We continue our player by player review of the past Everton season, in which each individual will be recapped and rated. Next up: Yerry Mina
When it was announced that Yerry Mina had signed from Barcelona, Everton fans rejoiced at the thought of the Colombian center back immediately improving what can kindly be described as a ‘weakness’ entering the season.
Unfortunately for Mina, his season was delayed three months due to an nagging injury and didn’t make an appearance in a Blues kit until early November against Brighton & Hove Albion when he came on as a last minute substitute. The following week he would make his debut in the starting XI against Chelsea in a 0-0 draw. He would then go on to make eight consecutive league starts before another injury derailed his momentum.
Mina would show up intermittently for the rest of the season, recording only two more starts (and three other appearances) after January, including the season finale against Tottenham Hotspur where once again we saw the best and worst sides of him in the same game.
Mina’s injuries kept his abilities behind the proverbial curtain for months, but once he was on the field his talent was undeniable. (As was his need for improvement to be fair). Making his debut against Chelsea after only one brief substitute appearance, Mina was a major reason Everton were able to keep a potent Chelsea side off the board.
Following this start, Mina went on to start the next seven consecutive league matches, with the Toffees only losses in that stretch coming to Manchester City and THAT team on the other side of the park.
The 24-year-old showed his considerable physical talents, though some of his issues with footwork and positioning did show up now and then, he continued to improve with each start.
Showing a penchant for physical play, Mina did pick up quite a few fouls, often in dangerous places, but also was key in clearing chances whether in the air or in emergency defending situations.
In addition to his impressive defensive abilities, Mina also reminded everyone (not that English fans could forget) of his scoring prowess when he scored only a minute into the match against Burnley, upon which the Toffees constructed a 5-1 rout of the previous season’s seventh-placed side.
Overall Mina had a solid debut season, though injuries prevented him from making monumental strides in adjusting to the Premier League.
As noted above, Mina’s usage was severely limited due to injury, though when healthy it was obvious Marco Silva liked what he brought to the side as Mina’s string of starts came mostly at the expense of an impressive (albeit on loan) Kurt Zouma.
In fact it was Zouma’s inability to play against his parent club Chelsea that allowed for Mina to step into the starting XI and earn his one string on starts.
By the end of the season Mina would accumulate 13 Premier League starts, 3 substitute appearances and two cup starts.
Due to his sporadic availability there were very few matches where Mina was available and unused so it is difficult to discern exactly what Marco SIlva had in mind should he have had all of his options available for the season.
Despite rumors linking him with a move away, it is difficult to see Mina as anything but a key player for the Toffees next season and beyond.
His mix of physical capabilities and continually improving ball skills make him an ideal candidate to help the Toffees maintain, and ultimately improve, their standing in the Premier League. With Michael Keane as the only other established center back in the squad with the departure of Phil Jagielka and the (temporary?) return of Kurt Zouma to Chelsea, Everton fans should get used to seeing Mina in the side for the foreseeable future.