Ask The Fans: Was Big Dunc Right To Hook Everton Sub Moise Kean?

The decision to sub off the Italian 19 minutes after he came on has split opinion
16:31, 16 Dec 2019

Duncan Ferguson's decision to substitute a substitute in Everton's 1-1 draw with Manchester United has really split the opinion of the Toffees fanbase.

The Blues caretaker manager introduced Moise Kean on 70 minutes with his team one up at Old Trafford.

However, with just a minute of normal time to go with the scores level, he elected to hook the 19-year-old and replaced him with Oumar Niasse.

What has added more to the debate is the fact Ferguson failed to acknowledge Kean before he trudged off the pitch and headed straight for the tunnel.

While some supporters have been left irked at the substitution and treatment of the player, others have backed Ferguson's judgement as he guided the Toffees to a much-needed and hard-earned point.

Here, The Sportsman speaks to two fans with differing opinions on the matter.

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Jim Keoghan, author of 'Everton's Greatest Games: The Toffees' 50 Finest Matches' and 'Highs, Lows and Bakayokos: Everton in the 1990s'

Was Duncan Ferguson right to take Moise Kean off?

Yes. I think he was brought on to do a job and wasn’t doing it. You could see Ferguson screaming at him from the touchline. The problem with Kean is that, so far, he offers so little. You could forgive his bluntness in front of goal if he worked as hard as Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. But he doesn’t. Those two put him to shame.

To be honest, I don’t think enough has been made of just how good a result yesterday was. Look at the players available to Ferguson, consider the state of the side a few weeks ago and think about where we were playing. Getting a draw was an incredible achievement. The whole Kean thing has sort of obscured that fact in the media.

What did you make of Ferguson’s reasoning that he made the sub to waste time?

I think all managers do that in the closing minutes. But you look at the bench at the end, look at who was on the pitch and it’s hard to think of any other option available to him.  Bring on Cuco Martina and drop even deeper? Bring on Anthony Gordon in such a heightened atmosphere? And so he went for a forward. And of those on the pitch, Kean was by some distance the worst performer. In the end, he made the call and we got the point. And that’s all that matters right now.

What did you make of the fact Ferguson failed to acknowledge Kean as he came off the pitch before he trudged off to the tunnel?

I quite like the fact that Ferguson clearly doesn’t take any s**t. For too long our managers have let players off the hook after anaemic performances. There should be a minimum standard acceptable for playing for Everton, and if you fall so short of that, why do you deserve a hug?

Kean’s stats made for poor reading. Is that enough justification?

I think so. The club is in a dire position, fighting for every point possible. He was the only Everton player out there who didn’t seem to understand that. I’m sure he didn’t expect to be fighting relegation when he moved here. But it’s all part of his football education. And, at the moment, he’s not learning from it.

Upon signing, Everton's director of football Marcel Brands told Kean’s mother the club would look after him. Do you think that has been the case under Marco Silva and now Ferguson?

I think the big mistake the club made was not buying an established striker too. Too much expectation was placed on Kean’s shoulders, a ridiculous amount for a young kid who is far from the finished product. He needed to be gradually introduced to the game. Instead, he’s been thrown in at the deep end. So, in that sense, the current setup has certainly let him down.

Do you think this is the beginning of the end for Kean at Everton or do you think it could be the making of him?

It’s a real crossroads moment for him. Some players might take the public rebuke and use it to improve. Others might just sulk and agitate for a move elsewhere. I hope the former comes to pass because he has raw ability. He now needs to look at the examples of Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison to see what it required to thrive at this club. Talent is not enough. Everton players need to graft for the shirt too.

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Rhys Jones of fan site Everton Blue Army

Was Duncan Ferguson right to take Moise Kean off?

No. I get that Moise Kean didn’t really impress when he came on, but I thought taking him off was wrong. Take him to the side and tell him what to do, don't hook him off after 19 minutes. He’s 19 years old, still getting used to the country and has had a tough season so far. I felt it was incredibly harsh to embarrass a young player on a big stage. It probably knocked him even more, when he’s already lacking in confidence.

What did you make of Ferguson’s reasoning that he made the sub to waste time?

I didn’t think Duncan Ferguson’s reasoning made sense. If you wanted to waste time, you could have taken anyone off, but he specifically chose to take off the young player that he brought on 19 minutes earlier. It doesn’t make sense to me and it looks to me that there’s clearly something more going on. I guess he was just protecting Moise Kean to the media.

What did you make of the fact Ferguson failed to acknowledge Kean as he came off the pitch before he trudged off to the tunnel?

I felt it was harsh. Look, if you’re going to take off a player after bringing him on, fine, but at least pull him aside when he’s coming off and give your reason. Ignoring him probably won’t make him feel great and could cause long-term issues with his confidence and relationship with the club, which is dangerous given how much potential he has.

Kean’s stats made for poor reading. If Duncan privately thought Kean wasn’t carrying out instructions would you agree with the sub or do you think Kean had to stay on at all costs?

If he’s not following instructions, call him over and reinstall the instructions to him. Some people have said that he did this during the game. I must have missed it, but if so, fair enough. I still think hooking him off with a few minutes to go is a bit tight, like. It just felt like it was unnecessary.

Upon signing, Marcel Brands told Kean’s mother the club would look after him. Do you think that has been the case under Marco Silva and now Ferguson?

I don’t know. You can’t say really, as we don’t see behind the scenes. Just because he doesn’t necessarily play, doesn’t mean he isn’t looked after. I’d like to think he is being looked after, but who knows? It certainly looks like a grim situation from a fans’ point of view.

Do you think this is the beginning of the end for Kean at Everton or do you think it could be the making of him?

It wouldn't surprise me if Moise Kean left in January, to be honest. He probably expected to play a lot more and he probably wasn’t happy with the substitution. I hope he stays and proves himself, but if he leaves, I really won’t be surprised. I’d be gutted, though, as it’s yet another failed transfer to add to Davy Klaassen, Nikola Vlasic and co.