Next up in our player by player review of the past Everton season, in which each individual will be recapped and rated is: Morgan Schneiderlin.
The veteran midfielder didn’t play much last season, but blew hot or cold when he did. Schneiderlin started the season as part of the midfield pairing with Idrissa Gueye, but once Andre Gomes was fit saw himself fall out of the matchday squad with Tom Davies ahead of him in the pecking order.
He was then hit by some bittersweet news, with his father passing away in September and then his wife having a baby a month later. The 29-year-old took a long time to get over the loss, but was able to put that behind him and make a strong enough impression on Marco Silva to get back in the squad, and eventually a starting spot in some key games to close out the season.
In those last few matches, Schneiderlin looked more like his younger, composed self, dispatching the ball around the park with consummate ease in his unique languorous style. He still has another two seasons to run on his current deal, but has previously also indicated that he would like to return to France if he is not part of Silva’s current plans.
For some reason, fans continue to label Schneiderlin as a “sideways-passer” or criticize him for passing the ball backwards when he quite clearly does well advancing play. His key passes per 90 minutes metric is well-ahead of his fellow midfielders Gomes, Davies and Gueye, while his dispossessed plus unsuccessful touches per 90 min numbers are better than Gueye’s.
His age does show though when the Blues are caught in possession or on quick counter-attacks, and the majority of the fouls the Frenchman concedes are of the late variety.
As has happened over the last three years he’s been paired with Gueye, the two defensive midfielders often interchange roles depending on opponents. Against bigger teams they have both sat back and provided a double-shield in front of the defence, while against smaller teams Schneiderlin has often sat back and allowed Gueye to be at his rampaging best further upfield.
The Blues have been reportedly looking to make permanent Andre Gomes’ loan from Barcelona while also being linked with Adrien Rabiot in recent days. If both of those moves end up happening then it’s easy to see Schneiderlin leaving this summer as Tom Davies will retain priority over him.
Difficult to grade Schneiderlin on the basis of his odd season. He wasn’t very good to begin the year, disappeared for a long stretch (understandably so, with the loss of his father), but then really made an effort in training and finished the year strong.
Would we hand him a new deal based on this? No. But if he can play 12-15 games next season like he did against Liverpool and Manchester United in relief duty, then we certainly want him around for another year at least.