Everton first-team coach Craig Shakespeare says striker Cenk Tosun’s appetite for hard work is key to the Turk’s current goalscoring run.
Tosun became manager Sam Allardyce’s first signing when he joined from Besiktas in January and after a brief bedding-in period – when Shakespeare revealed the 26-year-old was going through extra training sessions – he has blasted four goals in three matches.
The 25-cap international hit a double in Everton’s 2-1 win at Stoke City on Saturday after netting in previous games against Brighton & Hove Albion and Burnley.
After ruthlessly downing Stoke, Tosun spoke of his gratitude to Duncan Ferguson for the former Blues centre-forward and current first-team coach's contribution to his swift acclimatisation to Premier League football. Allardyce, meanwhile, has emphasised the importance of last month's Dubai training camp in getting the 26-year-old up to speed with the demands of the English game.
“I think when Cenk came he was quite surprised by the tempo of the Premier League and it took a bit of time for him to adjust, not only to his surroundings but to English football,” Shakespeare told evertontv.
“We saw as staff his willingness to work. He wanted extra training and that comes with the added complication of ensuring he does not do so much that his legs are then too tired for the games, so we had to get that right with the sports science department.
“But I saw a real drive in him and I am really, really pleased because some of the work he has been doing on the training field has now come out in the games."
Tosun came to Merseyside in prolific touch having netted 14 times in 24 matches for his former club this term and started games against Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion shortly after his arrival.
He then had a brief spell out of the side but has returned in a blaze of goals this month and, according to Shakespeare, is “reaping the benefits” of his enduring application on the training ground.
“It is about making sure they are working hard enough and putting in that effort," said Shakespeare. "The player’s personality will either grow on you or it will suggest they might need that little bit of a kick up the backside.
“We knew from when Cenk came that he was a willing worker, so then, as a coach, you are more likely to put your arm around him than kick him up the backside. And you can see now in the work he is doing that he is reaping the benefits.”
The victory over Stoke sent Everton into the current international break just three points shy of seventh-placed Burnley in the Premier League table and eyeing a positive finish to the campaign.
Allardyce has overseen an impressive run of form at Goodison, where Everton have claimed 20 points from the 27 available since the former England manager saw his new side beat West Ham United 4-0 ahead of his official appointment as boss.
The weekend win in the Potteries was especially precious, then, given it came away from home and will act as a substantial shot in the arm ahead of remaining games on the road at Swansea City, Huddersfield Town and West Ham.
Immediately on the horizon for the Blues, though, are blockbuster home clashes with Manchester City and Liverpool.
They will be without creative dynamo Gylfi Sigurdsson for those matches, with the Icelander recovering from a knee problem he suffered in the win over Brighton.
And while Shakespeare acknowledges six-goal Sigurdsson's absence is a blow, he insists Everton are capable of knitting together a profitable run of results and building valuable momentum for next season.
“We will take it one game at a time but we want to finish on a high,” said Shakespeare. “It is important that you go right to the end of the season – and feel you have had a really good end to the season to make you look forward to the start of the next one.
“Gylfi will be a big miss because I think he was settling in to some good form. He is another one who you struggle to get in from the training pitch, he always wants to do extra after the sessions, particularly in terms of set plays and free-kicks.
"He will be sorely missed but will, hopefully, be back sooner rather than later.”