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Why the 2018 World Cup is a major boost for Marco Silva’s Everton – Liverpool Echo

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But Evertonian interest in the World Cup will be by proxy.

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Only three Everton players will be in action in Russia, England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, Iceland playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson and Senegal midfielder Idrissa Gueye.

Cenk Tosun’s Turkey didn’t qualifiy. Neither did Seamus Coleman’s Ireland.

Ramiro Funes Mori failed to make the cut for Argentina’s squad, while Michael Keane, Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka simply weren’t considered by Gareth Southgate.

And you know what?

Evertonians will be relieved.

World Cup competitions have rarely been kind to the Toffees.

The collapse of one of the most special sides in Everton’s history was partly down to their greatness.

The team which won the league championship by a landslide in 1970 supplied four members of England’s World Cup squad in Mexico.

Alan Ball, Brian Labone, Tommy Wright and Keith Newton all endured significant dips in form the following season after their exertions at altitude that summer as Harry Catterick’s great side disintegrated.

Everton’s Brian Labone (left) and Alan Ball (right) toast their Football League Championship victory, as Labone keeps hold of the trophy

Gary Lineker had proved himself the most prolific goalscorer in English football in 1985/86, and when he proved he was also the best goalscorer at a World Cup in Mexico, Barcelona came knocking on Everton’s door.

It was a similar situation when Wayne Rooney dominated a European Championships in 2004.

After the rich promise of Roberto Martinez’s 2013/14 season, the post-World Cup campaign of 2014/15 campaign was a disappointment with Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas, Romelu Lukaku and Tim Howard all enduring a long summer in Brazil with minimal time for rest before the new season started.

Everton have occasionally spotted a future talent at a World Cup tournament – Daniel Amokachi in 1994 and Mo Besic in 2014 – but they are exceptions rather than the rule.

Perhaps the most positive impact a World Cup competition has had on Everton was in 1966 when a diminutive tyro called Alan Ball strode across the Wembley pitch like a collosus and was signed by Harry Catterick a fortnight later.

Howard Kendall often joked: “Harry Catterick had a great scouting network. He spotted Alan Ball playing in a World Cup final.”

Evertonians will be happy watching players from other clubs become jaded, injured or worse out in Russia, while their squad rests up ahead of another gruelling Premier League campaign.

 

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