David Martin joins the blogging team at NSNO, and asks, did anyone really expect Leighton Baines not to win everything at the award ceremony last night?
The End of Season Awards last night gave me some cause for rumination. Rarely has the Player of the Year award been so clear cut to the point were there was a little anticipation for the event in general. Was there ever any doubt that Leighton Baines was going to win it? Undoubtedly, the shining light in a largely mediocre season, Baines has achieved a level of consistency that has rightly had him touted as one of the World’s best left backs. It is a testament to how far he has progressed that he is now being called World Class in some circles and in those circles the vultures are hovering. Valuations of twenty five million may be thought of as ludicrous but then if we are talking about his worth to our club then he has to be worth every penny. Indeed, NSNO’s podcast valuation which has increased according to assists into the hundreds of millions isn’t that far off the mark!
Another shoe in (not you Tony!) for young player was Seamus Coleman and although thoroughly deserved again was a given with the lack of young players making a breakthrough this season. Coleman has been great for large portions of the season in the unfamiliar role of right midfield and initially his directness and pace scared defences which led to some excellent, game winning performances. However, as the season has progressed it has become obvious that right midfield should not be his permanent position. His directness, while refreshing is predictable and his lack of end product or any real guile means that, despite a good season, right back is were his future lies. If he improves his crossing and defensive positioning he has a great future as an overlapping fullback if a certain Mr Neville ever retires!
It has to be said that it is a shame that Seamus hasn’t had more competition for the young player award. At lot of people, including myself believed this was going to be Jack Rodwell’s breakthrough year. However, a combination of injury, a Manager who isn’t sure were he should be playing and Jack himself not really performing leaves a lot of doubt in my mind as to were his future lies. He seems not to tackle well enough to be a centre back, his positioning and laid back style isn’t well suited to the defensive midfield role yet he only shows flashes of dynamism in an advanced role. The lad clearly has all the tools but it would appear that he and Everton haven’t decided how they should be utilised. Does this make him a likely candidate to leave us for pastures greener in the summer? I hope not but perhaps it might be for the best for his career and our short term future? Similarly I was one of a few who thought Victor Anichebe might have a breakthrough this year following some promising appearances last year but it simply hasn’t happened for him and it is hard to see a long term future for him at the club. Perhaps next season will see the emergence of some new young talent and hopefully the likes of Barkley, Duffy, Velios and Gueye will be pushing for a start as it seems likely that the likes of Vaughan and Agard will be let go.
It would be easy to get depressed by the lack of competition across the board for the Player of the Season awards. With Baines the only standout candidate the performances across the board have been lacklustre on the whole. The have been moments of positivity including some great performances from Distin, Osman and Howard but at best the whole squad seems to have dialed in this season. Considering my high hopes for the season is nothing short of bewildering. Arteta seems to have lost his courage, Jagielka his brain and Bily seems to just want to go home. At least Neville has shown some heart in what is Everton’s version of The Wizard of Oz. I just hope next season we get back on that road to Emerald City as this team has the ability to win something. Here is to an End of Season Awards next year that has several players jostling for the top spot and the highlight isn’t an appearance by Duncan “Icon or Legend” Ferguson.
You can read more of David’s musings by following him on Twitter: @AchmedtheMad