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Everton 2022-23 Season Review: Three Strengths of the Squad

Can we find some things to be positive about this from the just-ended season?

Everton FC v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

It’s June 2023 and Evertonians will at least be safe in the knowledge that, come August, the team will still be playing in the Premier League.

That is about the only crumb of comfort the Goodison faithful really has, however. With some of the circus (aka the Board) moving on but (at the time of writing at least) the main ringmaster still clinging to whatever power he has, coupled with ex-managers joining the ever-growing list of those who want to take us to court, few Blues will be looking to the future with much hope or expectation.

And with all the shenanigans off the field, there is also a squad that drastically needs attention. Two relegation battles in the last two seasons means that the transfer window is without doubt the most important in the history of the Toffees. Following on from Kevin Dyer’s excellent Transfer Priorities piece, it is clear that Sean Dyche has his work cut out.

But with FFP rumours and sanctions circling the Club, coupled with the sad fact that Everton are now even less an attractive destination for ambitious players, just what are the strengths of this current squad, we may have to rely on more than we would want to?

Everton v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

England’s No. 1

Great for his country, yet poor for his club. The false narrative so often perpetuated by the media, with many outlets even determined to oust the 29-year-old from his England spot, too. Any Everton fan will tell you, Jordan Pickford has been one, if not the main reason, the Blues retained Premier League status. One of the division’s best stoppers, his save against Chelsea the season before last ranks amongst one of the best stops Goodison Park has ever witnessed.

Not bad for a stadium that has played host to a World Cup semi-final and the greatest keeper of them all, Big Nev.

And then there is James Tarkowski. The free transfer from Burnley was the Club’s only ever present in the Premier League and has also shown his natural leadership and communicative qualities. Strong and committed, the centre-back’s presence will only improve Pickford and perhaps temper the erratic, impulsive behaviour our no.1 is sometimes guilty of.

Still only 29, the former Sunderland man still has many more years to offer at the top level. I just hope it is in an Everton shirt.

Everton FC v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

The Engine Room

Depending on whether Amadou Onana will be the sacrificial FFP lamb and sold this summer, the midfield looks to be the team’s strongest area.

The Blues engine room has energy and looks a lot more organised now under the stewardship of Dyche. Idrissa Gana Gueye’s experience will be vital and will provide a good blend of youth and experience, while the work rate and ability to fashion chances possessed by Alex Iwobi is often somewhat underrated. The Nigerian’s preferred position of no.10 may not be available to him depending on what formation the boss goes with, but these are selection headaches that Dyche won’t be too upset about having.

Once an outcast under Lampard, Abdoulaye Doucouré has found redemption, and form, under Dyche. Forever in Everton folklore following that strike against Bournemouth, the former Watford player’s constant running and ability to find the net will be invaluable to the Blues’ cause, particularly with our striking and monetary issues.

And throw into the mix the emerging James Garner (more on him below) and Everton’s engine room looks competitive, hard to play against and, above all, mobile.

Brighton & Hove Albion v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images


Onana, Garner, Dwight McNeil, and Nathan Patterson, a quartet all of which are 23 or under. While none could be termed as a ‘kid’, the young four are still reaching their prime. Much like Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Patterson’s injury record is concerning, but there is no doubt the Scottish-born full-back’s attacking prowess is an asset and something that a goal-shy team is desperately in need of.

We are still yet to see the best of Onana (hopefully we do so in Royal Blue), while Garner has shown he is more than capable of delivering solid performances, be it in his preferred central role or operating slightly out of his comfort zone, like he did against Bournemouth on the final day.

Then there is McNeil. Written off by many as a poor signing, the former Burnley man is relishing life under Dyche and his performance against Brighton & Hove Albion and the Amex Stadium was the best of a number of displays where he showed what he can do.

With a wand of a left foot, his service will be another pivotal asset to DCL’s tally next season.

If the latter stays fit, of course.

Whether this is deemed a strength or not is debatable, The Club’s development and handling of many of its young stars has come under fire in the last few years as many have simply left for nothing or gone on loan after loan.

In many ways, a Wayne Rooney-sized shadow hangs over the youth, as fans remain desperate Finch Farm to produce a new mega star. Names like Ross Barkley and Anthony Gordon have disappointed and moved on, although it does remain to be seen if the latter can achieve his full potential.

That being said, the likes of Tom Cannon and Lewis Dobbin have done well during their loan spells at Preston and Derby County, respectively. Both 20-year-olds have represented Everton at first-team level and could very well be getting even more game time in the coming season, should the Toffees be forced to sell prized assets to balance the books, or struggle to secure new faces.

Everton FC v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League Photo by Emma Simpson/Everton FC via Getty Images

The Support!

Yes, we said three and this is not on-field as such, but it is no cliché in describing the Goodison faithful as the ‘12th man’ and would be unfair to write about Everton’s current strengths and not mention the support.

With the fanbase unfairly besmirched and smeared this season by sections of the media for having the cheek to want better for their club, when the team needed them, they delivered.

Goodison can be a hostile place that is riddled with anxiety, but with the recent seasons and inept leadership at Board levels, few could blame the anxious sentiment.

From the late, great Howard Kendall assuring his team that the Gwladys Street would ‘suck a few in’ on that legendary night against Bayern Munich, to Micah Richards claim of the crowd being the loudest he’d ever experienced against Bournemouth, the crowd have continually backed their team and will always do so.

Something this side will certainly be needing for the season ahead!