Everton 3-0 Norwich City analysis: Toffees victory as much about the future as the past

Teenagers Tom Davies, Kieran Dowell and Jonjoe Kenny impressed, while Tim Howard bid an emotional farewell to Goodison Park after 10 years at the club.

Everton 3-0 Norwich City analysis: Toffees victory as much about the future as the past
Tom Howard enjoyed a guard of honour after his 414th and last appearance for the club. (Image: Getty Images)

Everton responded to the sacking of manager Roberto Martinez with a victory over relegated Norwich City to end a poor season on a more positive note.

Goalkeeper Tim Howard also bid an emotional farewell to Goodison Park after 10 years at the club, but it was as much about the future as the past on Sunday.

Howard bids farewell as the post-Martinez era begins

Despite being the final day of the season, there was a sense that Sunday was a fresh start for Everton following the sacking of Roberto Martinez last Thursday.  Even though the 3-0 win against Norwich saw the Toffees end a disappointing season on a positive note, this will certainly be a campaign the Blues will not want to dwell on.

Everton finished this season of underachievement on a par with last year's campaign of what appeared to be second season blues for Martinez. Like 12 months ago, the Blues are left to reflect on picking up just 47 points and languishing in 11th place in the Premier League table for a second successive season.

Sunday did, though, provide an opportunity for the club to reflect on a true servant to the club. Tim Howard made his 414th and final appearance for Everton, before returning to the United States, where he will join Major League Soccer side Colorado Rapids.

Only league and cup winning goalkeepers Neville Southall and Ted Sagar have made more appearances in the Everton goal than Howard's 414 in all competitions, while no Toffees goalkeeper has recorded more Premier League appearances (354) and clean sheets (116) than the 37-year-old.

It was an emotional but fitting finale for a player that has always led by example and been a fine ambassador for the club as he signed off with a clean sheet, before enjoying a guard of honour by his team-mates. If only every afternoon had been this easy for the American goalkeeper!

Tim Howard says goodbye to Goodison Park after 10 years at the club. | Photo: Getty Images
Tim Howard says goodbye to Goodison Park after 10 years at the club. | Photo: Getty Images

Teenage trio impress as future looks bright for the Blues

Although the day belonged to Howard, Sunday was as much about the future as the past and if the win against Norwich was anything to go by then the future looks bright for the Blues and not just because of a win.

Wayne Rooney and Ross Barkley both progressed from Everton's academy, while Brendan Galloway and Matthew Pennington have made the step up from the Under-21 side this season. There were three more teenage debutants that impressed on Sunday and could be the next players to make the step-up from the youth ranks.

David Unsworth, Everton's under-21 manager in temporary charge of the senior side, handed 17-year-old Tom Davies and 18-year-old Kieran Dowell full debuts in midfield and gave the under-21 captain Jonjoe Kenny his first senior outing from the bench. 

Davies and Dowell repaid Unsworth's confidence with assured and creative displays. They had the trust of senior players, judging by how they were given the ball at every available opportunity, and were both instrumental in the win against Norwich.

Kenny replaced fellow academy graduate Matthew Pennington in the first-half and the 19-year-old, who has been on-loan at League Two side Oxford United this season, also impressed at right-back. All three players were instrumental in Everton's third and final goal. Davies regained possession in midfield, Dowell released Kenny down the right, whose cross was converted at the back post by Kevin Mirallas.

David Unsworth congratulates teenager Kieran Dowell after an impressive performance. | Photo: Getty Images
David Unsworth congratulates teenager Kieran Dowell after an impressive performance. | Photo: Getty Images

What next for Everton?

There is undoubtedly going to be a summer of change at Everton both on the pitch and off the pitch. The turnover of personnel will range from the manager's office to the dressing room, with the main task finding Roberto Martinez's successor.

Major shareholder Farhad Moshiri must find someone capable of ending the club's 21-year trophy drought and there have already been many names linked, including former Ajax boss Frank de Boer and Southampton manager Ronald Koeman.

Whoever replaces Martinez will inherit a squad full of potential, but the challenge for whoever takes over will be to get the most out of the squad something that Martinez failed to do.