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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.

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Everton

A Marco Silva reunion at Everton is exactly what goal-shy Richarlison needs

The Brazilian has struggled for form since Everton-linked Marco Silva left the Hornets.

Max Cohen

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Photo: Getty Images

Marco Silva has been heavily linked with the vacant Everton managerial job this week and, according to reports in the Daily Mail, the ex-Watford boss is set to hold further talks with the club in the coming days.

As a result of the Silva connections, Paddy Power’s odds suggest Everton are now the front runners to sign Watford winger Richarlison this summer.

The move could prove to be an ingenious way to revive Richarlison’s early-season brilliance under the manager who coaxed the best out of the mercurial Brazilian.

Both Richarlison and Silva enjoyed superb form when the two were together in the opening months of the 2017/18 campaign, and a reunion at Goodison Park would result in success.

The Portuguese manager steered the Hornets to an impressive start to the season that saw the club suffer just one defeat in their first eight league matches.

The Brazilian winger also hit the ground running at Vicarage Road, notching five goals and contributing three assists in his opening 12 Premier League matches.

However, the tide turned in the final months of 2017, as Richarlison scored his last league goal in November, and Silva won just one of his last 11 league matches before being sacked in January.

Richarlison clearly thrived under the management of Silva, and after the Portuguese departed the club, the winger scored and assisted a grand total of zero goals. But at only 21 years of age, the youngster has time on his side and is still adapting to English football.

Everton would do well to reconnect Marco Silva with Richarlison, and if the manager can get the best out of the Brazilian, the Toffees would attain the services of a top-class attacking talent who has many productive years in front of him.

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Everton

Henry Onyekuru has a real battle to rectify Everton career

Everton snapped up the Nigerian last summer, but he has had a tough 2018 so far.

Mathew Coull

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Last summer Everton made plenty of new signings. The club invested heavily in the first-team squad, with the likes of Michael Keane, Jordan Pickford and Gylfi Sigurdsson all expensive recruits for Farhad Moshiri to empty his pockets for.

Another new signing was that of Nigerian talent Henry Onyekuru. The attacker had just scored 24 goals in 41 games for KAS Eupen the season previously and had plenty of teams chasing his signature.

Everton eventually won the race, paying a fee reported to be in the region of £7 million by the BBC.

He was immediately loaned out to Anderlecht, as he did not have the credentials to earn a work permit to play in the UK.

The hope for Everton was that Onyekuru would thrive at the Belgian giants. He would then go to the World Cup with Nigeria and receive his work permit as a consequence.

That has not proved to be the case. At first, it appeared the plan was working. Onyekuru scored nine goals in 26 appearances in the first half of the season, mostly playing from the left-wing. However, in December, he suffered a serious knee injury that left him out of action until April.

Now, Onyekuru risks become a forgotten man at Everton.

The injury scuppered his chances of playing for Nigeria this summer. Despite his return in April, Anderlecht were reluctant to play him and he no longer wants to stay in Brussels on a similar loan spell next season as a consequence.

His lack of first-team action saw the Super Eagles omit him from the World Cup squad.

(Photo credit should read ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Without a UK work permit, he is set to find another loan club next season, with Borussia Monchengladbach linked by HLN.

Everton now have an entirely new structure to the one that first brought Onyekuru to the club and the Nigerian will need to produce some real quality next season to remain on the club’s radar.

He also needs to win back a place in the Nigeria squad, or Everton will never get the accreditation needed for him to play for the club.

This season has turned out to be a disaster for the £7m Everton newbie and it is not ridiculous to think he is now struggling to ever make an impact at Goodison Park.

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Everton should offer Crystal Palace former player Yannick Bolasie to get Wilfried Zaha

Everton are keen on signing the Ivory Coast winger.

Mathew Coull

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Everton have today been linked with a move for Crystal Palace attacker Wilfried Zaha. The Ivory Coast international has been in fine form for the Eagles this season, scoring nine and assisting five goals in 29 appearances, and is being targeted by a host of clubs in the Premier League.

The Sun is now suggesting that Everton’s main managerial target Marco Silva wants the winger to be his main man and the club are putting together a £60 million deal.

(Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

It is, however, a tough field in terms of transfer opposition. Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City are also keen on the player this summer. For Everton to get their hands on the player they will need to do something a little different and offering Palace a ready-made replacement could be the best option.

The player in question is Yannick Bolasie. If Everton want Zaha, then offering the DR Congo winger back to his former club might give them the edge over their competition.

Bolasie joined Everton in 2016 for a fee reported by the BBC to be in the region of £25 million. After a promising start to his career on Merseyside, a knee ligament injury saw him out of action for over a year. Since his return to action, the 28-year-old has struggled to find any good form, frustrating players with his inconsistent performances.

Many value the fact Bolasie can occasionally produce some magic. But if Zaha is around, he will be doing so on a more consistent basis.

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Offering him back to Palace would give the Eagles a ready-made replacement who knows the club. It would also help Zaha in his decision to leave Selhurst Park in good hands, as he clearly cares for his boyhood club.

There is also a school of thought that Bolasie’s presence at Goodison Park could help convince Zaha to come and play for the Toffees, given the pairs good relationship.

Either way, it is clear the £25 million star could play a pivotal role in Everton ensuring they are the ones to get their hands on Zaha this summer.

Fans will certainly hope that is the case, as Zaha would be a major signal of intent from Everton ahead of a new era at the club.

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