Everton‘s recent defeat to Manchester United saw academy starlet Anthony Gordon return to the starting XI, with the highly-rated forward having dropped to the bench for the win over Southampton a week earlier due to illness.
The 21-year-old had proven the difference when the two sides had met back in April, after netting a deflected strike past David De Gea to help the Toffees’ fight for survival, although was unable to make a similar impact this time around, having “struggled” against Erik ten Hag’s side, in the words of The Athletic’s Greg O’Keefe.
The £36m-rated man was restricted to just 22 touches before being withdrawn just after the hour-mark, with that substitution having taken place just moments after the Englishman had been shown a yellow card for lunging in on Red Devils’ skipper, Bruno Fernandes.
That reckless challenge had seemingly epitomised the youngster’s performance as he struggled to impact proceedings, with Liverpool Echo’s Chris Beesley awarding him just a 5/10 match rating after what was a ‘frustrating night’ for the explosive forward.
That frustration will have only been heightened with the £10k-per-week gem now suspended for Saturday’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur due to what was his fifth booking in just nine Premier League games thus far this term, ruling him out of facing a side who had been linked with his signature over the summer.
The England U21 international had been hot property in the recent window with fellow top-flight side Chelsea reportedly eyeing a £60m approach, although on the evidence of Sunday’s display the Liverpool-born starlet has not yet lived up to that valuation.
While the “fearless” ace – as lauded by pundit Alan Shearer – has netted twice in the league already this season, his absence against the Saints had showcased that Frank Lampard’s side can win without him, with his replacement Dwight McNeil having scored in that 2-1, comeback victory.
The aforementioned O’Keefe had suggested that the latter man was “hard done by” to have been replaced by Gordon for the recent clash with United, with the former Preston North End loanee unable to warrant his inclusion ahead of the £20m new addition.
This upcoming suspension for the Toffees academy graduate will again allow McNeil the chance to shine in his place against Spurs, with a positive display from the former Burnley winger potentially set to have Lampard questioning what his best forward line truly is.
On recent evidence, when Gordon does again become available for the midweek trip to face Newcastle United, it would be no real surprise if he is to be ditched from the Merseysiders’ starting lineup.