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Everton 0-2 Manchester United: Three talking points from Goodison Park

Jake Jackman

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Manchester United

Manchester United managed to return to winning ways with an impressive away victory against Everton. This is a fixture that has caused United with problems down the years and Wayne Rooney was the focus of attention in the build-up as it was going to be only his second appearance against the club since leaving in the summer. It was a quiet one for the forward, as he picked up a yellow card and didn’t threaten as much as he would have hoped. The visitors took the three points thanks to strikes from Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard. Here are three talking points from Goodison Park:

Jesse Lingard continues to impress and deserves his place in the starting eleven

The 25-year-old has been a slow developer, but he looks ready to step up a level and become a regular starter for Manchester United. He has been a good squad player for the club since breaking through as a young player, but he is now ready to make the move up to be a more important player at Old Trafford. He ended 2017 in impressive form and has started the new year in the same vein.

The attacking midfielder scored the second goal of the evening, as he struck an excellent effort to beat Jordan Pickford and put the result beyond doubt. He wasn’t short of confidence and looked to take shots at every opportunity. Lingard attempted five shots and his direct approach is one of the reasons he is in the team, as United need more goals from their midfield.

Lingard is an entertaining player to watch and isn’t afraid to take responsibility and run with the ball. He completed three dribbles against Everton and caused problems every time he got on the ball. Creatively, he will be hoping to improve during the coming weeks, as he made only one key pass on Monday. At times, his decision making could be improved, but he is headed in the right direction and his form in front of goal means that Jose Mourinho can’t drop him.

Everton need to sign a new striker

They didn’t have to deal with the return of Romelu Lukaku to Goodison Park as he was missing through injury, but it was clear that Everton need to sign a new striker in January. Oumar Niasse led the line against Manchester United and there was some good movement from him and the rest of the attacking players, but they caused few problems for the opposition when they had the ball.

The 27-year-old hasn’t fully convinced any of the three managers that he has played under at the club and it is unlikely that he is going to be the answer up front. There is no criticising his effort, as he was a willing runner and tried to impress, as his four successful dribbles show. However, he doesn’t have the required ability to deliver the level of performance that Everton want from their main striker.

Everton have been heavily linked with Besiktas striker Cenk Tosun and there had been speculation that a fee had been agreed, but the Mirror report that the deal is no in danger of collapse. It is a risk to sign a striker from Turkey and expect them to replicate the same form in the Premier League, but he appears to be the club’s primary target at the time of writing. If they can’t get his transfer over the line, they must move on to other targets. The current striking options aren’t good enough for a team with the Toffees’ ambition.

Paul Pogba showed why he is important to Manchester United

The French international continues to be doubted by many that like to point towards his huge transfer fee, but his influence can’t be understated. Paul Pogba is the most important player in the current Manchester United team. The club haven’t lost a Premier League game when the midfielder has played since October 2016. Meanwhile, United have lost five matches without him during this period.

Pogba is a forward-thinking player and is always looking to play positive passes. During the match, he completed five key passes and assisted both goals. As a creative presence from deep, there are few better players in the Premier League and there is hope that he can step up to the next level during 2018. He has been touted as a future Ballon d’Or winner and there is no reason why he can’t do that at Old Trafford.

Jake is a student based in the South East. He is a Newcastle fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

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Tottenham’s Harry Kane deserves to be included in the Player of the Year conversation

The England international outscored any other player in 2017.

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Harry Kane
Photo: Getty Images

Following the announcement of the PFA Player of the Year nominations this week, the conversation has been centred around Kevin de Bruyne versus Mohamed Salah.

Yet Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane deserves a spot in the debate, as his superb 2017/18 is being unfairly overshadowed by his Manchester City and Liverpool counterparts.

The England international has scored a stunning 36 goals in 41 appearances this season, including 25 in the Premier League.

Those 25 goals are even the more impressive when considering the elite company Kane joined when bagging them. Only four players have scored 20-plus goals in four consecutive seasons: Kane, Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, and Sergio Aguero.

In addition, Kane has achieved this impressive feat despite a serious ankle injury he suffered against Bournemouth in March. His quick return from the sidelines is commendable and demonstrates how important the England international is to Spurs.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

This importance to his club is also illustrated by his remarkable goal contribution to Tottenham’s total. Kane has scored 25 of Spurs’ 65 goals, or 38 percent. This number is remarkably the exact same as Salah’s contribution to Liverpool’s total.

