The views in these blogs are those held by the individual blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton Football Club.
About the authorView articles
He picked up his Player of the Month award on Tuesday afternoon and, ultimately, the moment marked a season of success for Steven Naismith.
35 appearances to the good this campaign, Naismith is set to finish off as the joint second-best goalscorer for the club and has wrapped up the final month with a deserved individual gong.
If there was a shining example of a truly rejuvenated talent under Roberto Martinez’s stewardship, Naismith, 27, would surely twinkle among the rest.
Maybe not for the cold-hearted purists, the type searching for real ‘football development’ who could point to Martinez’s management of, say, Romelu Lukaku, and the way in which the young striker has adapted to contribute a full 90-minute performance.
Or perhaps they could divert attention to Phil Jagielka, noting how he has responded well to the passing principles instilled so consistently and effectively by the manager.
Maybe the award-winning Seamus Coleman has evolved to a more complete modern wing-back with goals to his game. Or Gareth Barry has defiantly argued he can actually be regarded as one of the best English midfielders for his duties in the Premier League.
All valid arguments. But Scot Naismith has a point of his own, and much like throughout this season, particularly the back-end of it, he has proved it.
Strip away those idyllic footballing values, the mentions of how talent has embraced change of style, or undergone a swift progression to unexpected levels - this is a clear case of confidence returning and talent prevailing.
Here was a man who was, particularly last season, accustomed to coming off the bench for a short-lived contribution, a mere cameo for the fun of it. There were at times sighs from the stands when he would appear, probably because this was a player apparently without the flair or pace of some of his peers.
And at times in the season, he was still a man waiting in the wings to impress behind the shadow of the likes of Lukaku, Mirallas and Pienaar.
But when the chance to consistently contribute came, he’s grown game-by-game and relished the opportunities. He’s scored nine goals this season, and some of those have had significant importance. Really, he’s found a place in the side.
There is a feeling Naismith has found a USP in the formation Martinez opts for, in the sense he has smartly made his own standard of the role of playing centrally in-between the lines, roaming amid the midfield space and supporting attacks.
It’s hardly surprising Naismith has made more appearances off the bench for the Blues than he has as a starting figure. He has made only 25 starts in the Premier League since joining, 16 of them this term, and returned nine goals overall. He has hit three goals in five appearances in the FA Cup. That’s not a bad return, yet Naismith still holds the tag of the most substitute appearances, appearing from the bench in 19 fixtures.
He is not the most talented player in the squad, but, having returned from two serious knee injuries, he continues to work hard and there is a sense of great empathy from supporters when a trier does well. Almost, just almost, like how Goodison took to the toil rather than talent of Denis Stracqualursi.
Naismith’s end to the season personifies that famous old quote: ‘The harder you try, the luckier you get’. And long may it continue.
- Naisy Full Of Confidence Under Martinez 30 2 10/05/2014
- More Baines 16 0 28/01/2014
- A New Leader For A New Era 26 0 12/06/2013
- All Good Things Come To An End 23 0 02/08/2012
- Wembley Woe 62 0 16/04/2012