Anthony Gordon betrayed Carlo Ancelotti with a horror show performance as Everton beat Championship strugglers Rotherham United in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.
Goals from Cenk Tosun and Abdoulaye Doucoure ensured the Toffees’ name enters the hat for the next round, despite the Blues often being at sixes and sevens with no clear cohesion between the heavily changed line-up.
Gordon started well with a promising presence on the left-wing to play Tosun through with a perfectly weighted pass for the Turkey international’s first goal of the season, turning Rotherham’s Michael Ihiekwe inside out on the half-way line to create space for himself.
The talented Toffees product had almost struck his first goal in senior football not long before feeding Tosun after an excellent driven run through the centre, and later baffled the visiting backline with a cleverly disguised pass down the line.
Unfortunately, though, Gordon’s day took on a downward spiral thereafter, with the Liverpool Echo’s Phil Kirkbride noting on Twitter how the 19-year-old displayed poor body language after the break.
Ancelotti did not wait long before hauling Gordon off as the first of his second-half changes to introduce Bernard, and cap off what turned out to be a miserable afternoon for the £4.5m-rated youngster despite the early promise.
Gordon departed the field in the 61st-minute having lost four of his seven ground duels and possession six times, while failing to attempt a single cross or long ball despite recording 22 touches, per SofaScore.
The Liverpool-born talent often registered his touches on the cusp of the half-way line and almost shared as much time spent in the Rotherham penalty area as he did on the edge of Robin Olsen’s box.
Yet despite that, he attempted two shots on goal with one blocked and sending the other off-target, while emerging successful with just one of his two dribbles and playing one key pass from a mere nine successful attempts.
No Everton player attempted fewer passes in total than Gordon (11) during the opening hour of the match, with Olsen even registering 22 efforts in goal for the third-lowest tally ahead of Tosun (12), per WhoScored.
It was a display that will see Ancelotti look fondly on other players should he need replacements for Richarlison anytime soon in the Premier League, even with Andre Gomes often proving an easy target for Rotherham to circumnavigate in the engine room in a disappointing display from the Portuguese.
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