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Toffees Mailbag: Koeman Out, Unsworth In and Beni Baningime

Answering all of your relevant, and irreverent, Everton questions.

There is so much to get to in this mailbag I hardly know where to be.....ok that’s a lie....

It’s not that I am reveling in Ronald Koeman’s departure (Everton are a club in dire need of some on-field stability), it’s just that it’s easy to make fun of the ridiculous mistakes the Dutchman was making by the end of the end of his shockingly brief tenure.

The on-the-field stuff was evident, but even as far away in the US it was incredibly apparent that Koeman and Everton just didn’t fit together.

From the handling of Ross Barkley to calling his own players ‘scared’ the Dutchman never seemed quite at home at Goodison.

He is far from inept, but his strengths (man management?? more on THAT in a second) are not what Everton are looking for in a manager. The Toffees need a gaffer who can build a strong foundation upon which the forward-thinking goal-scoring machine of a team fans want can be built.

If I had my way Everton would get Thomas Tuchel or another coach with a proven history of (successfully) integrating youth.

To be honest though, any coach that can come in and get Everton back to playing with the intensity they used to is alright in my book.

Back to Koeman’s perceived man-management skills.

I, along with most people, assumed that the Dutchman was nothing if not cordial with his players.

Now that Koeman has departed, however, the horror stories about life under the Dutch legend are starting to come out.

First, this isn’t entirely new, but let’s just say it was worse with Niasse than anyone ever thought:

Which also makes this poetic:

In addition to his exiling of Niasse, it seems Koeman is one of those managers who DEMANDS respect...but doesn’t necessarily EARN it.... (your playing days are up Tin Tin).

Additionally it has come out that he disconnected from the WILDLY successful academy system, left work early, and was seen knocking ice cream out of little kid’s hands.

(Ok............I made the last one up.)

No matter what, Koeman had proved himself to be a bit of a square peg in a round hole, especially once things went sideways and he was tasked with righting the ship.

(A task he failed spectacularly at.)

Now, however, the Rhino takes over.

No.....not Rocksteady......

David Unsworth!

Bolton v Everton U23 - EFL Checkatrade Trophy Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Which brings me to last night’s match.

I am sure that you will devour endless articles on Unsworth’s tactics and team selection, so I am just going to give you a run down of a couple of my thoughts on the match:

  • I was 50% excited and 90% scared going into this thing
  • Beni Baningime should have been with the first team all season. With Gareth Barry gone, the Toffees have gone all season without a true #6 replacement. The 19-year old isn’t a world beater but against a strong Chelsea side he showed himself capable of giving the Toffees minutes in a position at which they are desperately thin ,and struggling. (Sorry’s true)

Also, he did this -

  • Ashley Williams is awful
  • Kevin Mirallas is like that friend you have a lot of fun with but just isn’t that dependable. Sometimes it’s worth the risk to include him, but the moment he fails to materialize and lets you down you remember EXACTLY why you tell yourself you’ll never include him again.
  • Cuco Martina is about to be a well-paid 4th string RB.
  • I miss Nikola Vlasic when he isn’t around. Speaking of which....update!
  • Ashley Williams is really bad
  • Dominic Calvert-Lewin is an incredibly good forward. I have faith Unsworth will lean on him until January.
  • We can’t defend set pieces...I bet Unsworth changes that.
  • It’s an absolute CRIME Jon Joe Kenny hasn’t been playing more regularly.
  • Same with Ademola Lookman.
  • Ashley Williams is atrocious.
  • The physical being that used to be James McCarthy is a broken shadow of his former self. We should sell him for whatever we can get him for.
  • Overall, tough to be critical as the team played HARD and were the better side by FAR in the second half.
  • This game gave me hope for the season moving forward.
  • Oh.... and one last thing
  • Ashley Williams stinks.

Well one guy has an idea.......

Of the likely candidates for the job I would rank them in the order of my preference as follows:

  1. Thomas Tuchel
  2. David Unsworth
  3. Sean Dyche

To be honest though, I think Unsworth will do well enough to earn a look for the rest of at least this season. If the team finishes top 8, he will get a continuation onto next year, but otherwise I see the Toffees getting a new man in the summer.

Speaking of whoever the new manager ends up being.....


Spoiler Alert: I am not a Premier League manager.

However.....even the biggest novice could see the problems that were happening with Everton.

Even more evident was the fact it was THE SAME DAMN PROBLEMS EVERY WEEK!!

So back to your original question, I believe that if players know what they are supposed to be doing (usually when things aren’t over complicated) they tend to play harder and are ultimately successful.

So now that David Unsworth is in charge I have no doubt he has spent a fair amount of time setting his expectations for the individual players and outlining how their roles and responsibilities fit into the larger picture.

Only then can players play without thinking and develop the confidence that Koeman spent so much time bemoaning was missing in the side, but never actually tried to inject.

The Chelsea game saw young players play with the same aforementioned confidence missing from the side under Koeman, due largely to the fact that they knew what to do and went about their business at full speed.

Sometimes it’s the simple things.

I think I am in the minority here but I think Davy Klaassen DOES have a future with the Toffees.

While there is certainly an argument to be made that his signing was unnecessary, especially once Gylfi Sigurdsson was on board, but I find the proclamation that the Dutchman isn’t good enough to be laughable.

He is a hardworking, technical player with plenty of previous iterations of his ilk succeeding in the Premier League. Klasseen has been far more a victim of odd (and confounding) personnel decisions as well as being part of the numerous failed tactical solutions promoted by Ronald Koeman.

In the rare instances when Klassen has been on the pitch and Everton have been attempting to play the ball on the ground, Davy has shown his ability to have a positive impact on the match.

Everton v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Whether it be his run to create space for Rooney’s goal versus Stoke or the slight flick to create enough space for Baines to get by him and get a goal-creating cross off, the Dutch midfielder has shown himself to be a useful member of the squad.

From my point of view, Klassen is trying to play chess and the Toffees have spent the entire season trying to play checkers.

If the Toffees can put players around Klaassen who can take advantage of his incredible linking skills he will show himself to be worth every penny.

Or not.

The change of manager will either solidify Klaassen’s position in the side or he will be removed from the board entirely due to an inability to play ugly soccer with a sputtering team.

I’ve got my money on the former.

Who saw THAT coming??




Favorite Track: No Distraction

To be honest I have not always been the biggest fan of Beck, but this album is great. Lots of tunes to jam out to, and with a new splash of rock Beck really hits this one out of the park.

Looking for a tune to roll the windows down and scream out at the top of your lungs all the things you never got to say to Ronald Koeman?

No Distraction is for you....and the Toffees.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Soundtrack

Various Artists

Favorite Track: Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)

First off, Guardians of the Galaxy (GOTG) is easily my favorite superhero/ comic book movie series and it is due in no small part to the music that is featured in the films.

The second movie didn’t disappoint, and either did the follow up soundtrack.

Picking a favorite song was damn near impossible, but Brandy is so good it hurts. It’s basically Everton’s breakup song with Koeman.


Lighthouse and the Whaler

Favorite Track: Made of Water

Though not a lengthy album (5 tracks), Lighthouse and the Whaler put together an entertaining one for sure.

‘Paths’ is a perfect album if you need something to run on the treadmill too, or just want to sing out some of your angst.

Made of Water is my favorite track because I picture it as a great montage song in a late 80’s movie, and I love late 80’s movies.

It will also help a struggling Everton fan cope with the current identity crisis at the club.

MY PREDICTION: 2-1 Everton WIN vs Leicester.