Josh King will prosper at Everton - as long he's got the heart for the fight

02 February 2021 07:45

Josh King: a modern day footballing enigma.

How's that you ask? Well, aside from the fact his name is the most un-Norwegian sounding Norwegian name ever, on paper his stats make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

So, started out at Manchester United, a couple of loan spells and ultimately adjudged to be not good enough to cut the mustard at Old Trafford; nothing wrong with that, plenty of United academy graduates have fallen by the wayside.

Josh King has failed to find the target in the league this season | Dan Mullan/Getty Images

However, it's his record since his departure from the Red Devils which baffles us the most: 74 appearances in the Championship, five goals.five. That's the same amount Blackburn's Adam Armstrong had scored three games into the current Championship season, and he's hardly prime Ronaldo (no offence).

How does it make sense that King has proven himself to have the ability to score more than three times that amount in a single Premier League season, but he can't find the back of the net in the Championship?

And his inability to find the net in any of his 12 league appearances for Bournemouth this season has dispelled any possible myth that he's only ever played in the Championship as a youngster or when he's been long past his best; at 29 he should be at his peak.

So, with that in mind, the Norway international will be delighted to have secured a deadline day move out of England's second tier as he joins Everton on a six-month deal.

Josh King has struggled to adapt to life in the Championship | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Everything is set up for the former Cherries forward to excel at Goodison Park; they play decent football, there's plenty of creativity in the team, they've got a goalkeeper that's so rubbish they're forced to play on the front foot. BUT - and it's a big but - there's one major factor which could determine whether King is a success on Merseyside, and it ties in with his dismal Championship record.

No forward who isn't called either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to maintain a level of consistency that sees them score more than 20 goals per season throughout their career, but King's record is littered with more peaks and troughs than most.

How can it be that he's scoring double figures in the Premier League in some seasons and then can't find the net in the league below? It simply has to come down to attitude.

King has been a transfer target for Manchester United in the past, and he's not been shy in revealing his dismay at the move's failure to materialise. And yet, that would be fine if he didn't let his performances slip.

Josh King enjoyed some great days in the Premier League with Bournemouth | AFP/Getty Images

He doesn't seem to have the ability to separate the uncertainty of a potential huge move back to his former club from his on-field performances, and they ultimately suffer as a result.

Similarly with having dropped into the Championship last summer, naturally his name is bandied about as a potential signing for Premier League clubs, and once his dreams of a move have been left in tatters he doesn't show the character required to put that behind him and grind out performances for the club paying his wages.

So what does all this have to do with his move to Everton, you ask?

Well, a spell at Goodison Park is going to ask just as many questions of King as when he was touted as a target for Manchester United during his time at the Vitality Stadium.

The Norway international isn't going to be a regular starter under Carlo Ancelotti, and he's going to have to show character and attitude in biding his time, working hard and then taking the opportunity once it comes his way.

Ancelotti may have been clever in only offering a six-month deal | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

In some ways it's a very different kind of mental toughness required as to what was needed when he was the source of constant speculation on the south coast, but it's a strength of character nonetheless.

With only a six-month deal, King is going to have to prove himself on Merseyside, and that might just be enough motivation to see him prosper with the Toffees. Because rest assured, Everton have the right setup and King has the ability for him to shine at the club, he just needs to show he's got the heart for the fight.

Source: 90min