The Chalkboard: Everton interest in Dwight McNeil hints tactical change on horizon

According to a report in The Daily Star, Everton have been scouting Burnley winger Dwight McNeil, and their interest in the 19-year-old hints at a tactical change manager Marco Silva intends to make next season by giving his side a different type of presence out wide.

On the chalkboard

Given the appointment of the Portuguese manager and the money spent on transfers in recent years, the expectation would surely have been that the Toffees would be higher than ninth position in the Premier League standings.

That is the current situation though, and in fact they are only 10 points above 16th-placed Southampton to show just how fine the margins in the English top flight are.

Wide men Bernard and Richarlison were two of the additions through the door last summer, and it may have been expected that the Merseyside outfit would be fizzing crosses into the box for their strikers.

It hasn’t been the case though with the Brazilian duo providing an average of 0.4 and 0.1 crosses per league game respectively, according to WhoScored, while fellow wingers Theo Walcott and Ademola Lookman are currently both on an average of 0.3.

What about McNeil?

His stats for the 2018/19 campaign are very different in comparison.

The teenager has averaged 1.8 crosses in each of his 17 Premier League outings so far this term, and only Lucas Digne has a better record in the blue of Everton than the Clarets man.

The potential interest in bringing the youngster to Goodison Park suggests that Silva is keen to swing more crosses into the penalty area next season – potentially to help the club’s centre-forwards – or at the very least acquire an alternative dimension in Everton’s attack for when he needs to change things up.

The likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun have once again struggled to get on the score-sheet this season, and having a reliable crosser from the flank could change that for them or another new striker signing.

Signing McNeil would certainly suggest that Silva wants to do things differently in 2019/20, and he will hope that the decision pays off.

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