Sam Allardyce says Theo Walcott is proving he is a “big player” for Everton after the winger’s match-winning strike against Newcastle United on Monday night.
Walcott’s thumping 51st-minute finish proved the difference at Goodison Park as the Blues saw off the Magpies and moved up to eighth in the Premier League table.
The goal was the 29-year-old’s third for Everton since arriving at the Club from Arsenal in January and secured a deserved win for Allardyce’s men – the Blues had more possession, more touches and a far superior passing accuracy than their opponents.
It needed a moment of genuine quality to break down a stubborn Newcastle backline, however, and Walcott delivered in emphatic fashion – expertly working space in the penalty box with some nimble footwork, before leathering the pall past Martin Dubravka.
Allardyce says the England international is showcasing the attributes that made the Club so eager to bring him to Goodison Park.
“Theo showed his quality again in the final third,” the manager said. “His arrival has given us another dimension going forward. He offers a lot of pace and a lot of ability to go with that. He is on the way to proving for us he’s a big player for us.
“Theo’s got three goals now and (fellow January signing) Cenk Tosun’s got four. That shows we are better in the goal tally stakes than perhaps we were before the January window opened.”
Monday’s victory under the lights at Goodison continues the Blues’ impressive home form.
Everton have now won 27 of the past 39 points available at the Grand Old Lady, which has been a key factor in their rise up the Premier League table.
Allardyce was eager to praise the perseverance his side displayed against a well-drilled Newcastle outfit, who had won their previous four Premier League matches.
“We would like to have scored more but you have got to give Newcastle credit for how they have defended as a team,” he said. “But when we finally cracked it, the 1-0 was a good victory.
“All our players gave a spirited, quality performance and dominated the game – being patient and doing the right things to break the opposition down.
“We showed the players Newcastle’s recent games away from home – their successes have come by soaking up the pressure and then scoring a goal on the breakaway. We blocked that out and at the other end we broke them down.”
Allardyce’s attention now turns to the Toffees’ clash at Huddersfield Town on Saturday. The Blues then take on Southampton in their final home game of the season on 5 May before rounding off their season at the London Stadium against West Ham United on 13 May.
The manager says there is no danger of his players taking their foot off the gas in the remaining games – he insists the Toffees are determined to reward the Club’s loyal support by finishing the campaign on a high.
“You’ve seen the commitment of the players (against Newcastle),” he said. “People might say we’re safe and there’s nothing to play for – well there is. There were 38,000 fans out there who want to see us winning. We are aiming to finish the season strongly.”