Duncan Ferguson: When Everton icon ruthlessly sub-subbed Moise Kean vs Man Utd in 2019

  • Kobe Tong

Duncan Ferguson is back in the dugout at Everton.

On the back of Rafael Benitez’s dismissal on Tuesday, the Toffees legend will be returning to the interim position at Goodison Park as the club tries to establish its next permanent appointment.

And although rumours about Wayne Rooney and other managers are doing the rounds, it’s not from without the realms of possibility that Ferguson could push for the job if he fills in successfully.

Ferguson at Everton

Besides, the Everton hero did a fine job between the Marco Silva and Carlo Ancelotti eras, so it’s certainly possible that a second bountiful spell as interim manager could earn him a promotion.

However, even in a world where Ferguson simply proves to be a stopgap again, there could still be some memorable moments in store for Everton fans if his first tenure is anything to go by.

In fact, the Merseyside club actually went unbeaten in the Premier League under Ferguson courtesy of a 3-1 win over Chelsea as well as draws against Manchester United and Arsenal.

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Ferguson sub-subbing Kean

Pretty good, right? Well, absolutely, but Ferguson’s three-game stint wasn’t entirely free of drama because the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford gave way to a controversial episode involving Moise Kean.

It’s no secret that Kean’s time at Goodison Park has proven to be an unmitigated disaster, but his spell at the club reached its nadir against United when Ferguson ruthlessly sub-subbed him.

Having introduced the Italian striker to the fray in the 70th minute, Ferguson remarkably decided to hook him just 18 minutes later for Oumar Niasse despite there having been no signs of an injury.

Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool Match Reaction (Football Terrace)

Why did Ferguson to it?

It proved to be one of the most cut-throat tactical decisions that the Premier League has ever seen and one that understandably cast a shadow over what was an incredible result for the Toffees.

As such, Ferguson was asked to explain the move after the game and told Sky Sports: “It wasn’t because of Moise Kean’s performance, it was just because I needed to make a substitution to kill a bit of time.

“I’ve got so many strikers on the bench, I just decided to make that change. It was nothing against Moise Kean really.”

Carragher analyses the situation

Clips had emerged on the back of the substitution that appeared to show Kean looking unfit at Old Trafford, potentially suggesting that there was a larger reason behind Ferguson’s bold decision.

However, superb analysis from Jamie Carragher on Monday Night Football combatted this hypothesis by demonstrating that Kean was actually one of the most energetic players on the pitch.

Be sure to check out the Liverpool legend’s fantastic breakdown of the situation, which includes the moment where he thinks Ferguson made his mind up, to truly understand what was going on:

The crazy thing is that Ferguson then went on to substitute a substitute in his next league game, too, with Cenk Tosun being hooked late on against Arsenal despite being introduced in the 11th minute.

Was it worth it?

All in all, regardless of whether you think Ferguson was right or not to commit the dreaded sub-sub, you’d be inclined to think that it probably wasn’t worth all the drama either way.

Everton ultimately got themselves an impressive result at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ and the Goodison Park faithful will be hoping that Ferguson can pick up some more scalps for them this time around.

And maybe it’s for the best that Kean is out on loan with Juventus while it all happens…



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