I’m tired of posting photos of Wayne Rooney on here, but if he ‘forces’ me to do it by sheer weight of goals, I guess I’ll put up with it.
He’s 5ft 5in (or 1.65m for the metrically minded amongst you), but Aaron Lennon rose majestically to head the ball towards goal from Calvert-Lewin’s pinpoint cross, and to every Evertonian’s immense disappointment, the ball went straight at the ‘keeper. But “aaaahhhh” quickly turned to “ooohhhh” as we saw Rooney scampering after a ball that hadn’t at that stage come loose from Darlow’s grasp, but loosen it did, and there was only ever going to be one winner in that 50/50. I’m one of those that patronising though it may be, wish Lennon to have a blinder every game, to score a few goals this term, and no, I don’t think that’ll ‘cure’ any mental health issues he may still be experiencing, I just think it’ll help if he knows we love him and adulate him. Pictures like this one of his joy unconfined, contrast a little to that not-intended-to-be-hilarious pic of him when he signed, when he also revealed how overjoyed he was at signing for Everton. He looked as overjoyed as someone who puts on curiously warm slippers only to find their pet cat has beaten him to it.
More importantly, his appearance up and down the right from Full Back to almost fully fledged winger again, has coincided with the up-tick in Everton’s defensive form, has helped Kenny settle in to one of the best Right Backs in the PL at the moment, and has given in his cameo hour or half hour, whichever he’s given, ample proof that there’s life in the 30 year old dog yet. Apologies for mixing my pet metaphors.
It’s nice that as a natural right footer he can go past people. Meanwhile, our current Left Back, is so right footed too, so much so that I’m convinced that the only reason he’s got a left foot is to keep his right foot company in bed. OK, you’ll all shout that I’m being ‘Footist’, and that he crossed with his left foot to create a chance for DCL, but I’m not wrong really am I? Let’s be fair, in his defensive duties he stood up well, and much better when I looked at the oppo and saw lightning quick Yedlin and once-quick-but-still-tricky Atsu up against him, but he stood his ground well. All our attacks down the left seem to come to an abrupt end because of his reluctance to go outside and trust his left peg, so one assumes Baines will return in due course, not that I’ve seen him skinning their Right Backs recently either. Tierney anyone?
But yes, Cuco, as opposed to Coco as Allardyce calls him, which conjures up appropriate images on occasions, is part of a back line altogether more solid. But greater credit has to go to Messrs Williams and Holgate (I’ve praised Kenny a lot too recently) who have looked very impressive of late, it may even be the Williams we thought we were buying.
I still think Mason has a lot to learn, having mentioned his getting caught under balls lofted slightly over him in the past. But he’s improving every week as he plays in a settled team and a settled back line (part of our problems earlier this season HAD to be RK’s tinkering with the XI, the formation, and the personnel every game). He was strong in the tackle (desperately unlucky to be booked for the crunching tackle just outside the box on someone in B/W stripes, no idea who), good in the air, and like this picture suggests, no stranger to offering advice to his older and better half. How much longer he’ll be the better half, only time will tell, and I fully expect Keane and Holgate to be a pairing before long, maybe even the first choice from next season. So it’s lovely to have a young ‘un growing in to his role, and delivering on the hype and promise that he came with, and following in the footsteps and big head of Stones from Oakwell. Mason does his interviews in his sliders and socks for God’s sake, no pretension there I’d suggest. Crap dress sense yes, but no airs and graces. Isn’t it lovely to see young players blossom: add Pickford, Kenny, DCL, Davies, Vlasic and Lookman, plus the host of players ripping it up in the Championship?
Gueye was back to his best before last night, but another good game. Hope Shelvey’s rash tackle hasn’t done any harm. Funny bloke Shelvey, hardly popular amongst Blues, but he can pick and thread a pass, and if we have to have either, I’d rather have him in England colours than Livermore. I’d rather have me than Livermore frankly.
Anyway, mustn’t be too nice to Newcastle United, even if I have got a bit of a soft spot for them. It will be interesting to see if new owners and some dosh can tempt any top notch players to the Sub Arctic, an issue that the likes of ‘Boro and Sunderland have had to grapple with in recent years. Based on the black ice on the pavements outside the ground, anyone going there needs to have their own sprinkler pack of salt to hand. It was hilarious to hear the boring cliche of a song against us at this time of year: Feed the Scousers; I was inclined to sing back that the Gross Value Added per capita in Liverpool is higher than Tyneside, but I couldn’t make it scan in any tune I could think of, and what’s more I have no idea what it means anyway. Far better was the travelling support’s response to “You nicked our Stereos, you nicked our stereos” with “You still listen to stereos, you still listen to stereos?”.
We move on, and talking of singing, the Welsh are coming. Don’t mess it up Everton.