Skipper Phil Neville has urged Magaye Gueye to build on his breakthrough display against Sunderland in the FA Cup last week.
The 21-year-old forward sparkled on the left wing at the Stadium of Light, carving out the opener for Nikica Jelavic and providing a near constant threat to the hosts.
It was the sort of performance Evertonians had been waiting to see from the former Strasbourg man, who has been threatening to break through into the first team for some time.
And Neville said: “He was fantastic. I have taken a real interest in Magaye this season. He is a talented young player. Tuesday was a big stage for him and he didn’t disappoint. He played really well and I just hope he keeps concentrating and working at his game because he has a good chance to establish himself now – especially with Steven Pienaar being cup-tied.”
Gueye has been one of the reserve team’s best players this season.
Manager David Moyes has also been impressed with him in training of late and, while admitting it was still a tough call to start him in such a big game, was delighted to see his decision vindicated.
“He put in a really mature performance,” said the Everton boss. “It was a difficult decision to put him in because while I have been thinking about playing him, and he has been doing well for a few weeks, I just wondered about experience. But as it turned out there was an opportunity to get him in the team and he certainly did not let himself down.
“He played very well and he is a real plus as we can add him now when Steven Pienaar or one or two others aren’t available.”