Everton manager Willie Kirk handed a first start in almost 13 months to centre-back Gabby George as The Blue Girls faced Manchester City at The Academy Stadium on Sunday.
The 24-year-old has only recently returned to fitness after being sidelined for a year with an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury.
George played 73 minutes of Everton’s fixture against City, playing an important role in her side’s solid defensive unit alongside Megan Finnigan and Rikke Sevecke.
FA Women’s Super League Full-Time have put the centre-back’s performance under the microscope and the statistics highlight what was a determined and resolute display from George.
Defensively, George did not complete any tackles, however, where she impressed was with her blocking of the ball and when putting the opposition under pressure with her press. The centre-back completed three blocks, more than any other Everton player, while she also blocked more shots than any of her teammates (two). In terms of pressures, George won 66.7% of her pressures, all of which occurred in the Everton defensive third. Only Danielle Turner won a greater percentage of pressures, although she played less minutes and only attempted the one pressure.
When in possession of the ball, only Sevecke (195 yards) covered more ground than George (176 yards), while the England defender was the most progressive Everton player with the ball (96 yards). George touched the ball on 66 occasions, only bettered by Sevecke.
When passing the ball, George was only the fourth-most successful Everton player with a 81.4% pass completion rate, however, it should be noted that the defender attempted the second-highest number of passes in the team, Sevecke again coming out on top with 66 passes compared to George’s 59.
All-in-all, George’s performance was one of real promise. The player is still getting back to her best following that devastating long-term injury, however, the statistics show what a huge asset George is to Everton and there is undoubtedly even stronger performances to come as she rebuilds her fitness and match sharpness.