Everton concluded their Sydney Super Cup tournament with an impressive 5-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers earlier today.
This mini competition in Australia has proved to be of potential beneficial to Everton after the trauma of the final few weeks of football back in England before the World Cup kicked off.
Simply getting away from the pressure cooker of the Premier League has probably helped given how difficult those last two matches against Bournemouth were.
And, on the pitch there was an all too rare penalty shoot-out win over Celtic, something the Blues’ have rarely managed over the years in competition at any level.
Then came this five-goal victory over Wanderers, which saw a hat-trick for Anthony Gordon and a much-needed strike for fellow forward Neal Maupay as both excelled up front.
But perhaps most important of all has been how several of the club’s young players stepped up and performed over the course of these matches.
One of many thing the Toffees’ have needed to improve for a number of years is the quality and strength of the squad overall, so giving the manager more competition for places and concrete options off the bench to help him change games.
To some extent progress has been made in this regard with the summer signings and the release of several highly paid and under-performing squad players, giving Frank Lampard a better mix of talent and choices.
Obviously though, one area of the team which still needs significant strengthening is the side’s attack, which has been a serious and debilitating weakness all season long.
Gordon and Maupay’s goals in this latest game indicated they still might be at least part of the solution, although of course it has to be stressed that this was essentially a friendly against significantly weaker oppositon than Everton’s Premier League opponents.
In addition, several young players starred for the Blues’ including Stanley Mills and Issac Price both of whom did their causes no harm.
Both are players who have been on the fringes of the first-team squad for while now and their performances down under will have boosted their chances of seeing more action during the remainder of the campaign.
Mills is a player who could perhaps contribute to improving the Toffees’ attacking threat with his pace and positive attitude.
He helped create chances and could have scored too. Given how limited Everton’s attacking resources are, any additional contribution will surely be welcome.
Perhaps he might offer an unexpected option alongside the outstanding Nathan Patterson, who was sharp and energetic against the Australian side putting in an inviting cross for Maupay’s goal.
As for Price his contribution in central midfield underlined his abilities and while Lampard certainly has plenty of players to choose from in this area of the pitch, having another young combatative and composed footballer in the engine room can’t do any harm.