'Homebird' Kenny spreading his wings in Germany

Thursday, 7 May, 2020 87comments  |  Jump to last

Jonjoe Kenny says that a desire to play week-in, week-out and to prove that he was ready to perform regularly at the top level is what spurred him to go out on loan to Schalke 04 this season.

The 23-year-old has made a very positive impression on the Bundesliga after leaving his Merseyside roots for a year in Germany and he spoke with The Guardian as he prepares to resume action when that country's league resumes behind closed doors this month following the coronavirus shutdown.

Expected, perhaps, to follow in the footsteps of his fellow scouser, Tony Hibbert, and work his way gradually into a first-choice role at Everton, Kenny has found his way blocked for now by club skipper, Seamus Coleman.

Having already tasted plenty of Premier League action deputising for Irishman over the past few seasons, Kenny eschewed the prospect of playing understudy for another season and, with the blessing of Director of Football, Marcel Brands, and former Blues boss, Marco Silva, he linked up with former Huddersfield Town manager, David Wagner, at Schalke.

“I was always a homebird,” Kenny said, lending credence to some raised eyebrows when the quiet local lad became the latest English export to the Bundesliga last summer. “I always wanted to stay at home with family and I wasn't massive on going away on long trips when I was younger. Even though I've been on a lot with England (youth), it wasn't my favourite thing to do.

“But I haven't been home for four months now and it changes you as a person. Not everything is easy and that's exactly what I needed to progress: to come out of my comfort zone, learn a new language, learn how new people work.”

Kenny's adventure on the Continent has been a successful one so far. He scored his first professional league goal earlier in the campaign and has impressed Wagner, to the extent that there is speculation that Schalke will ask to renew his loan for another season in 2020-21 and that the player himself would be keen.

“I wanted to come here to prove a point to people, but also to myself,” Kenny explained. “I don't want to be a player who plays a couple of games and does well. I wasn't happy to be sitting on the bench, or part of the team when I wasn't playing. I want to play football and express what I've got.”

“I knew I could get forward and show what I've got up the field as well. [Wagner] gave me the confidence to do that and make different kinds of run, not just straight down the line, and it all just came together. I just needed to have the belief that I could get up there and deliver more chances.”

Quotes sourced from The Guardian

Reader Comments (87)

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David Thomas
1 Posted 07/05/2020 at 21:19:54
Good luck to the lad. He seems to be level-headed and a hard worker.

Personally though, I think we need to be looking for better quality than him if the club is going to reach the top 6 places and compete for trophies.

Alex Lee
2 Posted 07/05/2020 at 21:24:38
I can't agree, Dave @ 1.

I think, given the chance, he could be our long-term answer at right-back!!

Tony Abrahams
3 Posted 07/05/2020 at 21:28:59
The more he plays, the better he should become, and I think it's great that Jonjoe had the balls, to go and play in Germany, and I'm sure he will come back to Everton a much better player.
Martin Berry
4 Posted 07/05/2020 at 21:31:37
Good luck to Jonjoe and I hope he continues to enjoy his football experience in Germany. Obviously it's much better for him to get playing time and improve as a player.

At 23, he is still young and hopefully will have a good career in front of him, whether at Everton or elsewhere.

I admire his spirit of adventure and ambition by making the move to a new league and country, it's very commendable.

Peter Mills
5 Posted 07/05/2020 at 21:39:26
I've seen a lot of comments previously that we need better than this lad.

I saw him 3-4 times at junior levels and was very impressed with him. Not just for his playing, but for his leadership. For the first team, he has come in and done pretty well, but not without the sort of flaws to be expected from someone taking a major step up.

He has gone to Germany, he will have learned a huge amount about the game and about himself. I reckon there is a player here we should be looking to keep.

Kevin Prytherch
6 Posted 07/05/2020 at 21:44:46
Championship standard at best. File him alongside Calvert-Lewin and Holgate.
Gary Willock
7 Posted 07/05/2020 at 21:53:24
Seamus has shown what heart and desire can produce. Give the lad a chance.
Terry Farrell
8 Posted 07/05/2020 at 22:31:02
Kevin, I could not disagree with you more on all 3 players. It's all about opinions and mine is that Holgate will be in the England squad for the Euros. Calvert-Lewin is progressing well and Jonjoe Kenny is improving whilst holding his place at a top 5 team in the Bundesliga.
John Keating
9 Posted 07/05/2020 at 22:39:24
Football is a team game. Our best teams, league-winning teams from 1963 did not have the best players in every position; what they did have were excellent team players.

Jonjoe Kenny is a team player. No team has the best players in every position. The sooner this lad comes back to us, the better. Certainly a better bet than Sidibé and as good as Coleman for heart, determination and work ethic.

Christy Ring
10 Posted 07/05/2020 at 22:40:54
Kevin @6,

If you don't rate him, fair enough, but if you put Calvert-Lewin and Holgate beside him, where would you put the rest of our first team?

Ridiculous comment. Personally, l'd keep Kenny, and forget about Sidibé.

