Gerrard's Everton Slur Not Befitting Toffees' Flying Start or an England Captain

Wyn EvansContributor IIIOctober 30, 2012

Stephen Gerrard – boot in mouth?
Stephen Gerrard – boot in mouth?Michael Regan/Getty Images

So, Steven Gerrard thinks Everton are “a long ball team who play like Stoke.

That for me begs two important questions.

Firstly, can anyone who’s witnessed Everton’s flying start to the EPL campaign truly contend that it’s been based on such one-dimensional foundations?

Let’s recall their September victory over Swansea at the Liberty Stadium. Even the faithful at the home of the master passers were left appreciative, as the Toffees purred smoothly into a 3-0 lead.

Only the most myopic could fail to savour the slickness and fluidity of the Everton left-hand side as the goals were swiftly and clinically generated. The left-hand side especially sparkled. Leighton Baines—surely the second best left-back in the EPL—fed Steven Pienaar, Marouane Fellaini and Victor Anichebe as the home defence were sliced apart.

That same panache has been evident in many of their other performances, such as the early downing of Manchester United at Goodison. The days of a more direct approach to pick out a Duncan Ferguson or Yakubu as the sole beacon up front seem to be dissolving quickly into history.

Nikica Jelavic, an inspired purchase by David Moyes, is a mobile, inventive forward who’s already plundered more than enough goals to ensure his early inscription on the team sheet.

So, think again Mr. Gerrard, and maybe reflect instead on the nature and method of the stirring comeback by your near neighbours in the Merseyside derby.

Quite possibly his comments were partly generated by being aggrieved at Luis Suarez’s potential winning goal being wrongly chalked off in the dying minutes.

But—one could reasonably counter—should Suarez still have been on the pitch by then? He’d picked up a yellow card, and if his mocking “dive” celebration in front of the home fans and the manager earlier weren’t as worthy of a booking as a shirt being removed, then sir, yet again the law is an ass!

Secondly, are Gerrard’s comments designed to engender peace and harmony in the England ranks? Just as manager Hodgson felt he could cautiously begin sweeping the dust of the Terry-Ferdinand-Cole fallout from his doorstep, is he now to be confronted by new dissension in his ranks?

Time will tell, of course, but can one imagine Messrs Baines and Jagielka indulging in shared hilarity with their captain over the breakfast table next time England assemble?

Let’s remember the Toffees are six points clear of their Stanley Park brethren with a quarter of the EPL season gone.

And with Suarez inevitably about to collect his fifth yellow card of the season and with it an accompanying one-match ban, it will be fascinating to see who Liverpool then field as their strike force with Fabio Borini still out injured.

Much can be made or said about “heat of the moment” comments, especially after the latest controversial round of EPL games, but for Steven Gerrard, one’s left feeling an alternative but appropriate familiar phrase would be a far better choice—that being, “ Engage brain before putting mouth into gear.”


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