Everton look set to make a number of changes for their FA Cup tie with Rotherham United at Goodison Park on Saturday.
In his pre-match press conference, Carlo Ancelotti confirmed that a number of key players would be rested for the tie – presenting opportunities for other players in the squad to impress.
One of those looks set to be Cenk Tosun with the boss remarking that, with both Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison being rested, the Turkey international will play against the Championship side.
That became one of the topics of discussion in our latest Royal Blue podcast – with host Phil Kirkbride joined by Gav Buckland, Adam Jones and Dave Prentice.
The panel looked at how the game against Rotherham could help the striker after a limited amount of game-time so far this season and discussed how a good performance could affect his future – with rumours of a potential transfer lingering.
Listen to the latest episode of the Royal Blue Podcast in full HERE
Phil: It looks like great news for Cenk Tosun tomorrow! What are you expecting from him tomorrow?
Gav: Goals, to be fair, without trying to sound trite!
I don’t know how much you can expect from someone who’s had very limited game time this year only as a substitute. I think 90 minutes is beneficial for him against, I imagine they will have a bit of a weakened team out.
I’d be very disappointed if I don’t see him on the scoresheet, but it also shows our lack of options in that area.
We’ve spoken on the podcast before, and a fit-and-firing Cenk Tosun I think would be an asset to us especially if we play a 4-3-3.
So we need him to hit the ground running tomorrow really, and I’d be looking for him to get on the scoresheet.
Phil: Adam, does a goal scoring return to the team for Cenk Tosun change anything about his future and his prospects this month? How do you see it unfolding for Cenk?
We’ve heard from him today, I think he gave some interviews in Turkey about his future saying he’s going to wait a couple of weeks to see if he’s playing – with the best will in the world, unless there’s a string of injuries, I could probably tell him the answer now.
Do you see his prospects changing dramatically? Has he got an opportunity to convince Carlo in 90 minutes against Rotherham?
Adam: You’ve hit the nail on the head with the final word of that sentence. You’ve got to have respect for Rotherham of course because we all know the FA Cup can spring up surprise results.
But let’s be honest we’ve paid £27m for Cenk Tosun, he’s a Turkey international, he should be performing against a team like Rotherham at the end of the day – and I think Carlo Ancelotti knows that.
If he was even to score a hat-trick tomorrow I don’t think it’s really going to change anything in Carlo Ancelotti’s eyes.
I think what’s interesting about the quotes you referred to, and I think Tosun has always had this belief as well, is that Ancelotti does have faith in Cenk Tosun. I suppose that was probably highlighted by Moise Kean going out on loan, leaving us with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Tosun.
The other thing that we need to note as well is that Carlo Ancelotti seems adamant, so far at least, that Everton aren’t really going to be making any incoming transfers over the course of January.
Now of course if the right offer came in for Tosun, would that change matters? Would we then be looking for a striker towards the end of the window? I don’t know.
I think maybe might be considered just the safer option to have Tosun there from now until the end of the season, then Moise Kean comes back in the summer and you can assess it all from there.
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I’m not sure I agree with that personally, in my opinion I think it would be the right move to try and move Tosun on and try to bolster our attacking options – I think to be honest even if Tosun doesn’t move, we need to bolster our attacking options this window.
For all the will in the world, a couple of goals against Rotherham isn’t going to change much in the eyes of Carlo Ancelotti or the Everton fans either.
I’m not sure tomorrow will change anything but we’ll see how the rest of the month pans out.
Phil: Fingers crossed Cenk produces and we comfortably sail into the next round, but say hypothetically it’s turning into a bit of a struggle, are you concerned about our options without Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin?
As much as we’re confident of a safe passage through tomorrow if Cenk, who hasn’t played a lot of football, isn’t firing – who do we turn to?
Dave: It is a concern, yeah.
Without wanting to sound complacent or over-confident, ok Rotherham are second-bottom of the Championship for a reason, but it’s similar to Wycombe who are bottom of the table – they’ve not been turned over very often at all this season.
I think they lost 2-0 at Watford and 3-0 at Reading, the only games they’ve lost by more than one goal all season. So they’re resilient, a difficult team to break down.
Is a Cenk Tosun, who’s certainly short of match sharpness and match fitness, going to be able to break them down? I certainly hope so.
Quality-wise, he’s a Turkey international so he should have far more quality than the defenders he’ll be up against. But that rhythm and momentum you need as a striker is going to be sorely lacking.
He’s had fleeting moments here and there this season, so he’s a bit of an unknown quantity. I’ve said on the podcast before, I quite like him as a finisher, but he’s not the kind of player who will make things happen himself.
It’s not just what he produces, it’s what the guys who are also brought into the game can create. It does highlight that we are lacking in numbers in a number of areas in the team at the moment.
Also, of course, you’ve got the fact that Carlo is keen to not be panic-stricken in the transfer window He wants to be calm and to wait and bring in the players who he’s absolutely sure will add to the club long-term.
That means, short-term, we are going to be found wanting on some occasions. Fingers crossed all goes according to plan because the options aren’t great!