clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Everton 2023/24 Season Preview: Wingers

An area of desperately needed improvement this summer

Wigan Athletic v Everton - Pre-Season Friendly
McNeil will be sorely missed to start off the season
Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images


One of the most ever-changing positions on the field of play, the role of the winger can still be one of the most potent weapons of a team’s arsenal. Whether it be the role of the full-backs to get forward and supply the forward line with service, or a manager going retro with a classic 4-4-2, those players that can beat their opponent and provide pin-point accuracy are invaluable.

This season’s selection and formation will be determined upon personnel available or opposition to be faced, but one thing without question is that Sean Dyche will deploy wide men. A three-man midfield may give way to a 4-4-1-1 as defensive solidity will be the main focus as the Blues look to avoid a third straight year fighting the drop.

Some of those assuming roles in the forthcoming campaign won’t be on the below list, such as Alex Iwobi and possibly James Garner, both of whom have been included in the central midfield area, but the following names we are pretty sure will be used as Everton wide men.

Current Players

Brighton & Hove Albion v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Dwight McNeil

Having joined the Blues just over a year ago, the former Burnley man has gone a long way to wards proving his doubters wrong with a strong finish to last season which saw him top the Club’s scoring charts and bag the Young Player of the Season gong with over 70% of the fans’ vote.

The 23-year-old looks set to miss the curtain raiser against Fulham due to an ankle ligament injury, and Dyche will be desperate to have McNeil available again, as his distribution from out wide will be a useful tool for Dominic Calvert-Lewin, should the No.9 stay fit. His defensive workrate was impeccable last season and that kind of discipline will be needed for the Blues this year as well.

Everton v Sporting Lisbon - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Arnaut Danjuma

From devil to darling in the space of a few months, the Netherlands star became Everton’s second signing of the summer when he completed a season-long loan switch from Villarreal in July. Having opted to join Spurs in January when the deal was seemingly done with Everton, the 26-year-old’s versatility will be truly welcomed at Goodison. Able to operate at No.10, striker or out wide, Danjuma will be looking to prove something to himself and the Premier League, following a lacklustre spell in North London. Pacy and with Champions League experience from his time with Club Brugge, if fit, he starts.

Everton Training Session Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Demarai Gray

A player with a flair for the spectacular, Gray’s future at present seems to be up in the air amid links with a switch to both Fulham and the cash-rich Saudi Arabian league. Making the switch from Bayer Leverkusen in July 2021, Gray has frustrated and delighted the Goodison faithful in equal amounts, with wonder strikes against Arsenal and Manchester City amongst his highlights.

A former Premier League winner who netted four times for Everton last season, it remains to be seen if he will be utilized at all under Dyche, which in turn remains to be seen if the Jamaica international will be happy with not having guaranteed regular playing time.

Not a natural fit for what Dyche demands, and certainly not strong or versatile enough to lead the line, he is certain to earn Everton a profit if they can sell him this summer.

Everton v Sporting Lisbon - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Lewis Dobbin

Very much like Jarrad Branthwaite at centre-half, Dobbin is another exciting youngster that could save the Toffees a lot of money. Following a productive loan spell with Derby County that saw the Stoke-born player make 43 appearances and net three times, Dobbin has made impressive waves during Everton’s pre-season, thus increasing the clamour for the Academy graduate to feature more prominently in the senior set-up. With an impressive scoring record at youth level and five senior appearances under his belt, Dobbin has pace and skill in abundance and, at 20-years-old, will be relishing the possibility of a run in the first XI.

Everton v Sporting Lisbon - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

State of the Position

Given Dobbin’s inexperience and the uncertainty over the future of Gray, Everton need to invest in width. When fit and available, McNeil will operate on the left, but with Danjuma possibly required to cover other, more central areas, a player to operate on the right is a must.

Kamaldeen Sulemana remains a name most heavily linked, with a loan deal for the 21-year-old the most likely of outcomes. Strong, direct and possessing blistering pace, the Ghanaian delivered some eye-catching performances for Southampton after his move in January, but was ultimately powerless to prevent the Saints’ relegation. Wilfried Gnonto is another name to keep an eye on, with the Leeds forward and the Blues producing plenty of smoke, but is there a fire there too?

Whoever ends up coming in, the width of Everton is another area Dyche will have to address, and likely beyond the signing of Danjuma. The goals need to come from somewhere, after all.