Salomon Rondon has already proved why Everton need to solve their long-standing right-back issue at the very earliest opportunity. No, really.
So far he has only touched the ball 51 times in 162 minutes of Premier League football since signing for the Blues on deadline day.
He is yet to score, has hit just two shots, made only 38 passes and is still returning to fitness.
And yet, his presence has been absolutely vital in the wins over Norwich and Burnley.
You see, he is a specialist in his position. He is a centre-forward. Having played the role for 15 years, he knows where to be, fully aware of the best ways to irk and frustrate opposition defenders, how to drag them out of their zone.
Some of his hold-up play might not have come off and some balls may have gone astray but body shape, stance, positioning, it is all second nature to him.
So, replacing the injured Dominic Calvert-Lewin, though Rondon is not scoring at the rate of the number nine, his selection means Everton keep their shape, their balance and maintain their functionality.
The two players are at differing stages of their careers, they have different capabilities and recent scoring records but in the most basic terms, Rondon coming in for DCL is like-for-like.
However, in the absence of Seamus Coleman, it has fallen on Ben Godfrey – picked ahead of Jonjoe Kenny who has been deemed surplus to requirements and had to settle for a place on the bench this weekend – to fill the void.
This is not like-for-like. Godfrey is a centre-back.
Sure, last season, he excelled as a right-back at times when called upon. But he is a centre-back. And so far this season, it has showed.
Godfrey is capable of playing full-back, he can do it well, but it’s a big ask. And really, an unfair ask.
Playing at the very top level is pressure enough. Especially for a club like Everton at Goodison Park where the demands are rightly sky high every single week.
So imagine then the stress of playing out of your favoured position so regularly while facing the very best in the world on a weekly basis.
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Of course, if asked, Godfrey would insist he is happy to do his bit for the team. He is a professional and an extremely talented footballer.
But such a juggling act must take its toll at times.
Playing at centre-back, he knows exactly what to do. At right-back, each phase of play is another adjustment for him, another learning curve, forced to constantly get to grips with a role, which no matter how many times he fills in, will feel unorthodox.
Against Norwich, very late in the first half, it appeared Godfrey was feeling angsty as Yerry Mina and Allan bawled at him after Norwich had been allowed in. Viewing the exchange from the stands, it seemed the defender was gesturing he was doing his best in difficult circumstances.
Straight after, a short Jordan Pickford pass found its way to Godfrey who was immediately closed down. He attempted to boot the ball down the channel but it ricocheted off one of the Canaries players and the tension he was feeling must have gone up another notch as fans groaned to vent their frustration.
Soon, Godfrey again had the ball and options ahead of him. Flustered after a rough few minutes, he passed it out of play. The half-time whistle came at the perfect time.
Throwing players in at the deep end can certainly have a positive effect but, after Godfrey’s full-back positioning in the 3-0 defeat at Aston Villa was also questioned, this being an ongoing, short-term solution to the right-back problem would be no good for his development.
He needs to be allowed to fully focus on his main position, a position he can thrive and flourish in having been tipped as a future Blues captain.
Rather than depending on the very reliable Godfrey, Everton instead need to find a specialist right-back as soon as possible.
It has been well-documented that Director of Football Marcel Brands and manager Rafa Benitez had to be frugal this summer, restricted by Financial Fair Play, but as soon as cash flow or time allows, whether it is a free transfer or a January buy, the Toffees need to get this wrapped up and the situation dealt with.
Kenny and Serge Aurier, still a free agent after his release from Tottenham – they may not be viewed at the same level as Godfrey by the coaches or the fans, but their presence would help the balance of the team.
Like Rondon upfront, they know the role. They are both right-backs. Positioning, shape, covering, getting forward to put crosses in, the general play, it all comes more naturally to them than it does to Godfrey.
The use of square pegs in round holes will always see a team come unstuck eventually.
When Rafa Benitez desired wingers this summer to whip crosses in, Everton went out and bought two players capable of crossing the ball and running at defenders. Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend are wingers, frontmen.
Opting to put Allan or Abdoulaye Doucoure out wide would never be an option. It’s not their job and they are far better suited elsewhere.
In goal too, Everton went out and bought Asmir Begovic to be deputy to Jordan Pickford after Robin Olsen returned to Roma. The Bosnia international has already been called upon after the number one injured his shoulder.
No way would the club have not moved for a keeper, instead relying on an outfield player to fill the role.
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So why is the right-back position any different really? This is the very top level of sport, you need specialists, experts, to carry out roles in the team.
Think of other industries. If a Maths teacher was unavailable for a week, a school wouldn’t draft in a Biology or Geography teacher to take the classes. And if they did, the kids aren’t getting to grips with algebra anytime soon.
A Premier League team needs players who are the authority in their position. You can’t expect to have a balanced, winning team every week if you are relying on players to play one role when the chunk of their expertise lies elsewhere.
You might get by against bottom club Norwich with such an approach like Everton did on Saturday. But winning football matches all season long for a sustained push at Europe or a cup run? No. It won’t be possible.
There are reasons Godfrey is having to play at right-back. But finding a solution to this quandary has to be a matter of urgency for Benitez and the Blues now.
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