- Midfielder Andre Gomes produced a reminder of his rare quality on Saturday
- He capped an impressive performance off the bench with a goal at Tottenham
- ‘Five, six, seven years of rock and roll football’… have Liverpool fans been spoilt under Jurgen Klopp? It’s All Kicking Off
Very little has gone to plan for Andre Gomes since he joined Everton on a permanent basis. Serious injury combined with lost confidence and a blur of new managers demanding different styles and the backdrop of the club’s descent into financial crisis.
Marco Silva was in charge when he arrived and broke a leg, and it was Carlo Ancelotti at the helm by the time he had returned to fitness before six months of Rafa Benitez gave way to Frank Lampard, who sent him on loan to Lille.
In his first appearance under Sean Dyche, however, Gomes produced a reminder of his rare quality. He sparkled for just over an hour off the bench at Tottenham, looking strong and effective in Dyche’s system.
His passing was excellent. He was creative and scored his first Everton goal for two years, his first in the Premier League for nearly four.
‘I’m very pleased for him,’ said Dyche. ‘He’s had a real tough time of it. I made it clear when he came back in preseason that I wanted him to be part of us, and what we do. He made it clear he wanted to try and do that. Then it’s been a really frustrating period.’
Everton midfielder Andre Gomes produced a reminder of his rare quality on Saturday
Gomes suffered a horrific injury in a challenge with Tottenham’s Son Heung-min in 2019
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Gomes has been niggled by injuries through the first five months of this season and the Everton boss insisted that he completed his rehabilitation with a full 90 minutes for the Under-21 team, which he did against Feyenoord last week.
‘Putting him on was a bit too early but we were stretched and looking at which way we should go about it, and I thought he was excellent,’ said Dyche, who was forced into the change when Idrissa Gueye was injured in the first half at Spurs.
‘The way he adapted to the game after the first seven or eight minutes was excellent. His adaptability within the role as well, because he played higher up and he dropped in. Some of his passing was excellent.’
Everton were two down when he came on but he was quick to the pace of the game. He created the ‘goal’ for Dominic Calvert-Lewin, ruled out early in the second half, and he scored in the 82nd minute, a typically sweet strike from an angle as the ball spilled out from a corner.
‘He came on and showed the ability he has,’ said goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.. ‘He has had a few injuries and got himself fit and his training has been terrific. It is good for him to get a goal and confidence.
The 30-year-old capped an impressive performance off the bench with a superb strike
Gomes could have an important role to play for Sean Dyche’s team in the weeks ahead
‘It shows we have the squad together now. He has been out of the picture since preseason and he came on and made a big impact. Everyone who comes on they’re not dwelling, they’re trying to take the opportunity. We have a squad togetherness that will push us further up.’
Gomes will be out of contract at the end of the season. He could agree a move overseas next month. He is 30 and among the top earners at Goodison Park, signed for £22million from Barcelona in 2019 after an excellent season on loan, and his days on Merseyside appear numbered.
His return to fitness, however, is well timed and he could have an important role to play for Dyche’s team in the weeks ahead. Midfielders Gueye and Abdoulaye Doucoure are struggling with injuries and Gueye is expected on Senegal duty next month at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Everton face Manchester City on Wdnesday. The champions are back in Premier League action after a pre-Christmas trip to Saudi Arabia where they added the Club World Cup to their collection of trophies.