Everton final season ratings

Posted by Mike Whalley

Stu Forster/Getty ImagesEverton left back Leighton Baines excelled this season and is slotted to supplant Ashley Cole as England's first-choice left back.

Everton maintained the habit of finishing at the Premier League's top end on a bottom-four budget, earning the honour of being Merseyside's top team by securing sixth place. Hopes of a first trophy in 18 years disappeared in an awful performance at home to Wigan in the FA Cup quarter-final, but the biggest blow came towards the end of the season, when manager David Moyes announced he was leaving after 11 years to take charge at Manchester United. Here, Mike Whalley rates the performances of Moyes' final Everton squad.

Leighton Baines: 9

In October, a national newspaper asked the question: "Does Leighton Baines' form mean the end for Ashley Cole?" That's how good the left-back was at the beginning of the season, even starting ahead of Chelsea's Cole when England faced San Marino in a World Cup qualifier last autumn. David Moyes, ever the tough taskmaster, suggested that Baines had not quite kept up those standards over the second half of the season; his omission from the PFA Player of the Year shortlist suggests a few people within the game agree with the Everton manager. But he made the PFA's Team of the Year, and has every chance of becoming England's future first-choice left-back.

Marouane Fellaini: 8

At his best, the Belgian with the big hair can be unplayable, as he proved against Manchester United in Everton's opening league game, and his commitment on the pitch could not be questioned despite careless early season off-field remarks suggesting he might soon leave Goodison Park. A tendency to get drawn into physical confrontations led to three suspensions over the course of the season, but he ended the campaign as the club's leading scorer. Like Baines, a player Everton must retain.

Steven Pienaar: 7.5

The South African midfielder rediscovered his fizz after bringing a frustrating year at Tottenham to an end by rejoining Everton in January 2012, initially on-loan. By and large, he has maintained that strong form this season, undoubtedly aided by his decision to retire from international football in October. A dip in form in the early spring was overcome, and his tally of six goals and five assists in the Premier League marks him out as one of his side's most creative players.

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Seamus Coleman: 7.5

From the moment he announced himself in Everton's first team by setting up both goals in a 2-2 Premier League draw against Tottenham in December 2009, Coleman's potential as an attacking right-back has never been in doubt. It was the defensive side of his game that gave manager David Moyes reason for caution. Yet this season, the Republic of Ireland international has matured, flourishing in the long-term absence of Tony Hibbert as Phil Neville's form has dipped. As a result, Coleman finished the season as the club's first-choice right-back.

Leon Osman: 7.5

It's been a season of great personal success for the midfielder, who consistency was rewarded in November when he won his first England cap at the age of 31. Osman proved as willing as ever in midfield, and provided a decent return of eight goals; the most memorable of which was surely the 30-yarder that set up a 2-0 victory over Manchester City in March. His form tailed off for a while after Christmas, but it would still be hard to argue with David Moyes' assessment that he has had the best season of his Everton career.

Stu Forster/Getty ImagesThe improved form of center back Phil Jagielka played a big role in Everton's defensive prowess in the second half of the season.

Phil Jagielka: 7

Everton's defensive record was not great over the first half of the season -- they did not keep a single clean sheet between September 22 and January 12 -- but improved significantly over the closing weeks, and Jagielka's form was key to that. The central defender has sometimes given the impression of lacking self-belief, but appears to have grown in stature since taking over the captaincy from Phil Neville. His performance as Everton secured a 0-0 draw in the Merseyside derby at Anfield in early May was immense. Next season could be huge for him.

Sylvain Distin: 7

The central defender had a difficult end to last season, admitting that he considered retirement after his under-hit back-pass allowed Luis Suarez to equalise in a Wembley FA Cup semi-final that Liverpool went on to win 2-1. The 35-year-old's response since then says much about his character, performing consistently enough to earn a contract extension in January. Like his centre-back partner Jagielka, Distin was particularly impressive over the closing weeks of the campaign.

Kevin Mirallas: 7

David Moyes made his big signing of last summer in paying Olympiacos £5.3 million for the Greek Super League's top scorer of 2011-12 -- but it is Everton's next manager who is likely to see the best of Mirallas. The Belgium international's attempts to acclimatise to English football were held up by a hamstring injury that restricted him to 45 minutes of first-team football between mid-November and mid-January. But there were glimpses, late in the season, of just what he can do -- a 70-yard dash to beat Stoke, a brilliant individual goal at Tottenham, two clinical finishes against West Ham.

Victor Anichebe: 7

There used to be a joke at Everton's Finch Farm training ground that David Moyes must be Anichebe's father, such was the faith he had shown in the striker. Anichebe has never been the most clinical of Premier League centre-forwards, but has made significant strides this season to suggest that Moyes' support is justified. His tally of eight goals represents his best return since breaking into Everton's first team in 2006 and, over the second half of the season, he deserved his starting place ahead of the out-of-form Nikica Jelavic.

