Everton boss David Moyes lucky to have Joseph Yobo in wings

By Mark O'Brien on Apr 29, 09 07:25 AM in Fans


FORGET about laying a new pitch down at Wembley, the national stadium's maintenance men need to concentrate instead on installing a ramp or stair-lift in time for the FA Cup final in order for half the Everton squad to get up and receive their winners' medals.

Phil Jagielka's injury was an absolute sickener for everyone connected with the club and cast a far bigger pall over an otherwise great week than Robinho and company's disappointing but not altogether unexpected victory at Goodison.

Jagielka's been Everton's outstanding performer this season and his honest, no nonsense approach absolutely sums up what this team are all about.

He admitted himself that he found it tough at first coming to Everton and started to doubt his own ability, but through determination and dedication he overcame those fears and forced himself into the full England team.

You can't ask much more of any player, especially one who had played most of his football in the Championship until joining the Blues. His decisive penalty in the shoot-out at Wembley confirmed his hero status, so it seems particularly cruel that he will now miss out on what would have been the biggest day of his club career.

It's clearly a blow for the club too, as a final against Chelsea is tough enough without losing yet another key player to a long-term injury. If there's any consolation to be had though, it's that there are probably few teams in the Premier League that have a central defender of Joseph Yobo's quality in reserve.

The Nigerian international has suffered with his own injuries this season, and the emergence of Jagielka as such an outstanding centre-half has perhaps made people forget just what a good player Yobo is.

He was Moyes' first acquisition as Everton manager, so he's been at the heart of all the good things that have happened at the club in that time.

And more to the point, only last week he was central to the Blues' excellent defensive performance against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. There's no reason then why he and Joleon Lescott can't keep Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka quiet again at the end of May.

In the meantime though, Moyes must be terrified of losing any more players to injury, and it's getting to the point where even the fans are wondering whether it might be worth seriously rotating the squad during the league run in, now that European football is guaranteed for next season.

That obviously goes against the grain to a large extent, as we want to see Everton win every game and finish as high up the table as possible.

We owe it to the clubs at the wrong end of the table to be competitive in games such as Sunday's too, and we also want to go into the final with a bit of momentum.

However the extent of the injury list means that Moyes now has some serious thinking about how to manage his scant resources in the coming month.

Don't be surprised if we see Dan Gosling getting a few starts then, and maybe even Jack Rodwell in defence, to give him some experience in case anything should happen to either Yobo or Lescott.

If you believe that luck genuinely does even out over time, lump on the Blues to win absolutely everything next season.

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