Dan Gosling’s brief Everton career will forever be remembered for his dramatic last-gasp FA Cup fourth round replay goal against Liverpool during the club’s run to the 2009 final. Goalless, deep into extra time and with the match headed towards a penalty shootout, Andy Van Der Meyde’s searching right-wing cross found Gosling in space on the left-hand edge of the Liverpool six-yard box. Gosling’s first touch was poor, but he controlled it past a challenge from Dirk Kuyt, then adroitly turned Alvaro Arbeloa before curling a delicious right-footed shot in off Pepe Reina’s goalpost. Goodison exploded, the February air turning blue with joy.
Gosling's stunning intervention came in just his fifth appearance in an Everton shirt and only six weeks after his debut. Yet he ended the season at Wembley, coming on as a second-half substitute for Leon Osman as Everton chased the FA Cup Final against Chelsea.
David Moyes had signed Gosling as a 17-year-old tyro from Plymouth Argyle in January 2008 for an undisclosed fee. Nominally a right back, he made most of his Everton appearances on the right side of midfield, where his roving runs and eye for goal were most effectively deployed. A slight lack of pace and defensive naivety suggested that this was where his future may ultimately lie.
In the 2009/10 season he was a regular in European competition but in the league deployed most often from the bench. His performances for Everton would see him gain England under-21 recognition, following appearances for his country at U17, U18 and U19 level. However, after such a promising start his Goodison career was to end in acrimony.
WHILE RECOVERING from a cruciate ligament injury in spring 2010, contract talks between Gosling's agent and the club broke down irrrevocably. Everton claimed that a verbal contract offer had been agreed with the player, although his contract stipulated that this needed to be put in writing before a May 2010 deadline. The player then rejected the offer and walked away for nothing under a free transfer - the loophole Gosling had exploited costing Everton an estimated £4million in compensation and Plymouth, which would face financial administration a year later – any sell-on fee as part of the agreement.
Everton appealed to the Premier League but to no avail. Gosling joined Newcastle, memories of that goal but a glorious memory of a career that didn’t see its Goodison potential reached.