We rate the players, as Everton did just enough to win 1-0 win on the night, against a Ruzomberok side which deserves credit for holding their own.
Perspective is a funny thing sometimes – more to the point, perception is reality. In that respect, depending on your outlook, Everton either put in a nervy second leg performance versus Ruzomberok, or were never really in trouble.
In reality, the Blues’ 1-0 win was arguably somewhere in between. Regardless, they did just enough to advance to the playoff round of the Europa League.
In the process, Everton kept alive their dual hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League. (Lofty ambitions or not, this is the direction the club is now headed in under Ronald Koeman.
The Toffees’ next opponent will be revealed sometime after 12 pm GMT today, in Switzerland. First things first though, here are our player ratings from Thursday night:
Jordan Pickford (7/10)
Competitive debut in goal for the Blues went about as well as you could expect. Looked comfortable and calmly delivered when called upon.
Ashley Williams (5)
We’ll admit this was one of Williams’ least convincing performances in an Everton shirt. Looked like he wasn’t fully concentrating on the task at hand, but that in itself is a rarity.
Phil Jagielka (6)
Thursday’s game marked Jagielka’s 350th appearance for the Toffees. That was pretty much his highlight of the night, although at least he didn’t have any glaring errors.
Micheal Keane (8)
For us, it was a tie between Keane and Calvert-Lewin for man of the match. (Yes, we know ideally you’re meant to pick just one player.) Keane showed why the Blues forked out big money for him and his composed performance in defence is a sign of things to come.
Leighton Baines (6)
It’s 376 not out for Baines, who has now played more games at full back, than anyone else in club history. He didn’t perform as well as last week, but he worked hard and was as dependable as ever.
Idrissa Gana Gueye (5)
What can we say…no, seriously…what?! Nondescript outing from Gueye.
Morgan Schneiderlin (6)
Similar to Gueye in that he didn’t really do much. However, we did actually notice him from time to time and from what we could tell, he was steady. (Now there’s a ringing endorsement for you.)
Tom Davies (7)
Unexpectedly picked to start at right wing-back, but didn’t let anyone down. Showed again why he has such a promising future, tirelessly darting up and down the pitch as and when needed.
Davy Klaassen (7)
Some people will say Klaassen had a frustrating night, but you just had a feeling he would be involved in any goals. (At least that’s what we predicted at half-time.) And so it was, as he played the ball which sent Calvert-Lewin clean through on goal, to seal the tie.
Sandro Ramirez (6)
Had plenty of opportunities to shoot at goal, but just didn’t have the killer instinct on the night. The fact he got into scoring position so much is a good sign and his final touch will only improve as the season progresses.
Wayne Rooney (6)
Understandably, more will be expected from Rooney and he knows this himself. However, he made sure to get everyone involved and you can already see the promise of his developing partnership with Ramirez up front.
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Dominic Calvert-Lewin (8)
Only played 21 minutes after replacing Ramirez, but what a 21 minutes! Was involved in attack from the moment he entered the fray and calmly fired home on 81 minutes, to settle the tie (and the nerves).
Gareth Barry (n/a)
Only came on in the 82nd minute, replacing Schneiderlin. Smart substitution under the circumstances, but not on long enough to make any impact.
Kevin Mirallas (n/a)
Similar to Barry, not on the pitch long enough to make an impact. Came on in the 86th minute, replacing Rooney.
What is your take on our player ratings? Who was your man of the match? Is there anyone in particular, who you think deserved a better (or worse) rating? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.