We pick an XI featuring players you may have forgotten signed for Everton.
After making a late start in the professional game, John Ruddy’s performances for Cambridge United earned him a move to Premier League side Everton in the summer of 2005. Shortly after, Ruddy was loaned to League One side Walsall – the first of nine loan stints he would have during his five year spell with the Toffees. Ruddy’s only appearance for the club came off the bench, after goalkeeper Ian Turner saw red nine minutes into their game against Blackburn Rovers in February of 2006. The stopper, who now plays for Norwich City in the Championship, kept a clean sheet to help Everton seal a 1-0 win.
The fullbacks in this XI are Anthony Gardner and Lars Jacobsen. The former arrived on an emergency loan from Tottenham Hotspur in 2008 following the departure of Alan Stubbs to Sunderland. Gardner, who played most of his career at centre-back but could be utilised as a fullback, didn’t make a single appearance for the Toffees during his six-month spell at the club. He returned to Spurs at the end of the season only to be sold to newly-promoted Hull City.
Lars Jacobsen was another signing made to add depth to David Moyes’ backline. In 2008, the 28-year-old joined from FC Nurenberg, but suffered a dislocated shoulder on international duty which would keep him out for the first half of the season. Jacobsen ended up playing a mere five times for the Toffees, including a substitute appearance in the FA Cup final against Chelsea, before turning down a new contract to sign for Blackburn Rovers at the end of the season.
Per Koldrup and Li Weifeng make up this XI’s obscure centre-back pairing. Koldrup, who had featured regularly for Udinese in Serie A, was signed by Moyes on a four-year deal. A groin injury denied the Dane his debut until Boxing Day when the Toffees made the trip to Aston Villa. It would be a nightmare introduction to English football, as Luke Moore and Milan Baros tore Everton apart on their way to a 4-0 victory. Leon Osman has since described the problems Koldrup had adapting to the Premier League. The Everton favourite told the Liverpool Echo that Moyes had to do heading practice with Koldrup ‘like you would with a seven-year-old’ after realising they had paid ‘£5m for a centre-half who can’t head the ball!’
Meanwhile, Li Weifeng managed one more appearance for Everton than Koldrup did. The centre-back, who was part of the Chinese squad that didn’t pick up a single point at the 2002 World Cup, arrived on a season-long loan from Shezhen Ping’an. Weifeng would only appear twice in David Moyes’ side after the deal to bring him to Everton was instigated by the club’s sponsor Kejian.
As part of that same deal, Everton brought in midfielder Lie Tie from Liaoning FC. Unlike Weifeng, he featured regularly in the Toffees’ starting eleven and earned a permanent switch at the end of the 2002/3 campaign. However, injuries would hinder his next three years on Merseyside, only allowing him to play another five league games for the club.
Off-field issues cast a shadow Anderson Silva’s Everton career before he’d even played in the famous blue jersey. Silva’s, the namesake of a famous UFC fighter, chances of featuring for the Toffees were given a knock-out blow when he was denied a work-permit to play in the Premier League. After being shipped out on-loan to Malaga, the Brazilian returned in 2007 to make his only appearance for the club, as a 88th minute substitute in the 2-1 win over Charlton Athletic.
In 2002, Everton supporters had an excuse to get ‘Beckham’ printed on the back of their shirts when they signed a young Brazilian midfielder on-loan from Botafogo. Unfortunately, Rodrigo Beckham didn’t live up to his namesake and left after making just four Premier League appearances.
Segundo Castillo and Guillaume Plessis finish off this midfield. The latter was brought in on-loan from French side Lens following Thomas Gravesen’s transfer to Real Madrid in January of 2005. In his six months at the club, Plessis failed to make it onto the pitch, and the Frenchman would have similar fortune at his future clubs.
Castillo, another loan signing to make this XI, arrived from Red Star Belgrade in the same transfer window as Jacobsen. The Ecuadorian midfielder made his debut in the 3-2 win over Stoke City, but failed to hold down a place in Moyes’ starting eleven. His most notable moment for Everton came in the UEFA Cup, as he drilled home the equaliser against Standard Liege.
With one goal and three appearances between them, Lukas Jutkiewicz and Lacina Traore complete this ‘forgettable’ XI. Like Rudy, Jutkiewicz was signed from the lower leagues with the hopes that he could be developed into a top-flight footballer. His only game for Everton also came off the bench, as he replaced Tim Cahill for the final four minutes of the Toffees’ 4-0 victory over Sunderland.
In January of 2014, Roberto Martinez brought in three players to bolster his side for the second-half of the campaign, including a six-month loan deal for 6ft 8 Monaco forward Traore. Despite making an instant impact by scoring in the 3-1 FA Cup win over Swansea City, Traore wouldn’t be seen again until the final day of the season, after a hamstring injury kept him out for months.