‘Lied to’ by Carlo Ancelotti - now Josh King aims to end barren streak on Everton return with Watford

The forward did not net in 11 substitute outings during a brief spell with the Blues and is yet to get off the mark this season.

Evertonians always feel there’s an air of inevitability when a former player returns to Goodison Park.

Toffees supporters prepare themselves for the worst, expecting that ex-employees will come back to haunt their ex-club.

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Coming to terms with it before it happens makes the frustration that bit easier. The script has so often been written before kick-off.

Luckily this season, Blues supporters have avoided that feeling.

Theo Walcott failed to make an impact in Everton's 3-1 defeat of Southampton on the opening day of the season.

And although West Ham picked up a 1-0 win last weekend, Nikola Vlasic remained on the bench and couldn't do any damage.

This time, it's Josh King who'll be back on Merseyside with Watford on Saturday.

It wasn't all that long ago when Manchester United were prepared to pay £25 million for the striker, having become a regular goal-getter for AFC Bournemouth in the Premier League.

However, he returns to Everton having not scored a league goal in his past 29 outings.

That, ironically, came at Goodison in a 3-1 victory for the Cherries on the final day of the 2019-20 season.

Josh King celebrates scoring for Bournemouth against Everton - his last league goal. Picture: live Brunskill/Getty Images

Arriving as back-up

King joined the Toffees on the final day of last season's January transfer window.

With his Bournemouth contract running down, Everton paid a nominal fee for the forward to provide cover for Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Given that King hadn't bagged once in the Championship on the south coast during the first half of the 2020-21 campaign, it was scarcely a surprise he was a bit-part player for the Blues.

Each of his 11 outings arrived from the substitutes bench, with the majority coming in the final 10 minutes of games, and the Norway international was unable to get on the scoresheet.

All of Josh King’s Everton appearances came from the substitutes’ bench. Picture: Jon Super - Pool/Getty Images

‘He lied to me’

King's release from Everton at the end of his short-term deal didn't come as a shock.

Although the Blues had an option of an extra year, it was understandable they wanted to take a different direction.

Still, it didn't stop King from accusing former boss Carlo Ancelotti of lying that to him that he would get more opportunities than he did.

The 29-year-old told Dagbladet in June: “Yes I do [believe Ancelotti lied].

“That's how the football world is. This is how it is when you get to the top of the real world. That's the way it is. But no, I do not regret that I went there.

“But yes, he lied to me. But again, there are not many honest people who work in football. Except for the players, then. I had no relationship with Ancelotti.

“The gut feeling said Everton when their offer came on the table. But I had never thought that in 18 games I would not be allowed to start one.”

Former Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti. Picture: LINDSEY PARNABY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Life after Goodison

Following his Goodison release, King joined Watford on a free transfer, signing a two-year deal.

He's fired blank in six appearances for the Hornets so far and missed their 5-0 thrashing to Liverpool last week because of a knee injury.

King's returned to full fitness, though, and will travel with Claudio Ranieri's men to Merseyside.

He'll be aiming to end his drought at the arena he was last on target in the league in July 2020.

With that in mind, who can blame Evertonians for thinking it's unescapable King will be on the scoresheet?