While time will only tell if Everton have made the right choice in appointing Sean Dyche as the next manager, there is no doubt however that the Blues are getting a manager who is a lot, lot more than a nightclub-bouncer lookalike that wants to play 4-4-2 all season long.
What we certainly know about the manager is that he can motivate players, and runs a pretty strict regimen. The other candidate for the job, Marcelo Bielsa, is known for a polar opposite approach to the game with a high energy setup that involved pressing for the ball, but you would be surprised to hear that Dyche is not very dissimilar in what he expects from the players.
Take this comment from former Claret and current Blues’ squad player Michael Keane -
“He has something called ‘Gaffer Day’. You’re out for 3 hours, there are no footballs. You just run. And I mean run. He’s got all sorts of drills, one called ‘Doggies’ - a 5-man relay. It’s so hard people want to be sick” - via Dominic King, Daily Mail
Another presumption was that if Bielsa was appointed it would be one for the long term, while Dyche is just thought to be a safe pair of hands for the next season or so. However, when you recall that the former centrehalf at Nottingham Forest is now the eighth manager since 2016, it seems quite imprudent to be talking about a long term plan even as the club’s future in the Premier League seems at risk.
During his sabbatical from the game after being sacked last April by Burnley, Dyche has spent some time crafting his elevator speech, and it seemed it had all the right elements in it to catch the attention of the Everton Board, not least Kevin Thelwell who we would have thought stylistically would have little to do with the 51-year-old.
Take this little segment while on Monday Night Football -
"Why fight the box you're put in?" ♂️— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 24, 2022
Sean Dyche discusses the perception of his playing style.. pic.twitter.com/GJvScIiiGq
“Why fight the box you’re put in? You’re going to be put in a box, it’s an easy thing for me. I would imagine (the perception of me is) 4-4-2, pretty direct football, defensive. On the positive side, because that sounds a bit negative… hard-working, strong team ethic, strong feel, good coacher.
“Whatever job I get, if I get one, I want the fans to know that they’ve got a team that’s going to give everything. They’ve got a team that’s going to work. They’ve got a team that’s got heart. So that won’t change.
“What I’d do is look at the technical understanding of the team, the tactical aspect, what’s their background, where have they been, what’s been their influences? You have to piece that together and start moulding into a team. And that’s how I view how football should personally work within a team.
“You get that right, and everything else starts to look after itself.”
Might all be just talk, but for now it’s the stuff that warms the cockles of every Blue heart out there. In fact, on the Keys and Gray show he even appeared to mock Leeds United’s former and current managers Bielsa and Jesse Marsch. He’s been on with the two pundits previously as well talking about how he enforced player discipline while at Turf Moor.
While speaking to the Coaches’ Voice, he even spoke at length about the amount of technical detail that goes into the most basic of formations, the 4-4-2, which immediately everyone assumes requires no nuance whatsoever.
Is there an assumption that new players to his system will have to work their behinds off? Here’s his tongue-in-cheek comment -
“We don’t tell them, the players tell them.”
That might work out just fine for the Toffees, especially as the players have looked less than interested in recent weeks, showing little bottle for a fight on the pitch as they have let other teams in and around their position in the table to walk all over them.
One last thing, in case you think Dyche is a complete martinet through and through, the man has a sense of humour that’s legendary in press and managerial circles. During lockdown, showed he is capable of talking more than football.