Everton returned to Premier League action on Sunday afternoon looking an entirely different side.
The lockdown-hit 2019/20 campaign saw the Toffees peter out with a whimper with Tom Davies and Gylfi Sigurdsson pulling the strings in midfield – you wouldn’t blame anyone for not renewing their season ticket (under normal circumstances) on that basis.
However, Marcel Brands backed his man – Carlo Ancelotti – during the off-season and here we are with a very impressive new-look Everton.
They made the trip from Merseyside to north London to face a Spurs side that also bolstered their ranks, including a £15m move for one-time mooted target Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
But going by his debut, it’s one the club did well to miss out on.
Instead, it was James Rodriguez’s maiden Premier League bow that struck the headlines – and quite rightly – as he put in a sensational display. You’d struggle to believe this was Everton, in all honesty.
Per SofaScore, the 29-year-old picked up a match-high 8.1 rating and was pretty much integral to how the Toffees performed. He recorded five key passes, three shots and three interceptions. He even managed to get 11 of 12 long balls on target and enjoyed two dribbles.
By comparison, Davies managed seven key passes throughout the whole duration of last season.
Jermaine Jenas lauded Rodriguez’s display, saying: “Rodriguez looked an absolute world-beater for Everton on Sunday – and he is almost exactly what Spurs haven’t got at the moment. He has got that star quality about him. The talk when Rodriguez signed was would he be quick enough or fit enough, but he has got the ability to see things before they happen. He just looked like he was a class above.”
It’s no wonder Jupp Heynckes labelled him a “god-send” back in 2017.
If that was a mere glimpse into things to come, then shout Brands’ name from the hilltops. He’s secured one hell of a signing at Goodison Park.
AND in other news, Henry Winter delivers verdict on Everton’s win…