Everton’s 19-year-old Zimbabwe-born starlet Brendan Galloway has been rewarded for his stellar form this season with a new and improved deal that will expire in June 2020, however, surprisingly he has lost his place in the starting lineup.
Signed from MK Dons last term, the defender, who has been played at left-back by manager Roberto Martinez in the absence of Leighton Baines has been superb.
They say stats don’t lie and going into this week’s round of Premier League games, Galloway had blocked more crosses than any other player in the English top flight with 19 in his 14 appearances. For an Everton side with Tim Howard between the sticks, a goalkeeper vulnerable to balls coming across his area, this facet of Galloway’s game is invaluable.
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Until Saturday, Galloway was also topping the charts of another rather impressive statistic – most tackles per game made by teenagers in Europe’s top five leagues. Two other English starlets feature on the list - Liverpool’s Joe Gomez and Tottenham’s Dele Alli. Galloway, however, leads the way in representing the Premier League.
He averages 3.1 tackles per game with only Eintracht Frankfurt’s midfielder, Marc Stendera - now no longer a teenager after celebrating his 20th birthday on the day Galloway signed his new contract - surpassing him with an average of 3.2.
This supreme form, at a time when Everton had lost Leighton Baines to a long-term injury, loaned Luke Garbutt to Fulham meanwhile Bryan Oviedo was still on the road to recovery after a series of injuries dating back to a horror leg break, has not gone unnoticed.
Baines regained his place in the starting eleven against Norwich on Saturday but unsurprisingly looked rusty and exposed against the pacey Nathan Redmond. Did he deserve to return to the starting lineup?
Almost every Evertonian will say yes – Baines is a legend in those parts. However, with Roberto Martinez touting a Phillip Lahm-style defence-to-midfield transformation for the left-back last year, this could be a way to accommodate both players in the side.
Everton cannot do without the set piece quality of Baines but with his apparent loss of pace and desire to go forward, they could find themselves more exposed at the back - especially if Martinez keeps faith with Arouna Kone in the left-sided attacking role.
The future is bright for Galloway, a player who is used to cementing his place in the record books after he became the MK Dons youngest ever first team player, making his debut at just 15 in 2011.
Galloway cited the revered young spine at Everton – John Stones, James McCarthy, Ross Barkley, Gerard Deulofeu and Romelu Lukaku – as the key reason he was “happy” to extend his stay at Goodison.
He will be hoping to use his record-breaking experiences to help write Everton into the history books by emulating the glory days of when legendary manager Howard Kendall was in charge.