Everton and David Moyes appear to have done some of the best business this summer; their tremendous bargain January which saw Darron Gibson and Nikica Jelavic arrive was a prelude to bringing in Steven Naismith, Steven Pienaar, Bryan Oviedo and Kevin Mirallas this summer, with the sole departure of the injury prone Jack Rodwell a necessary evil at a club not run by foreign investment.
One position that many felt needed strengthening however was at centre-back, despite the obvious talents of Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin and last season’s fans player of the year Johnny Heitinga a fourth option seems necessary but Moyes has decided to show faith in a youngster for the last remaining reserve role at the back.
After an impressive loan stint at Scunthorpe the Republic of Ireland centre-half has been earmarked for the deputy role this season and has been rewarded for his steady improvement since arriving on Merseyside from Foyle Harps in 2008 with an extended long-term contract that ties him down to the club until 2015.
What makes his cementation in the first team fold all the more impressive is the incident from two years ago during his first training camp with the Republic of Ireland when a collision with goalkeeper Adrian Walsh saw Duffy becoming perilously close to death after severe lacerations to his liver. Only surgery and the fast thinking of Irish team doctor and team surgeon Alan Byrne and Professor John O’Byrne respectively stopped internal bleeding claiming his life. Miraculously it was just 10 weeks later when he made his return to football and his resilience and strength of character are factors held in high regard at Goodison Park.
It is a cosy squad as always at Everton with David Moyes short on options if cover is needed and Duffy will undoubtedly have a role to fulfil this season as Moyes chases his first silverware with the club and European qualification.
The performances of Shane Duffy, the miracle man, will be of utmost importance come the end of the season.
image: © zachleat