We’re delighted to welcome former Everton striker Kevin Campbell as our exclusive columnist. Each week the former Toffees captain will be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Goodison Park…
Neal Maupay has had a “raw deal” at Everton since his summer move from Brighton because the team have never played to his strengths, says Kevin Campbell.
The £15million signing has only scored once for the Toffees, in his second appearance, and after falling out of favour under Frank Lampard, has gone goalless for Sean Dyche and was dismissed by Jeff Stelling and Kris Boyd on Sky Sports after the 2-0 loss to Aston Villa on Saturday (25 February, 5.48pm).
But Sky Sports pundit Campbell doesn’t think the Frenchman is well suited to playing as a lone striker when Everton don’t play a heavy-possession game, and would prefer to see him paired with one of the aforementioned big men to form an effective partnership.
He exclusively told Goodison News: “Remember he was brought in by a different regime. He did play some games under Frank Lampard.
“But when you have Calvert-Lewin fit he starts, 100%, he starts.
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“It just depends on how you set the team up. I see Calvert-Lewin and I see Maupay, I think he could do well with a big man.
“The old little and large type of thing. But teams tend to play different, they play 3-4-3 or 4-3-3 with one down the middle and two wingers.
“Everton could do with two strikers at the top end of the pitch and the rest fit in behind them, because I honestly think Everton don’t have enough firepower.
“Neal Maupay scores in bunches and he needs help up top, he can’t do it all on his own.
“Truthfully, I think he’s had a bit of a raw deal. I don’t think they’ve played to get the best out of him.
“4-4-2, 3-5-2, whatever it is he needs somebody to play with up top because he doesn’t have the size in my eyes to play that way for Everton.
“If he was at a Man City, we’ve seen [Sergio] Aguero do that kind of thing. I’m not saying he’s Aguero but we’ve seen a shorter striker play for City because they dominate the ball. You see Arsenal do it with Eddie Nketiah.
“If a team dominate the ball Neal Maupay’s fine because he plays that way, that’s the way he’d done it at Brighton, but Everton don’t have the players who dominate the ball like some of the teams I’ve mentioned.
“So he’s going to struggle. That’s why he needs a bit of help. Somebody up there who can be the brawn, he can be a little bit of the guile, and you have your partnership there.”
It had been a fairly positive start to life on Merseyside for Maupay as he became the long-awaited striker option that Everton were crying out in the wake of Richarlison’s sale and Calvert-Lewin’s ongoing absences.
He has arguably looked sharper under the new manager and was inches away from opening the scoring against Aston Villa, but ultimately he once again went goalless playing as a loan striker to draw more negative attention.
Overall he’s been disappointing for the money spent amid a miserable season, but he was on a hiding to nothing to be expected to replace either of the big names who came before him when he isn’t the same sort of player.
Having operated more frequently in a pair up front for Brighton, and with Dyche having a history of 4-4-2 at Burnley, it could yet be on the cards and might be what Maupay desperately needs.