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Everton face worrying signs as new season approaches

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During the summer leading up to the 2014-15 season, Roberto Martinez recognized that Everton did not have the squad to meet the new challenges of the coming season. It had been six years since the Toffees had competed in Europe and Martinez was fully aware that his team, particularly the aging defense, would be put under immense strain. The Europa League is infamous for destroying a club’s league form; tougher travel, more games, and later midweek scheduling add serious hurdles to the marathon Premier League season.

Knowing this, Martinez was open about hoping to add at least six but potentially eight new players to the squad. By the time the window shut in August, Everton had five new players. Two of those players were Gareth Barry and Romelu Lukaku, both of whom had spent the previous season on loan at the club. Only one of those signings, nineteen-year-old Brendan Galloway, was a defender.

Heading into a crucial sophomore season, Martinez gambled on one big money signing (the club-record $43 million paid to Chelsea for Romelu Lukaku) and lost. Everton made the round of sixteen in the Europa League, found early exits in both domestic cups and finished 11th back home in the Premier League, winning only 12 matches all season. More worryingly was the goals against column, which had gone from 39 in 2013-14 to 50 in 2014-15.

It is a huge blessing for a manager to inherit a cohesive, experienced defensive unit but it is also vital for a manager to anticipate that unit’s eventual decline and have successors in place. Martinez is very vocal in his advocacy for youth development and bringing players all the way through the academy to the first team. That dedication to youth, along with a blind spot in transfer policy, has put Everton into a precarious position heading in the 2015-16 season. The mainstays of Martinez’s back four are mostly over-30, the only current starter under-30 (other than 21-year-old John Stones) is Seamus Coleman, a player who is constantly in danger of being snatched away by a top four club. The club’s most experienced defender, Sylvain Distain, moved on this summer and leaves behind a center back role to be filled by youth players with little-to-no experience of top flight football except for England international Stones.

 

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Martinez has always been a manager known for his open, attacking football and in his debut season at Everton the faithful were treated to some truly outstanding displays. For all his talents however, Martinez had never been able to set out a team to defend a game. The resilience shown by Everton in his debut season appears more and more to be a lingering Moyes-ian stoutness imbued in the veteran players.

Wigan under Martinez were always a favorite of the neutrals. Their smooth passing game brought the plaudits and eventually an FA Cup. It also brought them three straight relegation battles before eventually going down in a blaze of glory holding the FA Cup. Martinez continues to insist that he is building up Everton with the longview in mind, which is all well and good. However without adding more experience and depth to his squad, particularly the defense, Everton and Martinez could be facing some harsh realities in the short term.

 

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Michael O'Brien

    July 14, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Just a very poorly done article, the worst I’ve ever read on this site.

    “The mainstays of Martinez’s back four are mostly over-30, the only current starter under-30 (other than 21-year-old John Stones) is Seamus Coleman.”

    -so half of the back four is under 30 then, right?

    “The club’s most experienced defender, Sylvain Distain, moved on this summer and leaves behind a center back role to be filled by youth players with little-to-no experience of top flight football except for England international Stones.”

    -wow. um, Phil Jagielka?

  2. Doug

    July 13, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    Coleman is not going anywhere (as the club stated many times) and as far as I know, we’ve got the best RB, Lb, CBs in the Land. Yes, we need cover and let’s get real, it’s coming b4 window’s end. On top of that we’ve got a new goalie lined up and plenty more talent to chose from. Tbh, I was more worried about last season. This window we’ve already got rid of some deadwood with more on the way thus creating more opportunity to fill these shots with better talent. No sweat m8!

  3. Nelly Verdy

    July 13, 2015 at 9:44 am

    where do they get this garbage from ??????

  4. Mmmkay

    July 13, 2015 at 2:34 am

    I had to rub my eyes.. lets not forget they had a top3 lb in baines. as a back line is far from lacking quality and exp balance

  5. Rob

    July 12, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    “The club’s most experienced defender, Sylvain Distain, moved on this summer and leaves behind a center back role to be filled by youth players with little-to-no experience of top flight football.”

    Oldest maybe, yeah…. but Distin was clearly behind three CB’s this season (Jagielka, Stones, and even Alcaraz). The only hole Sylvain leaves behind after an honorable tour with Everton is bench depth.

    That’s three easy holes punched in your article. This isn’t Arsenal, Jackson. Please do a little research prior to venturing back to another piece on the Toffees.

  6. Rob

    July 12, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    “The mainstays of Martinez’s back four are mostly over-30, the only current starter under-30 is Seamus Coleman….”

    Ever heard of John Stones? He started the majority of EPL matches this season for EFC, and also happens to be one of the most promising young CB’s in the league.

    Please go back to just mailing in stories about the Big Four.

  7. John

    July 12, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    this is a joke article, “only startin member of the back 4 is Coleman” wat abt John Stones ya idiots, shows ya know nothin abt anythin, just jump on the back of some-one elses story, do every1 a favour an learn the facts b4 ya write anymore bullsh&t stories

  8. Rob

    July 12, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    “….Martinez gambled on one big money signing (Lukaku) and lost.”

    Uhhh, Everton gambled on Lukaku and lost? Romy tied for the EL lead in goals (8). Led the team in EPL and FA Cup goals (10 and 2, respectively).

    • HGR

      July 12, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      Yeah, 20 goals is “loosing” apparently. This transfer window is really starting to grate on me now, if it isn’t the Mail and Mirror trying to sell Everton players to spurs (for some reason) or united its misinformed doom-monger articles like this one.

      Martinez got a lot wrong last season, the crap preseason for example, but there is FA he can do about the individual mistakes that caused the defence to leak like it did.

      • Caz

        July 13, 2015 at 11:02 am

        “Loosing”?? do you mean “losing”?

        • Cap

          July 14, 2015 at 9:25 pm

          Did you not understand what he meant, Caz? Are you really that much of a grammar nazi? I’d take a nice idiot over a smart asshole any day of the week. And grammar nazis are nothing but smart assholes.

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