It was a rare reaction from a manager that set tongues wagging after Everton’s draw away at Manchester United on Sunday. Barely 18 minutes after coming on halfway through the second stanza of the game, Moise Kean got substituted back off for the last handful of minutes as the hosts pressed for the winner in a tied game.
How often do we see a substitute being taken off, especially that late in the game? Almost always it has to do with an injury, but Kean was running around just fine and looked incredulous as he peered at the board the assistant referee was holding up, the pixels very clearly spelling out the #27 that he wears for the Blues.
After the game, caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson attempted to explain what had happened, saying that the teenager wasn’t quite getting into the flow of the game and that he used the substitution to kill some time at the end of the game.
The internet exploded with speculation, choosing to vilify one or the other protagonist in the story, and virtually confirming that Kean would be leaving during the January transfer window.
Thus it was with a big sigh that many Blues noted the youngster take his place in the matchday squad for the Carabao Cup quarterfinal against Leicester City on Wednesday night.
And it was no surprise at all that Kean laid on the pass for Richarlison’s assist for Tom Davies after coming on as a second half substitute to spark the brave Everton fightback that saw the game go to a penalty shootout where the Blues lost.
Speaking after the game, Ferguson was satisfied with how the young forward had responded on the pitch.
“I spoke to him. No problems at all. We go again.
“He was on board and I thought he did well tonight. We played him through the middle and he contributed, didn’t he?
”Fair play to him and it was a good reaction. We go again on Saturday.”
For the record, Kean registered one blocked shot, a 50% pass success rate on 4 passes with one of those being a key pass leading to Davies’ goal, one successful dribble and three times dispossessed, one foul and 15 touches in all. (All data via WhoScored)