Everton must make a decision on a defender as the search for a centre-back duo continues.
One of the first was Brian Labone. Kevin Ratcliffe and Derek Mountfield were also present. Dave Watson will appear later. Everton’s trophy-winning centre-backs have a long and storied history.
There has been no silverware in the new century, but the Toffees have had excellent and reliable defensive combinations.
Before Joleon Lescott and Phil Jagielka formed a formidable and energetic partnership, Alan Stubbs and David Weir were an experienced and effective tandem that helped Everton finish fourth in 2005. The latter was then joined by Sylvain Distin, as David Moyes’ team proceeded to pick up clean sheets with varying degrees of success.
However, it has become nearly impossible to figure out who Everton’s main center-back pairing is in recent months. The backline has been a source of contention for several seasons, and the search for the ideal combination continues.
Mason Holgate is the club’s longest-serving center-back, while Michael Keane has been a regular starter since his arrival in 2017. When Yerry Mina has been available, he has impressed, albeit his Everton career has been cut short due to fitness issues, and then there’s Ben Godfrey, who has become a fan favorite after just one season.
Last season, all four centre-backs appeared in more than half of Everton’s Premier League games, highlighting the club’s jumbled nature as it seeks a stable defensive pairing.
Of course, Holgate and Godfrey both played fullback on occasion, but that’s part of the problem. The adaptability of being able to play in a variety of positions benefits the team, but it also means they are not playing in their preferred area of the field.
During the 2020-21 season, Keane appeared in 35 games, Godfrey in 31, Holgate in 28, and Mina in 24.
So, who will Rafa Benitez’s top defenders be? Looking at the figures from last season, it’ll be a difficult decision.
The current defensive quintet has a solid balance of strengths. In the air, Keane and Mina are the best, but Godfrey and Holgate are the finest on the ground.
Keane led the way with 93 headed clearances and 111 aerial victories. “The summary has come to an end.”