Tom Davies has hailed the influence of Idrissa Gana Gueye, saying the Senegal international's work-rate, tenacity and intelligent positioning make him an ideal central midfield partner.
Having come on as a 24th-minute substitute in the Blues’ 2-1 victory over Southampton on Saturday, Davies combined impressively with Gana as the pair contributed to an Everton display full of zest and bravery.
While Davies helped launch attacks with his sharp, accurate passing, Gana produced a typically all-action performance in the midfield engine room.
The 28-year-old made four tackles, three interceptions and blocked two shots – totals not bettered by any player on the field.
Davies revealed his admiration for former Aston Villa man Gana, with the Academy graduate commending his colleague's hunger and application every time he steps on the pitch.
“He’s top class,” said Davies. “I don’t think he gets the plaudits he deserves but over the last two seasons he’s been class and I’m sure he’ll have another great year.
“Even playing against him in training, you don’t get a minute.
"I’m always looking to see where he is and in a game he’s good to have next to you.
“If someone gets past you, you think ‘he’s there’. He’s a good player to learn off.”
Davies was not the only one impressed by Gana’s energetic display against Southampton, with Blues boss Marco Silva describing his performance as “amazing”.
Gana’s appetite and professionalism has impressed the boss since he returned to USM Finch Farm following his World Cup exploits with Senegal.
The Portuguese revealed Gana - whose total of 117 tackles was the second highest in the Premier League last season – approaches every training session with the same mentality as a matchday.
“For me, it was not a surprise how he played against Southampton and what he did last week [against Wolves],” the manager said.
“It is what he always does. During the week, he works every day like he plays. For me, his performance was no surprise.”