Five Talking Points From Everton's Australia Tour

Frank Lampard and his Everton side are on their way back to Merseyside after a successful mid-season trip to Australia both on and off the pitch.

Here, we take a look at some of the highlights and takeaways from the Club's first visit Down Under since 2010...

1. Price's Stock Rises

He was described by his boss Lampard as "the best player on the pitch" after being handed a start in the penalty shootout victory over Celtic in front of more than 41,000 supporters at the Accor Stadium.

Three days later, Price was once again named in the starting XI for the clash with Western Sydney Wanderers, completing the full match in a deeper 'number 6' role in the Blues' midfield.

The 19-year-old, who has been at the Club since the age of seven, yet again caught the eye with composure and positivity in possession, as well as the necessary alertness and tenacity in defence.

Price himself, though, insists there is more to come.

"I thought I did okay but I’ve still got more to come," he told evertontv after the win over Celtic. "I’ve still got things to work on, wanting the ball more, but I’m happy with the way I played.

“The stature of the manager, the way he played when he was a player, he’s someone to learn from, someone to pick things up off every day.

“And the players in the First Team have been around for years, too, so learning from all of them is unbelievable.”

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WATCH VIDEO 02:41 Mon 21 Nov 2022


Academy graduate eager to keep improving after maiden Everton start in Sydney.

Encouragingly, Price wasn't the only youngster to make the most of this unique mid-season trip.

Everton finished the game against Western Sydney Wanderers with seven players on the pitch who had been produced by the Club's Academy. 

Tom Cannon - introduced as a second-half substitute - netted his maiden senior goal against the A-League outfit, while Stanley Mills once again made the most of being handed First-Team minutes.

Lampard told evertontv: "It’s been a real positive trip for Isaac and he puts himself now in the frame to be in the First-Team squad when the games start.

"You know, we’ve got a couple of injuries so that’s what young players have to do. When they sniff a chance, they have to take it and he’s taken it this trip.

On Mills and Cannon, he added: "[It extends to] both of them. They’ve both done great. Stan’s been great for a long time and he’s training with application, consistency of performance and his attitude. The same with Tommy.

"They’re a delight to coach because they’re low maintenance and they want to play for Everton.

"They’ve both shown their qualities and again, they’ll be with the First-Team squad in the short-term future."

2. Gordon In The Groove

By his own admission, Anthony Gordon has been "out of form" of late.

Credit due, then, not only for brutal honesty on his own performances but also for grasping an opportunity to build confidence and momentum during the break from domestic action.

Gordon did exactly that, scoring the winning penalty in the shootout triumph over Celtic before notching a superb hat-trick against Western Sydney Wanderers.

Looking ahead, with tougher tasks ahead when Premier League action resumes, Gordon has vowed to continue working throughout the World Cup break.

He told evertontv: “For me especially, this was a really good game to get a bit of momentum. I feel like I have been a bit out of form given my capabilities, so I think that was a big game for me.

“I’m not going to stop [over the break], I am not going to relax. I don’t think I’ve earned that.

“It was a great performance against Western Sydney. I think we need to take that confidence from how we came to play here into our Premier League games and if we do that, we will have a lot better performances."

There was also a confidence boost for Neal Maupay, who opened the scoring in Parramatta with an expertly-guided header for his first goal since opening his Everton account in the 1-0 win over West Ham two months ago.

Lampard added: "When a team give you opportunities to play in their half then you have got to do it well, be sharp, move the ball well.

"The level will go up when we go back to the Premier League, that’s the difficult bit. But you can only work and practice. Even the nature of Anthony’s last goal, he moves it quickly and gets his shot away. That’s what he, Demarai, Dwight and other players have to be doing.

"They have to practice it and they have to apply it. They did it tonight and then they have to carry on doing that when we come back to England."

3. Holgate Stakes Claim For Starting Berth

Boss Lampard is guaranteed to face at least one selection poser when Premier League action resumes with the visit of Wolves on Boxing Day.

With Conor Coady ineligible to face his 'parent club' while on loan from the Black Country side, the partnership the 29-year-old has struck up with fellow summer signing James Tarkowski will, at least temporarily, be broken up.

Mason Holgate did his chances of earning a starting berth no harm whatsoever with a pair of excellent performances in the Sydney Super Cup.

The 26-year-old was introduced at half-time against Celtic, before completing 69 minutes in the second contest Down Under.

Michael Keane will also be vying for a place in the starting line-up after gaining valuable minutes during the time away, while Ben Godfrey continues to close in on full fitness after overcoming a fractured fibula in this season's opener against Chelsea.

Yerry Mina faces a race to be fit, though, having sustained a hamstring problem against Celtic that is expected to keep the Colombia international sidelined for three to four weeks.

4. McNeil Enjoys Different Role

It was an experiment that provided food for thought.

Evertonians have become accustomed to watching Dwight McNeil operating off either flank since his summer move from Burnley, however manager Lampard opted to deploy the 23-year-old in a central midfield position for Everton's second game in Australia.

Supporters with particularly good memories may remember McNeil fulfilling a similar role during his first ever outing for the Club - the 3-0 win over Dynamo Kyiv, in which he scored a brace, back in July.

There were more positive signs from McNeil here - and Lampard believes the Toffees will begin to reap the full benefits of his qualities after settling in a new environment.

Frank Lampard on Dwight McNeil
He can be an eight, he’s played there before when he was younger in his career. It’s something for us to look at.

"Dwight was really good," he said. "I thought he was great; he really grew into it.

"He made some great passes, showed great energy and I know he can do that more central style of role.

"He can be an eight, he’s played there before when he was younger in his career.

"It’s something for us to look at in an attacking manner. Dwight covers a lot of ground.

"I think sometimes the way he moves; people don’t sense exactly how much ground he covers but he covers a lot.

"He’s got a great quality and I’m just trying to work with him. He’s settling into the Club now and we have to give him a bit of time to find his feet.

"It’s very normal for a young man like he is, he just turned 23 yesterday. It’s very normal that it takes a little bit of time and games like today he showed his quality."

5. Rip-Snorter Of A Trip!

As well as a pair of victories on the pitch, Everton's trip to Sydney was also a resounding success away from the matches.

Thousands of Evertonians - Australians, expats and UK tourists - enjoyed a host of activities put on by the Club and the Everton Australian Supporters' Club.

Festivities included open training sessions, as well as a session on the world-famous Bondi Beach, an England v Iran watchalong, a river boat cruise around Sydney with 1987 title-winning duo Ian Snodin and Gary Stevens and a special fans' brunch event with James Tarkowski and Dwight McNeil.

Thanking supporters at the end of the trip, Lampard told evertontv: "They’ve been great. We’ve stayed very central in the city and we’ve seen them when we’ve been walking, running or whatever we do when we get out with the staff and the players from our hotel.

"The tour has been really, really great. It shows the size of the Club, shows the support that we have over here from people who follow us and watch the Premier League.

"We’re very thankful for what we’ve received over here."