Jay Wood

11 Posted 07/05/2020 at 23:09:35
Terry @ 8 and Christy @ 10.

Have neither of you considered the possibility that Kevin posted his comments with his tongue stuck very, very firmly in his cheek?

Tony Hill
12 Posted 07/05/2020 at 23:29:52
He's a fine young man and his courage is admirable. I think he's half a yard short in pace and lacks the extra talent required, both in attack and (particularly) in defence, to have a serious career in the Premier League.

Very astute judges like Dave Abrahams disagree. I hope I'm wrong, but I would not keep him.

Eric Myles
13 Posted 08/05/2020 at 02:44:57
We may have no choice but to keep him if we can't afford better when the footy resumes and I think a lot of clubs will be in the same position with their academy players also.
Kieran Kinsella
14 Posted 08/05/2020 at 03:43:30
Probably the best player we've produced in 40-odd years.
Beresford McWilliam
15 Posted 08/05/2020 at 04:14:37
A young Seamus Coleman at a similar age appeared to, for a good while, be all grit but lacking in abIlity. How he proved us wrong.
Eric Myles
16 Posted 08/05/2020 at 04:17:03
Better than Rooney, Kieran?
Alan J Thompson
17 Posted 08/05/2020 at 06:16:03
It's probably not been the best time for a youngster at Everton during the last 5 or 6 managers but I worry when you read that last paragraph:

"[Wagner] gave me confidence to do that and make different kinds of runs, not just straight down the line, and it all came together. I just needed the belief."

We've had a few youngsters, some sold and some still on loan, who have looked promising but don't seem to cut it nor get the opportunity and raises the question (again): How good has the coaching of youngsters been at Everton?

Steve Shave
18 Posted 08/05/2020 at 07:18:10
Terry & Christy, I too have in the past risen to the bait. The way it works is Kevin posts something completely polemic and oppositional, others bite back, and Jay has to come in and explain his sense of humour.

Last time I saw him do this, I accused him of being a Liverpool supporter. Come on, keep up! :)

Kevin Day
19 Posted 08/05/2020 at 07:32:43
Terry, 8. Christie, 10.

I think Kevin at 6 said that totally tongue-in-cheek.

That's the way I read it anyway?

Mike Gaynes
20 Posted 08/05/2020 at 07:42:28
Geez, Kev #6, I thought it was a great quip and worthy of a laugh... but, you know, irony doesn't always come over very well online. I've stepped in that pile a few times myself.

Trust me, folks, he was kidding.

That said, however, I don't actually believe Kenny is in the same category with Holgate and Calvert-Lewin. Like Tony, I just don't see quite enough talent or pace to go with the obvious heart and grit. Assuming Sidibé's gone – which seems certain, with the loan expiring and no transfers currently possible – we may need Jonjoe back as Coleman's deputy, but I don't see a long-term mainstay in him, and the rumored Emerson is miles better.

Kieran #14, perhaps, but that would mean we've produced lots better players in the even years than the odd ones.

Sam Hoare
21 Posted 08/05/2020 at 07:45:26
Comparisons with Coleman are valid but Seamus has more dynamism in his locker than Jonjoe.

I think Kenny may well get a shot next year as right-back is not a priority and we might not have the finances to cover all the bases.

I suspect that long-term it may transpire he's not quite got the tools to play right-back for a team with top 6 aspirations but he's certainly not lacking in work ethic and team spirit.

Eddie Dunn
22 Posted 08/05/2020 at 07:53:26
I think we will see in time, how much he has improved in Germany. Players do get better. With him, he has shown a good attitude and plenty of fight, and there is every chance that he will make the step up on his return.
Hugh Jenkins
23 Posted 08/05/2020 at 08:06:30
As we all know, nowadays, Premier League football is a squad game and that means that any team with aspirations and ambitions to be in the top 6/4 need to have two excellent players to cover each position in the team. At present, Everton has an ageing Captain and an erratic loanee covering the right-back position.

Availability of transfer funds, the current format of FFP rules (although this may now change due to Covid-19) and the after-effects of said Covid-19 will mean that the transfer market is going to be a very different place, at least over the next few seasons.

Therefore, seeing as in reality we need two new right-backs, in pretty short order, I believe Jonjoe Kenny will return and we will still be in the market for another right back (I don't think we will keep Sidibé).

Sam (21) - Just saw the last episode of "The English Game" last night. Excellent series and an impressive piece of co-writting for Episode 4. Keep it up. Is a sequel planned?

Steve Shave
24 Posted 08/05/2020 at 08:09:34
I agree with Mike's comments. I suspect due to financial restraints he will be kept this year and replace Sidibé. He will be given a good run and we will have a proper look at him; it's now or never for him in an Everton shirt. I would imagine though he will be upgraded the following season, I hope not and want desperately for him to rise to the challenge and kick on again.

Well done, Kev, I like to imagine you sitting back, reading such comments whilst sipping your cuppa, eyes narrowed with glee. :)

Robert Tressell
25 Posted 08/05/2020 at 09:44:17
There's quite a dull but informative tactical analysis of Kenny at Schalke on YouTube. It praises his progressive passing, passing accuracy and ability to break the lines.

