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Everton 2013/14 Season Review: Sylvain Distin

Sylvain Distin once again defied the advancing years with another superbly consistent season.

Scott Heavey

A few eyebrows were raised when £5million was splashed out on a then 31-year-old Distin in the wake of Joleon Lescott’s departure in 2009.

Many thought that with finances tight Everton maybe should have signed a young player with greater sell-on value rather than the Portsmouth stopper.

Distin quickly dispelled those fears though and with each passing year makes his signing look like an absolute steal.

Once again this season he formed a solid partnership with Phil Jagielka, helping the club achieve the third best defensive record in the division.

He also missed just seven matches and for two of those he was rested, highlighting his dedication to keeping himself fit and looking after his body.

It is also significant that Distin was absent for three of Everton’s eight league defeats against Liverpool, Southampton and Manchester City. His experience and know-how is sorely missed whenever he is not playing.

His openness off the field has also endeared him to the supporters, though his willingness to talk with the fans on Twitter is often abused by certain sections of the support.

The only low point was perhaps a face-to-face confrontation with some angry fans after the goalless draw with Crystal Palace in November.

Distin, perhaps quite rightly, questioned the negative reaction to the draw given the fine season the club had enjoyed to date.

Unfortunately all he did was fan the flames, resulting in a rather ugly finish to the game at Selhurst Park. It was perhaps a battle he could never win on that occasion.

That aside, Distin has a fine campaign and one that was an improvement on 2012/13 according to Squawka’s rating, with his performance score rising from 791 to 880.

He also kept 14 clean sheets compared to 10 last season, made more tackles and interceptions and made the same number of blocks.

Interestingly Distin made 36 fewer clearances – though this could be mitigated by Roberto Martinez’s preference for playing it out from the back.

Overall Distin has proven he is still good enough to compete at the top level and is worthy of a place in the team next season.

The emergence of John Stones means there is a successor in place, but the England man may have to be content with the role of apprentice behind the evergreen Frenchman next year.