Everton squad responding to challenge

Fabian Delph (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Fabian Delph (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images) /

Injuries marred last night’s latest Carabao Cup victory for Everton over West Ham. So the question is are the fringe players in the squad ready to step up?

Despite another superb win and four more goals as Everton beat West Ham United to progress to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, Blues fans will be concerned about the injuries to Brazilians Richarlison and Allan as well as Jonjo Kenny.

Although the initial talk coming out of the club seems to indicate that none of the injuries are really serious, it does look likely that both Allan and Kenny are probably out for a few weeks.

If the Toffees are missing their new Brazilian ball-winner and defensive lynch-pin Allan, together with his compatriot Richarlison, who has grown into a genuinely outstanding attacking talent since his move from Watford in 2018, it won’t be easy to cope without them.

If one or other or both, are unable to play for a while, then the focus and attention will turn to the fringe players in the first-team squad to see if they can respond and maintain the momentum of the Blues season.

In truth, given the Toffees woeful bad luck with injuries, seen once again last night, it’s almost certain that a few of these reserve players are going to have to come into the first-team at some point and perform if Everton are to achieve anything this season.

Several of those players have already shown that perhaps they can do just that and rise to the challenge that the three new signings’ impact has created.

We’ve seen the improvement in players like Bernard, who has taken his chance to impress in the Carabao Cup with several strong outings in the competition.

Even Gylfi Sigurdsson, a player that I have often criticised for his poor attitude and indifferent or even dreadful past performances, has raised his game considerably, putting in better efforts when he’s had the opportunity.

Players like Bernard and Sigurdsson know that they are now fighting very hard for a place in this Everton squad with the calibre of players coming in. Some of the complacency that seemed to characterise their play last season, has now unsurprisingly, gone.

They may have thought they’d leaving the club this summer and might still do so in this transfer window if a decent offer comes in from another club.

But they are also aware that Carlo Ancelotti could well be building something really special at Goodison Park, so they have an added incentive to work harder in order to impress the Italian to keep them at the club.

Another player who is among those almost forgotten squad members that many Evertonians would have thought were certainly on the transfer list, is midfielder Fabian Delph.

More from Prince Rupert's Tower

Delph arrived last year and was a surprise signing. The former England international had plenty of top level experience and could play in midfield or left-back. So the idea was he could offer some of that nous, versatility and a strong mentality to a young team, perhaps a bit like James Milner did at Liverpool.

However, after a decent performance or two at the beginning of last season, he caught the Everton jinx, got injured and more or less didn’t play again for the rest of the campaign.

Now he’s back to fitness and speaking to the club’s official website, has credited Ancelotti’s excellent man-management skills and patience in helping him to recover.

Next. Despite another win Everton rue injuries. dark

Last night Delph performed well, winning the ball and passing with accuracy and intelligence, especially after Allan went off. That’s exactly the kind of effort that will be needed if the Brazilian is absent for any length of time.