He tends to pass inside for the one-two or to move the ball forwards into midfield as opposed to the classic (but not very constructive) full-back pass down the line.

Hopefully he is using his greatest attributes (good attitude, willingness to learn) to turn himself into a more accomplished footballer. I guess that was the point of the loan move. Even if he's got his drawbacks, I'd rather have him than Sidibé (far from perfect also) and he's definitely earned a shot at making the right-back slot his own. He'll never be Trent Alexander-Arnold but he could be a very reliable servant.

Robert Tressell
26 Posted 08/05/2020 at 09:48:52
ps: Sam – bit slow on the uptake but I have cottoned on now that you are the actor / writer! I'll give The English Game a try! Good man. 👍
Ash Coakley
27 Posted 08/05/2020 at 09:54:38
Keep him and play him. Sidibé played 21 games for us this season, Kenny played 24 for Schalke. I think most agree, game time makes a difference for his development, but his additional is negligible.

He will be on less money than Sidibé, worth more in sell-on value, is a blue with passion and, whilst not Cafu, most importantly, he's as good (slightly better defensively imho) as Sidibé.

It's great he has pushed his comfort zone by going to Germany but would like to see him back here next year. His comments suggest he is exactly the type of character we would want in the dressing room. I don't see right-back position as a priority and signing one established and better will likely cost circa 㿅M+, money better placed elsewhere if available.

Martin Mason
28 Posted 08/05/2020 at 10:30:33
For me, he's a class player and a far better deal than Sidibé. Surely it's a no-brainer of a choice? He's already our player.
Dave Abrahams
29 Posted 08/05/2020 at 11:34:51
I'm with Kevin @(6), file him with Holgate and Dominic, two players Jonjo played with a lot.

I'm obviously biased in favour of Jonjo, watched him grow up from Everton's U16's and always liked what I saw, got into the first team, where I think a lot of fans form their opinion of him, and had to start with a team and senior first team players were fighting for their own places and didn't have the time to look after a young player just starting in the game.He did okay and was improving without being given a good run in a good team.

He elected to have a go in a foreign country and try and prove himself, so I hope he will be given the chance with a good run in his own city with his own team, after all he really is one of us, and I think he is definitely good enough.

Tony (12), I understand your point of view, one of us will be right over Jonjo, I hope, for Everton's sake it is me !!!

David Thomas
30 Posted 08/05/2020 at 12:19:38
It depends what you want in my opinion. If you want a local lad who might not have all the talent but will give everything for the shirt and never shirk a challenge then Kenny will be your man.

However, if you want a player who has that extra bit of quality that could help hurt the better teams and push Everton onto the next level then I don't think Kenny is the answer.

Darren Hind
31 Posted 08/05/2020 at 12:58:48
He has had to learn his trade next to some appalling center-halves. He's also played behind very weak midfield players.

He's probably better off out of it until better quality is brought in. Hopefully Brands has a few irons in the fire.

Tony Everan
33 Posted 08/05/2020 at 13:18:28
Getting a good amount of game time for Shalke in the competitive German league is no mean feat in itself. The experience will improve him as a player both on the mental side and with regards to playing disciplined football. This loan move has come at the exactly right time for Jonjo to develop his potential.

Before his move I saw enough to believe he had a chance, his attitude and commitment were second to none. We desperately need those attributes in the team. He had his failings too, he needed a bit more composure maybe ,but the experience will have matured him and benefitted the mental side of his game and he will come back a better player. It will be especially helpful coming back to a more stable team under Ancelotti, with a more organised defensive unit in midfield.

I would embrace him coming back, ring backed by the manager and being given a continuous run in the team to prove himself. Funds won't be unlimited this summer and quality recruitment in 3 other positions, Gabriel, Allan, Lozano, would be money better spent.

Sam Hoare
34 Posted 08/05/2020 at 13:36:36
Hugh @23, thanks very much. Glad you enjoyed it. No plans for series 2 that I know of yet. But I am set to have some discussions with a producer who has a Dixie Dean film in the offing, so that's something!

Robert @26, just a little something to fill in the time while I'm waiting for you to respond to our discussion about whoever the latest transfer target is. Ha!

Bill Griffiths
35 Posted 08/05/2020 at 13:47:09
Personally, I am two minds as to whether Jonjoe Kenny had what it takes to be a top player but hope that he does and that he does do with The Mighty Blues.

If it is a choice between Jonjoe and Sidibé I'd go with Jonjoe anyday.

Jerome Shields
36 Posted 08/05/2020 at 13:51:49
I always thought Kenny was a fair and a conscientious player who always tried his best. He is young and could develop and the move to Germany seems to have done him good.

Let's face it, Everton can play well, but can too often play woeful football, with all the ingredients that such a performance is made of. This is not a great springboard for a young player.

James Flynn
37 Posted 08/05/2020 at 16:39:51
Beresford (15) - "A young Seamus Coleman at a similar age appeared to, for a good while, be all grit but lacking in abIlity."

I'd go back and look at Seamus at the exact same age. He was already on his way to establishing with Baines one of the best, if not the best, attacking corner-back duos in the league.

