Given some of the criticism the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Tom Davies have received from Everton fans on Twitter this season, you’d expect that many supporters would like to have Andre Gomes and Jean-Philippe Gbamin as the club’s first-choice central midfield in Carlo Ancelotti’s preferred 4-4-2 formation when they have both returned from injury.
Seeing how influential Gomes has been, as per Total Football Analysis, during his time at Goodison Park and the fact he was considered good enough to be a Barcelona player in the past, he looks to be a shoo-in for a spot in the centre when he returns from the fractured ankle he suffered against Tottenham Hotspur back in October.
Meanwhile, £25m summer addition Gbamin started both of the Toffees’ opening two Premier League matches of the season in a defensive midfield role, but he has been sidelined with a hamstring injury ever since.
It has also recently been confirmed that the Ivory Coast international has suffered a setback in his rehabilitation, meaning it will be even longer before manager Carlo Ancelotti gets to take a proper look at the 24-year-old on the pitch.
While all of this has been going on, Schneiderlin has been quietly going about his business in the middle of the pitch for Everton, and has looked far more confident in many aspects of his game since Marco Silva was sacked and succeeded by the experienced Italian.
Richarlison may have taken many of the plaudits following his showing and goal in the 3-1 win against Crystal Palace on Saturday, but his French teammate was a real unsung hero in the game.
Everton’s official Twitter account did pay tribute to the former Southampton and Manchester United man with a post on Sunday though, describing his midfield display as “top drawer”.
Indeed, as per SofaScore, he made four tackles and five interceptions against the Eagles, won eight of the 10 duels he faced and was accurate with all six of the long balls he attempted.
It was the sort of display that means you are un-droppable if you can repeat it consistently, and this was the latest example of Schneiderlin, who has less than 18 months remaining on his contract, showing his manager exactly what he is capable of.
As things stand, even if Gbamin was to be fit after the winter break he would have to have shown something very good at USM Finch Farm to dislodge the 30-year-old from the starting XI.