Guest article – written by Everton_Damon aka ‘Damo’
Marco Silva: favours wingers who can support the striker
Walcott is a proven international whom it could be argued did not match the potential he had of his youth due to spells blighted by injuries (he had spells out injured in seasons: 2006/2007, 2009/2010, 2010/2011, 2013/2014, 2016/2017). Due to not featuring in the Arsenal line up by October 2017 the player was told by a well-known commentator/former Arsenal player to move on:
“He’ll want to finish on a high in respect of what he’s doing, he’s given Arsenal great service in the time he’s been there and for me he should move on for himself.”
Everton signed 28-year old Theo Walcott in January 2018, on a fee reportedly of £20 million. The reasoning EFC went back for the player was most probably due to Moshiri’s lingering connections at the time, with Arsenal Football Club and because he wanted himself to move on and play football. At the time Everton were devoid of pace in attack. Which was well known. The fee was on the high side, view at the time although looking at how things are progressing may actually be relatively good value.
Walcott was quoted on signing as saying: “I’m very ambitious and I’ve come here because I want the club to push to the next level … and with the players that have come in, I feel like the next level can be reached. … It was sad but it’s exciting at the same time and I want to reignite my career and push Everton to win things as they have done before… I want to be part of something and I feel like this place will offer me that.”
Unfortunately the style of play that Everton employed between January 2018 and May 2018 continued to be extremely poor, unbalanced and simply did not allow the players to function to their best.
Ownership at Everton acted in May 2018, and Marcel Brands came in as director of football and Marco Silva as first team coach. Between them the transfer window produced significant signings of Richarlison (Brazillian, left winger) and several other players of note with a mass-clear out of under-performing players or that had been deemed surplus to requirements by Brands/Silva.
Walcott: Pre-season or lack there-of
Everton endured a tough pre-season in the summer. Walcott was entirely absent from 2018/2019 Everton pre-season barring the Valencia final game at Goodison Park on 4 August 2018. Where Richarlison also made his appearance on the left and Walcott on the right. It was obvious at that point, that despite the loss (2-3 to Valencia) some significant changes were underway in both the style of play and/or Everton’s squad starting to reflect the preferences of Marco Silva. Richarlison and Siggurdson was to support Cenk Tosun/the striker if Walcott attacked from the right and Walcott/Siggurdson was to do the same from the right. Essentially alternating between a formation of 3 in attack or orthodox midfield. Walcott played his first 60 minutes against Valencia.
There was a clear refreshing change from the previous season when Everton at times only had one attack on goal. Walcott set-up Tosun. Even though Everton lost, it should have been more than apparent changes from Brands/Silva were underway: what happened last season is not going to happen again.
In the first two Premier League games of the season, for Wolves (A): Walcott had a comparatively quiet game although did have chances which unfortunately he spurned in a closer game than it should have been.
In the Southampton (H): Walcott had a goal and an assist. He played 90 minutes in both games and despite missing obvious chances in both games, its fairly clear that the match
sharpness he lacked due to minimal preseason is now on its way. Richarlison is getting many of the headlines but the front three/four are playing as a unit, which was not happening at all last season, and as a four since the 1980’s. The team was unbalanced. Walcott was under too much pressure alone. This season Tosun is no longer entirely isolated and whilst he’s not scoring at the moment, he and Siggurdson are creating space for others to score and most importantly: Everton to win games. Plus play entertaining attractive football.
4 wingers : 2 players for every position
Walcott’s history of injuries may give pause for thought. However, there is a stated objective of the management Brands/Silva to have two players for every position. Something not seen for a considerable time at Everton. Richarlison and Walcott simply will not need to play every game and will get the important rest periods which high intensity play requires. With Bernard and Lookman available the club will be able to switch things up. Despite speculation with outgoings underway, it should be clear to anyone at Everton that opportunities will arise to play. Even if players have not yet been seen.
This means that we should continue to see the renaissance of Theo Walcott whilst, giving
opportunities to others to play. There is now competition for places at Everton and it is simple. An Everton player in form at some point will play.
£20 million for a 28-year-old if it continues will be good business. Although lets make it clear. Paying big money for a 30 plus year old is not good business for Everton Football Club. If 4 good years can be obtained from Walcott this is on today’s prices and Everton’s financial power will be good value to the club. Which can be justified. Particularly if Everton win silverware.
Everton have been devoid of attacking options for several years and a squad without genuine attacking pace. Combined with technical ability. The previous management were completely negligent in their approach and signed the wrong players in some cases too old and for too much money. Without an obvious plan. Brands has said he looks at character when signing players. It appears there is no concerns with Walcott.
The good thing about Walcott is that he’s obviously a team player as evidenced on the pitch. Its clear he’s here to ‘do stuff’ with Everton. By simply watching him before, during and after a game. He does not simply disappear down the tunnel. This is the type of Everton player we want. Character.
Walcott allows his team mates to perform At Everton there is options with pace and the manager can switch players around as he sees required. Although not unnecessarily. Whilst everyone is focusing on Richarlison, other players are allowing their team mates to shine. As seen when Walcott crossed the ball to Richarlison to head in. Or where he just poses a genuine threat. That occupies defenders and makes them make mistakes.
With Bernard and Lookman available Everton can look quietly confident that progress will be made this season. The squad is looking the most balanced it has in at least five years. If the squad sticks together then they can achieve. The next test is Bournemouth away. Although they are no doubt worried about facing a dangerous looking Everton.