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Everton Women: 2020-21 Player Grades

How each of Willie Kirk’s player fared during the Toffees’ fifth-place campaign

Manchester United Women v Everton Women - Barclays FA Women’s Super League
In her first season with the Blues, Izzy Christiansen, center, was named the Club’s Women’s Player of the Season.
Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus/Getty Images

After a 27-game season that began in early September and ended in late May, Everton concluded the 2020-21 campaign with a fifth-place finish and a total of 32 points. In Willie Kirk’s second full season at the helm — the Scottish manager took over in December of 2018 — the Toffees continued their ascent up the league table.

With eyes on next season and hopes of building a perennial contender on Merseyside, here’s how every player who featured at least once for Everton fared this past season.

(Note: While the following numbers include games from all competitions in 2020-21, they do not include all statistics from those competitions, as data is unreliable or nonexistent. The statistics are taken from Fbref and Statsbomb.)

Goalkeepers

Sandy MacIver - Grade: B+

Kirk must be content with his goalkeeping situation; he has 22-year-old Sandy MacIver locked in as his first choice for the next decade. MacIver made 21 total appearances this past season, 18 of which came in the league, two in the FA Cup and one in the League Cup. MacIver, who was named the team’s Young Player of the Season and earned her first cap for the Lionesses this February, kept six clean sheets, held a 65.2-percent save percentage and conceded 1.45 goals per ninety. Her 50.25 touches and 1.22 defensive actions outside the penalty area per 90 ranked in the 82nd percentile. She showed signs of naivety in net but having established herself as the side’s number one at 22 — and that she is firmly in the mix for England’s number two goalie spot — bodes well for Everton’s prospects.

Chelsea Women v Everton Women: Vitality Women’s FA Cup 5th Round Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Tinja-Riikka Korpela - Grade: B+

As one of the most decorated Finnish players of all time, Korpela, 35, was a reliable deputy in net this season. She played five games — one as a substitute — and logged 432 minutes. Her 70.6 save percentage, 50 clean sheet percentage and 1.04 goals against per 90 earn her the distinction as one of the division’s top backup goalies.

Centre-backs

Megan Finnigan - Grade: B+

As Everton’s Ironwoman, Finnigan epitomized consistency for the Blues this past season. She played in every match and missed only 45 minutes of action. The 23-year-old made 9.49 pressures, notched 1.40 interceptions and won 1.81 aerials per 90. Finnigan also scored twice and provided an assist, but her true strength came in passing range; she completed 64.1-percent of long balls and 92.4percent of medium-range passes. After coming through the team’s youth academy, Finnigan’s distribution allows Everton’s forwards to stretch the field.

Rikke Sevecke - Grade: A-

Signed in the summer from FC Fleury, Sevecke arguably was the Toffees’ top central defender this season. The 24-year-old Dane missed just two fixtures and logged 1,666 minutes and managed one assist. On the defensive side, Sevecke made 1.62 interceptions, 5.83 clearances and 2.05 aerials won per 90. And her 84.7percent completion rate ranked in the 75th percentile, evidence of her skilled passing abilities. Just one year Finnigan’s senior, the spine of Everton’s defense is secure for the foreseeable future.

Everton Women v Aston Villa Women - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus/Getty Images

Gabby George - Grade: B

After missing more than a year recovering from an ACL injury, England international Gabby George finally made her return to play this season. With Finnigan and Sevecke the preferred starting duo, George saw the field as part of a back-three or to give the other two central defenders a rest. She appeared in seven matches and 403 minutes, contributing 1.79 interceptions and 2.23 blocks per 90. Also just 24 years young, George caps off a capable trio of center-backs.

Full-backs

Ingrid Moe Wold - Grade: A-

If you haven’t already, check out my recent article about Wold’s retirement and what she meant to the club. In her one season with the team, the Norwegian right back played in 21 matches and contributed one assist. Her ability to carry the ball up the field led to 24 crosses, just over one per game. Wold completed 26 live-ball passes that led to a shot attempt. She also made 1.94 interceptions and 3.61 clearances per 90. Wold will be missed both on and off the field next season.

Chelsea Women v Everton Women: Vitality Women’s FA Cup 5th Round Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Danielle Turner - Grade: B

Turner started the season as Everton’s first-choice left back, with the only competition being 21-year-old Poppy Pattinson, more on her in a moment. She is the longest-tenured player at the club and has been in relegation scraps and has started two FA Cup finals. Turner made 17 appearances for the Toffees and scored once before a leg injury ended her season. Turner contributed 2.55 blocks, 4.15 clearances and 1.67 aerial duels won per 90. Still only 29, the former captain should reclaim her post patrolling the left flank.

Poppy Pattinson - Grade: B+

Pattinson was brought in from Bristol City last summer to be a long-term replacement for Danielle Turner. But when Turner got hurt in early March, Pattinson was thrust into the starting lineup. During the final stretch of games, the 21-year-old matched up with some of the league’s most potent attacking players, including Beth Mead, Ella Toone and Erin Cuthbert. Pattinson finished in the 96th percentile in pressures per 90 with 22.23. The former Robin played 16 matches and scored one goal in the FA Cup against Durham.

Defensive Midfield

Jill Scott - Grade: A-

After signing on loan with the Toffees in the winter transfer window, Scott played herself back into contention with the national team and helped stabilize a defensive midfield corps that had just lost the preternatural Damaris Egurrola. In 13 games, Scott scored twice and played 969 minutes. Not only was the 34-year-old a defensive presence — 26.82 pressures per 90 ranked in the 94th percentile — her progressive passing (3.64) and progressive carries (3.57) cemented Scott as one of the top central defensive midfielders in the league. She has returned to City for the time being, but Kirk indicated his desire to acquire her services on a permanent basis.

