no improvement in technique and motivation, top eight ought to be the minimum requirement in return for he and his family's ridiculously high remuneration.

Dave Abrahams
22 Posted 17/08/2020 at 10:00:35
Ajay (19), Gary’s post was a breath of fresh air but you brought us back to reality and depression just by listing lots of players we face starting the season with, obviously not your fault.
Joe McMahon
24 Posted 17/08/2020 at 10:09:35
Besic et al, it's just depressing. Another season of negative goal difference, few goals and a plank in Goal. Does anyone in the know, see Kenny as first-choice right-back? I hope so as Seamus legs are going.

I just hope we can stay in the Premier League long enough for 2 seasons of complete squad clear out.

Clive Rogers
26 Posted 17/08/2020 at 10:41:48
Is Delph injured yet??
Steve Ferns
27 Posted 17/08/2020 at 11:14:15
I see Joe Hart just signed for Spurs. I think, if the wages were reasonable, he'd have been a decent shout for us. We aren't getting good money for Pickford; Stekelenburg has left, and the backup is now Lössl and Virginia.

Hart could have pushed Pickford a little more, maybe helped him with his own experiences, or maybe even rediscovered his own form and ousted Pickford.

Jim Bennings
28 Posted 17/08/2020 at 11:17:59
To be honest, it's hard to get excited about a season where you will be watching a bang average bunch of players struggle to finish 10th.

I haven't been excited watching Everton since Roberto Martinez's first season... sad as it is to say, but that's the truth.

Ajay Gopal
29 Posted 17/08/2020 at 11:24:23
Steve (27), Joe Hart is a 'Big Time Charlie' whose presence in the dressing room would possibly be a corrosive influence, especially on the youngsters. So, 'thanks, but no thanks' from me.

On the other hand, I noted that Jack Butland is available for a cut-price. Now, he might not be a bad option.

Steve Ferns
30 Posted 17/08/2020 at 11:34:33
Ajay, I fear that we'd expect pre-injury Butland, but that the reality is that he's not the same player. I haven't seen Stoke since they were relegated, but Butland has not had many good reviews since. It seems the England keepers, Pickford included, are cursed.
Tom Bowers
31 Posted 17/08/2020 at 11:35:32
So depressing isn't it.

Same old, same old. Is there any point to all this.

Hard to believe they have so much dross still on the books.

Lee Jamieson
32 Posted 17/08/2020 at 11:40:50
I think Butland would be a useful addition. He is cheap, was a decent keeper two seasons ago but has been playing in a crap Stoke side that had Ashley Williams and Cuco Martina in it for half that time.

We have become a club that only rates a player if he is foreign and costs £40 million. We need to get back to the way Everton used to pick up players under Kendall and Moyes.

John Cook
33 Posted 17/08/2020 at 11:47:00
I can't understand this club – why are the players having a break at all? They have been in quarantine for months, FFS!

One of the main problems with this team is lack of fitness. Nearly every team run them off the park. Ferguson injected some pace into them but it didn't last as they were all fucked after 2 games.

I heard Leeds have been in training for a couple of weeks already. I would get them out of the cushy confines of Finch Farm also and run the bollocks off them in the sandhills at Ainsdale.

Patrick McFarlane
34 Posted 17/08/2020 at 11:59:28
John #33
I'm afraid you've heard wrong, Leeds returned to Pre-Season training last Wednesday: Leeds Return.

For many of the posters on here today, who is our next manager going to be? I only ask because if our fortunes are as set in stone as so many seem to think they are, we may as well cut our losses right now, today, and forget about anything but a relegation battle.

Can we at least wait until the season begins before writing off any hopes for the new campaign?

Anthony Murphy
35 Posted 17/08/2020 at 12:05:21
I see Romero may be an option given Henderson is likely to return to Man Utd after his loan.
Dave Abrahams
36 Posted 17/08/2020 at 12:14:14
John (33), The Sandhills at Ainsdale is too easy, run the bollocks off them on the hills between Netherfield Road and St. Domingo Road, the less they train at Finch Farm, aka Butlins, the better.
John Cook
37 Posted 17/08/2020 at 12:29:41
Even better that Dave so long as they don't do a detour passed Anfield they will shit themselves!
Ray Smith
38 Posted 17/08/2020 at 12:50:19
I follow TW daily, but don’t post very often.

