Everton put on an embarrassing display against Tottenham Hotspur in a 5-0 defeat away from home on Monday night, and as Frank Lampard made the long journey back to Merseyside, there is no doubt that he would have been given a lot to ponder in terms of the team moving forward.
From the attackers all the way back to the goalkeeper, you could argue that nobody in the Everton team had a good game against Spurs, with the ex-Chelsea boss suffering the heaviest defeat in his managerial career so far. Everton have now recorded their lowest point tally at this stage of a season in their entire history, and the nightmare could get even worse if they lose their Premier League status in a couple of months’ time.
Michael Keane was a standout offender for causing nothing but problems for Everton from the very first kick of the game on Monday, scoring his second own goal in seven Premier League games within the first 15 minutes to open the floodgates for Antonio Conte’s side, who then plundered four more goals before the hour mark had even been reached.
This constant cycle of mistakes and lapses in concentration from Keane has to end, as it could ultimately play a part in costing Everton their Premier League status and bringing about their first relegation from top-flight football in over seven decades, so now could be a good time to drop the defender completely.
The 29-year-old flop who was labelled “pathetic” by Noel Whelan, is clearly lacking in either capability or confidence, so dropping him in order to bring a fresh perspective to the defence would seem the best option. There is no time like the present for Lampard to do what he does best by nurturing young talent and integrating them into the team, and he could do this at Goodison Park by trusting in Jarrad Branthwaite more regularly to replace Keane.
The 19-year-old has had positive bursts and shown glimmers of potential from which Lampard can take advantage, with his most notable performance coming when he played under Rafael Benitez in the draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in December, when the teenager’s goal earned Everton a valuable point.
Steven Pressley, who managed the youngster during a loan spell at Carlisle, sang his praises, claiming that Branthwaite could even play for England one day as he said: “The truth is, I think he has got everything. He can pass the ball almost equally as good with both feet. He’s a terrific footballer.
“If he continues to develop, then, without doubt, he can be an England player.”
There is no reason why Lampard shouldn’t give the £2.7m-rated gem his opportunity to start in defence for Everton. Also, with Ben Godfrey set to return from injury, the teenager could offer something new and make a real difference in the remaining weeks of the season.
In other news: Selling this defender was a huge mistake by the Toffees