Dan Gosling’s season was declared over this week when it was announced the young midfielder had suffered a ruptured cruciate ligament in a clash with Wolves goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann. The injury – and its nine month recovery period – is a devastating blow for Gosling, who has shown a great deal of potential since arriving at Goodison Park from Plymouth Argyle in January 2008.
The 20-year-old’s career-defining moment so far was of course his winning goal in the FA Cup fourth round replay against Liverpool – although thanks to ITV you had to be in the ground to see it – and whatever Gosling goes on to achieve in his Everton career, that single effort will be enough for him to be remembered forever. Fortunately, Gosling’s strike against the Reds was not a one off – the England U21 international has shown an eye for goal, finding the net six times in 41 Everton appearances – most of which came from the substitutes bench. Since opening his account in December 2008 – against Sunderland, just days after his Everton debut – Gosling has been a regular threat to opposition clean sheets, and while he may never score a goal as important as the one he put past Pepe Reina, nabbing the second goal in Everton’s 3-1 win over Manchester United in February comes close.
There is more to the No.19’s game than goals, however. An energetic midfielder, Gosling also offers great versatility – he has performed admirably wherever called on, slotting in everywhere from right-back to left midfield. While David Moyes may still be searching for Gosling’s best position, the Brixham-born youngster has become a reliable part of the Everton squad – more than justifying Moyes’ decision to sign him at the age of 17. Gosling had made just 24 appearances for Argyle – scoring twice – before the Blues swooped, but Gosling’s potential had been known about in football circles for some time – he was one of three Plymouth players who spent a week on trial with Chelsea in March 2007. London’s Blues passed – signing only Scott Sinclair, now on loan at Wigan Athletic – but less than 12 months later Gosling joined the Blues of Merseyside.
Moyes waited 11 months before handing Gosling a debut appearance in Everton’s first team, selecting his young prot