I think Mike (20) has it right: "I just don't see quite enough talent or pace to go with the obvious heart and grit."

Kevin Prytherch
38 Posted 08/05/2020 at 17:17:34
Steve 24 – I was considering putting the blame firmly at Kenwright's door for employing his luvvies Unsworth and Ferguson for Kenny's development – and then saying that we'd have been better off keeping Hibbert fit as a back-up...

But I thought that was pushing it!!!

Terry Farrell
39 Posted 08/05/2020 at 18:33:54
Kev, if that's your brand of humour, then – unless noticed before – it's difficult to detect in print. Okay, you were joking... but I don't see the funny side when it's our own youngsters.

Nurse more, tablets.

Mike Gaynes
40 Posted 08/05/2020 at 18:53:45
Sam, I didn't know you were writing The English Game. Guess I'll have to pony up for Netflix after all!
Bill Gall
41 Posted 08/05/2020 at 19:04:11
Same as a lot of the young players who come up through the ranks, has to be a lot better than some of the players we have paid transfer fees for, to be excepted by the home supporters.

We were lucky to be able to watch the likes of Rooney and Barkley in an Everton Shirt, 1 who had his head turned and I who was ruined by the club.

Jay Harris
42 Posted 08/05/2020 at 19:11:52
For all those saying he is not good enough, are you basing your opinion on 2 years ago?

I totally agree with John Keating that the lad is the best of the current 3 right-backs and could enable us to spend all available funds on a world-class defensive midfield and a goalscoring midfield player.

He has the desire and energy to be a top team player with a desire to win and would not be out of place with Holgate and Calvert-Lewin as the basis for a very good Everton team.

BTW, Ash Coakley, are you any relation to John Coakley?

Conor McCourt
43 Posted 08/05/2020 at 19:44:16
The problem I have with Jonjoe coming back is that I don't think he brings balance to the squad. I have seen enough from Seamus this season to think that he's still capable of playing a huge role.

For me, I would like to bring in Aarons as he offers something different to Seamus (now). I would like to see Kenny play a year in the Premier League on loan and then replace Seamus the following summer, assuming he progresses.

Jim Wilson
44 Posted 08/05/2020 at 23:43:26
One of our best players in my opinion. Great attitude, doesn't give up.

Should be here when the next season starts.

Mike Gaynes
45 Posted 09/05/2020 at 01:58:29
Jay #42, no, I watched him several times this season at Schalke. He was quite decent, a solid performer. But if our threshold is what so many here have cited, namely Top 4 talent, he doesn't look that to me.

However, you're absolutely right that our top spending priorities right now should be – must be – in midfield.

Saiful Yusoff
46 Posted 09/05/2020 at 05:31:46
Personally, I prefer him to stay there for another year at least. Germany's league is known as a place where players can improve their defensive skills and, by the age of 25, he should have mastered all the defensive trades.

Good luck to him. NSNO.

Steve Brown
47 Posted 09/05/2020 at 05:52:31
I agree, Saiful @ 46, I would prefer to let him have another season with Schalke to develop. But I am not sure we will, as Coleman is ageing and Sidibé performs like Cafu one week and Titus Bramble the next.
Alan J Thompson
48 Posted 09/05/2020 at 06:12:53
Saiful (346) & Steve (#47); I'm not sure but would I be right in saying that he has only 1 year left on his contract? Which, if it is the case, means a decision may have to be made now.
Steve Shave
49 Posted 09/05/2020 at 07:06:53
Kev (38) there's always next time, bud. Wait a while though yeah so that everyone forgets your angle and then BAM – stick em with a comment so dry and oppositional that you get a bunch a kick-back. That should work nicely. Make sure Jay is around too so that he can defend you. Surely it is Kenwright's fault though? ;)
Sam Hoare
50 Posted 09/05/2020 at 07:42:26
Mike@40; ha! Don't feel you have to but let me know your thoughts if you do.
Jerome Shields
51 Posted 09/05/2020 at 08:49:55
I think there is an unintentional bias, which I am also guilty of, that the Bundesliga is of a lower standard than the Premier League and Everton's comparable place in it. But RB Leipzig qualified for the Champions League and could give the present Everton side a hammering on their day. Schalke are no pushover either and, in the Bundesliga, Kenny is holding his own.
Paul Burns
52 Posted 09/05/2020 at 09:53:27
In 11 days time, it will be 25 years since we won our last trophy. We will never win one again until we cease being a charity and get ruthless.

Kenny is now 23, we have to make quicker decisions as to who will make it at the top level. If he's good enough, he should be in the team, if not get rid, it's as simple as that.

We'll never move on if we can't tell who is good enough and who isn't.

Danny ONeill
53 Posted 09/05/2020 at 13:51:42
I posted an article on here after attending the Schalke v Leipzig match at the end of February. Unfortunately, I caught Jonjoe Kenny on a bad day; regardless of Schalke being outclassed by a very good team, he in particular had a poor game.

