Defender Micheal Keane has been talking about how he thinks Everton will try and play next season as the team’s pre-season work continues.
Everton have just headed across the pond for a tour of the States as the club prepares for a unique Premier League season that starts in under a month.
The squad departed these shores with only one new addition in James Tarkowski and despite plenty of recurring rumours of further additions, no other new players have been signed or appear likely to join anytime soon.
While they are in America we might well get a better idea of how manager Frank Lampard will look to set his team up and how they will attempt to play next season in terms of tactics and style.
Keane’s remarks indicate that after last season’s desperate relegation battle, Lampard will try and impliment a kind of style giving his players more freedom and looking to play out from the back.
As I’ve said before, I would ideally like to see the Blues’ move towards a style of play that was more possession-orientated and allow the Toffees’ to get on the front foot, control their games better and press opponents more effectively too.
However, while all this is fine and good in theory, it requires the team has the sort of players that can competently and confidently operate in such a way.
Looking at the current squad and how they have performed over the last few seasons wouldn’t give anyone much confidence that this set of players can do that.
Far too often this squad seemed to lack the ability to even consistently pass to one another accurately let alone attempt to play intricate possession football out of defence!
Players like Keane himself hardly exhibited the sort of calm, level-headedness or the footballing ability to keep the ball and use it skilfully, especially when under pressure.
The centre-back made a litany of errors, often leading to goals, particularly last season, and he often seemed easily panicked with opposing players close around him as the Blues’ made the second most errors leading to goals in the Premier League, behind only relegated Watford.
There are actually a few players in the squad who might well be able to impliment this approach and could thrive with more freedom to play out, such as Ben Godfrey, who has shown flashes of his ability on the ball and new signing Tarkowski.
The ex-Burnley man is actually a much better passer of the ball than he might have looked given the Claret’s style, and is also apparently very comfortable bringing the ball out from defence.
So these two could well be central to Lampard’s thinking as he looks to re-shape his side. Those players alongside young full-backs Vitalii Mykolenko and Nathan Patterson, might form the nucleus of a new-look ball-playing defence.
Although time is ticking on, hopefully Everton can add more players before the transfer window shuts. We have to assume that those potential additions will be designed to help Lampard’s team transition to the sort of football he wants to play, which Keane has indicated.