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Everton

Should England opt for Harry Maguire or Michael Keane this summer?

Ruari Macneil

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Every four years, players with the potential of playing at the World Cup begin to turn their thoughts to the world’s must prestigious footballing tournament.

Debates arise over which players should go, what the starting XI’s should be and who will miss out, and this is especially true of countries the size of England, where squad selection is as competitive as they come.

The competition at centre-back is fierce for Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions squad and Everton‘s Michael Keane and Leicester City‘s Harry Maguire may well find themselves up against each other, fighting for a spot on the plane to Russia.

With John Stones, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling all in contention as well, and each with significantly more experienced than the aforementioned duo, it will be a tough decision for the manager, who will have the age old decision to make of whether he values form over experience.

Maguire was named in the last squad and is now level on caps with Keane, who has perhaps not enjoyed as strong a season as the Leicester ace at Everton this season.

Compared to the teams surrounding them in the table, Everton has conceded far more goals throughout the current campaign, and Keane has been a part of that leaky defence for much of the time. A team’s number of goals conceded is down to a lot more than the efforts of a single centre-half, but at the same time, this cannot be ignored.

Many Toffees fans will state their case for both Keane and Jordan Pickford to be on the plane to Russia but, on the flip side, it is Maguire who has probably enjoyed the better season in terms of form.

Another way to look at it would be that, both aged 25, if they can progress and perhaps earn a move to bigger clubs, it may not be a case of either/or in the future, but instead a potential partnership at the back for England.

Since Maguire’s rise, Manchester United have been rumoured to be interested, with Jose Mourinho supposedly an admirer of the former Hull man, while Keane, who is a United academy graduate, was rumoured to have interested Liverpool, Chelsea and his former club United prior to his move to Everton.

It will be a touch decision for Southgate to make when it comes to it, but the battle between Maguire and Keane for a spot on the plane to Russia feels like one of the more significant ones, with the nation short on quality forwards making it less of a debate nearer the top end of the pitch.

Either way, with only a few fixtures left, there is still plenty to play for.

Life long lover of sport in general with a soft spot for football. A consistent defender of Scottish football as a spectacle. Desperately waiting to see my country qualify for a major tournament.

English Premier League

Pundits believe home field advantage is key for Everton

Even two former Liverpool men are backing the Toffees this weekend.

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Photo: Getty Images

Everton returned to Premier League action last weekend with a thrilling 2-2 draw with newly-promoted Wolves but improvement is required for the Toffees.

New club-record signing Richarlison hit the ground running by netting a superb brace to catch the eye on his debut, although there was not much joy defensively for the Merseyside outfit – particularly following Phil Jagielka’s red card.

The Toffees host Southampton this weekend and Silva’s side have been unanimously backed to ensure all three points remain at Goodison Park by a trio of pundits; Mark Lawrenson, Michael Owen and Paul Merson.

Former Liverpool defender Lawrenson had the kindest words to say about the Toffees when making his weekly predictions for the BBC, praising Everton supporters for always contributing a superb atmosphere whatever the game or the occasion – and he expects the stands to be rocking for Silva’s first game in charge.

“The Everton fans will appreciate the football that new boss Marco Silva tries to play and there will be a great atmosphere for his first home game in charge – there always is at Goodison Park, no matter how good the team are.”

– Lawrenson believes Everton will cruise to a 2-0 win.

That view is echoed by Merson, who believes there will be a buzz around the stadium and a sense of optimism after a positive result away from home against Wolves – and he told Sky Sports that Richarlison will provide the key to all three points, predicting a narrow 1-0 victory.

Last season Everton’s record at home proved to be crucial come the end of the campaign, as the Toffees won ten of their 19 matches at Goodison Park, drawing four and losing five – all of which came against sides in the Premier League’s top seven.

In comparison, the Toffees were woeful on the road as they lost ten times – including winnable games against Southampton, Bournemouth, Burnley, Watford and West Ham. On the road, Everton only managed to beat Newcastle, Stoke and Huddersfield.

(Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images)

While the platform for any success for Everton this season will certainly be built by results at Goodison Park, it’s the form away from home that will decide whether the campaign is memorable or forgettable under the guidance of Marco Silva.

Everton aspire to be back in European competitions next year and that’s where away trips become even more difficult but the Toffees have completed good business this summer by drafting in the likes of Richarlison and Yerry Mina, the latter of whom Michael Owen told BetVictor he expects to make his debut on Saturday – and they will need the Colombia international to immediately settle into the rigours of the Premier League.

Owen’s prediction of an ‘entertaining game’ at Goodison Park is likely to be proven true as the two teams conceded a combined total of 114 goals last season, 58 of which were shipped by Everton.

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Everton

Everton round-up: Brands’ Richarlison admission, Martina to Stoke and Vlasic leaves

A selection of the latest news and gossip from Everton.

Mathew Nash

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Richarlison premium

Marcel Brands has been speaking about Everton’s transfer business. The Dutchman discussed with the Guardian how he got deals over the line for Yerry Mina, Lucas Digne and Andre Gomes.

He also had an admission regarding Richarlison. The Everton director of football confirmed that the club had to pay over the price they felt was fair for the Brazilian attacker.

The deal, which has been reported to be as high as £50 million, was difficult due to Watford’s anger at the way Everton pursued Marco Silva last season. Everton therefore had to pay a premium for the forward.

Martina leaving

It appears Everton may have found a club for Cuco Martina. The Curacao full-back was told earlier this month that he was free to leave Everton.

(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

Now it seems he is off to Stoke City. The versatile defender is apparently close to sealing a loan move to the Potters – according to Stoke-on-Trent Live.

Everton have already sent Welshman Ashley Williams on loan to Stoke this summer.

Vlasic gone

Everton have allowed Nikola Vlasic to leave the club. The Croatian arrived in a £10 million deal from Hajduk Split last season. However, he has fallen down the pecking order at Goodison Park since the men who brought him in, Ronald Koeman and Steve Walsh, were replaced by Marco Silva and Marcel Brands.

The young attacker has joined CSKA Moscow on a season-long loan deal in the Russian capital.

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Four years on from fearless Merseyside debut, Tyias Browning must leave Everton this month

The Everton defender was relegated with Sunderland last season.

Mathew Nash

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When Tyias Browning made his way into the first-team at Everton there was plenty of hype surrounding the defender. A local lad with international credentials the defender was a hit with fans from the off. Strong, fast and good on the ball he was everything fans want in a defensive talent. His debut went down well as well. He came on for the injured Tony Hibbert at right-back against Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby. The fearless youngster took the game to Liverpool and Everton scored an equaliser, thanks to Phil Jagielka’s thunderstrike.

The sky appeared to be the limit for Browning. However, four years on, and it seems he needs to leave Goodison Park.

(Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images)

In December 2015 he suffered a ruptured ACL and underwent surgery. Browning spent 11 months on the sidelines and, since then, has struggled to get back into Everton’s first-team thoughts.

A loan spell at Preston in 2017 was followed by a season with his former Deepdale boss Simon Grayson at Sunderland last term. That did not go to plan. The Black Cats were relegated and Browning’s season ended in March with a groin strain.


“His pace and power are his obvious massive plus-points and strengths. If you can’t beat him with pace, you can’t outmuscle him either. When you are as big and strong as Tyias, it takes a lot to get past him; an unbelievable amount of skill – or luck!”

– David Unsworth discussing Browning in 2015


Now he is back at Everton, but way down the pecking order. The signing of Yerry Mina and Kurt Zouma on deadline day set him back. Phil Jagielka, Michael Keane and Mason Holgate are all ahead of him. Even youngsters like Matthew Pennington and Morgan Feeney could protest to be nearer the first-team.

At 24-years-old, it appears the time has come for the hometown boy to cut his ties with Everton. For the good of his career, it is the only choice that makes sense.

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