Given his recent lacklustre performances, the Everton manager will need to be strict with this first team member.
Everton have managed to pull away from the immediate relegation picture in the Premier League, picking up positive results in a bid not to get sucked into another basement battle in the top-flight come May.
Once aspiring for European football regularly under David Moyes’ esteemed years as Toffees boss, Sean Dyche will be more than happy in the present to have some meaningful breathing space between his side and the likes of Luton Town and Burnley contesting against the drop – Everton currently seven points clear of Vincent Kompany’s Clarets.
The Toffees are unbeaten in their last three matches in all competitions, responding to a crushing 2-0 defeat versus Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby with wins against West Ham and Burnley.
Dyche’s men battled last match to secure a 1-1 draw too against Brighton in league action, Vitaliy Mykolenko standing out at left-back throughout with the Ukrainian defender even scoring a rare goal.
Everton’s right-back for this contest however didn’t cover himself in similar glory, Ashley Young poor down the opposite flank all evening.
Young’s poor performance vs Brighton
The former Aston Villa man was below-par up against Roberto De Zerbi’s Seagulls at the weekend just gone, managing an atrocious 6.1 rating via Sofascore over his full 89 minutes on the pitch.
Now 38 years of age, Everton’s number 18 isn’t quite the dynamic presence he used to be for his former employers and his frailties were front and centre for all to see in this match.
Per Sofascore, Young was dribbled past four times in total up against Brighton’s swarm of adventurous attackers. He also failed to get stuck in for his team when required with only one of his four ground duels successfully won, a dire afternoon on Merseyside for the veteran defender.
His dismal display was rounded off in the 84th minute when an unfortunate deflection off his body looped over Jordan Pickford in the Toffees goal to make it 1-1, Dyche introducing Nathan Patterson in Young’s place shortly after this own-goal incident.
Expected Assists (xA)
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Young’s position in the side could be under threat by the young Scotsman, with this substandard Brighton performance not a one-off for the £40k-per-week full-back this season after joining in the summer.
Young’s numbers this season
Joining from Aston Villa on a free transfer deal, many would have expected the 38-year-old to be nothing more than a bench option that Dyche could utilise now and again.
Instead, Young has been a regular future in the Everton side in both league and Cup competitions so far – making 13 appearances to date for the Toffees, only missing the recent West Ham win in the process.
His individual display against Liverpool left much to be desired, losing possession at Anfield nine times via Sofascore before being dismissed 37 minutes into the fierce encounter after two yellow cards in quick succession.
In contrast, Patterson battled valiantly when substituted on – Dyche calling upon the 22-year-old for extra defensive cover, the ex Rangers defender winning all four of his aerial and ground duels per Sofascore in a short but commendable cameo.
Ahead of this Saturday’s match against Crystal Palace, Dyche will have to think long and hard about whether or not Young is worthy of a start or whether he should be benched.
The expected outcome is overwhelmingly pointing in the direction of Patterson coming into the eleven at the expense of the faltering 39-time England international, Young seeing out his career with a whimper at Goodison Park.