Everton boss Duncan Ferguson has told The Telegraph that he told Mason Holgate to line-up as a central defender to try and trick Manchester United.
The Toffees worked with a 4-4-2 system, although Ferguson asked Holgate to start the game at centre-back so that United anticipated a 5-3-2 system.
Once the kick-off had taken place Holgate returned to central midfield, where he played impeccably well.
The 23-year-old has proved his versatility before. He has operated as a centre-back and a right-back and now looks to be competent in the middle of the park.
Ferguson says Holgate stationing himself across the back four prior to kick-off was all part of a cunning plan.
He told The Telegraph: “I told Mason to do that. Everyone was telling me to play five at the back anyway, so I told him to sit there and pretend we’re playing five at the back. I was messing with people, to be honest.
“I love a 4-4-2, I think the two strikers cause teams problems, it was working quite well. You are always going to get an overload in midfield and they were trying to pick our pockets in there.”
Everton claimed an invaluable point at Old Trafford and led for a large part of the game.
The Toffees opened the scoring through a Victor Lindelof own goal but Mason Greenwood ensure a share of the spoils for United
Holgate has been reborn this season in an Everton shirt.
After spending the second half of last season on loan at West Brom it seemed as though his days might be numbered at Goodison Park.
He has played 10 games for the Toffees this season and is starting to look the part.
His versatility could be key to Everton as the season progresses.
Injury problems are stacking up for the club and Ferguson’s decision to play him in midfield yesterday proved justified.
The £25,000-a-week (Spotrac) ace is looking better with each game that passes and picking up the mantle of utility man could earn him plenty of football during the second half of the season.