Darron Gibson: 6.5

When he is fit, the midfielder is an invaluable asset to Everton thanks to his work ethic and the quality of his passing. It is no coincidence that the club have lost only four out of the 32 Premier League games he has played since arriving from Manchester United in January 2012. However, a thigh injury picked up during a 2-0 defeat at West Brom in September severely disrupted his season. It is to be hoped for Everton's sake that a summer operation will sort out the problem.

Stu Forster/Getty ImagesA rare injury and some shaky performances had some doubting Tim Howard's standing as Everton's No. 1.

Tim Howard: 6

Consistently excellent since arriving at Goodison Park in 2006, Howard had a poor first half of the season, characterised by a late slip against Norwich in November that allowed Sebastien Bassong to head in a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw. At that stage, David Moyes dropped some pretty strong hints that he needed stronger competition for Howard's place, and the goalkeeper responded with better displays after Christmas. Frustratingly, a back injury denied him the chance to beat Neville Southall's club record for consecutive league appearances.

Jan Mucha: 6

Mucha's career has stopped dead since he joined Everton from Legia Warsaw in 2010, straight from a World Cup adventure with Slovakia. Restricted to a handful of League Cup appearances during his first two-and-a-half years at Goodison Park, the second-choice goalkeeper finally made his Premier League debut against Reading in March when a back injury ruled out Tim Howard. An excellent performance in the 2-0 win over Manchester City threw up questions as to whether Howard would regain his place when fit. But he did. Mucha, out of contract this summer, will surely start next season sitting on somebody else's bench.

Ross Barkley: 6

An impressive display in the 0-0 draw at Arsenal in April suggested that the 19-year-old midfielder might be ready for regular Premier League football. David Moyes, though, repeatedly stated the need to be patient, citing the fact that Barkley's development was held up by triple leg fracture at the age of 16. The departing manager looked to give the teenager experience in the Championship to aid that development; he played 13 times at Sheffield Wednesday early in the season, but could not earn a regular place at Leeds. There is a strong sense that Barkley, for all his potential, still needs to be nursed through games.

Tony Hibbert: 5.5

A 12-year wait for an Everton goal finally ended -- sort of -- when Hibbert struck a free-kick against AEK Athens in his testimonial in August, sparking a Goodison Park pitch invasion. That turned out to be the highlight of an injury-hit season for the popular right-back, who was restricted to just six appearances by a calf problem. By the time he regained full fitness in April, he had been usurped by Seamus Coleman. Chances may be few for Hibbert next season.

Steven Naismith: 5.5

Rarely given a chance to play in his preferred position as a second striker, Naismith's first season in England has been a struggle following his free transfer from Rangers. An equaliser against Liverpool in October's Merseyside derby did his standing with his new fans no harm, but he made only one start after the end of January, and a player who has had to battle back from two cruciate knee ligament injuries has yet to convince fully at Goodison Park.

Thomas Hitzlsperger: 5

A surprise arrival as a free agent in October, the former Germany international was brought in with the intention of providing cover, and made only four starts -- all during November and December, a time when injuries and suspensions hit Everton’s squad hard. It was understandable, given the knee injury that threatened to end his career at Wolfsburg last season, that the 31-year-old might struggle in the Premier League. He was given only eight minutes of top-flight football after the turn of the year, and it is inconceivable that his short-term contract will be renewed for next season.

Bryan Oviedo: 5

Capable of playing on the left side of defence or midfield, the Costa Rica international rarely got the chance to do either because Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar formed such an effective partnership. Oviedo has pace and potential, but it is hard to see where his first-team starts are going to come from -- especially as, paradoxically, Everton's small squad does not afford them the luxury of being able to send him out on loan to gain experience of English football.

Apostolos Vellios: 5

Three goals last season hinted at good things to come for the young Greek forward, but he spent much of the campaign with the Under-21 squad continuing his development. A regular on the bench when the squad was stretched during November and December, he made no first team starts, scored no goals and was included in the matchday 18 only five times in 2013.

Phil Neville: 4.5

An inspiration figure for eight years at Goodison Park, Neville deserved the warm reception he received on the pitch at the final home game of the season against West Ham. But for all the sentiment, it became clear during the season that he was no longer up to it at the top level. The final embarrassment came in the FA Cup quarter-final against Wigan in March, when his dreadful back pass put Callum McManaman through to score the visitors' second goal in a 3-0 win. Neville, substituted at half-time, never played for Everton again. It was a sad end for a great captain.

Nikica Jelavic: 4.5

All Everton were missing in their quest for Champions League football this season was a prolific striker. If only Jelavic had maintained the form that brought him 11 goals in his first 16 games after arriving in January 2012, they might have made it. But aside from the odd moment of cheer -- a late winner against Tottenham in December, a decisive goal against Manchester City in March -- the Croatian striker was abject. When he slipped behind Victor Anichebe in the pecking order, he could have no complaints.

John Heitinga: 4

A poor season for the defender was summed up during the 3-3 draw at home to Aston Villa in early February, when all three of the visitors' goals were down to his errors. He did not shy away from criticism, even taking to Twitter to apologise to fans for his performances. Better displays came against Manchester City and Stoke later in the campaign, but Everton's defence tended to look more solid when he was not in it.

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