Everton midfielder Kieran Dowell was handed a surprise new role for loan side Sheffield United when they hosted Middlesbrough at Bramall Lane on Wednesday night, and it may have indicated that he can be the club’s surprise Leighton Baines replacement.
Well, the 21-year-old moved to the Championship high-flyers on loan until the end of the season during the January transfer window having found first-team opportunities hard to come by under Marco Silva, and he had largely featured in his preferred attacking midfield role to date.
However, Chris Wilder decided to hand the England U21 international a slightly different job by lining him up at left wing-back against Boro, and he certainly didn’t disappoint with an impressive and tireless display as his temporary team kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 win.
Dowell will be determined to make a positive impression for the Yorkshire outfit to prove to the Toffees that he has a long-term future at Goodison Park, and his latest display may have done his chances of doing exactly that the world of good.
It is clear to see that Lucas Digne will be Everton’s first-choice left-back/wing-back for the foreseeable future, but the Merseyside club don’t have a lot of depth beyond the Frenchman.
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That has meant that when he has been absent that veteran Baines has filled in, but sooner or later they will have to find a replacement for the 34-year-old whose contract is due to expire at the end of the current campaign.
Dowell may well have just proven that Silva already has his successor in the squad, and that he has the ability and quality to be Digne’s understudy.