Everton have had a rather odd season so far.
Some rather pessimistic Toffee fans would swap ‘odd’ for ‘poor’, or maybe a stronger adjective, but let’s stick with ‘odd’ for now.
Over the first 24 weeks of the campaign Everton have been as high as sixth and as low as 18th in the league. They seem to have levelled out to 12th but are one of five sides in this congested, mediocre pack of teams on 30 points, four behind Manchester United.
There have been three men in the Goodison Park dugout already this campaign, ranging from the mercurial, if unproven and ultimately disappointing Marco Silva, to the somewhat contrasting and imposing figure of Duncan Ferguson, while Everton seem to have stabilised with the truly Hollywood appointment of Carlo Ancelotti.
So, ‘odd’ seems like a good fit for Everton’s season thus far. And to add to the oddness, why not sound out the candidates for the Toffees’ player of the season award in January, four months before it gets dished out.
Having said that, given the events that have transpired in the blue half of Merseyside already, it feels like an entire season has elapsed, so perhaps the timing is more fitting than first thought.
With the reasoning not too closely scrutinised, here is 90min‘s way too early look at the candidates for Everton’s player of the season award.
Tom Davies may have made his debut for the senior team in 2016, but the academy graduate is still only 21-years-old and has been forced to act beyond his years in the heart of midfield.
With summer signing
With the Italian’s advice from the touchline and on the training ground, Davies looks set to capitalise on a decent first half of the season as Everton undoubtedly improve with such an experienced and decorated man in charge.
Last year’s player of the season has made it into the running once again as he continues to be the first name on the team sheet for any Everton manager.
The 26-year-old won over the Goodison Park faithful in double-quick time last campaign as his rampaging runs down the left, free-kick delivery and ability to actually defend brought memories of a prime Leighton Baines flooding back. All he needs is a pair of shaggy sideburns and an indie
Last season saw the Frenchman score four goals and register as many assists in the Premier League as Everton finished in a respectable eighth place.
This season, Digne already has five assists to his name in the league and has won the honour of wearing the captain’s armband on as many occasions after only 18 months with the club.
Given he’s Everton’s chief provider, captain in-waiting and already has the acceptance speech from last year, Digne is a primary candidate for the award once more.
Richarlison has proven to be a rather divisive figure over the two-and-a-half seasons he’s spent in England.
Hated by Watford fans and not on the best of terms with supporters who prefer to watch players who spend more time on their feet than the turf, the Brazilian is often on the end of some rough treatment from the crowd, as well as the opposition back-line.
But Richarlison seems to go about his business unaffected, providing the team with more than just goals (of which he has ten in all competitions) but an outlet when his colleagues are under pressure. Prior to the knee injury which has ruled him out of Everton’s last two games, he appeared to be on the cusp of forming an intriguing strike partnership with the next entrant on this list.
After Moise Kean’s first goal of the season last week, the fight for a place in Everton’s front two could spur Richarlison on to continue the form he displayed in the weeks leading up to his injury.
Only one name could top this list at this point of the season, Dominic Calvert-Lewin (or is it three names?). The 22-year-old has always seemed like a capable hold-up player, previously lacking the selfish streak so often attributed to top strikers.
However, the 6’2 frontman is enjoying the season of his career and currently riding a purple-patch to savour.
With seven goals in his last nine league outings, Calvert-Lewin has taken his season’s tally to ten in the Premier League, almost double his previous best of six in the competition.
Since this hot streak began, with two goals in Duncan Ferguson’s first game in charge against Chelsea, no player in England’s top flight has scored more than Calvert-Lewin, with Sergio Agüero joining him on seven strikes – good company to keep.
In fact, since Ancelotti arrived on Merseyside, the England Under-21 international has been responsible for more than 60% of Everton’s goals.
And if that doesn’t warrant player of the season in January, nothing does.