One of the Premier League’s two teams on Merseyside, Everton have proven themselves to be the crafty veterans of the league. The Toffee’s are an ever-present force in the Premier League having featured in every edition of the re-launched English top-flight in 1992. Even though they have yet to win the title, Everton have always been a side capable of pushing top teams to their very limit. With a best finish of 4th, Everton has hosted some of the league’s top stars over the past three decades. But who would make up the greatest Premier League XI at Goodison Park? Let’s take a look…
GK: Neville Southall
One of Everton’s cult heroes, Neville Southall was their main goalkeeper during the early days of the Premier League. His excellent saves and constant top performances kept Everton in the league during some of their tougher campaigns of the mid-late 1990s. His best run of form came arguably came in the 1994-95 season where he kept seven clean sheets in the row in a year when they also won the FA Cup. After being named BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year in 1995, Southall stayed with the club until 1998 when he left to Torquay United. Since his retirement, Southall has been inducted into the club’s Gwladys Street Hall of Fame underlining how much he’s revered on Merseyside.
RB: Seamus Coleman
Very few players have been quite as consistent over a decade for a club like Seamus Coleman has. The Irishman’s pace and skills on the ball has seen him shine both in defence and attack. Having been at Goodison Park for over a decade, Coleman’s status at the club has grown to the point where he has been club captain since 2019. His consistency has not gone unrewarded either having been club Player of the Year in 2014 as well has featured in the 2013-14 Premier League PFA Team of the Year. It goes to show that hard work pays off no matter what you need to overcome.
LB: Leighton Baines
Leighton Baines proved himself to be a weapon that can be deployed in any area of the pitch. His pace and strength made him a top full-back in the league and he had the tactical knowledge to also function in midfield. However, his best weapon was a wicked left-foot that could deliver set pieces with deadly pace and accuracy. It helped Baines record 29 goals in his time with Everton over the space of 350 games. His regular contributions across the pitch saw Baines win three Player of the Year awards with the club and also score two PFA Team of the Year nominations. One of the best wing-backs of the 2010s anywhere in the league.
CB: Phil Jagielka
For over a decade, Phil Jagielka proved himself to be one of the best defenders in English football. His aerial ability made him a threat from corners and he had the passing ability to start attacks from the backline. It was why he became a popular figure at Goodison park and was captain at the club for much of the 2010s. His consistently strong performances earned plaudits from fans and saw him named club Player of the Year twice by both fans and teammates. His form in February 2009 also saw him win Premier League Player of the Month underlining just how influential he could be on his day.
CB: Sylvain Distin
Having seen his form for Everton, it’s hard to believe that Sylvain Distin was never capped for France. This happened despite Distin regularly displaying excellent tackling abilities and the strength to deal with the best strikers in the game. It made the Frenchman a highly-prized member of the locker room at Goodison Park for 6 seasons where he was named Everton’s Player of the Year in 2012. It brought the tail end of a career that had appeared in over 450 Premier League games – a record for any overseas player in the Premier League.
CM: Duncan Ferguson
When Duncan Ferguson was on the pitch, you knew what you were getting. The Scottish midfielder was strong on the ball but had a finesse in his footwork that could produce precise passes and crisp finishes. It helped him shine as an attacking midfielder that could be deployed centrally or on the wing. He proved this in both the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons where he recorded double figure goal tallies for the season. This, entailed with a Premier League Player of the Month award in February 1995, showcased why he was a key talent of Everton in both of his spells with the club. Having transitioned into off-field roles with Everton in recent years, Ferguson is someone who bleeds blue.
CM: Leon Osman
Very few players are one-club players in the modern game, but Leon Osman was just that. Osman’s driven nature to move play forward made him an asset in the middle of the park – especially at the speed he achieved this. Osman could also score with regular consistently from inside and outside the area which could change games in an instant. It was why he scored over 43 goals for the club in the league over a 15-year period. With over 350 games for the club, he is in the club’s all-time top 10 for appearances and a real fan favourite on Merseyside.
CM: Mikel Arteta
There were few players who could carve open defences quite like Mikel Arteta. The Spaniard was able to find short and long-range passes with one flick of the boot. His excellent technical abilities made him a star at set-pieces too. Arteta was an excellent free-kick and penalty taker regularly converting chances and helping Everton secure wins. This saw him score 9 times in the 2006-07 season also claim 2 club Player of the Year awards in 2006 and 2007. It was why Arsenal signed him in 2011 showcasing how much of a star he was for Everton over the previous 6 seasons.
FW: Tim Cahill
There have been few strikers that could pack a punch quite like Tim Cahill. Not only was the Aussie striker strong on the ball, but he also had one of the best leaps in the game. This made him a threat whenever he was in the box, and he could score goals like clockwork. His best return was 11 goals in the 2004-05 season however he contributed over 56 goals in his 8-year spell – making him one of the club’s top scorers in Premier League history. The Australian won the 2005 Club Player of the Year and has gone to become one of the best Australian footballers of all time.
Capable of being a winger or a lone striker, Richarlison had no weaknesses in his all-round attacking game. The Brazilian had pace to spare and had the technical abilities to strike from anywhere on the pitch. This was shown with regular consistency as he scored double figure goal tallies in 3 of his 4 seasons with the club. That included two 13-goal hauls in the 2018/19 and 2019/20 season helping Everton log top-half finishes. It is why he has been a key asset for Everton in recent years until he left to join Tottenham in 2022.
FW: Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku had hit-or-miss form with Chelsea, but the Belgian striker proved he was the total package when he moved to Goodison Park. Lukaku was able to showcase his strength and speed on the ball and match it with regular goal tallies that made Everton a regular top 4 threat. During his 4 seasons with Everton, Lukaku never failed to record a goal tally in double figures with a best record of 25 goals in the 2016-17 season. This ability to find the net saw Lukaku win Premier League Player of the Month in March 2017 and also named in the Premier League Team of the Year that season. With 68 goals for Everton in the Premier League, Lukaku is the club’s all-time top scorer in the competition and a reminder of the club’s ability to attract top talents to Merseyside to the current day.