Everton’s defence has been poor this season.
They have the fifth leakiest defence in the Premier League, conceding 66 goals. Along with that, Frank Lampard’s side have been rash too, with no other side in the league matching the Toffees’ six red cards.
When they lost 5-0 to Spurs, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher called the defence “Championship level”.
“Whenever you see teams who are worst in the league away from home, the first thing that comes to mind is they’re weak and soft. That should never be Everton.
“I said that back four is Championship level but for Everton not to be physical, aggressive, making it tough… that’s what Everton have always been even when they’ve not been at the best.”
There are many reasons why the defence is the way it is, but one that is beginning to stand out is the decline of Seamus Coleman.
The Toffees captain has been a magnificent servant at Goodison Park, making a whopping 384 appearances, but the 33-year-old is not the player he once was.
The Ireland international has the lowest WhoScored league rating out of what would be seen to be Everton’s best back four – Coleman, Yerry Mina, Michael Keane, and Vitaliy Mykolenko.
With the Donegal-born full-back’s contract expiring in a year, Lampard needs to look for a replacement.
However, the replacement for Coleman is at Goodison Park, in Nathan Patterson.
The 20-year-old moved to the Merseyside club from Rangers in January and is yet to play a league game for the Toffees, but his performances for Scotland has shown the Everton faithful what they could expect.
The Glasgow-born youngster put in a complete performance against Moldova in November, grabbing a goal and an assist as well as making five tackles.
“Nathan’s an amazing player and a great guy off the pitch so I’m delighted for him. He’s a good young prospect coming through for the nation and hopefully, he can continue and keep adding goals as well.
“These guys give us hope for the future. To keep getting club minutes is important, to keep building and growing as a player and learn their craft.
“But that’s what they’re doing. They’re delivering on cold nights in Moldova, so there’s no reason why they can’t do it anywhere else.”
If Patterson can bring his Scotland performances to Everton, then the Toffees have a right-back that can follow in Coleman’s steps and secure that position for the next decade.