Everton Women v Aston Villa Women - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus/Getty Images

Damaris Egurrola - Grade: A-

Following a summer move to Merseyside, Egurrola quickly established herself as a top talent; she impressed enough to sign for Olympique Lyonnais, widely considered one of the top teams in the world. She earned a move to France after logging 3.59 tackles (91st percentile), 5.65 clearances (98) and 4.11 aerial duels (98) per 90. At just 21 years old, Egurrola made quite the impression in her nine matches in the northwest.

Maéva Clemaron - Grade: B-

While the French midfielder did contribute 2.98 interceptions per 90, which put her in the 97th percentile, Clemaron played in just 11 matches in all competitions. Often a step behind, the 28-year-old too often was caught in possession or coughed up the ball in dangerous positions.

Abbey-Leigh Stringer - Grade: B

In the time between Egurrola’s departure and Scott’s arrival, Stringer was Kirk’s go-to CDM. Stringer is the epitome of a consistent player who, even if they aren’t the flashiest, will get the job done. In 17 games, she completed 81.5-percent of her passes and put in one assist. On the defensive end, the 26-year-old made 3.11 tackles, 1.68 interceptions and 1.55 aerials per 90.

Central Midfield

Izzy Christiansen - Grade: A

You’ve done something right when you earn the Player of the Season award. Despite joining the Toffees in December 2019, Christiansen didn’t make her debut in blue until September. The 29-year-old scored a team-high seven goals to accompany six assists. Christiansen’s 1,917 minutes of league play trailed only Megan Finnigan, and the English midfielder didn’t miss a domestic match this season. Not only did her 3.85 shot creations per 90 rank in the 93rd percentile, but Christiansen also brought a much-needed level of professionalism to Merseyside.

Chelsea Women v Everton Women: Vitality Women’s FA Cup 5th Round Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Lucy Graham - Grade: A-

It seems like Lucy Graham isn’t fully appreciated for what she does. Despite scoring the second-most goals (six) and third-most assists (three) on the team, Graham was dropped for certain fixtures. Graham is a tough-tackling defender with a propensity for moving the ball up the pitch — 2.09 blocks and 2.02 aerials won accompanied a 71-percent successful pass rate.

Grace Clinton - Grade: B

Clinton doesn’t earn a higher grade here through no fault of her own; she didn’t play enough. The 18-year-old signed her first professional contract with the Toffees this season after impressing in nine matches. In a limited sample size, the academy graduate averaged 2.78 tackles (91st percentile), 2.32 interceptions (96) and 3.25 blocks (99) per 90. After a promising first season, Clinton looks to be a pillar of Everton’s midfield moving forward.

Wingers

Hayley Raso - Grade: A-

An injury delayed Raso’s Everton debut until September, but the electric winger was the Toffees’ most versatile player, operating on the right or left wing, through the center or at right back, while featuring in every league fixture. Her combination of speed and foot-skills allowed Kirk to deploy the Australian all over the field. She finished with five goals and two assists in 26 games to go with 6.15 progressive carries per 90 — 85th percentile.

Chelsea Women v Everton Women: Vitality Women’s FA Cup 5th Round Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Nicoline Sørensen - Grade: B

Another player who appeared in every league match, Sørensen had a somewhat choppy season. The Danish international provided three goals and three assists, but most of her contributions came in the first half of the season; the 23-year-old failed to score or assist in the final nine league matches.

Claire Emslie - Grade: A

Initially signed on loan from Orlando Pride of the NWSL, Emslie earned an 18-month contract midway through the season for her superb efforts. Injuries tainted part of her season, but when the Scottish international was on the field, she gave Everton three goals and five assists, the second-most on the squad. Dangerous with both feet, Emslie scored several darts this season and finished with 5.80 progressive carries per 90.

Molly Pike - Grade: N/A

Loaned to Bristol City after just six games, Pike was mainly deployed as a right back in the 11 matches she played for the Robins. Another youth player — 20 years old — Pike received valuable minutes with Bristol this past season but didn’t feature enough for the Toffees to earn a grade.

Forwards

Valérie Gauvin - Grade: B+

After netting thrice in her first five games, Gauvin scored just twice more throughout the season, both of which came in one fixture. Injuries limited her to 17 appearances, but consistency should be the primary area of focus. Still just 25, Gauvin scored more than her preseason calculated xG, which attempts to predict a player’s goal output based on prior season’s numbers. Gauvin’s xG was 3.9 goals, and she tallied five, illustrating her ability as a clinical finisher in front of net.

Manchester United Women v Everton Women - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Simone Magill - Grade: A-

In a total of 18 matches in all competitions, Magill scored six times and added one assist. She netted one of the season’s goals — a half-volley against Birmingham City — and was a reliable bench piece for Kirk. The 26-year-old was used as cover when Gauvin got hurt and as a super-sub when the Toffees needed a lift. Magill averaged 0.79 goals per 90, which was in the 88th percentile.

Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah - Grade: B-

Playing primarily in the final minutes of matches, Boye-Hlorkah featured 15 times, 10 of which came in the league. The 25-year-old scored a long-range beauty against Aston Villa in a 6–0 victory, but that was her lone marker of the season. Seemingly on the fringes of Kirk’s squad, Boye-Hlorkah finished the 2020/21 season with the fewest league minutes (171) played in her four-year career to date.

Alisha Lehmann - Grade: B-

Kirk’s second winter signing, Lehmann was signed on loan from West Ham. The Swiss international is a speedy winger with the ability to take on defenders, but she managed just eight league fixtures and nine total appearances for the Blues, scoring one goal with a pedestrian four shots. Still just 22, Lehmann could be a prospect on the wing moving forward, should she return to the club.