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Everton U21 v Mansfield Town: Papa John’s Trophy

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Is Joe Anderson any good? Everton fan gives us the lowdown on Sunderland’s reported new defender

It looks like Sunderland have signed Everton U21 captain Joe Anderson - but, is he any good? John from The Toffee Blues gives us the lowdown…

Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

RR: So, Joseph Anderson - is he any good?

From what I have seen of Joe Anderson he looks to be a good player that is waiting for that move to go test himself in regular first team football. He has reached his ceiling in U23’s football and you can tell that he is ready to take that next step.

RR: What can you tell us about his Everton career to date (and particularly, how he’s done for the U21s)?

Joe is a very versatile player and has progressed through the Everton Academy ranks, but just had an unlucky time breaking into the first team. Not many lads in our U23’s have broken into the first team bar a handful every now and then.

But that is no discredit to Joe who is a strong leader at the back and when playing for the U23’s team is exactly what you would want in a captain. The 2021/2022 season he became a regular starter for the U23’s side often changing from Left Back to Centre Back. He was highly thought of by the likes of Carlo Ancelotti, Rafa Benitez and Frank Lampard as he regularly trained with the First Team.

RR: Why do you think he hasn’t played for the first team yet or even gone out on loan?

I just think during his development there has been a lot of competition in his position - and especially over the past couple of years, there hasn’t been a good chance to give him a run in the side.

We have only really got to see him in the first team in a couple of appearances in pre-season in the 2021/2022 season and then our recent tour of Australia before the World Cup.

When it comes to Joe not getting a loan move I would probably say that is just down to Everton’s poor handling of developing players from our Under 23 side to the first team. We tend to keep hold of players well past their sell by date and continue to play them in our U23 team hindering not only the players development but young players in the squad also.

Lincoln City v Everton U21 - Papa John’s Trophy Photo by Emma Simpson - Everton FC/Everton FC via Getty Images

RR: Is now the right time for him to leave?

Now is a perfect time for Joe to leave in my opinion - the lad is almost turning 22 and I think he is overdue going out and playing first-team football regularly. We hope he smashes it.

RR: What sort of defender is he?

Joe originally started off as a midfielder in the Everton Academy but as he grew through the ranks the club thought he would be best playing as a Centre Back, and it has worked out well for him.

RR: Do you think he’s ready to play in the Championship for a big club like Sunderland? Or will he require time and patience before being thrust into things?

The Championship is obviously a very tough league, and I think making the jump from Under 23 football to first team Championship football is a big step up that any player would probably struggle with. I think it is best to have a bit of patience with him and just remember this is a lad who hasn’t played much first team football throughout his career, so could need some time to get up to the speed of the game in the Championship.

RR: What are his strengths and weaknesses as a player?

With him originally being a midfielder he does have a good pass on him, and I would say overall he is very neat on the ball so if you are playing out from the back - he has good composure. Weaknesses... I would say he could be a bit faster when tracking back, but overall I would say he is a solid defender.

RR: What would you say to any Sunderland fans who maybe aren’t sure about this signing?

I would say to give Joe a good chance and if he makes any mistakes don’t be too critical of him. This is a lad who is still yet to play regular first team football, so nerves are to be expected if he shows any. I’ve no doubt though that Joe will go and be a solid addition to Sunderland’s team when called upon.


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