By Daniel Lewis
Dean Jones says it is “alarming” for Everton that full-backs Nathan Patterson, Ashley Young and Vitaliy Mykolenko have each struggled at times this season.
Everton have taken just one point from their opening four Premier League games heading into the first international break of the 2023-24 campaign.
The former Eurosport journalist, speaking to GIVEMESPORT [4 September], believes that the full-back positions could prove to be a particular issue for Sean Dyche this season on the basis of what he has seen so far.
“It’s a difficult one,” he said. “I think Patterson, Young and Mykolenko have all struggled, and it’s been quite alarming to see just how much they’ve struggled at times.
“They all have different strengths. But I would say that none of them, at the moment, is making a case to be a regular long-term starter for Everton.
“It may be that Dyche doesn’t have a lot of choice because there aren’t many options at full-back for him this season, and those three will probably play quite prominent roles.”
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Room for improvement
For all the talk of Everton lacking a true goalscorer in the side – up until Beto’s belated arrival, at least – the defence is also a concern.
The fact that 38-year-old Young has started all four Premier League games this season at left-back is pretty remarkable.
Patterson has started every game on the opposite side of defence, meanwhile, and Mykolenko was used in the EFL Cup win at Doncaster Rovers.
Given Everton have so far conceded eight goals and scored only two, it is clear that there are major issues in the side.
The hope on the back of the 2-2 draw with Sheffield United is the attacking problems have at least now been eased – even more so with Dominic Calvert-Lewin set to return from his latest injury lay-off.
Defensively, however, there is a lot of room for improvement, and it is fair to say Young and Patterson are far from the best full-back pairing around – although the latter did impress in the draw at Bramall Lane.
Dyche can ultimately only work with what he has, and fingers crossed the trio can come good over the course of the season to keep Everton up.
In other Everton news, Demarai Gray is reportedly still in talks regarding a move away from Goodison Park.
By Daniel Lewis