So, the jury is still out for me, but I'mwilling to give him the benefit and hope he comes good. As many say above, good players surrounded by better ones can make a great team. So it's not about having the best player in every single position as long as they can contribute to making a quality team. Any great team of the past didn't necessarily have the best 11 players in the land or the world and many factors contribute.

And, he has suffered, not just through the players he's played alongside, but some of the coaching and management has endured since breaking into the first team. I was at the Emirates in February 2018 when we got thumped 5 - 1 by Arsenal; 4 - 0 down at half-time. A mate who had coaching connections to Arsenal got us tickets right behind the dugouts (literally the first row behind). Some time in the 2nd half, Kenny got the ball and looked at options. Allardyce screamed at him to "get it forward". Jonje followed said instruction only to see his aimless punt forward (as instructed) roll harmlessly out of play. He then got an absolute rollocking from the one the Sky cronies love to promote, berating him and asking "what the fuck was that"?

I couldn't contain myself. I informed the one I am ashamed to acknowledge was ever our manager that JJ had just done "exactly what you just told him to do, you fucking luddite". He seemed somewhat surprised to know an Evertonian was sat right behind him.

So, I hope the experience improves him. Quite refreshing to see a young player talk about wanting to play football above all else. There have been too many examples in the modern era of chasing the big move only to spend years in the "stiffs" to the detriment of their development and longer-term career.

Steve Shave
54 Posted 09/05/2020 at 14:46:21
if I am perfectly honest, I think the best thing would be to not take Sidibé, let Coleman go, and sign a promising right-back. (Arrons, anyone?) Let him and Kenny fight it out.
Eric Myles
55 Posted 09/05/2020 at 15:30:01
Steve #54, Coleman has another 2 years left on his contract.

So, due to current circumstances, it's unlikely we'll be 'letting him go'.

Sam Hoare
56 Posted 09/05/2020 at 19:53:38
Think it will become a matter of priority and practicality. I imagine that Brands will want to sort out the CM, RW and CB situation before looking at RB. I could well be wrong about that. If I am right though it will come down to what deals we can do and what money is left/available for a RB.

I don't think Kenny will want to come back to be second choice. He's played a season as first choice RB and he needs more of that. If we spend £15m+ on a RB then you have to assume he will be first choice with Seamus able to back him up. In that case Kenny will be moved on or maybe given another loan. But I expect out transfer fund to be concentrated on other positions so see Seamus and Kenny slugging it out for the RB spot next season.

David Thomas
57 Posted 09/05/2020 at 23:16:41
Sam 56,

That's how I see it as well. There are other areas in the team that need strengthening first.

I would prefer to bring Kenny back than buy Sidibé for 㾶+ million as this could be used to help bring quality into the team in other key areas.

However, if that was to happen I would expect to see a Kenny really kick on next season if he is to become a mainstay if the team for future years.

By the end of next season, he will be 24 and, if he's not forcing his way into the team then over a 32 Coleman who is past his peak, then I think we would need to prioritise right-back and move Kenny back to back-up or sell him on.

That may sound harsh but, if we are ever going to reach the top again, we need to be more ruthless.

Derek Thomas
58 Posted 10/05/2020 at 01:26:47
Things and funds being what they are with other areas a bigger priority, I would guess Kenny will just get the nod over Sidibé.
Vijay Nair
59 Posted 10/05/2020 at 05:28:11
Bring him back and play him, with Seamus as back-up. Let's not waste the money on Sidibé, and use it to bolster other more pressing gaps in our squad.
Eric Myles
60 Posted 10/05/2020 at 08:00:31
With Coleman having 2 years left on his contract, we buy Sidibé and loan out Kenny for one more year.

Then, when he returns, we have Kenny and Sidibé fighting for a first-team place with Coleman as back up for his final year.

Problem is that Kenny's contract also expires in 2022 so he either has to be good enough after his next loan, or we sell him.

Sam Hoare
61 Posted 10/05/2020 at 09:23:18
David @57. Yes. It's interesting that the 㾸m fee agreed for Sidibé that would have seemed pretty good value 6 months ago may well not be now. I expect transfer valuations to drop between 10-30%. Plus Sidibé is so poor positionally and I don't think that can be hugely remedied at his age.

I‘d like us to have a look at Maehle from Genk. Bit untested at higher levels though he's done okay in Europe. He's 6 foot and absolutely rapid. Great at getting up and down the flank.

You could get him for 㾶M or less I reckon and though he's not excellent defensively he's only 22 so could be coached to better things and has a lot of the raw ingredients for an excellent modern full-back. Reminds me a bit of a young Coleman in terms of dynamism, maybe not quite so determined though.

Ian Bennett
62 Posted 10/05/2020 at 10:20:55
I suspect transfer fees are going to be all over the place depending on the income dependency of gates vs TV, the state of the home country, and what has happened to the owners other business interest. Normality of mass gatherings is a long way off.

You'd expect some level of fire sale. Players that were once assets, are expensive liabilities on unsustainable wages.

They're all in the shit, but any league that can sort their shit out quick, have a big Bank balance, and ambition, could get a big leg up.

