Can Anthony Gordon save Everton some cash next summer

Everton (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Everton (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images) /

In a slew of fine performances against Manchester United on Saturday one young winger took further steps forward in his Everton career.

That player was Anthony Gordon who had an excellent game along with many others in the 1-1 draw that Everton secured at Old Trafford.

Gordon, is the latest young talent to emerge from the Toffees youth system and both previous manager Carlo Ancelotti and current boss Rafa Benitez have included him in their squads.

Ancelotti however, generally preferred established players and of course he brought several fine additions to the club.

He didn’t though ever appear to be ready and willing to give Gordon and other youngsters a consistent chance, even when he had major injuries to deal with.

Benitez has also not been renowned at previous clubs for giving youth players a lot of opportunities, although he has promoted and improved home-grown talent such as Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard at Liverpool and players like Jamal Laschelles at Newcastle.

But he is a very pragmatic coach and has responded to his current injury problems by putting Gordon and others such as Lewis Dobbin into the first-team squad and giving them a chance to play as well.

In truth, although the Blues have had a good reputation for developing young talent, it’s been a while since one of those players has made a real impact for the club in senior football.

Over the last twenty years or so players such as Francis Jeffers, Michael Ball, Wayne Rooney, Jack Rodwell and Ross Barkley have emerged and played first-team football for Everton.

Obviously, Rooney is the one who stands out and he had a stellar career at both club and international level, although almost all of that was of course after he left the Toffees and moved to Manchester United in 2004.

Barkley was the last of these players and despite some fine moments in a royal blue shirt it never ultimately worked out for him and he moved to Chelsea for a nominal fee.

Part of the problem for these young footballers is that too often recently they have come into struggling, unstable sides with a succession of managers.

Hopefully, with Benitez the Toffees have a coach who if he carries on as he’s begun, will hopefully stick around for a while now.

But I also think another problem is that sometimes these players are loaned out without there often being a clear strategy behind these moves.

There’s no doubt loan spells can help a player improve and develop his game but sometimes it makes more sense for that individual to get opportunities with the first team.

Gordon has shown sporadic glimpses of his talent but he might also have gone out on loan this summer as Ellis Simms did who spent a period away at Blackpool last season, came back and has since been plagued by injury.

Benitez was it seems keen to add another wide attacking player this summer after signing Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray.

The player most rumoured to be in his sights was Burnley’s Dwight McNeil, but financial pressures meant nothing came of that.

Had McNeil joined then perhaps Gordon would have gone elsewhere or on loan but now he has been given a chance to try and cement a place in Benitez’s team.

It’s very early days of course but Gordon showed pace and skill and put in a mature and determined performance at Old Trafford both defensively and in attack.

There’s still plenty for him to work on but if he can keep improving and performing in this way then he just might be able to hold down a regular place in this Everton team and perhaps save Benitez some precious cash next year.