As we prepare for the final nine games of the season what should be the objective for the toffees. Beating the spawn of Satan goes as a given but apart from that what else is there to play for. Yes we want to win all our games but objectively we are mid table in the league, in no danger of getting dragged into any perilous situation while European qualification has become a pipe dream. So now is the perfect time for Carlo to enter the laboratory and experiment, its time to shake things up.
This essentially for me surrounds seven players. The first three are Moise Kean, Anthony Gordon and Alex Iwobi. With the final nine games it seems a perfect time to give Kean more playing minuets, getting him more use to the Premier League and priming him for what will be his big chance next season. For Anthony Gordon the playing time he has been given this season is a scandal. He is a player of real talent and while everyone at the club talks him up, he has hardly had a look in this season. These final nine games are the perfect time to unleash Gordon and give him real game time, gaining first team experience for what hopefully will be his big break out season next term. As for Alex Iwobi to say his season has been stop start has been an understatement. He actually started well early on before injuries and loss of form disrupted his first season at the club. Is he good enough? Think the jury for all blues is still out on that but with him now fully fit it is time for Carlo to give him some game time so we can all make our minds up on him.
Which brings me to the next batch of four players Dennis Adeniran, Benni Baningime, Nathangelo Markelo and Lewis Gibson, names associated with the Under 23’s it seems for an eternity. As I have wrote before about the Under 23’s, Everton as a Club hold on to young players, who are never going to make the first team far to long, either loaning them out or keeping them such as Markelo and Adeniran wasting their time playing for the Under 23’s, when they have clearly moved on from that level of football.
First up is midfielder Dennis Adeniran. Signed in Summer 2017, Adeniran has been along with Anthony Gordon and Lewis Gibson the stand out talent for the Under 23’s. In my opinion he was the best player in the Under 23’s 2018-2019 double winning season and again has been the stand out player for the Under 23’s in the curtailed 2019-2020 season. He has even added a new string to his bow by being played out wide for a large part of the season scoring goals to boot. Adeniran is now 21 years old and moving into his final year under contract at the club. He has been training with the first team this season and along with Anthony Gordon is the one player who I think has a real chance. I would put him in midfield over Sigurdsson, Schneiderlin Davies and Delph. It is time for him to be given his chance and the next nine games are the perfect opportunity. If I was Adeniran and I did not get a chance in the final games then I really would start to look somewhere else for my career.
Benni Baningime seemed to be a player destined to become a first team player following his impressive debut for the blues in the Carabao Cup game at Chelsea during the short period when David Unsworth took charge of the first team Baningimme has actually made 12 first team apperances, but injuries, including an injury wrecked loan spell at Wigan Athletic scuppered what seemed an upward trajectory. Back playing for the Under 23’s Rhino was quoted as saying
“I think he’s getting back to the levels he was at. I don’t think he’s at the level just yet, it’s a work in progress. He had a disappointing season last year which happens sometimes. We have to rebuild him and we’re certainly rebuilding him.
As the final games of the curtailed Under 23’s campaign played out, Baningimme was showing signs he was getting back to the level he first showed when he got his fleeting first team chances. Baningimme like Adeniran is now 21 and is contracted to the club until June 2022, but like Adeniran really has to question the blues if he is not given a chance in the final games of the season. With the departure of Gana and the unprecedented injuries to Gbamin, Baningimme is by far the best player to be given a defensive midfield berth for the blues and should be given his chance. It is time for both him and Adeniran to be given their first team opportunities instead of the dross we continually have to endure watching.
The third player I am pinpointing is Nathangelo Markelo. But I am taking a different approach here. Markelo joined Everton from Dutch side FC Volendam in the summer of 2017 and has been a more or less ever present for the Under 23’s since his arrival. But unlike Adeniran and Baningimme I have not been as impressed by Markelo whenever I have seen the under 23’s, and to be frank don’t think he will make it at the blues. His contract is up in June but I have seen a couple of reports saying that the club are looking to hand him another one year contract. I think this is a mistake and he should be let go. But if the Club are willing to give him a one year extension then he needs to be given a chance in the final games of the season to try and prove himself. Don’t think he will make it myself, but he is clearly to good for the Under 23’s. Markelo is now 21, if he is given another contract and then just sent out on loan it will be a waste of time for both the blues and Markelo himself. The Premier League agreed to allow players whose contracts are up in June to sign short term contracts to the end of the season, this would seem more appropriate for Markelo, and give him some game time in the final games.
Finally we have Lewis Gibson who may or may not come back to the blues from his loan spell at Fleetwood Town. With the injury to Mina this would seem a perfect time to blood the young Centre Back but with Fleetwood being one of the teams in a play off spot following the curtailment of League One it is yet to be decided if Gibson stays with them for their play off campaign. From all reports he has been a success at Fleetwood so he may stay with them, but if he does come back he certainly should also be given a chance in some of the games.
Its time for Ancelotti to experiment in the final games