Eric Myles
63 Posted 10/05/2020 at 10:36:22
Ian #62, clubs may well want to offload high-earning players in fire sales, but it's all dependent on the player and his willingness to move for lower wages.
Ian Bennett
64 Posted 10/05/2020 at 12:34:13
The contract ain't going to be worth much if the club has collapsed into administration. You can't take a shirt off a naked man.

I just can't see how for example the Championship etc can survive when wages are 110% of turnover, and turnover has collapsed with little prospect coming back for the remainder of the year. Best case: they can sell their top talent at distressed prices... worst case: they collapse into administration and the whole lot leave on frees.

That could well eek into Champions League dependent clubs in minor leagues. I just can't see how the Champions League will be coming back. Crossing borders looks way off. So again you've clubs like Celtic paying 㿊k+ per week without the domestic TV rights to support it = fire sale.

For the Premier League some of the older players aren't going to be moving anywhere if the club can pay – that much is true. But for the weaker clubs, it looks a massive problem.

Dean Barton
65 Posted 10/05/2020 at 13:05:14
I can't believe that some of you are even considering Sidibé! He is awful. Maybe he's had one or two decent games but defensively he's terrible. Watch how many goals come from his side.

He dives into tackles when he should stand up and is always out of position. Why anyone would pick him ahead of Coleman is beyond me. Christ I'd rather have Tony Hibbert back... at least he could defend.

I'd send Sidibé packing and let Kenny and Coleman fight it out. Kenny will fancy himself over a 30+ Coleman; if he doesn't, then he's in the wrong game, frankly.

Dean Barton
66 Posted 10/05/2020 at 13:07:27
Ian @64,

I think Football is going to have to take a long hard look in the mirror after this.

Robert Tressell
67 Posted 10/05/2020 at 13:14:00
On a vaguely related note, some more Rabiot rumours resurfacing. Transfer apocalypse permitting, if we sign a big target like that (which I very much hope) then it makes it very unlikely we'll have money left to spend on a new right-back (including Sidibé).

Aarons and Maehle may be better than Kenny (still remains to be seen, mind you) but Kenny has good pedigree. In fact, if he wasn't on our books already people like Sam and I would be singing the praises of a young, intelligent right-back doing good things in Germany who'd be a good fit as a Coleman replacement.

Jerome Shields
68 Posted 11/05/2020 at 15:43:25
Whilst midfield may seem urgent, the backline is still not sorted. The failure to transfer in a Centre Back which was thought to be a real problem at the beginning of the season was lessened by the emergence of Holgate. Which was lucky given the undependability of the performance of Keane and Mina. The right-back position was also weak given a injuried Baines at the start of the season. The promising Robinson was let go and Baines, given the proverbial one-year extension.

In a Fan Article before Xmas it was correctly highlighted the lack of depth at the back; age, injury and performance considerations. Nothing has changed regarding these concerns. The backline needs to be reinforced, unfortunately, the midfield and forward line are another problem. Forget about the goalkeeper – there are already too many problems to sort.

Si Cooper
69 Posted 13/05/2020 at 14:31:04
Aarons may be quick and likes to attack but I'm pretty sure I've seen him fail quite badly in his defensive duties. I think he is eye-catching but not the whole package.

I'm down the middle on Kenny. Think he has some very good attributes but also lacked a bit the last time I saw him play (which was for Everton).

I'd be keen to have a proper look at him back in the Premier League (not sure you can know for sure watching only Bundesliga games) before making a decision one way or the other but I'd be very surprised if he has yet done enough to make him our automatic first choice.

Conor McCourt
70 Posted 13/05/2020 at 15:47:04
Si, I get your point about Aarons needing to improve defensively; I think that too, but I don't think he is a liability like Sidibé, more naive like Coleman as a youngster. I'm a little surprised at your comments since you often turned a blind eye to Djibril's defending.

I also disagree with Sam that right-back is not a priority and others who believe Seamus and Jonjoe can fight it out. Neither are good enough offensively now and I believe it needs rectified.

Some argue midfield is a priority but that depends on the progress of Gbamin. We would all like another central midfielder or two but, if funds are tight, I would much rather worry about the first eleven with right-back and a wide goalscorer as priorities. Then another midfielder, centre-back and winger should be looked at depending on availability.

Much will depend on getting players out but I hope the club may be at an advantage as I think cash isn't the issue and FFP may be relaxed in the current climate.

I would be ecstatic with Grealish, Aarons and Zouma as my shopping list.

Mike Gaynes
71 Posted 13/05/2020 at 16:51:19
Dean #65, Sidibé's also one of the best tacklers in the Premier League and the most effective passer Everton has. There's a ton of talent there.

His positional horrors are obvious, but he's no worse than Coleman was when he came back from Blackpool, and Seamus learned up and turned out pretty damn good. I think Sidibé would have been worth keeping, though obviously that won't happen in the current market.

Conor #70, Zouma? Really? No recycles for me, thank you. I like the guy, he did a good job for us, but Chelsea's defense hasn't exactly been airtight this season, and he's made some really ugly errors. Pass.

Eric Myles
72 Posted 14/05/2020 at 06:15:32
Ian #64, if a club collapses into administration, doesn't the player become a free agent? Isn't that how we got Jelavic from Rangers?

