Everton’s best starting XI of all-time

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(GK) Neville Southall

Undisputedly, the finest man to ever don the goalkeeper’s jersey for Everton, Neville Southall’s career with the club spanned a staggering 17 years, in which he won two league titles, two FA Cups and the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Stylistically, the Welshman was ahead of his time. Not only was he superb at shot-stopping, but Southall was renowned for being sharp off his line, commanding his penalty area and getting Everton on their way with sharp distribution. Southall was an assuring influence at the base of the Toffees’ greatest ever team throughout the 1980s.

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At his best, there was no goalkeeper in world football who measured up to the same standards.

(RB) Gary Stevens

Stationed on the right of the defense, Gary Stevens was a tremendously rounded fullback. Howard Kendall drafted him into his side from the Everton academy set-up, and he was an uncompromising foil for Trevor Steven in front of him and the central defensive partnership of Derek Mountfield and Kevin Ratcliffe.

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Making his first appearance for the Toffees as a 19-year-old, Stevens came to symbolize the vibrant young side which was so successful throughout the 1980s. When he left for Rangers in 1988, the right back did so having helped Everton to two league titles, one FA Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

(CB) Kevin Ratcliffe

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Another defender who broke onto the scene under Kendall was Ratcliffe, who went on to captain Everton during this period of remarkable success.

The Welshman was just 19 when he made his debut for the Toffees, at Old Trafford no less, before eventually cementing his spot in Kendall’s XI a couple of years later. Immediately it was obvious Ratcliffe was an ideal figurehead for this resurgent Toffees team, and at 23, he was named skipper by the manager in what was a bold move.

It was one of many masterstrokes from Kendall. Ratcliffe was a player who led by example at the back, never shirking a physical battle, dominating in the air and showcasing the cerebral qualities needed to become one of the finest defenders in Europe.

(CB) Brian Labone

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“Remember lads,” famously said the late Brian Labone, “one Evertonian is worth 20 Liverpudlians.”

It’s a line like that would always help a player etch his place in Everton folklore, but Labone, who spent his entire playing career at Goodison Park, was also a giant on the field for the Toffees. The locally-born center back was a thoroughbred leader, helping the Toffees to two league titles and the 1966 FA Cup.

Revered as a true gentleman, Labone is fondly remembered by all who were lucky enough to have met him and seen him play. Sadly in 2006, aged 66, he collapsed and died suddenly. “He will always be known as the captain of Everton,” said Ratcliffe in tribute.

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  1. Jack Mcintyre November 15, 2015
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