Everton and Manchester United played out a dour 0-0 draw in Wayne Rooney’s testimonial at Old Trafford.
Like all of Everton’s pre-season games this summer there were aspects of the display that will please Ronald Koeman, particularly defensively.
However, the squad still looks short of quality meaning new recruitments are essential before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
Koeman set out his side playing a 3-5-2 formation with Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines the wing-backs and young Mason Holgate joining John Stones and Ramiro Funes Mori in the centre.
After a quiet start it was Manchester United who had the first chance of the game but Maarten Stekelenberg was equal to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s shot
Romelu Lukaku’s blocked shot then fell to Ross Barkley in the area but his first-time side-footed effort was well pushed away by David De Gea.
Barkley then attempted to lead a three-man counter-attack but the England midfielder hesitated at the crucial moment and ended up slipping over as he tried to play in Gerard Deulofeu.
Luke Shaw, continuing his comeback from a broken leg, came close to opening the scoring when his long-range drive was deflected just wide.
Ibrahimovic then had a great opportunity to put United ahead when he broke free at the far post but his shot from a tight angle was smothered by Stekelenberg.
The best opportunity of the half fell to Lukaku moments before the break. Coleman’s dangerous cross from the right found Lukaku unmarked but his header flashed just wide with De Gea unmoved.
Kevin Mirallas came on at the start of the second half and had an early opportunity, blasting into the side netting from Lukaku’s knockdown.
At this point he was blissfully unaware of Roberto Martinez’s shock appointment as Belgium national team manager. I wonder who broke it to him.
Moments later the man-of-the-moment Rooney received a warm reception as he was replaced by Marcus Rashford.
Both sides made a host of substitutions on 65 minutes and the game predictably fragmented after that.
One of those subs, Bryan Oviedo, did well to prevent Marouane Fellaini from getting his head onto Memphis’ left wing cross.
There was a blow for Everton in the closing stages when Muhamed Besic pulled up with what looked like a knee injury and had to be replaced by Tom Davies.
Fellaini’s then had a header straight at Joel while at the other end Funes Mori couldn’t direct his header on target from Mirallas’ free kick.
The game then slowed still further to culminate in a timid finish, with the draw a fair result given the performances of the two sides.
Everton now have just one more pre-season game left ahead of the new campaign against Espanyol at Goodison Park on Saturday.