Marco Silva says it is a “pleasure” to manage consummate professional and “fantastic example” Lucas Digne.
Digne captained Everton to victory at Sheffield Wednesday in last week’s Carabao Cup tie after being appointed one of three deputies to regular skipper Seamus Coleman on the eve of 2019/20.
The France international left-back was crowned the Club’s player of the season last term after a fabulous first campaign following his move from Barcelona.
Digne has been ever present this season and laid on the decisive goals in Goodison Park successes against Watford and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
“Lucas has everything we expect from a professional football player,” Silva told evertontv.
“And I am not just talking about his quality – everyone knows his quality.
“I decided last season he was one of my first targets after I met with the Club’s owner and our director of football, I did not have doubts about his quality.
“And he showed that during the season.
“As an example, he has everything as a professional football player.
"He is demanding from himself, his attitude every day, hungry to improve every day.
“He is a worker and for me he is fantastic.
“It is a pleasure to manage a player like him.
“We have more [leaders] but I think he is a fantastic example.”
The 55 crosses delivered by Digne this season is the second most of any player in England’s top division.
He has had 538 touches of the ball, bracketing him in the top 20 of Premier League players in that respect.
Digne’s consistent involvement in the action, allied to his competitive nature – he has also won 15 aerial battles and 11 tackles and completed 19 clearances this term – made him a shoo-in for one of Silva’s leadership positions.
The manager listed Gylfi Sigurdsson and Leighton Baines as additional deputies to Coleman.
But Silva insists it is on every member of his squad to maintain standards and desire in the group.
“We have more good examples in our dressing room,” said Silva.
“Gylfi was one of our captains last season.
“Lucas was an example every day at Finch Farm last season, so it was an easy choice to give him this position… it is important to have these types of examples in important roles in our team.
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SILVA TAKES POSITIVES FROM BATTLING DISPLAY
“But we have many more good examples: Andre Gomes, Fabian Delph, Michael Keane – I don’t want to forget anyone.
“Our young boys work really hard, too.
“We can have these names [as captains] but it is my idea about football to have 25, 26 captains inside the dressing room. That is a perfect situation.
“Because for me, to be captain you have to be a very good example in all moments of the season. Not just when you are happy.
“If you have 25 examples inside the dressing room, you will be stronger as a team.”
Digne and fellow full-back Coleman have featured in a fixed Everton back-four this term.
Silva, though, has been denied the opportunity of bedding down a familiar midfield combination.
Portuguese Gomes has been sidelined with a rib injury while a quadriceps problem is currently ruling out summer buy Jean-Philippe Gbamin.
Fabian Delph missed Everton’s opening three games with a hamstring issue.
Morgan Schneiderlin was suspended for Watford’s visit but has pressed his starting claims of late after finishing last season on a high note.
Schneiderlin completed more passes in Manchester City’s half than any of his teammates [19 of the Frenchman's 33 passes were delivered in City territory] and at an accuracy rate of 89.5 per cent in Saturday’s Premier League clash.
“It has been tough for us, all the players are important and they have to realise how things can change so fast,” added Silva, who brought Tom Davies back into the side for the cup tie against Wednesday.
“Sometimes you are not playing and the chance will come and you have to be ready to perform well and help the team – and keep your place in the squad and starting XI.
“But it is not the best thing to do [consistently changing]. We had some injuries in that zone, starting with Andre, then JP. We had a problem before with Fabian.
“The players are fighting for those two positions.
"We have Fabian, Morgan and Tom, plus Gylfi in a different line.
“Fabian is getting better and better in physical terms.
“It is important for him to keep playing and training to keep getting better every time.
“They are all trying to do their best and working hard and I am 100 per cent sure we will see better things from them in future.”