So the player is still in a win-win situation if he doesn't want to move.

Conor McCourt
73 Posted 14/05/2020 at 13:35:27
Mike I understand your point but as I said on another thread I think he would be a perfect partner for Holgate (or Mina depending on opponent). He maybe the less talented of the three but he would offer great balance and would solve that problem area for the next few years.

I understand he is not top four material but anyone thinking Champions League next season is being unrealistic. We need to be thinking top six and our depth is similar to many like Wolves, Arsenal and Leicester but they have better elevens and possibly better balance.

That's why I think Grealish would be such a coup as not just for his brilliance but also that he could play in about five positions. All three of my desired players always seem to available which is untypical for would-be Brands signings.

Si Cooper
74 Posted 14/05/2020 at 13:41:56
Never a blind eye Conor, just felt at times that Sidibé was over scrutinised and other culprits were being let off Scot free because of it.
I will always believe that, especially at the highest level, the defensive duties are a shared responsibility where the poor choices/ inactivity of team mates can make you look a right chump. That's the only point I have ever tried to make regarding Sidibé; others have chosen to view that as championing the player.
I don't think that the right back spot won't need sorting out sometime fairly soon, but I do tend to think the team has bigger issues and the most urgent improvements are needed in midfield.
Conor McCourt
75 Posted 14/05/2020 at 15:39:21
Mike I'm sorry but your comparison of Sidibe and Seamus is absurd. One was a 21 yr old who had come into professional football quite late and the other a seasoned international approaching his 28th birthday.

I agree that Seamus had positional problems but always was at least competent. This idea that Sidibe is just poor positionally and will learn is pie in the sky. He has no awareness, constant brain farts and lacks focus. He will never improve defensively and his tackling stats are a symptom of his poor defensive awareness.

Danny ONeill
76 Posted 14/05/2020 at 16:42:47
I don't disagree with many of the criticisms of Sidibe defensively. I have to admit though, going forward, that cross he possesses is impressive.

We had the opposite in Hibbert, who could defend stoutly & doggedly but his delivery in the final 3rd often ended up heading towards St Luke's.

A tricky balance getting a full back who can both defend and support forward play in equal measures. We had it with Baines (eventually) and likewise, Coleman. As mentioned above, not likely to happen with Sidibe now as he's past the age of learning; he is what he is. Unfortunate because I also agree, there was a lot of talent in him had he been coached properly in his formative years. That said, the guy has a World Cup winner's medal, so I'm sure he'd point that out to me!!!

Tony Abrahams
77 Posted 14/05/2020 at 16:53:45
I'd have definitely gave Sibide a go in midfield, because he can pass the ball, tackle, likes to go forward, has got plenty of energy, and also a bit of pace.

He definitely got caught in no mans land, many times last season, but that's modern football, especially for fullbacks, who are expected to attack, just as much as they are expected to defend nowadays.

He actually showed a lot more discipline when he played right midfield imo, but I'd have tried him in the centre, instead of the snails, who struggled to inject any pace into our team.

Mike Gaynes
78 Posted 14/05/2020 at 17:01:16
Conor #75, you're entitled to your opinion regarding Sidibe's positional problems and whether he can improve, but the statement "his tackling stats are a symptom of his poor defensive awareness" is just silly. You don't lead the Prem in tackles per minute because you're unaware or out of position. That's ridiculous. If you ever watched him play, those weren't recovery tackles -- he's almost impossible to beat off the dribble. The man is a top-quality ballwinner, the best we have by far. We have no other player on the roster who consistently wins a tackle other than Richarlison. And nobody who can cross a ball anywhere near as well.

As to whether he could have been coached up by Carlo to improve his RB positioning, or perhaps even moved to DM, we'll never know. Under the current financial circumstances there is no chance the club will exercise his purchase option. So he'll be gone back to France in six weeks regardless.

Re your comments at #73, if you're right that we have no chance at a CL place next season, I'd far, far rather bring in a young talent like the oft-rumored Gabriel and get him up to speed next to Mina or Holgate. I'd also rather give a youngster like Gibson some pitch time. We wouldn't even be mentioning Zouma if he hadn't played for us previously -- as you say, he's not what we're looking for long-term.

Mike Gaynes
79 Posted 14/05/2020 at 17:14:48
PS Conor, agree on Grealish. He's tough, talented and versatile, an ideal Everton player, and I'm not put off by his occasional off-the-pitch idiocy. At least he's not drunk driving in a Volkswagen.
Conor McCourt
80 Posted 14/05/2020 at 17:52:53
Mike why is it silly? Denis Irwin was easily the best right back the Premier League has ever seen. He was so good he played left back most of his career to accommodate Neville's progression. He very rarely had to tackle because he was always in control, he read everything. Look at other great full backs and you will see the same.

Some defenders like Pearce or Dicks had to make a lot of tackles because they lacked pace or were testing mentality. Sidibe has pace, power and all the attributes not to need to tackle.

