It’s football’s ability to show that adversity can be conquered that makes it so enjoyable sometimes. When Everton travelled to Belarus for their Europa League match against BATE Borisov yesterday, they were missing nine players from their first team squad through injury, suspension or intelligibility and when they arrived, stand-in captain Joseph Yobo picked up an injury in training just for good measure.
That meant that Tony Hibbert had to fill in at centre back while young Dan Gosling was forced to drop into the right back slot. It also enforced a change of formation from 4-5-1 to 4-4-2 because the only senior player on the bench (except Carlo Nash) was Yakubu, who came in to partner Jo up front and left us with outfield substitutes aged 17, 17, 17, 17, 18 and 19. And this was against a side who have won three league titles in a row and drew with Juventus twice in the Champions League groups stages last season.