We continue our review of the past Everton season, in which each department will be recapped and rated. Next up: the wingers/wide midfielders.
The winger position has been Everton’s Achilles’ heel for the past several seasons now. Since the likes of Steven Pienaar (and Kevin Mirallas and Gerard Deulofeu if you’re feeling bold), Everton have struggled to find a consistent and creative wide-midfielder. We wanted to take a look at Everton’s wingers from this past season and see if they have what it takes to break the Blues’ ongoing curse or if some (ample) transfer window magic is needed.
Appearances - 7, Goals - 0, Assists - 4, Yellow Cards - 0, Red Cards - 0, PL xG+xA/90 - 0.02
Gordon started off this past season on a promising note, assisting three times in the second and third rounds of the Carabao Cup. However, the youngster featured sparingly in the league as other not-so-deserving players (to be mentioned later) frustratingly took his spot. With only three league appearances, a loan move to Championship side Preston North End was in the cards for the then 19-year-old who Carlo Ancelotti appeared not to trust with big minutes in Premier League action.
Despite the move, the story was a bit of the same for Gordon; only a handful of starts and several appearances off the bench. With Ancelotti’s departure, who was reportedly a big admirer of the Liverpudlian, it will be interesting to see what’s in store for Gordon, but seeing as Everton’s current list of wingers is pretty desolate, it’s safe to say that he will have a good shot at making an impact with the first-team next season especially if there are a couple of departures in this group.
Grade - N/A
Appearances - 18, Goals - 3, Assists - 1, Yellow Cards - 2, Red Cards - 0, PL xG+xA/90 - 0.15
When Bernard was first announced a few seasons back, I was ecstatic. A FIFA legend and overall skillful (albeit small) winger was something Everton were crying out for; a Pienaar 2.0, if you will. However, his transition to the Premiership was rough, to say the least. Whether it was his physical stature or the adjustment from a less competitive league, the Brazilian just couldn’t seem to find his footing. This past season, the 28-year-old managed only a handful of appearances with one league goal to show for it. However, his FA Cup goal to clinch the win in extra time against Spurs will always be an unforgettable one.
So what is next for Bernard? Truthfully, we don’t know. However, after a failed move to Dubai side Al Nasr back in January, it’s likely that we’ve seen the last of Bernard tearing others apart for Everton.
Grade - C
Appearances - 36, Goals - 2, Assists - 3, Yellow Cards - 0, Red Cards - 0, PL xG+xA/90 - 0.18
Iwobi will forever be an anomaly to me. There were a few stretches of last season where it looked like he was the real deal. However, his inconsistent play and lack of identity made all of those decent performances seem to go to waste. The Nigerian international has plenty of Premier League experience under his belt with Arsenal and at only 25 years of age, I believe there is still hope for him.
For Marcel Brands, the bigger headache is that he’s unlikely to recoup the transfer fee paid for the winger who did put in some decent defensive performances as a wingback. While some supporters may have seen all they needed to see from Iwobi, perhaps the new manager could inject some new-found life into him.
Grade - C
Appearances - 26, Goals - 6, Assists - 9, Yellow Cards - 4, Red Cards - 0, PL xG+xA/90 - 0.44
Oh, James. We hardly got to know ye. The signing of James Rodriguez was perhaps one of Everton’s biggest transfer coups in recent history (for a free, nonetheless). James started the season off great, scoring three and assisting three in the first five matches of the league campaign. Watching him play was a breath of fresh air, effortlessly spreading the ball around and actually contributing in the G/A market, unlike his former Bayern Munich teammate across the park. His flashes of much-needed brilliance were unfortunately overshadowed by his otherwise injury-plagued season.
A nagging calf injury sidelined him for a majority of the year, often in stretches over the course of multiple consecutive matches. Whether it was the adjustment to the physicality of the league or the fact that he seemed to be the target of a crushing challenge every other possession, here’s hoping for a relaxing (and safe) summer for the 29-year-old. With the recent news of his exclusion from Colombia’s Copa America side due to fitness concerns, Evertonians may get just what they wish for. Ancelotti’s departure might mean an exit for him too.
Grade - B
What are your thoughts on Everton’s current wingers? Any players you’d like the Blues to target this summer? Leave your thoughts below!