Cahill, Southall, Beardsley & more – Everton’s ultimate 25-man Premier League squad
Everton are one of only six teams to have played in every season of the Premier League since it started.
As a result hundreds of footballers have appeared in the 1,008 Premier League matches the Blues have contested.
But who have been Everton’s best of the Premier League era?
David Prentice has watched every single season of Premier League football at Goodison Park and gives his own, highly personal, take on who would make a hypothetical 25-man squad.
Have a look at his selections – and disagree with him!
Rated by David Moyes as his best Everton signing, Martyn was snapped up to provide competition to Richard Wright, and ended up proving a far more reliable custodian.
Outstanding for his 100 match Everton career, the only disappointment was that Everton didn’t sign him seven years earlier.
“I was all ready to sign for Everton,” said Martyn. “My wife had family in the area but the director, I think, was anxious to seem fair and gave us directions on how to get to Leeds! He even said we’d better get moving because the traffic would be bad! Once we got to Leeds Howard Wilkinson was never going to let us go until I signed.”
Better late then never.
A 414 match Everton career – and one goal – Howard’s final season was marred by a dip from his previously high standards – but that should not overshadow the excellence he displayed for nigh on a decade.
The Premier League era did not coincide with the greatest years of Everton’s greatest ever goalkeeper – but he still made 195 of his 751 Everton appearances in the Premier League.
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The embodiment of a modern, attacking full-back, Coleman has made 263 appearances, scored 24 goals and is still going strong. And did we mention he only cost £60,000?
Versatile enough to play in midfield and left-back, Neville was most effective as a right-back – the position he was playing when he scored Everton’s goal of the season against West Bromwich Albion in 2011/12. An authoritative and effective captain he made 303 appearances for the Toffees – and proved a composed customer in a couple of high profile FA Cup penalty shoot-outs!
“They (the fans) hadn’t accepted me because after one month David Moyes made me captain,” he told Sky Sports this year. “The supporters hadn’t accepted me because I was the Manc from Manchester down in East Lancs.”
Perhaps. This fan rated him.
Leighton Baines & Andy Hinchcliffe
The easiest selections in the squad. Leighton Baines is, quite simply, the best left-back I’ve seen at Everton and apparently the best the club has had since the days of World Cup winner Ray Wilson.
While Andy Hinchcliffe possessed a wicked wand of a left foot, was an athlete and delivered set pieces which created goals galore for Duncan Ferguson and Paul Rideout.
His understated demeanour means he often didn’t get the credit he deserved – but make no mistake ‘Waggy’ is a modern Everton great.
Captain of the 1995 FA Cup winning side he made the last of his 528 Everton appearances when he was 38. A magnificent defender and an inspirational captain.
Came to Everton late in his career – and was bizarrely used as a right-back when he first broke into the team.
But it was as a composed and authoritative central defender where he was most effective.
Named as captain by two different Everton managers he enjoyed a further five years at Rangers when he left Everton, and was made captain again.
A shrewd David Moyes signing, the circumstances of Lescott’s Everton exit means he will never be one of Goodison Park’s favourite sons, but for 143 Everton appearances he was an excellent centre-back with an eye for goal reminiscent of the great Derek Mountfield.
David Moyes’ first Everton signing proved one of Moyes’ most enduring. Pacy, powerful, good in the air, the Nigerian international also weighed in with 10 goals in his 259 Everton appearances.
A fixture for the last decade at Goodison Park, the club captain actually started his Everton career in midfield! That was only ever destined to be a stop gap measure because Jags was a supremely effective centre-back good enough to represent his country on 40 occasions.
John Stones? He was only a fleeting performer at Goodison, while Alan Stubbs and David Unsworth were honourable near misses.
It was a tragedy for Everton as much as it was for The Pie Man that injury forced Joe Parkinson’s premature retirement.
Powerful, robust and immense in the tackle, Parkinson was also capable of displaying a deft touch – as he showed with his famous drag back in the 1995 FA Cup semi-final.
Rated by his team-mates as one of the most skilful members of the mid-noughties squad, the dazzling Dane was an influential member of the team which earned Everton’s highest Premier League finish of fourth in 2005, performances which earned him a move to Real Madrid.
Now resides in Las Vegas, plays poker and is apparently worth €100 million euros!
Such was his influence on the Everton team – and his follically challenged resemblance to midfield partner Gravesen – there was speculation in 2005 that Real Madrid had actually signed the wrong man when they snapped up the Dane.
An often under-appreciated lynchpin of the Everton midfield for seven seasons.
You know the song “There’s nobody better …. he’s the best little Spaniard we know.”
And he was. Artistry, vision, guile and goals.
Was he a midfielder? Was he a number 10? Was he a deep-lying striker?
David Moyes rated Nigel Martyn as his greatest Everton signing – and great though the big Cornishman was, I disagree. The little Australian was comfortably his best capture.
Some 278 Everton appearances, 68 Everton goals and a never say die personality which proved infectious.
And boy did he enjoy derby matches!
Gary Speed, Marouane Fellaini, Gareth Barry and the brief but brilliant Olivier Dacourt were all considered, but I’m sticking with that five.
Andrei Kanchelskis, Anders Limpar and Steven Pienaar
Kanchelskis and Limpar sometimes featured in the same Everton starting line-up – and when they did Evertonians were blessed.
They combined spectacularly at Anfield in 1995 when Everton won 2-1 – and both performed at Goodison for a frustratingly short time.
But that doesn’t diminish their excellence.
Limpar was once described by boss Joe Royle as “a genius”, while Kancheslkis at his peak was unstoppable.
Pienaar enjoyed two stints at Goodison Park, each enormously effective, and his left-flank partnership with Leighton Baines was affectionately coined Bainaar.
There is an embarrassment of riches to choose from in the forward line, but Peter Beardsley simply has to be there.
Sold by Liverpool far too soon, Everton also moved him on far too quickly after 95 appearances and 32 goals – but one of his two campaigns at Everton was in the Premier League – and he was magnificent.
Duncan Ferguson and Romelu Lukaku
One was a centre-forward in the true Everton tradition, the other a more mobile but still powerful front-runner – but both brought goals to Goodison Park. Lots and lots of goals.
Lukaku and Ferguson lie first and second in Everton’s list of Premier League goalscorers, but Big Dunc is by far and away the leader in the fans’ affections.
Fourth on Everton’s list of leading Premier League goalscorers, no-one made an impact quite like Super Kev.
Everton were in genuine fear of being relegated in the spring of 1999, until Campbell arrived on loan from Trabzonspor and embarked on a spree of nine goals in five games!
The threat of the drop was quickly dispelled and Campbell was quickly signed permanently.
There were a number of candidates for the final place in the squad
Wayne Rooney is an English football legend, but his best years were spent away from Goodison Park and he scored as many league goals for Everton as Yakubu.
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Louis Saha plundered two more – and also added the fastest goal ever scored in an FA Cup final, but it was the man who scored a winning goal in an FA Cup final 14 years earlier who gets the final place.
Paul Rideout was an enormously under-rated centre-forward who had touch, presence and good finishing skills.
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