It wasn’t a good weekend for Everton or for the players out on loan, except for one. Kieran Dowell is the only one who will be proceeding to the fourth round of the FA Cup after he led his Nottingham Forest side to a memorable 4-2 win over a shambolic Arsenal this weekend.
Dowell has been the star for Gary Brazil’s side this season, featuring as the key playmaker in the 4-2-3-1 formation. The loan to the Championship has been a master stroke by the Everton management, as he was already head and shoulders above the Under-23s he played alongside and against last season.
We saw Ross Barkley come back from a similar loan spell in the Championship and really kick on, establishing himself as a regular in the senior squad. The coming offseason could be interesting though because the #10 is a position that Everton appear to be loaded at.
But now with Barkley gone and Davy Klaassen likely on his way out, it’s going to be Gylfi Sigurdsson and Wayne Rooney for that spot. The Icelander has shown that he can be effective out on the left, but is Dowell ready to compete with those two in the squad? He’s certainly showed in spurts that he can.
Full back Antonee Robinson saw his loan to Bolton Wanderers extended to the full season last week, but lost to Premier League side Huddersfield Town 2-1 to go out of the FA Cup. He has become a regular starter at the left back position, and could pose an interesting question or two about his future at Everton at the end of the season.
Fellow defender Tyias Browning also played the full ninety minutes as Sunderland lost to Middlesbrough 2-0, with Brendan Galloway finally making an appearance on the bench.
Ipswich lost 1-0 to Sheffield United, with Callum Connolly playing in midfield again, while another midfielder Joe Williams was sent off as Barnsley imploded 4-1 at Milwall. Williams has led his side well in the defensive midfield pivot role but received a straight red for a pretty terrible challenge on Jed Wallace. Not quite what he did in the Under-18 Merseyside Derby, but close.
Finally, Leeds United were knocked out by Newport County 2-1, and once again Matthew Pennington failed to even make the matchday squad.