Everton News

Journalist insists criticism of Everton duo is “harsh”, says one has been “outstanding” at times


Everton defenders Michael Keane and Mason Holgate have been harshly criticised by supporters, according to journalist Pete O’Rourke.

Conceding goals has become a major concern for the Toffees in their battle to avoid the drop, but O’Rourke feels the defensive duo are a little unfortunate to be singled out.

Frank Lampard arrived at the club in late January, with a tough task on his hands, and he has failed to stop his side from conceding an alarming number of goals.

Under his reign, Everton have conceded three or more goals in a game on three occasions, with their most humbling defeat coming against Tottenham in early March when they were beaten 5-0.

Following that match, Jamie Carragher labelled Everton’s defence, which included Keane and Holgate, as “Championship level“.

Since then, Everton have been knocked out of the FA Cup, losing 4-0 at Crystal Palace in the quarter-finals.

Former Chelsea midfielder Andy Townsend criticised Keane and Holgate after that capitulation, claiming that Keane could not be relied upon, while also stating that Holgate is not good enough to play at the highest level.

O’Rourke has admitted that Everton do have a serious problem with conceding too many goals, but he is not convinced that the criticism for Keane and Holgate is warranted.

When asked if the pair were good enough to play for Everton, O’Rourke told GIVEMESPORT: “I think it’s a bit harsh to say: ‘They’re not good enough’. I think Michael Keane has shown previously that he is a top player. He’s been in England squads, he’s been outstanding in a number of Everton games.

“You defend as a team and you attack as a team, so it’s probably a bit harsh to point the finger just at the defenders, but for Everton, it’s been a real issue of conceding too many goals.”