FA Cup tie a great chance for Everton youngsters to stake claim

Everton (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Everton (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images) /

Tonight’s FA Cup fifth round tie against Borehan Wood will likely give several Everton youngsters a renewed chance to stake a claim for more first-team football.

The role and involvement of some of the younger players has got a bit lost in the general situation since Frank Lampard took over as Everton lurched from confortable wins at home to several terrible defeats away.

While the senior players were exhibiting their usual levels of often infuriating inconsistency several young players, especially those recently arrived at the club, were not able to make an impression as Lampard tended to put his initial trust in the senior players.

In particular the two new full-backs signed in the January transfer window Vitalii Mykolenko and Nathan Patterson were watching in the wings.

Mykolenko’s situation was complicated by his first falling foul of Covid rules and then the hugely difficult scenario following Russia’s invasion of his home country, which understandably affected him and made it difficult for him to concentrate on football.

As for Patterson, the talented young Scot is certainly highly regarded at Goodison Park but his youth and lack of top-level experience meant he has had to be patient and wait his turn sincce his move from Rangers.

Now, with the visit of the National League opposition tonight both full-backs will be hopeful of a chance to shine.

The manager has confirmed that Mykolenko will start the match. As for Patterson we will have to wait and see if he gets a start or perhaps comes off the bench.

With another big Premier League game on Monday at Tottenham coming up, it might make sense for the 21-year-old to play giving Lampard’s usual first-choice right-back Seamus Coleman a rest.

There are other players who might hope for a chance such as Jarrad Branthwaite who hasn’t had much time in the first team under Lampard.

But again given the injuries to his centre-backs with Ben Godfrey only just coming back from injury and Yerry Mina out probably for the rest of the season, he also needs to give one or other of Michael Keane or Mason Holgate time off too.

In addition, there are several players coming through the youth system who have caught the eye and Lampard has said these individuals will be in his squad.

So, hopefully not only will we see a good performance and a few goals tonight from Everton but also a real chance for the fans to see the best young talent in the squad.