In an article from Times columnist Paul Joyce, it has been revealed that Everton plans to focus on giving opportunities to some of their young players for the remainder of the season. In essence, this is a capitulation in terms of results for the rest of the campaign. From the article:
In another recalibration of the club’s recent strategy, the English quartet of Jonjoe Kenny, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ademola Lookman and Tom Davies have been earmarked for important roles alongside established players. Davies, who announced himself to a wider audience against tonight’s opponents Manchester City when scoring in a 4-0 win over Pep Guardiola’s side in January 2017, is 20 years old. The other three are all 21.
The policy has been decided by Silva along with Marcel Brands, the director of football, Bill Kenwright, the chairman, and Moshiri, and represents a shift of emphasis, which Everton hope will allow them to move forward with greater purpose.
This move has several immediate implications for Everton Football Club going forward. The foremost one being that Marco Silva’s job truly is safe. No manager would agree to this sort of thing without an assurance that the results on the pitch would not impact his job safety. I believe this is a positive thing for Everton going forward, though I think manager has a lot to prove if he is to survive the next campaign.
Ademola Lookman and Dominic Calvert-Lewin will receive important chances to develop. Both players are extremely talented and have a lot of upside, and their more regular inclusion will allow them to develop it. While I have concerns about DCL playing with Richarlison above the immobile Gylfi Sigurdsson, if the goal is player development this is not as much of an issue.
This is not good news for Cenk Tosun or Theo Walcott. Tosun was just starting to prove his worth in the starting XI and Walcott has struggled all season. Both players will have far fewer opportunities the rest of the season to show why they deserve to be with the club next season and it would not surprise me if neither were here when the league restarts next August.
As far as Davies and Kenny are concerned, I think their inclusion in this policy is absolutely irrelevant to their futures in the English Premier League. Neither player has shown any real improvement over the last two years and Davies in particular has had more than enough opportunities. If Everton has any real ambition of being the clear 7th best club in the league (or certainly anything better than that) neither of these players will be part of the club long term. They simply are not talented enough for that kind of expectation.
I am quite curious to see who gets dropped at Davies’ expense (or if who that is changes from game to game). If it is Idrissa Gueye, we are less likely to convince him to stay once this summer arrives. If Andre Gomes, we are less likely to convince him to join us on a permanent. I do not think Tom Davies getting more chances to show us how average he is justifies either of these results. If he plays in Gylfi’s spot, he will be horribly out of position and his historic proclivity towards turning the ball over will probably be on full display.
Overall, this is a sure sign that the Everton hierarchy thinks this season is over (probably with good reason). It is a shame given how much talent this team has, but hopefully the rest of the year will play out in a way that sets us up better for the future.