Despite being linked with any player that’s apparently available (media hype), I am concerned that any quality players don’t want to sign for us!

I understand the silence from within, but that silence is becoming deafening.

I suspect that BK still has his fingers in the pie when it comes to negotiating transfers, that seemed to be at an advanced stage, only to come to nothing.

My biggest concern is that Carlo might use the lack of recruitment to walk away. I sincerely hope I’m wrong!

Andrew Ellams
39 Posted 17/08/2020 at 13:01:55
For anybody calling for Butland, can they tell us why a goalkeeper in his peak years, being touted around at £8-10M, is still at a very poor Championship team?

Something has clearly gone very wrong there and sounds like one to swerve.

Brent Stephens
40 Posted 17/08/2020 at 13:22:09
Dave #36, as teenagers we used to ride up Havelock Street on our bikes. A killer! All built over now??
Dave Abrahams
41 Posted 17/08/2020 at 13:31:52
Brent (40), new estates round about but all built on the hills, lots of people use them for getting fit and endurance, boxers and amateur footballers. Tony has a go there and took his partners son there a few times in the last few weeks. He started an apprenticeship with Morecambe last week, so that helped him to get fit.
Brent Stephens
42 Posted 17/08/2020 at 13:44:10
Cheers, Dave. Best of luck to Tony's lad. I bet he's brilliant... They say brilliance always skips a generation!
Gary Willock
43 Posted 17/08/2020 at 13:47:35
Thanks Ajay! I think Kunal's point is spot on too. there is a dark cloud hanging over everything right now, and there will be very few clubs who can afford to just go on a 'spree'. Other than usual spenders of Man City and Chelsea, I can't see any one else splashing out right now.

Sure, Spurs and the Dark Side have added 1 or 2 players too, but they are hardly breaking the bank, and – as last years Champions League finalists – they'll find it a little easier for the player to push for it too.

Selling clubs are being tentative too. They have assets who they previously thought they would get £60-70M for, who may only be worth a fraction of that once Covid-19 impact is felt fully. Do they sell now just in case, or do they hold on and hope someone desperate comes in?

Personally, I think the best hope is we can get a decent midfielder in from somewhere quickly and then we'll need to step back and see what the market does. I think as the window draws towards a close, we'll see a very different market as clubs across europe panic about balancing books.

Assuming though that it was none before the season starts, my starting team would be (4-4-2):

Kenny Keane Holgate Digne
Richarlison Gomes Delph Gordon
Kean Calvert-Lewin

Subs: Pickford, Coleman, Gibson, Iwobi, Bolasie, Bernard, Simms
(Send young Jarrad out on a loan, and let Gibson have a go.)

Dave Abrahams
44 Posted 17/08/2020 at 13:50:59
Brent (43), yes I was absolutely brilliant but, like Yosser Hughes from the “Blackstuff”, my paper round fucked my career up.

I definitely could have been a contender like Marlon Brando in “On the Waterfront”. Ah well, that”s life!!

Steve Ferns
45 Posted 17/08/2020 at 14:43:07
Andrew Ellams, because he dropped at least 5 clangers, according to reports, and Stoke fans say his distribution is woeful, so he would be a liability with Carlo's tendency to play out from the back.

His low price also reflects that he's in the last year of his contract, that Stoke can not afford to renew it, and that they are keen to get some money for him.

Note, I've not seen him play over the last two seasons and can only go off reports. There's clips of his errors on YouTube.

Karen Mason
46 Posted 17/08/2020 at 14:46:20
Clive @26.

When is Delph not injured?? But I'd rather him be on the treatment table than the pitch!! As for him being a great leader & influence in the dressing room, coz he won so much at Man City?

As a player, I'd rather someone lead by example than shoot their mouth off on the pitch & not be able to do it themselves. He may have been on the books at ManCity when they won trophies but, let's face it, he was rarely on the pitch either through injury or, more likely, not being selected!!

