Lucas Digne has revealed how Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti’s vast experience and tactical intelligence is helping him to fine-tune his defensive attributes as he strives to develop into a “complete” player.
Frenchman Digne was part of a Blues backline that produced a near-flawless performance in Monday night’s 1-0 victory at Sheffield United.
The Blades – who had beaten Chelsea, Wolves and Spurs in their previous three games at Bramall Lane – were unable to muster a single shot on target as Everton defended with diligence and authority.
Digne revealed how the attention to detail provided by Ancelotti and his coaching staff on the training pitches at USM Finch Farm helped to underpin such a display.
“We are working on more tactical things defensively,” explained Digne, who turned 27 on Monday.
“For me, it is to have a good line with the back four, to go back straight [when retreating towards his own goal], to jump at the right times, to know where you have to be in every situation. Small details to complete your game.
“I never forget I am a defender first. I have to defend well.
“When you are looking at videos every week and seeing your mistakes, why a pass has been missed, you have to learn.
“It is better to see the wrong thing you did than the good thing. You learn a lot from the mistakes you make.”
Digne also provides a key attacking outlet for Everton and says this aspect of his game has developed considerably since moving to the Blues from Barcelona in 2018.
The left-back’s seven assists in 2019/20 is the third highest number accumulated by any Premier League defender.
Digne’s ball-striking ability is further underlined by the fact only two players in the division have delivered more accurate crosses than his 69.
And his influence at Everton is also highlighted by the fact he has had more touches of the ball (2,425) than any Toffees player this term.
The France international says the high-octane nature of Premier League football suits his attitude and style of play – and has served to elevate his performances.
“I have improved my attacking since coming to Everton, for sure,” says Digne.
“My crossing is better and tactically I understand more.
“If I can give key passes, assists, crosses, score sometimes, I want to do it to help the team.
“It is part of my job.
“I love the intensity of the Premier League, it suits how I like to play, fast and with a lot of tackles and competition.
“I have developed physically and tactically in England.
“I never played with this intensity in other countries and you have to learn in every game.”