This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Andre Gomes is out of action with a rib injury for the foreseeable future, providing the perfect opportunity for Morgan Schneiderlin to stake his claim in the side, and win over fans who want to see Tom Davies start ahead of him.
Marco Silva couldn’t put a time frame on the return of the Portuguese midfielder and with Everton down to three fit senior centre midfielders, Schneiderlin will have to step up, as Davies’ lack of minutes suggest he isn’t fancied by the manager.
In comparison to Gomes, the 29-year-old is the most like-for-like replacement, with passing the key asset of both midfielders.
He should, therefore, act as a suitable partner for Delph, whose role in the side is to break up play and win the ball back for his side, as his average of 4.5 tackles won and one interception made, on average, shows.
The fact Everton fans are against Schneiderlin starting indicates that he isn’t the most popular player on Merseyside, and therefore he needs to use this opportunity to win them over.
One feature of his play which could be the cause of that is his passivity, and a tendency to play sideways, preferring the safe option to put his team on the front foot by playing passes which put the opposition under pressure.
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His average of 8.6 passes to the final third suggest that is the case, and it is no surprise Silva’s side has managed just one goal in the three games he has started, yet scored three when Gomes partnered Delph against Wolves.
Other attacking attributes such as his shooting and crossing are also underwhelming – he has so far only attempted one shot and two crosses, all of which were off target – and that creates more pressure on his teammates to produce.
However, if he can show great desire to get into the final third and have an influence in creating or scoring goals then that will win the fans over, and likely mean that he nails down his place in the team before players come back from their injuries.