What waste of money he was, at any price.

Minik Hansen
47 Posted 17/08/2020 at 15:54:45
I wonder how it looks like at other clubs with their players' extended leave?
Andrew Ellams
48 Posted 17/08/2020 at 15:55:44
Steve Ferns. If anybody thought the lad had any chance of finding his old promise he wouldn't have spent 2 years in the Championship.

Another English goalkeeper going into decline before his time. All very odd.

Minik Hansen
49 Posted 17/08/2020 at 16:36:58
4-3-2-1 for me:

Kenny Holgate Mina Digne
Delph Gomes Iwobi
Richarlison Gordon

Subs: Pickford, Kean, Coleman, Walcott, Keane, Sigurdsson, Nkounkou (or Branthwaite).

Mike Gaynes
50 Posted 17/08/2020 at 16:41:48
Has anybody calling for Lössl actually seen him play?
Andrew Keatley
51 Posted 17/08/2020 at 16:56:40
Steve (27),

If you cannot see that Joe Hart is completely gone at the game then I don't know what to say. In his final season with Burnley he was conceding an average of 2+ goals a game (across half a season).

His career was built on a few decent performances for a Man City team that was suddenly transformed by an influx of world-class players. I cannot believe Spurs have got him in, but I'd be very surprised to see Hart start any Premier League this season.

Ben Foster is a far superior goalkeeper, but unlike Hart he still wants to play regular first-team football. I suspect that Hart knows that he no longer has it in him to be first choice at a Premier League club, and would rather be on the bench at a big club by choice than suffer another demotion to the bench at a smaller club. If we'd brought him in I'd have been livid.

Simon Smith
52 Posted 17/08/2020 at 18:02:37
Wouldn't it be great for Bolasie to show us that fully fit he still has something to offer?

Before his injury, I actually considered him one of our better players. I know age is not on his side, but it would be nice to see him given a chance.

Gary Fenton
53 Posted 17/08/2020 at 18:36:48
Not Zaha please!!!!!

Everton are being tipped to make a club record bid for Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha this summer although they won't match last year's offer.

Mike Gaynes
54 Posted 17/08/2020 at 18:38:05
Simon #53, it would be great indeed, but Bolasie managed only two goals and five assists in 25 games at Sporting CP last season, mostly as a starter. He's now 31.

I too considered him a pretty good player before his injury (not the majority view here on TW), but he's been back from that injury for 32 months now, and he hasn't regained his previous form.

I assume Carlo will give him a chance in training. I don't expect anything to come of it. It would be nice to be proven wrong.

Tony Everan
55 Posted 17/08/2020 at 18:44:04
Gary 54. Me too, unless we can send say Bolaise and Sigurdsson the other way as a straight swap deal, then it could make sense and benefit the club.

Transfers like this, the club have to be creative with swap deals or don't get involved.

Jason Li
56 Posted 17/08/2020 at 18:53:37
Here's a thought to throw into the thread, I'm guessing Carlo not starting training as early as other managers who've won a lot less, is because he knows this works when it comes to winning trophies – from past experience?

I guess that's why he may do many things we'll notices as time goes on that's different from others who are not serial winners.

In a way, he's won so many top trophies – he's an outlier. So may have some outlier methods too. Good for us, hey?

Gary Fenton
57 Posted 17/08/2020 at 18:57:41
Fully agree, Tony (56).

However, we never do 'easy', 'simple' or 'quickly' – always 'last minute'.

Brian Harrison
58 Posted 17/08/2020 at 19:18:21
Slightly off topic but its being reported by Journalists in the know like Graham Hunter, that Barcelona are about to appoint Koeman on a 2-year contract with the 2nd year being optional to both parties.

But Barcelona have presidential elections next year and the favourite for the job, seems very keen on appointing Xavi as manager. But seems as though Koeman will accept the job, well it was what he has wanted all along, but he would have to do remarkably well for Xavi not to be appointed when the new president is elected.

Hopefully for Barca he will spend more time on the training ground and less on the golf course like he did when he was here.

