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Player Ratings: Everton’s season so far

Three months into the season, who has impressed and who must improve?

Everton FC v Fulham FC - Premier League
Everton have made a solid start to life under new boss Marco Silva
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

The two eras may feel light years apart, but it’s now six months since Everton sacked Sam Allardyce and replaced him with Marco Silva.

The Portuguese manager is almost one-third of the way through his debut campaign on Merseyside, with the Blues sat ninth on 19 points after 12 league games, though just a point off the top six.

With the final international break of 2018 underway, it’s time to look at how each of Everton’s players have fared so far this season:

*Only players with four or more appearances have been rated. All ratings out of ten with an average performance scoring about six.

Goalkeepers

Jordan Pickford - 8: The 24-year-old had an extraordinary summer, consolidating his position as England’s first-choice goalkeeper and playing every minute of the Three Lions’ memorable run to the semi-finals.

Only four weeks separated England’s final game in Russia and Everton’s season-opener, and perhaps there was a case for Pickford having a small World Cup hangover.

Goals conceded against Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United, both inside the first five games, were arguably preventable, but if Pickford had a sluggish start, he has delivered an emphatic response.

He was outstanding in the October defeat at Manchester United, making several stops from point-blank range, as well as saving Paul Pogba’s penalty, having got the better of Crystal Palace’s Luka Milivojević from 12 yards the week before.

But it was at Chelsea on Sunday that Pickford registered his best performance of the campaign, as he became the first goalkeeper this season to keep a clean sheet away to the second-highest scorers in the Premier League.

Pickford’s personality is as driven as it is enthusiastic; he is an infectious character who clearly inspires an enormous amount of confidence in the defenders in front of him.

Last term’s player of the year is only going from strength to strength this time around.

Defenders

Michael Keane - 8: a year on from his £30 million arrival from Burnley, Keane is finally justifying what looked, for the vast majority of last season, an incredibly inflated transfer fee.

It was a horrible first year at Everton for Keane, but he has shown what an excellent defender he can be under Silva’s tutelage, calmly cleaning up all that comes his way, week after week.

A defender lacking in pace, Keane has appeared far more comfortable alongside the more mobile Kurt Zouma than he ever did next to the ageing Phil Jagielka or the sluggish Ashley Williams, both of whom are now well into their 30s.

It underlines just how emphatic Keane’s revival has been that he has won his place in the England squad back, having not even been in consideration to make the plane to Russia in the summer.

Keane has also fought off a fractured skull, as well as fears that his foot may have needed amputating last season, and spoke candidly about the mental barriers he has overcome in his time at Goodison Park.

Like Pickford, he is an undeniably determined individual, and his transformation from liability to lionheart in the space of six months has been one of the most heart-warming stories of Everton’s season.

Kurt Zouma - 8: another who has been consistently impressive, the Chelsea loanee has looked impenetrable at times.

Now that Barcelona signing Yerry Mina is now fit, it remains to be seen whether Zouma will make way for the Colombian, especially given Mina’s display at Stamford Bridge which earned him man of the match.

But it would be brave for Silva to compromise the understanding he has built up instantly with Keane, not least because he, like his centre-back partner, has repeatedly delivered admirable individual performances.

If there is to be complaint about Zouma, it is that he, like Keane, should make more of an impact from set-pieces, but Everton must at least attempt to sign him permanently next summer.

Everton FC v Fulham FC - Premier League
Keane and Zouma have formed a solid partnership in central defence
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Lucas Digne - 8: Left-back Digne started the season as second fiddle to Leighton Baines, having also left Barcelona for the Blues in the summer.

But once he was given his first Everton start against Rotherham United, he has made too much of an impression in the side for Silva to drop him.

In Digne, the club may finally have found the long-term heir to Baines’ throne; his enthusiasm is obvious, his defending is competent, and his delivery is superb.

Seamus Coleman - 5: It has been a tricky time for Coleman since his long-awaited return from a leg injury which sidelined him for ten months. By his own admission, the Irishman’s form this season has not reached his typically high standards.

