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Arsenal (A) Sun 1 Mar 2015, 14:05, Barclays Premier League

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

Former midfielder Stuart McCall says it is no surprise Everton are reaping the rewards of giving Nikica Jelavic his chance to shine.

The man Moyes has described as his 'silent assassin' has applied the killer touch in front of goal six times since being prised from Glasgow Rangers in January, and five times in his last five outings.

Last season, McCall's Motherwell shipped four goals to Jelavic after failing, like most SPL sides, to contain the ice-cool Croatian.

Having closely observed the striker's reign of terror over Scottish defences, McCall has long considered the 26-year-old someone who could make an impact south of the border.

"I always thought he'd been fine going down to the Premier League from Scotland," said McCall, admitting he'd previously recommended the hitman to another Premier League boss. "Neil Warnock got on to me when he was manager of QPR asking about Jelavic and, at the time, for me, he was the best player in the SPL bar none.

"He's probably good at everything - maybe not outstanding at one particular thing - but good in the air, he's got decent pace, his movement's excellent, he's got a good touch, he takes chances well and his all round play is good.

"When you move clubs you want to hit the ground running and especially when you're a striker you want to score goals. He's done that and he's proved to be an astute signing. Hopefully, he'll go on next season, keep getting the level of goals he's getting and go on to become a good player for years to come."

Earlier this season a lack of firepower was perceived to be holding Everton back but a revival in form, helped in no small part by Jelavic's goalscoring input, has seen Moyes' men climb to seventh in the Barclays Premier League standings.

"In Louis Saha Everton had a terrific striker but, unfortunately, through his injuries, he never played enough games," said McCall. "Jelavic is an all-round striker, he works hard for the team, he can look after the ball when it's played up to him, he can play the lone striking role, but he also links up well with another partner.

"When we [Motherwell] have played against him it’s been his movement which has hurt us. And when you've got players like little Leon Osman who can thread a pass, you can capitalise on that movement. He's very, very clever."

And now, in Moyes, McCall believes he has a manager who will extract the very best from those talents.   

"Once you get the players, it's how to man-manage them and David has been excellent at doing that and getting the best out of players,” said the Well boss. "I was at Finch Farm last week on a [UEFA] Pro Licence course and David's thirst for work and his energy and enthusiasm shone through. He's done an outstanding job and he keeps picking up these players who he moulds into Everton players and then gets the best out of them.

"Phil Jagielka, who I worked with at Sheffield United, I was delighted when they took him because I thought Phil had all the attributes to make that step up. Mikel Arteta earlier on before that. He's bought people not at top dollar if you like, without spending millions of pounds. And now, in Jelavic, it looks like he's unearthed another one.”

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