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Three Everton youngsters ready to make the step up next season

The Toffees have a number of young stars ready to make the jump to the first team.

Ruari Macneil

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Everton
Photo: Getty Images

The current Everton first-team squad boasts a high number of quality young players, with a number of top performers significantly bringing down the average age of the starting XI.

The club have four England under-21 stars in Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Tom Davies, Mason Holgate and Jonjoe Kenny all making regular starts, while a number of others are currently coming through the ranks either on loan or turning out for the club’s development side in the Premier League 2.

Either way, we are taking the chance to have a look at three of the club’s rising stars, who have not yet properly impacted the first-team and will be looking to make their stamp during the season ahead.

Kieran Dowell

England under-21 attacking midfielder Kieran Dowell has been plying his trade under Aitor Karanka on loan at Nottingham Forest this season. The 20-year-old has enjoyed a terrific campaign with the Reds, making over 30 appearances so far and reaching double figures in terms of goals scored.

The FIFA under-20 World Cup winner has a genuine chance of impacting the first team in 2018/2019, having caught the attention of the Everton coaching staff through his consistency and goal-scoring ability. However, with a number of players already in his position in the first-team squad, regular game time may be hard to come by at Goodison Park.

That being said, the likes of Davies should be enough evidence that age does not matter at Everton, and you still have every chance of establishing yourself as a first-team regular irrespective of age and inexperience. At 19, Davies plays regularly ahead of more experienced senior players such as Morgan Schneiderlin and Davy Klaassen, and Dowell should be holding out for much of the same.

Ademola Lookman

Charlton Athletic academy graduate Ademola Lookman played a number of times for Everton’s senior team in the first half of this campaign, before being sent on loan to RB Leipzig from January.

The young forward has played around 10 games in the Bundesliga for the German giants, scoring a couple of goals, and has undoubtedly picked  up some valuable experience playing for a top European club. Lookman announced himself to the Leipzig fans in emphatic fashion, when  he bagged a late winner on his debut against Borussia Monchengladbach.

With their forward options currently quite thin, Everton could definitely make better use of Lookman next season, as a backup to the likes of Yannick Bolasie and Theo Walcott. Aged just 20, the England under-21 international looks a serious talent, and will be aiming to impact the side sooner rather than later.

Antonee Robinson

English-American full-back Antonee Robinson has enjoyed a full season of first-team football with Championship side Bolton Wanderers this season, making nearly 30 appearances for his loan club.

The 20-year-old is yet to make his Everton first-team debut, having picked up a few appearances for the development side in the past but, with Leighton Baines set to turn 34 next season, the youngster could well be brought in to deputise for the long-standing veteran.

Robinson spent his entire youth career at Everton and is highly rated by the club’s coaching staff and, at 6ft, he is a commanding presence down the left-flank. He has even been deployed at centre-back due to his large frame in the past.

With his versatility as an added quality, it would not be surprising to see Robinson win his debut and enjoy some first-team exposure back at his parent club during the 2018/2019 season.

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

How Sam Allardyce’s failure to prove preconceptions wrong resulted in Everton exit

The 63-year-old was relieved from his duties at Goodison Park last week.

Martyn Cooke

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Photo: Getty Images

Sam Allardyce was sacked by Everton earlier this week, bringing an end to his brief and somewhat controversial six-month reign at Goodison Park.

On paper, the 63-year-old has fulfilled the remit that he was given when he accepted the role in November.

Poor early-season form had left the Toffees with genuine fears of being drawn into a relegation battle and Allardyce successfully guided the team away from trouble and to a respectable top-half finish in the Premier League.

However, his dismissal came as little surprise and the reality was that the former England manager was nothing more than a short-term solution to Everton’s immediate problems.

Allardyce has a reputation for being a survival specialist who utilises a pragmatic, rigid style of football to grind out results.

This was highlighted during his recent spells with Sunderland and Crystal Palace where his philosophy and methods were able to produce enough results to pull both clubs out of the relegation zone and to safety.

However, his style of play is a means to an end. There is little aesthetic appeal and supporters only tend to tolerate it if their club is desperate for points or it is facilitating significant success on the pitch.

The decision of the Everton hierarchy to appoint Allardyce was logical and made business sense.

In short, the 63-year-old would guarantee that the Toffees retained their Premier League status, allowing the club to rebuild in the summer.

The question was, could Allardyce prove that the preconceptions about him being a nothing more than a survival specialist and only being able to produce a pragmatic style of football as false?

If so, then maybe there was a long-term role for him to play at the club.

Ultimately, the 63-year-old was only successful in cementing those preconceptions.

It has been a miserable six months for Everton supporters and there has been little for them to cheer over the cause of what has been a chaotic and disappointing season.

Allardyce’s reign was characterised by some positive results that came courtesy of a dire, pragmatic and, at times, just downright negative style of football.

