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Everton Season Preview: Wingers

Do we have to?

Stats

Everton Wingers 2017-18

Player Minutes Goals Assists KP/90 Shots/90
Player Minutes Goals Assists KP/90 Shots/90
Richarlison* 2827 5 4 0.8 3
Theo Walcott 1153 3 3 1.1 1.5
Yannick Bolasie 856 1 0 0.4 2
Ademola Lookman** 730 5 4 2.3 2

*- at Watford
** - combined at RB Leipzig and Everton

Tactics

In Marco Silva’s more modern and progressive 4-3-3, the wingers are perhaps the most important set of players on the field. Not only will they be relied on for goals, but creativity, too. Everton’s strikers stand to benefit from the new system, as Silva loves to build play down the wings.

At Watford, Richarlison and Andre Carrillo would drift inside and attack defenders one-on-one, reminiscent of Arjen Robben, but they weren’t afraid to hug the touchline, either, and leave room for Troy Deeney and Andre Gray to work.

Whatever the match instructions are, Everton’s wide men are going to play a major role this season.

Current Players

Richarlison

One of the most expensive signings in club history, the Blues are banking on the Brazilian forward to become a star. There’s evidence enough to indicate Richarlison is on his way to that status, but if he’s going to be a success at Everton, he’ll need to harness more consistency than he showed at Watford.

Richarlison will be a focal point of Marco Silva’s attack, and one of the first names on the team sheet every week. He’s already showed some spark in the preseason, and now he needs to hit the ground running.

West Ham United v Everton - Premier League Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images

Theo Walcott

After his January arrival last year, Theo Walcott was probably Everton’s most effective attacker. He’s quick and direct - pretty much everything Yannick Bolasie has been unable to be since coming back from injury.

Walcott has some injury issues of his own, of course, and will likely require more rotation than some of Everton’s other first teamers, If Theo stays fit, though, don’t be surprised to see him near the top of the club’s goal charts at season’s end.

Ademola Lookman

Sam Allardyce ruined Everton’s relationship with Ademola Lookman. It might be the most regrettable outcome from a tenure that was filled with them, and it doesn’t seem like Marco Silva has yet been able to mend the burnt bridges.

Ade, by most accounts, has one foot out the door to Leipzig, where he enjoyed both playing time and production. Lookman is one of the most promising attacking prospects to come through the doors at Finch Farm in quite some time, and it would be a travesty if he ends up getting sold.

As it stands, Marco Silva has stated pretty clearly that Lookman won’t be sold, even after an embarrassingly uninterested display in the Toffees final friendly. Can Silva get Lookman back on the same page as his teammates? Or will the manager give way to Leipzig’s advances before the German window closes?

Southampton v Everton - Premier League Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Yannick Bolasie

Oh, Yala. You’re so fun. Dribbling tricks, smiles, Instagram stories. We want to love you, but there’s this elephant in the room regarding...well...you’re not very good.

Don’t misunderstand - Bolasie has not really set a foot wrong at Everton. It’s not his fault that the club overpaid in the transfer market. It’s not his fault that his knee exploded into a million pieces.

Unfortunately, the Congolese winger’s performances have been severely lacking. If Bolasie stays at Everton this summer, he’s likely to be used as depth only. If he heads out (perhaps to Turkey), Everton need to make a purchase.

Bernard

The Brazilian winger’s addition may have been the biggest surprise of the summer. He went from being linked to multiple “bigger” clubs to signed by Everton in just a few days.

Bernard has yet to try his luck in one of Europe’s biggest leagues, so he comes to Goodison highly rated, but still something of an unknown. Because he was unattached, he’s likely to need more time than his other new comrades to get match fit. But, even in a worst-case scenario, he represents outstanding depth at a position that had been a problem even just a few weeks ago.

State of the Position

This is a mess. As things stand, Everton only have two players in wide positions who you would term as trustworthy. Either or both of Lookman and Bolasie could be leaving, which would leave just Walcott and Richarlison on the books.

It isn’t his best position, but Dominic Calvert-Lewin could deputize out wide in a pinch. There’s also a reasonable argument to be made regarding whether you need three or four wingers in the squad.

Either way, some clarity at wing will be required in the coming days.

We wrote that before Bernard was added and before Silva declared Lookman would stay. If the Brazilian can get fit and Lookman motivated, a position that has been an obvious area of weakness in recent years could easily become a strength.