Mike Gaynes
59 Posted 17/08/2020 at 20:21:25
Brian, they might have a palace coup before then. Could be the only way to keep Messi from walking away to Man City.
Joe McMahon
60 Posted 17/08/2020 at 21:45:34
I wouldn't mind a few of the Inter Milan team, including the "lazy, can't control a ball" Romelu Lukaku.
Rob Halligan
61 Posted 17/08/2020 at 21:46:57
Talking of needing goalscorers, Romelu Lukaku has just scored two great goals for Inter Milan, currently 5-0. Lukaku has now scored in 10 consecutive Europa League games, admittedly some were with us.

Lukaku is exactly the type of striker we need, fast, powerful and knows where the onion bag is. Of course, though, some on here wouldn't dream of having him back (not that I think he'd come back) because he's a lazy bastard.

Fran Mitchell
62 Posted 17/08/2020 at 22:12:23
Messi in exchange for Sigurdsson? We can dream. Surely Goodison is exactly the challenge that someone like Messi would jump at?

Then again, some on here would moan at getting a past-it mercenary who can't even win a World Cup and think Tom Davies would do just as good a job (mentioning no names).

Rob Halligan
63 Posted 17/08/2020 at 22:14:20
Come on Fran, Messi is too old, what is he now, 30? Good job we didn't show an interest in Willian, who is, after all, well past it at 32.
Fran Mitchell
64 Posted 17/08/2020 at 22:24:01
Fair enough, Rob, better off getting Ryan Fraser... at least he'll have sell-on value!
Mike Doyle
65 Posted 17/08/2020 at 22:55:02
Rob #66,

I agree that we could really do with a player like Lukaku this season. However, I wonder how even he would do with the service provided by last season's apology for a midfield?

Frankly, a midfield quartet of you, Mike Gaynes and a couple of ‘conquests' from The Grafton would provide greater tenacity and a higher level of “service” to the strikers than we saw last season.

I wonder how long the likes of Delph would last on the dance floor on ‘grab a granny' night before limping off?

Mike Gaynes
66 Posted 18/08/2020 at 00:17:24
Rob #66, yeah, and he can't trap a bag of cement.

Fran #67, another Barcelona reject? Nah, he's 33, lazy, just strolls about, doesn't defend. And he's too small to stand up to the Premier League.

Mike #70, thanks for the endorsement, but my agent Mino won't let me sign. The guy really nurses a grudge, y'know?

Kieran Kinsella
67 Posted 18/08/2020 at 01:42:29

Messi has a low tolerance for crap teammates. Can you imagine: “Forget about Arturo Vidal, we've got Andre Gomes, remember him? The one who was afraid to leave the dressing room.”

Jay Harris
68 Posted 18/08/2020 at 03:32:38

I thought that game summed up Lukaku.

He was dreadful for 60 or 70 minutes and then, as soon as Shakta folded, he bagged 2 and missed a sitter.

He has got what Calvert-Lewin needs – a striker's instinct. Calvert-Lewin runs his balls off but, when you need him there to stick one in the net....???

Mal van Schaick
69 Posted 18/08/2020 at 08:42:01
I would be more excited about next season if they announced a clear-out in midfield and a rebuild. If we start next season the way we ended the last one, we are in big trouble.
Jack Convery
70 Posted 19/08/2020 at 03:42:41
If EFC was a dog, the Vet would be advising a needle to put it to sleep. That's how pissed off I feel about our once great club.
Bob Parrington
71 Posted 19/08/2020 at 13:38:28
Why not just get rid of the dross and accept the court case costs to compensate the knuckleheads? Clean start. Can't cost more than the losses from crap performances.

Pees me off when a company can't get rid of a useless employee without 'dire consequences'. Puts the rest of us in danger of business failure.

Philip McKeown
72 Posted 19/08/2020 at 13:48:11
Ajay @19,

My starting 11 would be Digne, Gomes and Richarlison.

If anyone else leaves then my poker face remains unchanged.

Philip McKeown
73 Posted 19/08/2020 at 13:49:44
Dominic Calvert-Lukaku would be some player...

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