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Everton 2022-23 Season Review: Full Backs Report Cards

Everton 2022-23 Season Review: Full Backs Report Cards

The role of full-back is as important to a side’s attacking prowess as it is to its rearguard. Gone are the days when those either side of the centre-backs and behind the midfielders simply kept quiet the opposition’s wide men before ensuring the ball went to the more creative players in their team.

Today’s right and left-backs simply have to be good at servicing the attack. A player unable to do so in that position will come under scrutiny and be faced with either a change of position or a change of club.

Due to injuries and suspensions, Everton had to use more than the designated players classed as full-backs this season in those roles, but this article focuses on how the quartet termed either a right or left-back fared this season.

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Seamus Coleman

It is hard not to wax sentimental about our Club captain but there aren’t many players held in as high a regard in the game as the 34-year-old. Though his best playing years are behind him, his absolute commitment to the cause and to his position as skipper remains as strong today as when he was bestowed with the honour.

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Featuring in 23 league games this season, Coleman completed the full 90 on nine occasions, including those vital 1-0 home wins against Arsenal and Leeds United.

And few will forget the Republic of Ireland international catching Illan Meslier cold when firing home from the acutest of angles to secure a priceless three points against a relegation rival, as well as topping the vote for the Club’s Goal of the Season.

A knee injury sustained against Leicester would rule Coleman out for the run-in, but the captain still made his presence felt on the touchline, shouting and encouraging his teammates.

A new contract looks to be in the offing for Sixty Grand, which is a shrewd rather than sentimental move by the Blues. His passion and experience remain vital!

Grade: B (Because he cost £60,000 and that strike against Leeds)

Photo by James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images

Vitalii Mykolenko

Everton’s most featured full-back during the season with 34 Premier League appearances, the Ukrainian is a solid and alert defender, ranking in the 90th percentile for interceptions and 74th and 84th for tackles and blocked shots, respectively.

Unspectacular in play – it seems a lifetime ago now when his volley downed Leicester City at the King Power Stadium – the 24-year-old has struggled when going forward and often looked lost when asked to operate as a wing-back.

With a successful cross-conversion rate of just 25 per cent, Mykolenko has zero assists to his record this season from an expected assists total of just 1, and may find his position under threat come the start of the new season.

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Grade: C (Couldn’t offer much going forward and doubt he ever will)

Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images

Nathan Patterson

A season derailed by injury and a change in manager contributes to the story of the Scottish right-back. Signed in 2022 as the heir apparent to Coleman, the 21-year-old has endured an unfortunate run of injuries with many of the Goodison faithful wondering if the former Rangers man can physically cope with the rigours of Premier League football.

Featuring in just 19 league games, injury robbed him of almost a month of playing time, before a return to the first team. A preferred starter under Frank Lampard, Sean Dyche often elected to use centre-backs in the right-back area, with Patterson not featuring under the former Burnley boss until April.

His first start under Dyche came at Everton’s performance of the season, with Patterson being part of the Blues’ 5-1 triumph. Injury would strike again against Wolves, resulting in the young full-back not being part of the Bournemouth fixture.

Despite being questioned on his defending by some, Patterson ranks in the 98th percentile for tackling and 74th for ground duels won. With time on his side, an injury free season could well see him fulfil his Everton potential and claim that no.1 spot at right-back.

Grade: C (Clear, as in please steer clear of injuries)

Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Ruben Vinagre

The Sporting CP loanee featured just four times for Everton, two of which were in the Premier League. Seen as a more attacking threat than that of Mykolenko, the 24-year-old totalled 24 minutes of Premier League action and it is highly doubtful the Blues will be activating the option to buy clause.

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Coming on for 20 minutes in the opening day defeat to Chelsea, Vinagre then had to wait until the trip to Brentford to again feature, this time replacing Mykolenko with just four minutes of normal time remaining.

The Portuguese international did play every minute of the Toffees’ EFL Cup campaign, occupying a role further forward in those two games, but this will be a loan move to forget for both the player and the club.

Grade: U (unlucky, uneventful, unsure as to why he was even here)

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  • June 25, 2023