Though he has undoubtedly put in numerous outstanding showings, such as the recent win against Brighton & Hove Albion in which he scored, Coleman has been found wanting in both defence and attack repeatedly of late.

Now 30, it would be foolish and frankly wrong to label his Everton career as ‘finished’, but given his advancing years, and the lack of adequate back-up for his position, this is an area the Goodison hierarchy should look to strengthen in January or next summer.

Mason Holgate - 5: It has been strange season so far for Holgate. He was the only centre-back to play in all of Everton’s first six games of the campaign, but since then has not played a minute of first-team football.

While he certainly put in some sub-par performances, such as against Huddersfield Town and West Ham, Holgate has, to an extent, been unlucky; neither Keane or Zouma have deserved to lose their places, and Mina’s eventual return from injury has cast him further aside.

Nobody doubts Holgate’s potential; he has already shown he has the ability to succeed as a Premier League central defender. But he has not even made the bench since the win at Leicester City in early October, so the next time Silva gives him an opportunity, it is up to him to take it.

Everton FC v West Ham United - Premier League
Holgate has not seen first-team action for two months
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Jonjoe Kenny - 6: another injury for Coleman offered Kenny a chance to impress in September and October, but he, like Holgate, has found himself watching from the stands recently.

For the most part, he performed adequately enough in Coleman’s absence, but at times, particularly when he was fooled by Leicester’s Ricardo Pereira for the Foxes’ equalising goal, he has shown signs of immaturity in his defensive game.

At just 21, though, this is to be expected, so it would be ridiculous to write him off altogether at such an early stage in his career.

Leighton Baines - 5: The time would always come that Baines would lose his 10-year grip on his spot at left-back, and this season has been it.

Even when Baines has played, he has not hugely impressed. Though the penalty he conceded at Bournemouth was contentious, the foul itself was unnecessary, and he has looked increasingly like a wilting player devoid of pace.

Midfielders

Gylfi Sigurðsson - 8: Few epitomise the dynamism of this Everton side quite as much as Sigurðsson. From the unstoppable strikes to the defence-splitting passes, the Icelandic is thriving off an extended spell in his favoured position, behind the striker - a luxury he was not afforded last year.

It is also evident that, with the width and blistering speed around him, Silva’s style of play fits Sigurðsson like a glove. He is another who has raised his game considerably since the Allardyce days.

Idrissa Gueye - 9: Everton’s best player so far this season. He may offer little in the way of creativity, but the Toffees simply cannot function properly without Gueye tidying up in central midfield.

His tackles are tenacious yet well-timed, and with the more inventive André Gomes now next to him, Gueye can focus solely on what he excels at - his defensive work - whereas he has looked ill-at-ease when partnered with the similarly unimaginative Morgan Schneiderlin,

One disappointing game against West Ham aside, Gueye has been phenomenal under Silva. Currently in his best spell for two years, the Senegalese is one of the Premier League’s best defensive midfielders.

AFC Bournemouth v Everton FC - Premier League
Gueye has been a model of consistency this season
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Bernard - 7: A bright start for the diminutive Brazilian. His assists against Fulham and Leicester exemplify what an intelligent footballer Bernard is, and his rapid pace provides Everton with a commodity which deserted them last year.

Prior to his August move to Merseyside, he had not played competitive football since March, and his lack of match-fitness has become more apparent lately, having faded in recent weeks.

But he is another signing who clearly relishes wearing the royal blue shirt and will only improve even further with more minutes.

Morgan Schneiderlin - 6: A difficult one to judge. The pariah of last season for many Evertonians, Schneiderlin looked back to his old, dependable self in August, before injury struck in the second game of the campaign against Southampton.

With Gueye and Gomes a far more compatible midfield partnership, as well as James McCarthy’s return from injury and the continuing development of Tom Davies, Schneiderlin is facing an uphill task to win back his place on the bench, never mind on the field.

Tom Davies - 6: Though he has, at times, been erratic, Davies’ ability on the ball, and passion for Everton, could never come under scrutiny. In essence, he offers less going forward than Gomes, but far more than Schneiderlin.