Yes, Allardyce inherited an imbalanced squad, but the notion that the club was destined for relegation is completely false.

When he was appointed Everton were five points clear of the relegation zone and David Unsworth has just secured a 4-0 victory against West Ham in his final game as caretaker manager.

A seven-game unbeaten start to the 63-year-old’s tenure at Goodison Park effectively meant that The Toffees were well clear of trouble by the turn of the year.

There was no need to grind out results anymore – it was time to build to the future and give the supporters something to look forward to.

(Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)

However, Allardyce made no attempt to take off the shackles and the pragmatic style remained unaltered.

In the end, Everton supporters, and ultimately the club hierarchy, were left frustrated and struggled to buy into a future where Allardyce led the rebuilding process at Goodison Park.

There was no surprise to see the club opt to move in a different direction.

For Allardyce, his spell at Everton has only helped to reaffirm the perception that his role will always be that of a survival specialist and that his style of football simply does not suit progressive clubs looking to establish themselves in the top half of the Premier League.

His approach is begrudgingly accepted when results are the priority but is cast aside when entertainment and progress comes to the fore.

Everton and Allardyce were always a mismatch – now it is time for both to find more appropriate appointments.

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After failing in Greece on loan, Kevin Mirallas’ Everton career is surely over

The Belgian still has two years remaining on his contract at Goodison Park.

Max Cohen

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Kevin Mirallas
Photo: Getty Images

Once an integral part of the Belgian national team, Everton’s Kevin Mirallas was dealt a harsh blow when he was left out of his country’s World Cup squad by former manager Roberto Martinez this week.

The devastating news is the latest disappointment in what has been a failed season for the winger, leading many to wonder if Mirallas has played his last game for the Toffees.

It has been a sharp fall from grace for the 30-year-old, who signed a three-year contract at Goodison Park just 12 months ago.

At the time, Mirallas spoke of his desire to win trophies with Everton and the faith Ronald Koeman had in him. A year later, the Belgian’s situation could not be more different.

The winger made just two Premier League starts in the first half of the season, and was entirely left out of the match-day squad from late November to New Year’s Day.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Due to Mirallas’ lack of opportunities at Goodison Park, he was sent on loan to Greek club Olympiacos in January.

He had previously enjoyed two fruitful years at the club from 2010-2012, even winning the league’s top scorer award in 2011/12.

Yet a return to the site of his former glory failed to produce the intended effect, as Mirallas contributed a disappointing two goals and two assists in 15 matches in all competitions.

In a country not known for its defensive prowess, the Belgian’s lack of attacking firepower is a worrying sign of a player on the decline.

And in early May, Mirallas was reportedly shipped back to Everton earlier than expected due to his poor performances, according to Belgian journalist Kristof Terreur.

Although there are two years left to run on Mirallas’ Everton contract, it looks increasingly unlikely that the winger will ever appear for the Toffees again.

Thanks to a failed loan spell in Greece and an abject run of form, Kevin Mirallas appears to be on his way out of Goodison Park this summer.

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Leeds have to react and appoint Sam Allardyce following his Everton sacking

Leeds United find themselves at a crossroads after another disappointing campaign.

Josh Kerr

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Allardyce
Photo: Getty Images

Leeds United fans want Sam Allardyce as their next manager following his departure from Premier League side Everton. The top flight veteran left the Merseyside club yesterday morning, despite only six months in charge.

The news comes at a perfect time for Leeds, with supporters far from convinced with the job Paul Heckingbottom has done at Elland Road so far.

The Whites were sitting comfortably in the EFL Championship play-off positions before the Christmas period. However, poor results and low morale saw the club slip down to 13th, missing out on their top six target which had been set by owner Andrea Radrizzani last summer.

Following his Everton exit, Leeds should consider approaching Allardyce if they are to have a change of fortunes in the league next season.

Heckingbottom took charge from Thomas Christiansen half-way into the season, but results under his stewardship were disappointing and the arrival of a new boss would not be out of the question.

(Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Allardyce had led Everton to an eighth-place finish in the Premier League this season but had not done enough to win over supporters at Goodison Park.

However, the 63-year-old has been one of England’s most successful manager’s for more than a decade, and Elland Road could be the perfect destination for him to have one foray.

 

Allardyce has been an expert in ensuring stability and grinding out results, a trait Leeds have certainly lacked in recent years.

Leeds have had eight managers in the last four years so clearly there is a problem in terms of recruitment in Yorkshire.

However, Allardyce is an appointment that doesn’t come around every day, and it is difficult to argue that his sacking comes at a perfect time for both parties.

Big Sam and Leeds were once Premier League giants and an alliance between the two could see United with their most experienced manager in over a decade, and Allardyce with the chance to prove his credentials once again.

The 63-year-old famously guided West Ham to promotion back in 2012 and he could be the man to finally do the same at Elland Road.

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