Furthermore, given Kane’s tender age, his feats are arguably even more laudable than de Bruyne’s or Salah’s. Kane is the youngest member of the trio at 24 years of age, and also qualified for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

Although de Bruyne and Salah will dominate the headlines, it would be a grave mistake to leave out Harry Kane when discussing the league’s best players. His consistency and goal-scoring threat are qualities that few in England can match.

And one should not forget that Kane scored more goals than anyone else in the world – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo included – in 2017. Leave out the Spurs frontman from the POTY debate at your own risk.

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Leeds United youngsters on steep learning curve in Spain

The Leeds youngsters have been taking part in the Real Sociedad Torneo Internacional.

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It has been a fairly miserable few months for Leeds United fans. The first-team’s promotion push faded away rapidly and they now look set for a mid-table finish. But whilst the seniors have disappointed there is always hope given to the Leeds faithful from their youth-teams.

Several young players such as Kun Temenuzhkov, Ryan Edmondson and Jack Clarke are currently getting Leeds fans excited for the future and those three are just outstanding examples.

LA CORUNA, SPAIN – NOVEMBER 22: A Real Sociedad de Futbol fan holding a Club’s flag smiles as he waits for his team’s arrival before the La Liga match between RC Deportivo La Coruna and Real Sociedad de Futbol at Riazor Stadium outdoors on November 22, 2014 in La Coruna, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Leeds have revamped their youth teams under the new chairman Andrea Radrizzani and director of football Victor Orta. Plenty of young recruits have been brought into the club, both from home and abroad. They have also been participating in some interesting tournaments, such as the tri-series in Qatar with the Aspire Academy.

This week they sent the club’s under-13s and under-17’s to Spain for a tournament that will have been a brilliant learning experience.

Leeds under-17s took part in the Torneo Internacional Real Sociedad. They faced the likes of Sporting Lisbon, Celta Vigo, Osasuna, Valencia and host club Real Sociedad. The hosts won the competition, beating Valencia in the final. Leeds came fifth overall.

A supporter of Sporting waves his club’s flag at half-time during the UEFA Champions League football match Sporting CP vs NK Maribor at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon on November 25, 2014. AFP PHOTO / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA (Photo credit should read PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)

The under-13s faced the same teams apart from Valencia, who were replaced by the juniors from Real Madrid. Los Blancos’ youngsters won the competition with Leeds coming last.

But despite the mixed results playing against youngsters from some of the best academies in Spain and the sensational system at Sporting would have been an incredible learning curve for the Leeds youngsters.

A lot of what is going on at Leeds right now is not pleasing fans of the club. But in regards to the youth system, Radrizzani and Orta clearly have a vision which is being implemented with success.

The recent participation in such a prestigious tournament is just another sign of that success.

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Pontus Jansson’s brother suggests Filip Helander move, should Leeds swoop?

The pair teamed up for Sweden in international duty this week.

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This week saw Leeds United centre-back Pontus Jansson receive the honour of captaining his nation. He led Sweden out against Romania in a 1-0 friendly defeat this week. Whilst the result was not what Jansson would have wanted, it was still a proud occasion for the Leeds defender, and his family.

His brother in particular shared his pride on Twitter. Peter Jansson is often in contact with Leeds fans on social media and he shared this message on his account:

Not only was he proud of his brother, but he was also suggesting options for Leeds United to buy. He pointed out that Jansson had developed a good working partnership with Swedish compatriot Filip Helander:

The pair have similar backgrounds. Helander, like Jansson, came through the youth ranks at Malmo before moving to Italy with Hellas Verona. Jansson’s move from Malmo also took him to Italy, joining Torino.

Helander, a natural left-footer, certainly would add some balance to the Leeds back-line alongside Jansson. Undoubtedly he is a more talented player than current incumbent Liam Cooper and Leeds would be lucky to have him in.

So should they move for Helander?

A deal to sign the 24-year-old would be brilliant for Leeds. But here lies the main problem, and the main difference between Helander and Jansson. Whilst the Leeds man struggled in Italian football with Torino, Helander has not.

Jansson joined Leeds as he was not playing regularly with the Italian side. Helander on the other hand has been a regular for Bologna this season, helping them to a mid-table position in Serie A.

For Helander to swap that for Championship football is not beyond the realms of possibility. However, it certainly looks an unlikely proposition.

If only Leeds could convince Helander, because he and Jansson at the back would form quite the pair in the Championship.

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