Welcome to Last Word on Football’s team of the decade series. Everton have endured a mixed decade – from a fifth position finish under Roberto Martinez to inconsistent finishes under Ronald Koeman and Marco Silva. Since Carlo Ancelotti took the reins, Everton’s form has improved in the Premier League. However, the enforced break means that we have the chance to look at Everton’s best players from 2010-2019.
Team of the Decade: Everton
Everton Formation: 4-2-3-1
Goalkeeper – Tim Howard
Tim Howard is the first man to enter the team. The American goalkeeper joined the Toffee’s from Manchester United in 2006 and assumed number one duties up until his departure in 2016. Howard was a mainstay in the side for over half the decade, providing reliability to the backline with his assured shot-stopping. His crowning moment of the decade came in 2012 when he scored the only goal of his career. At home to Bolton Wanderers, Howard launched the ball over Adam Bogdan, albeit wind-assisted, in a 2-1 defeat.
Right Back – Seamus Coleman
Current club-captain Seamus Coleman comfortably slots in at right-back. The Irishman joined from Sligo Rovers in 2009 and other than a loan to Blackpool in 2010, has been almost ever-present since. Coleman is often regarded in the top bracket of full-backs in the Premier League for his ability to affect the game at both ends of the pitch. Not only is he a reliable defender, his crossing ability and attacking awareness earns him plaudits. He is still at Everton, although he is no longer a first-choice right-back since Djibril Sidibe joined last summer.
Centre Back – Phil Jagielka
Another Everton club-captain joins the side as Phil Jagielka is in at centre-half. Jagielka joined from Sheffield United in 2006 and remained part of the team until his return to the Blades last summer. Jagielka was not only a very resolute, strong defender, he was equally comfortable on the ball. His passing ability made him a big part of Roberto Martinez’s side and earned him 40 England caps. There is no doubt that Jagielka is a big character and an inspiring leader. He simply has to be in this side.
Centre Back – John Stones
England international John Stones is the next man to get the call. He joined from Barnsley for £3 million in 2013 and left for £47.5million in 2016. Once again, his passing ability is his primary quality. Martinez utilised Stones as the first man to build attacks from, a quality that Pep Guardiola appeared to enjoy. For Everton, Stones was just a young defender plying his trade, though you could see his quality was there. He was strong in the tackle and never shied away from the physical aspect of the game. He has since won two Premier League titles with Manchester City and has amassed 39 England caps.
Left Back – Leighton Baines
It could be argued that current left-back Luca Digne should make this side, but Leighton Baines was consistently one of the best left-backs in the league. Like Coleman, his attacking ability set him apart from other full-backs in the league, making Everton a potent threat from wide areas. The Englishman was also the first choice left-back for Everton from when he signed from Wigan Athletic in 2007 until Digne joined. His set-pieces also made him dangerous. The crowning moment of his decade came when he scored two free-kicks in one game against West Ham United in 2013.
Centre Midfielder – Idrissa Gueye
Idrissa Gueye brought security and energy into the Everton midfield. The Senegalese international joined from Aston Villa for £7 million in 2016. Gueye was consistently in the top tackling players in the Premier League whilst at Everton, displaying his combative playing style. His break down and distribute way of playing meant that Everton could win the ball high up the pitch, allowing for quick counters. After plenty of interest for two years, Gueye eventually left for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2019 for a fee of £20 million.
Central Midfielder – Gareth Barry
Gareth Barry joined Everton from Manchester City in 2013, initially on loan. Barry immediately brought experience, calmness and football intellect into the side. He was a vital part of Roberto Martinez’s side that reached Europe, often dropping into a back three when in possession. He allowed Baines and Coleman to get up the pitch into attacking areas. Barry’s leadership would also have been hugely beneficial to the dressing room. Barry was at Everton for four years as he left in 2017 to join up with Tony Pulis at West Bromwich Albion. He later became the Premier League’s top appearance maker, with 633.
Attacking Midfielder – Marouane Fellaini
Marouane Fellaini was the most important Everton player in the final few years of the David Moyes era. His aerial threat made him almost impossible to defend, and when utilised just behind the striker, this threat was amplified. He became the focal point of Everton’s teams and he thrived off the attention. Fellaini scored eleven goals in his final, and most prolific, season at the club before he departed for Manchester United.
Left Winger – Richarlison
Since joining from Watford in 2018 for £40 million, Richarlison‘s goalscoring ability speaks for itself. He scored 13 in his first campaign and before this season halted, he had already scored ten. This record is impressive for a 22-year-old winger. Richarlison is pacy, agile and skilful, a type of player that Everton have not often had. Richarlison is still in the early stages of his career, but he still deserves a place in this side. His exploits caught the interest of Barcelona, who reportedly bid £85 million for the Brazilian in January.
Right Winger – Steven Pienaar
Steven Pienaar makes the team after having two stints at the club in the decade. Pienaar was Everton’s Player of the Year in 2010 and carried the form into 2011 before joining Tottenham Hotspur. After just 12 months, he returned to Goodison Park and refound the form which earnt him the move in the first place. His pacy and skilful playing style was different from Richarlison as he was more of a creator for others. He formed a dangerous partnership with Fellaini before the latter departed. Pienaar eventually said goodbye for the final time in 2016 when he rejoined David Moyes at Sunderland.
Centre Forward – Romelu Lukaku
Who else could it be? Romelu Lukaku was prolific at Everton, where he scored 68 goals in 141 games. Lukaku scored more goals almost every season at Everton as he became adored on the blue side of Merseyside, becoming their most reliable goalscorer in the Premier League era. Lukaku’s strength, pace and deadly finishing made him one of the top strikers in Europe during his time at Everton. He has 52 goals in 84 games for Belgium, becoming their highest ever goalscorer too. He left Everton in 2017 as he joined Manchester United.