Everton will have hoped that a loan spell at Sunderland could give Tyias Browning and Brendan Galloway the necessary experience to make their mark at Goodison Park in the near future.
It’s fair to say The Toffees’ best laid plans haven’t exactly, well, gone to plan so far. Galloway, who barely featured during a loan spell at West Brom last season, is suffering déjà vu at Sunderland with manager Simon Grayson leaving him out of the side following a series of shaky displays.
And Browning too suffered a dip in form after a bright start with Sunderland dropping into the Championship relegation zone just a few months after they finished bottom of the Premier League. The Black Cats recently lost five games in a row with Browning in the back four.
Therefore, Browning’s much improved performance in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Preston North End was very well timed. The 23-year-old was dropped for the 5-2 battering at Ipswich Town in midweek but returned against The Lilywhites and formed a solid partnership with veteran John O’Shea.
Despite conceding twice at Deepdale, Sunderland looked far more organised at the back and much of the credit has to go to Browning. In fact, you could make a case for the draw with Grayson’s former side being his most impressive performance since the 3-1 win at Norwich City in mid-August.
It is this sort of display both Everton and Sunderland will have been hoping for when they agreed on the season-long loan this summer.
The Toffees’ defence isn’t getting any younger with both Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka the wrong side of 30 and hope remains that Browning can one day step into the void. A few more displays like the one against Preston will do the youngster’s reputation no harm.