I agree that he is a very good ball winner and he does make aggressive tackles early and high which puts us on the front foot but the amount of times he loses his man and has to tackle to make up for loss of concentration is huge. Go back and watch the opening twenty minutes of the second half versus Brighton and see how many tackles he made that day and why he had to make them.

Jay Wood

81 Posted 15/05/2020 at 23:43:51
On the question of Sidibe and his tackling stats, the club site is putting up extracts from Carlo Ancelotti's book Quiet Leadership: Winning hearts, minds and matches

The latest one talks about getting the balance right in a team. That if you have a team that plays well defensively but not so well offensively, or the other way round, that is the sign of a bad manager.

Ancelotti considers anybody and everybody can learn to defend well.

That if a team doesn't defend well it is because either the manager allows it to happen or the players choose not to defend well.

The following is his most telling take on tackling in particular.

"Great defensive play is mostly organisational and positional in the modern game – it's not so much about tackling any more."

The earliest recall I have of players being bewildered that tackling NOT being employed was when Holland eliminated Jackie Charlton's Ireland in a play-off at Anfield for the Euros 1996. Post-match, an Irish player complained that Holland didn't engage in Ireland's physical game: 'They didn't tackle us. They just jockeyed us."

The great defender Paolo Maldini said "If I have to make a tackle, I have already failed." And of course Pep Guardiola was ridiculed when first arriving in England when he said he was not be coaching his team to tackle.

I'm guessing Ancelotti is very much aware of the pros and cons of Sidibe's defensive positioning versus his tackling stats.

Mike Gaynes
82 Posted 16/05/2020 at 00:22:03
Whatever his views of Sidibé's relative talents, Carlo clearly prefers him to Coleman.

Since Sidibé came on for the red-carded Seamus at Burnley on 10/5, Sidibé has started 17 games at right-back. Coleman has started 3.

And in two of those Sidibé was playing right-midfield ahead of him.

Apparently the manager doesn't agree with the TW consensus on the Frenchman.

Eddie Dunn
83 Posted 16/05/2020 at 07:56:48
On Sidibé, I can see that he is an athlete. Powerful and fast. He has pulled out some last-ditch tackles (often in the box) and I have watched, heart in mouth, but have been amazed at him managing them.

Positionally he has looked awful, but I have to wonder if he had merely been following instructions. Seamus has also been caught upfield on a few occasions but unlike the Frenchman, he hasn't got the gas to get back. This is why I think Carlo has opted for the Gaul.

I would love Jonjoe Kenny to continue his development for the remainder of the season in Germany and come back home to a starting berth.

Incidentally, Mike, I think some of the time Sidibé has been picked ahead of Seamus because the Irishman has had injury/fatigue problems.

Conor McCourt
84 Posted 16/05/2020 at 09:37:11
Jay, good post and link. I'm not sure I agree with Carlo that you can improve all players defensively as I think there are those who go through their entire careers with the same frailties despite excellent coaches though I agree with the main point that it's easier than trying to make someone more creative.

I did find that a very encouraging read though especially his thoughts on continually reinventing and that standing still is failure. Hopefully the proof will be in the pudding!!

Mike Berry
85 Posted 21/05/2020 at 16:57:09
Fan of Coleman, but his mojo has gone. To me Kenny should be first choice next season
Ray Roche
86 Posted 21/05/2020 at 17:07:23
Just a thought, didn't Seamus have Zaha in his pocket last season? I don't think he's ready for the knackers yard just yet.
Kevin Prytherch
87 Posted 21/05/2020 at 17:19:21
Ray 86 - I think you've hit upon something here...
Generally, the view on ToffeeWeb is that:

Players are on the decline at 31 and shouldn't be offered new deals because of sentiment etc...

We need established stars to improve our team, an age of about 27 is often banded about

We shouldn't buy players without a resale value because it's bad business...

So we need to buy a 27 year old, who will give us service but never actually age so we can sell them at a profit, then hope they don't come up against a wily 32 year old from another team.

Marcel Brands - surely not a difficult task!!

Robert Tressell
88 Posted 21/05/2020 at 19:42:42
Sidibé is a good player in the right system. When Monaco were flying he had Fabinho to cover him defensively (alongside Bakayoko in centre-mid). He was deployed as an attacking outlet with the physical attributes to get up and down the right flank.

Monaco were also set up with excellent attacking players such as Lemar, Mbappe and (I think but lose track) Bernado Silva. It was a hell of a side where every player seemed to complement the other.

With us, he's deployed as a more traditional right-back with poor midfield cover and a fairly toothless attack. Needless to say, this doesn't exactly play to his strengths. Hopefully in next season's set-up, there will be a better midfield (Gomes, Gbamin and AN Other) plus a right-winger who is not Theo Walcott. That will help whoever is at right-back.

Personally, despite support of Sidibé, I hope it's Coleman battling it out with Kenny. The reason is that Coleman and Kenny are fine at what they do. And if we get quality in the areas I suggest (which we be easier if we don't allocate 㾹m of the kitty on Sidibé), it will more than make up for the assists we lose out on from right-back. Basically, we have higher priorities this transfer window but, in a season or two, we may need to upgrade.

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