When Leighton Baines re-injured the ankle that cost him the last two games of last season, it looked a major problem going into the new season. Fast forward three months since August when this occurred and with Baines beginning light training, it looks like a massive challenge for him to even break back into the Everton starting eleven. The reason for this is the emergence of nineteen year old Brendan Galloway. The young left back has slotted into the Everton first team and has surprised many with the consistent level of performances he has been producing. This has provided manager Roberto Martinez with a fantastic headache, two top left backs to choose for the remainder of the season. Credit must go to Martinez, there are not many managers within the league that place the confidence in which he does in his younger players, possibly with the exception of Pochettino at Tottenham. During this period bearing in mind the end of England’s qualification for Euro 2016 has also took place Leighton Baines would have reason to doubt whether he can break back into the reckoning for a place in this side as well.
Everton fans have quickly taken the young full back to their hearts and have appreciated his dramatic rise in just a year, having only joined the club during last summer. His most notable performance to date would be in Everton’s recent home win against Chelsea, the England under 21 international matched his opponents in every department. His awareness to pick passes from his line is extremely good, his driving bursts up the line caused all sorts of problems. The most surprising element to his game would possibly have been how he matched physically with the likes of Diego Costa and Branislav Ivanovic, this was part of his game that really impressed. Finally his ability to track inside and cover his centre backs is a real positive in the modern day for a full back, this is an ability that seems to have been lost in the modern fullback with so much emphasis put on the attacking ability a fullback possess. Galloway has the ability to play in centre half as well, this gives him a defensive edge in terms of a match-up against Leighton Baines.
Watching the early stages of Everton this season, they have looked a far superior side to last season. The predictability of their play has gone and they look much more organised defensively, Galloway has played a big part in this start for Everton and has really staked his claim to make that left back position his own. He is only nineteen so has a lot of years to be a first choice left back , but if you are good enough you are old enough so why not keep him there to watch how much he develops from playing regularly. Could he even get the same opportunity that former MK Dons teammate Dele Ali got and represent the full England team? There has been early talk of a potential move from the so called ‘bigger’ clubs for Galloway, could that be on the cards for the young man? Whatever happens between now and the end of the season it is clear to see that this young man has a big future ahead of him.