Marco Silva obviously thinks a great deal of Davies, having handed the 20-year-old the captain’s armband on several occasions this season. But, again, through the form of Gueye and Gomes, he is finding himself starved of opportunities at this moment.

It has been a fluctuating season for Davies
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

André Gomes - 7: It is perhaps unfair to judge Gomes, given he has only played four games in three months, but he has made such an impact while playing for the Toffees that deserves recognition.

Seemingly the perfect partner for Gueye, the central midfielder never looks fazed on the ball and always puts in a shift defensively. His rating would have been higher had he played for a longer period.

On loan from Barcelona, Gomes is another, like Zouma, whose contract at Goodison ought to be made permanent at the earliest opportunity. Already, he looks essential to the balance of the Blues’ squad.

Forwards

Theo Walcott - 5: Walcott may have three strikes this season, but with the chances he has been presented with at times, he will know himself he should increased his personal tally. His lack of composure in front of goal is proving harder to stomach with every opportunity he spurns.

A campaign which began strongly has suddenly begun to nosedive, and the time might have come for Silva to take Walcott out of the firing line. Aside from anything else, he looks short of confidence at the moment.

Richarlison - 8: Many eyes were watering when former Watford boss Silva reportedly paid £50 million to reunite himself with the man he brought to England with the Hornets the previous summer, but he has proved an inspired acquisition.

Whether up front or in his preferred position on the left-wing, Richarlison has been irrepressible, and has already beaten his goal tally with Watford last season.

He can still irk supporters occasionally; at times, he can selfishly not pass to his better-placed team-mates, and his clash with Bournemouth’s Adam Smith, which earned him a red card, showed he still possesses a petulance which will need ironing out.

But these are both minor criticisms of a man who has embodied the revitalisation of a team painfully supine before his arrival. Whether it be through his goals, his electric pace or his manipulation of the ball, Richarlison is another of Everton’s indispensable assets.

Everton FC v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League
Richarlison is certainly justifying what looked a hefty transfer fee
Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images

Ademola Lookman - 6: After a tough, disrupted time at Goodison under both Ronald Koeman and Allardyce, Lookman is finally starting to come into his own.

He is yet to make a league start under Silva, and some of his cameo appearances has proved underwhelming, but he has begun to make more of an impact on proceedings when introduced and, after doubts about his commitment in the summer, he unequivocally looks like a player who wants to play for Everton.

Taking this into account, as well as Walcott’s uninspiring form, a case could easily be made to pick Lookman from the beginning in Everton’s next match against Cardiff City.

Cenk Tosun - 6: The Turk never lacks endeavour, but with just two goals in 12 appearances, he will not be entirely satisfied with his season so far.

A likeable character who always puts in a shift, there is an awful lot of good will from the Goodison faithful towards Tosun, but that alone will not get him on the score-sheet more frequently.

His finish against Crystal Palace were a perfect demonstration of his qualities; Tosun used his considerable strength to hold off both James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho before firing assuredly past goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey. The task for him now is to replicate this feat more often,

Dominic Calvert-Lewin - 6: Slowly but surely, the young striker is developing into a more accomplished forward. Some will rightly question whether he bears the hallmarks of a prolific, lethal Premier League scorer, but nobody could ever discredit the effort Calvert-Lewin puts in when on the pitch.

Like Tosun, with whom he is tied on two league goals, he must start scoring more often when given his chance if he is to displace Richarlison as first-choice striker, but Calvert-Lewin is gradually becoming a more valuable member of Silva’s squad.

It has been a solid, if unspectacular, first three months for him.

Oumar Niasse - 4: Another for whom it is hard to see a way back. The Senegalese has made just four league appearances, all from the bench, and has made minimal impact in each. His work rate could never be questioned, but Niasse looks like a man who knows his Everton days are numbered.


From the bloated, disjointed squad which Silva and director of football Marcel Brands inherited in May, Everton have come a long way in the last six months.

It has been far from a perfect start to 2018/19 but, as reflected in the high ratings here, several players who were out-of-form last term have begun to redeem themselves, and the embryonic signs of a team capable of challenging the top six are starting to shine through.