Everton Season Preview

evertonThe Football Lab spoke to Everton fan @bradyates_ ahead of the new season. Here, he discusses the club’s link with Barcelona, whether another centre-back is needed, and the impact Roberto Martinez has had on the club.

Roberto Martinez has got Everton playing more attacking football. Has his more positive attitude rejuvenated the team?

Yes it has, his attitude has been a breath of fresh air at the club, and one that was desperately needed. His philosophy on how to play and how it’s reciprocated onto the pitch is a joy to watch, and we’ve seen us play some tremendous football in his first season in charge.

Europa League. Exciting adventure or unnecessary hindrance?

Exciting adventure for me. Of course the added burden of another competition, fatigue and with the small squad we have could take it’s toll in the long run, but a club the size of Everton should be in Europe every season, and it’s great to be back.

Everton have a strong relationship with FC Barcelona, but is this slight ‘feeder club’ approach right for a team looking to get into the Champions League?

Roberto hit the nail on the head when we signed Gerard Deulofeu: ”I’d rather have a player of Gerard’s quality for a season, than not at all”. If the Barca want to use Everton as a stepping stone for their upcoming youth talents then that is great for Everton that they feel we are right to help shape the future of Spanish football.

John Stones is your only centre-back under the age of 30. Is investment needed in this area?

We’ve been linked with the 21 year old Bosnian Muhamed Besic who can operate as a centre back as well as a defensive midfielder, who looked pretty decent at the World Cup. I would say investment is needed in this area, yes… but Sylvain & Jags still have a few years to go.

Seamus Coleman was among those to impress last season. Are you expecting more of the same from him?

Yes, he was outstanding last season & was arguably our best player. He won our player of the year & players player of the year at our End of Season awards & I’m expecting the lad to do just as well as last season, if not better.

According to Who Scored, 40% of your attacks have come down the left side; no other team has used the left side more. It seems Leighton Baines remains a key player…

Baines is vital for us. His surging runs on the left, his crossing ability & his set pieces are second to none, which is why the man was England’s first choice left back for the World Cup but the less said about that the better.

Gareth Barry is 33. Was it a risk to sign him on a three-year deal?

I wouldn’t say a risk, no, personally I was astounded as to how he didn’t win anything at our end of season awards, he was fantastic last season & if he can maintain that level of performance & also shine his wisdom on the younger talents such as McCarthy, Stones & Barkley, then it’s vital signing.

Romelu Lukaku scored 15 goals last season. In terms of your chances of getting him back from Chelsea, are you relieved he’s had a quiet World Cup?

Very relieved to be honest, Everton fans joked about how he was playing bad just to secure a move to us during the World Cup & I’d love him back on a permanent deal. It’s rare for Everton to have an out & out goalscorer, our last was Yakubu & that ended prematurely, It’d be great to see him mature & become a better player at ours, but that’s up to him, Chelsea & how much Bill is willing to pay.

With most bookmakers, Everton are at around 6/1 to get in the top four. Where will you finish?

Brave man says 4th, head says 5th-6th, but a trophy is desperately needed & a good run in Europe would be class.

TFL Verdict

Getting Lukaku permanently is good news for Everton, but without consistent investment, the ‘Martinez effect’ has its limits. 7th