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Everton 4-1 Wolfsburg: Player Ratings

Howard, McCarthy and Mirallas starred in an emphatic Blues victory

Jan Kruger

Tim Howard - 10

After a shaky start to the Premier League season, Everton's very own Secretary of Defence was back to his blistering World Cup best against Wolfsburg on Thursday. The opposition were far from the pushovers suggested by the 4-1 scoreline, mustering an impressive 13 shots on target, but the American was able to thwart Ivica Olic and co. at every turn. And when he was finally beaten, there was little Howard could do to stop Ricardo Rodriguez's stunning free kick.

Seamus Coleman - 8

Coleman was back to his raiding ways in the Europa League tie, bagging a poacher's goal that you'd associate more with a striker than a right back. Part of what was a very attacking flank, with Rodriguez bombing forward for Wolfsburg too, Coleman struggled to contain his Swiss counterpart, allowing a lot of crosses from the opposition left-hand side, but he was equally menacing going forward himself, producing a number of dangerous balls that should really have been capitalised on.

John Stones - 8

Another imperious performance from Stones further marked him out as surely the club's number one centre back. Impeccable in possession, his ability to beat a man really is incredible, though a couple of flubbed clearances served as reminders of his occasional defensive fragility. Against more clinical opposition, either mistake might have led to a goal, but as it was, Stones' blushes were spared.

Phil Jagielka - 7

It will be a relief for the Everton captain to have turned in a performance best described as forgettable after his difficult start to the campaign. Jagielka was unremarkable, but most importantly solid at the back, and while his steadfast right-footedness will keep throwing up problems while he's playing to the left of Stones, a couple of improved will go a long way to restoring the skipper's dented confidence.

Leighton Baines - 8

Vastly improved from the match against West Brom, Baines was diligent in defence and sharp going forward. Combining superbly with James McCarthy to eventually set up the opening goal, he linked beautifully with Kevin Mirallas throughout. He doesn't miss penalties either.

Gareth Barry - 7

Another tidy showing from Barry at the base of the Everton midfield, with the veteran serving, as ever, as the Blues' first midfield option when playing the ball out from defence. His weariness showed slightly in the second half, with defensive duties delegated almost exclusively to James McCarthy, but Barry was again reliable, if unspectacular, in the centre of the park.

James McCarthy - 9

After two of his poorest performances in an Everton shirt against Chelsea and West Brom, James McCarthy turned in one of his best against Wolfsburg. The Toffees' most important defensive player along with Tim Howard, the Irishman made more blocks than any player on the pitch, put in several important challenges (including one particularly monstrous tackle on Aaron Hunt), and finished the game with an absured 98% pass completion. More of this please, Jimmy.

Aiden McGeady - 7

The mercurial Aiden McGeady was, once again, well, mercurial against Wolfsburg. Some poor choices in the final third made for frustrating viewing, but the winger's quick thinking and quicker feet did earn Everton a penalty just after the restart, albeit one that shouldn't have been. Despite that opportunism though, it perhaps would have been nice to see Christian Atsu given some game time considering McGeady's lack of involvement late on.

Kevin Mirallas - 9

Thursday saw the standout performance in what has already been a quietly excellent season so far for Kevin Mirallas. Direct, powerful and bristling with confidence, the Belgian was Everton's primary source of counterattacking threat, and deservedly capped his superb display with the most delightfully nonchalant of finishes late on.

Steven Naismith - 7

Busy, hardworking and tenacious, this was a typical Naismith performance, if not one of his best. The Scottish forward forced Rodriguez's own goal to open the scoring, and his link play was refreshingly precise, though a series of clumsy fouls meant that he came a bit too close to a red card for comfort.

Romelu Lukaku - 7

Thursday saw another hardworking performance from Lukaku as he continues to head towards peak fitness. Forced to work the channels more than usual, his running was nevertheless intelligent, and he more to create space for his teammates than perhaps any other Everton player. Despite this however, chances were few and far between for Rom - an excellent first half free kick was the closest he came to a goal.


Samuel Eto'o - 9

As cameo appearances go, this was one of the best I can think of. In 20 minutes Samuel Eto'o created a goal, and might have created two more had his fellow attackers been more clinical. Classy in possession and still despite his advancing years, there is every indication that Eto'o could be Everton's most astute signing of the season.

Darron Gibson - 7

More than anything, it was just great to see Gibson on the pitch again. What little he had to do in the final few minute of the math, he did well, and only a fine stop by Diego Benaglio denied him what would have been a brilliant comeback goal.

Leon Osman - N/A

Man of the Match - Tim Howard

A titan between the sticks, Howard was an easy choice for man of the match. Mixing reflex saves, with commanding punches and one truly world-class stop from a Rodriguez free kick, the American keeper gave a complete performance, and ensured Everton came away with a convincing result from what was a deceptively close matchup.