Player: Aaron Lennon #25
The loan system proved to be a valuable asset in Roberto Martinez’s first season in charge, with the success stories of Gareth Barry and Romelu Lukaku joining permanently last summer, and of course Gerard Deulofeu.
To replace Deulofeu, Martinez looked to dip into the loan market again with Christian Atsu. However, coming in to January the Ghanaian had only made a handful of appearances, Aiden McGeady was either frustrating or injured and Kevin Mirallas was also suffering injuries.
The Toffees needed a winger and on the transfer deadline day they secured the half-season loan of the experienced Lennon, who was out-of-favour at Tottenham Hotspur.
What He Did Well
Not only did Lennon press his man high up the pitch, he also helped Seamus Coleman in his own half in 2-v-1 situations – something which has been alien to wingers since Martinez’s arrival.
Lennon’s great pace finally gave Everton some impetus with the ball. Before the 28-year-old’s arrival, the Toffees were playing a slow and laboured style of football and the fast, attacking pace from the previous season looked to be a forgotten memory. Lennon helped a stagnant Everton find some elements of last season again with his high work ethic pushing others to replicate, and was always a successful outlet with the ball, taking us from one end of the field to another.
What He Could Have Done Better
Hopefully the pace merchant’s future will be at Goodison Park because without the ball he taught the likes of Mirallas and McGeady a lesson. However what will disappoint the 21-times capped England international will be the assists column during his time on Merseyside.
Throughout Lennon’s career end product has been critics’ go-to and that could be thrown at him again during his loan spell. What surprised about Lennon was how often he would cut inside and give to another player rather than look to knock it past his marker and have a race with the full-back. Perhaps this is the tactics of the manager dictating his play. The times Lennon did beat the full-back and put a cross in, the ball did not find an Everton player often enough, whether it be through the quality of delivery or movement of those in the penalty area.
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