How will Everton play under Sean Dyche and which players will thrive?

Dyche was Burnley boss for over 400 games, so we have a large body of work to help us understand how Everton could play under their incoming manager.

With Sean Dyche set to be Everton’s new manager, thinking has quickly turned to how he will set up his new team, which players he will favour and how he will steady the struggling club.

Considering there are three ex-Burnley players that Dyche has already managed at Everton, its likely we will see some change of personnel from the line-ups that Frank Lampard preferred.

To gain an overall picture of what Dyche could bring to Everton, we’ve collated all we know about his time at Burnley to see how Everton could set-up and what players could thrive in his system.

How Dyche could set-up

Dyche utilised a 4-4-2 formation through most of his time at Burnley. Perhaps a little off trend in the modern game, the formation does gives balance across the pitch and offers an attacking threat with the two central strikers.

Speaking on his philosophy to The Coaches Voice, Dyche spoke about the 4-4-2 and the fact that football, in his own words, is about ‘yardage’. His 4-4-2 turns into a 4-5-1 with a second striker dropping off to pick up in midfield, as he explained.

Wide players are key to his system, but especially defensively: “We ask a lot of our wide players, they have to drop-in as well.” The likes of Demarai Gray and Dwight McNeil will have to commit this style of play. Dyche may need to stregthen in that area before the window shuts, as the alternatives outwide only include Andros Townsend, with Anthony Gordon looking Newcastle bound.

Whilst his 4-4-2 may look fixed on paper, it adapts and changes throughout the game. He also said: “In theory, it’s quite logical for the players to follow – there’s not loads of information.” And he’s right, but the fact of the matter remains that discipline and concentration are key for it to work, but a simpified method looks more likely to work right now.

It gave Dyche solidity and structure at Burnley, and given that Everton were struggling in between styles and formations under Lampard, if Dyche can set-up a basic and structured formation like his 4-4-2, it would go a long way to helping them steady the ship.

Which Everton players could thrive?

One player who certainly thrive is McNeil. He managed at least five assists a season for Burnley during three consecutive seasons between 2018-2021 in a settled system. He can be utilised on either wing, most likely with Gray.

With the likelihood of two attacking forwards, we may see Dominic Calvert-Lewin joined in attack by Neal Maupay – in a move that would see both strikers have more support and could result in more opportunities. Calvert-Lewin should still get more service due to the direct nature of Dyche’s teams and he is likely to convert more chances than the likes of Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes and Jay Rodriguez ever did.

We could also see Alex Iwobi given a free role behind a solo striker, in a 4-4-1-1 formation. Iwobi is Everton’s leading assist maker so far and he simply has to play. Dyche also spoke on the importance of the second forward dropping in and working hard – it certainly plays to his new-found strengths.

There’s a chance that someone like Ben Godfrey could become a key player too, but not at centre-back. Fans have spoken out about how some of his best performances have come at full-back. Where once he was used to plug a gap, the shortcomings of Seamus Coleman and Vitalii Mykolenko could see Godfrey introduced – especially since Dyche’s full-backs have never typically been advanced.

Whereas fans may turn their collective noses up at the prospect of a Dyche 4-4-2, its likely to be a formation that gives them more structure, affords less space to the opposition, makes them more compact and helps to give support to the attacking players, allowing for more cohesion.

All of these terms such as ‘cohesion’ or ‘structure’ are inherently linked with Dyche, but that’s exactly what Everton need right now. It’s what Dyche will rely on to keep them in the Premier League and if the players can take to it quickly, they could see their fortunes turn around in the short-term.