John Lundstram vs Everton stars: Can the prospect break into the Toffees first team?

John Lundstram has enjoyed an impressive start to the season with Blackpool - but does he weigh up to Gareth Barry and James McCarthy?

England youth international Lundstram has made two appearances for the Toffees since breaking through the academy set-up in 2012.

Loan spells with Doncaster Rovers, Yeovil Town and Leyton Orient have given the 20-year-old midfielder a vast knowledge of the Football League, and he completed a fourth loan switch at the beginning of this season - signing with Blackpool until the end of this campaign.

He has gone on to feature in every game for the Tangerines, and, although they have managed just one victory, he has looked impressive in a team bereft of both talent and confidence.

With his increasing age, Lundstram will be hoping to use his spell in the Championship as a means to break into the Everton first-team, especially with the Toffees similarly poor run of form potentially opening a space in the midfield.

Gareth Barry and James McCarthy have been the consistent ‘double-pivot’ in the midfield of Roberto Martinez this season, and we take a look at whether Lundstram has out-performed his higher-ability counterparts.

  Mins PlayedMins per Key PassMins per Successful TackleMins per ClearanceMins per Duel WonPassing AccuracyMins per TouchAppearances
John Lundstram 921 102 66 48 22 80% 1.3 11
Gareth Barry 630 630 42 45 17 88% 1 7
James McCarthy 540 270 36 39 15 87% 1.2 6

Tasked with fulfilling nothing but defensive duties for their respective sides, all three men have put in impressive performances for much of the season. Lundstram has the most minutes under his belt, and has also offered the most creative threat, playing a key pass every 102 minutes - a much higher rate than either of the Everton duo, with Barry making just one key pass all season, and McCarthy only going one better.

However, defensively, Lundstram is slightly overshadowed by his future teammates, despite playing in a team who are often under more pressure. He takes longer to win a tackle, clear the ball from danger, and, when in possession of the ball, he is slightly worse with his pass completion - with his 80% rate lower than the high 80’s shown by the Everton pairing.

All three fulfil the same duties when it comes to touching the ball, and they hold possession of the ball roughly once a minute on average. Lundstram’s slightly higher minute-per-touch figure can be down to two reasons; he plays for a team who hold less of the ball, with Blackpool’s average possession of 45% much lower than Everton’s 58%, and he has also played roughly 300 minutes more of Championship action than either Toffees man.

Lundstram looks a promising talent, and he is impressing in a side who have struggled to find form this season. He may not be able to break into an Everton side that are playing at the top of their abilities, but with the Toffees struggling as of late, a season of strong performances could see him donning a Blue shirt on Merseyside come the start of the next Premier League campaign.

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