Everton is well-represented at this year’s World Cup. Six players who were with us at the end of the season made World Cup rosters. They are:
Tim Howard — USA
Phil Jagielka — England
Leighton Baines — England
Ross Barkley — England
Kevin Mirallas — Belgium
Romelu Lukaku — Belgium (on loan from Chelsea)
Bryan Oveido would certainly have made the Costa Rican team but for his broken leg.
In addition, our manager, Roberto Martinez, is providing studio commentary for ESPN.
The following ex-Everton players are participating:
Tim Cahill — Australia
Wayne Rooney — England
Marouane Fellaini — Belgium
Nikica Jelovic — Croatia
Joseph Yobo — Nigeria
Shkodran Mustafi — Germany [see update]
Jo — Brazil (on loan from Manchester City)
Philippe Senderos — Switzerland (on loan from Arsenal)
Hope I didn’t miss anyone.
It’s pretty significant that three Everton players made the England squad. Moreover, a fourth, young John Stones, was an alternate.
If memory serves, England hasn’t been that well-represented at a World Cup since 1986. Then, Gary Stevens, Trevor Steven, Peter Reid, and Gary Lineker were all selected from a great Everton team. Lineker would leave Everton that summer for Barcelona.
It’s easier now for a less decorated English club to place players in the national team. Why? Because so few Englishmen play regularly for the elite EPL teams.
This year, two Evertonians, Jagielka and Baines, will be in England’s starting 11. There is clamor for a third, young Barkley, but England manager Roy Hodgson will probably use him as a potentially game-changing sub.
In 1986, Lineker and Stevens started every game for England, and Lineker, with six goals, was probably the Three Lions’ best player. Reid and Steven moved into the starting after the second match. Not coincidentally, England, which had lost its first match and drawn its second, immediately kicked into gear, and Lineker scored all six of his goals in the three matches he played with Reid and Steven.
Maybe Barkley will have a similar impact on England this year.
By the quarter-finals, England was playing great. Unfortunately, they ran into Argentina, the eventually champion, and lost on Diego Maradona’s hand-ball goal.
England will be lucky if it does as well this time around.
UPDATE: I did miss an ex-Everton player in the original post. Shkodran Mustafi, named to the German squad at the last minute, played on match for Everton as a sub in a Europa League match.
Mustafi frequently appeared in Everton’s reserve and youth teams. I was disappointed to see him go, but never dreamed he would play for Germany, never mind make its World Cup squad.