A PROMISING START
I watched the opening game against Norwich and I was at Goodison for Roberto’s first home match against West Bromwich Albion last week. We were unlucky not to win both those games and I thought on another day we would have comfortably come away with the three points.
There were a lot of positives to take from those matches and you can see how Roberto is changing the way that Everton are going to operate. There is some lovely build-up play from the back and a lot of possession and interchanging. In the final third, the full-backs are trying to bomb forward and the wide players are dropping inside and looking to play through passes into the striker.
The cup match against Stevenage was a tricky tie, as it always is when you play lower league opposition. They are capable of raising their game in a one-off match - and they did - plus Roberto obviously made a number of changes to the team. We came through it in the end and that’s all that matters, and now we have got a nice tie at Fulham to look forward to.
I was at another game on Wednesday but I have read what Roberto has had to say about Gerard Deulofeu’s performance. He has the ability and he needs to acclimatise to the English game, and that will take time because he is a young lad. But if he can adapt as quickly as Ross Barkley has then Everton have certainly got a player on their hands.
When I was at Everton, I played alongside a lot of skilful players like Deulofeu. There was Peter Beardsley and Andrei Kanchelskis, but one of the trickiest was Anders Limpar.
I played right behind Anders and some of the stuff he did on the pitch and in training was phenomenal. He could do it all at great speed and in the right areas too. There is no point doing flicks and tricks for the sake of it, a little bit like Ronaldo did when he first came to Manchester United.
Andrei was dynamic and direct, but ability-wise there was only one who stood out for me and that was Anders.
Everton haven’t played at Cardiff for nearly 40 years but I went to their new ground when I was a coach at Preston North End. It’s a fabulous stadium and the support that the fans offer the team is tremendous. The best way I can describe it is a 'passionate' ground and the home crowd really get behind the team.
I watched their game against Manchester City and they looked a well-organised unit with a collective spirit about them. They all worked for the team and it will be a tough game for us this Saturday. But I will say this: Everton’s team, when firing on all cylinders, are more than a match for anyone.
It will be a good game between two contrasting styles and I’d like to see the Blues continue the way they are playing because they have put together some attractive football in these early weeks of the season.
If Everton can get on the ball they will keep the opposition fans quiet. I expect us to dominate a lot of games in possession but we just need to be more lethal in front of goal. The encouraging thing is that we are creating a lot of chances and that’s half the battle won.
TRANSFER WINDOW MADNESS
I’m sure Roberto is hoping to have a quiet few days – if you know what I mean. There’s speculation everywhere and that will to go right until the end of the transfer window.
All the talk at the moment is about Gareth Bale’s protracted move to Real Madrid. For me, it’s stupid money.
When you are talking about nearly £100million for a footballer, it’s incredible. He’s certainly a fantastic talent but you would be expecting Lionel Messi to go for a fee that high - I dread to think what he will be worth now if Barcelona do ever decide to sell him.
I’ve got to say, I believe one of the best signings this summer is Alvaro Negredo.
I know Manchester City paid Sevilla a lot of money for him but I watch a lot of Spanish football and he is a terrific goalscorer. Once he gets a run of games in a partnership with Sergio Aguero or Edin Dzeko then I think you will see his name at the top of the goalscoring charts. As much as Robin van Persie made the difference last season, he could do the business this time round.
One thing I will say about the transfer window is that it is a disgrace that it is still open once the season starts. Clubs can sign players for up to eight weeks before the first ball is kicked – surely everyone can do their business in that period?
Having the window open when the season starts unrests players and gives managers nightmare scenarios when they are planning for games. More importantly, it affects the fans. The supporters like all the speculation in the summer but when the action starts they just want to back their team.