Attacking Trio Backed To Flourish For Blues

by Peter Lennox
@Everton

Everton frontmen Cenk Tosun, Oumar Niasse and Dominic Calvert-Lewin offer boss Marco Silva a solid attacking base heading into the 2018/19 season.

That is the view of former Nigeria striker Efan Ekoku, who believes the striking trio boast a potent mix of clinical finishing ability, fierce determination and tireless work-rate.

Since signing from Besiktas in January, Tosun has hit five goals in 12 starts for Everton. The Turkish international has found the back of the net with right and left-footed strikes and with two pinpoint headers, while his strength and link-up play have also impressed as he has rapidly emerged as a fans’ favourite at Goodison Park.

Ekoku, who is now a TV pundit currently working at the World Cup in Russia, believes the 27-year-old's all-round qualities will allow him to flourish in the Premier League.

“He is a very good player and does most things well,” Ekoku told evertonfc.com.

“The level of physicality and expectation in the Premier League is a step up for him [from Besiktas] – but Tosun is accomplished and has been playing at a good level.

“Players who are not brought up here don’t always understand the intensity of it – but they find out very quickly.”

New Toffees boss Silva already has first-hand experience of Senegalese striker Niasse’s attributes, with the 28-year-old having thrived during a loan spell at Hull City while the Portuguese was in charge of the Tigers.

Upon returning to Everton last season, he hit the back of the net nine times and averaged a goal every 125 minutes.

Ekoku says Niasse’s infectious energy and hunger make him a valuable member of the squad, whether as a starter or coming off the bench.

He has also been hugely impressed with the mental strength the striker has displayed to fight his way into the Everton side after a spell out of the first-team reckoning.

“Oumar is capable of making an impact in games and has scored some important goals,” said Ekoku, who made 20 appearances for Nigeria and played in the 1994 World Cup.

“The players, ultimately, pick the team. The players with the ability and desire and determination to work hard enough in training will get on the field, it is as simple as that. That will never change.

“That is how you persuade a manager to pick you. Everyone will be looking to see how hungry you are. If you do well enough then you will eventually get your chance to start.

“You just have to take the chance whenever and however it comes and I think that is what Oumar has done.”

Ekoku, whose playing career included spells at Norwich City, Wimbledon and Sheffield Wednesday, has also been impressed with the progress of England Under-21 international Calvert-Lewin.

The forward made more appearances (44) that any Everton outfield player last season and hit eight goals. He also led the way for the Blues in terms of Premier League assists, as he laid on six goals for his teammates.

Calvert-Lewin’s work ethic has caught Ekoku’s eye and he feels the 21-year-old is at the ideal club to develop his game further.

“It is a good place for him to be but he also has to be able to cope with the expectations that come with being at a club like Everton,” he said. “The expectation is for you to perform and score goals and to do a bit of everything else as well!

“He has plenty to improve on and he is showing the desire to really work hard at his game. That comes through in the way he has developed so quickly.”

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