By George Overhill

13th Aug, 2022 | 8:57pm

Richard Keys slams Everton after defeat at Aston Villa, Andy Gray argues back in defence

Richard Keys slammed the Everton squad as not being any good after they suffered a second successive loss at Aston Villa.

A 2-1 defeat in the lunchtime kickoff Saturday (13 August) at Villa Park, despite a late Amadou Onana-inspired flourish, leaves the Toffees without a point after two games, and he said the relegation scrap of last season is the level they are still at.

Former Everton player Andy Gray tried to stick up for the current set of players as Keys suggested that they wouldn’t get into Thomas Frank’s Brentford team.

Speaking live on beIN Sports after the final whistle, in a clip posted to the station’s Twitter account, Gray admitted: “It’s really poor, it’s a rotten start”.

Keys then asks: “If I’m the manager of Brentford, how many of those Everton players do I sign to make my team better?”

“Well you, you wouldn’t sign any,” Gray responded.

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After former Liverpool player Jason McAteer offered Anthony Gordon and Conor Coady as possibilities, Keys went back at Gray: “You said to me that you’ve got a quality team and they didn’t all perform last year to the best of their ability. I said they over-performed for the last six games. This is what Everton are.”

Gray tried to stick up for the quality of the squad, saying: “Most of these players are international footballers, they’re not people who just come from nowhere.”


Clearly two losses from two isn’t cause for celebration, but there have been some positive signs for Frank Lampard from both.

The fact that his side have been operating without a striker for the majority of the time so far hasn’t helped at all, although that is undoubtedly something that the club have not helped themselves with, but a couple of defeats by the odd goal isn’t a disaster just yet.

Selling Richarlison was apparently inevitable, while the injury to Dominic Calvert-Lewin was very bad luck but was a risk that everybody new could happen.

Coming into the season having loaned out Ellis Simms on top and brought nobody in at the position is a problem of their own making.

But Onana, the big money midfield capture, although at fault for Villa’s second goal made amends immediately by creating the Toffees’ only goal of the season so far, and if he can have as much of an impact in an entire game as he did in just over 10 minutes in Birmingham he will be key.

Yet more injuries in defence have taken out two of the club’s top defenders in Yerry Mina and Ben Godfrey, although at least with James Tarkowski and Conor Coady now involved that is not quite as much of an issue as it was last year.

If the club manage to sign a goalscorer, there is evidently enough quality in this side on its day to do well, since the late fight last season showed it and, Richarlison aside, the additions should have improved the overall squad.

And after Brentford thrashed Manchester United 4-0 it might not be such an issue if players wouldn’t get in their side.