Tom Davies pored over footage of expert holding midfielder Allan before seamlessly stepping in for the Brazilian when Everton beat Brighton & Hove Albion prior to the international break.
Englishman Davies conceded it was vital to impress on his first Premier League start of the season after Everton’s high-end summer recruitment heightened competition for places – the Academy graduate also welcoming the “great addition” of international Under-21 teammate Ben Godfrey on transfer deadline day.
Allan joined from Napoli in August and instantly lent Everton’s engine room renewed bite and purpose.
He was hurt in his team’s Carabao Cup win over West Ham United, ruling him out of Brighton’s league visit three days later.
And Davies prepared to take over from the South American by studying him in action, focusing specifically on Allan’s consummate display when Everton won at Crystal Palace last month.
“He is brilliant in that position and has been top-quality since he’s come in,” Davies told evertonfc.com.
“I’ve been looking at what he does while he’s been playing and watched a few of the games back.
“I watched the Palace game again to get some ideas of the things he was doing and what was working well for him, so I could do the same against Brighton.
“To learn and pick up things from a player like Allan is an opportunity for me and I want to take those things onto the pitch.
“Your job in that position is to win the ball back, screen the defence and get on the ball when we have it to play forward.
“I’ll see what he’s doing to pick up the ball – then try to play similarly to how he has been.
“I think it is a normal thing for any of us; looking at what has been working when you come into a team that is doing well.
“It is a role I enjoy, so I was made up to be in there.
“I believe I read the game well and you are in the middle of the pitch and get to see the whole game.
“You have a responsibility to win the ball for the team and make tackles, then get on the ball to play into the front three – and they are playing so well.
“I just had to pass it to the lads around me and they did the rest.
Davies had been limited to two fleeting appearances from the bench in Everton’s previous three Premier League matches – his only other start this term coming in the Carabao Cup second-round win over Salford City.
Carlo Ancelotti named the same team for Everton’s opening trio of top-flight games but was forced into two changes for the Brighton match, Allan joined on the sidelines by Andre Gomes.
Richarlison exited with an ankle problem midway through the first half, paving the way for Alex Iwobi to join Davies and Gylfi Sigurdsson in having a chance to stake his playing claim to manager Ancelotti.
All three players were influential in Everton maintaining their 100-per-cent-winning start.
Sigurdsson and Iwobi created one goal apiece and Davies filled Allan's boots with a mature and intelligent contribution.
“Standards are increasing throughout the squad,” said Davies.
“Training every day is intense.
“When the full squad is together, you have to be on it.
“If you’re not, you don’t get a kick in training.
“The lads who haven’t been starting in the league, or have been playing more in the cup, know we have to be right on it in training and the games we play.
“When the chances come, we have to take them.
“The whole squad this season has been fantastic, the lads who’ve started have shown their qualities and been unbelievable for us.
“But all the squad will be needed.
“Coming into a team playing well is always easier than going into a side that’s not doing so well.
“Everyone was fantastic in that last game [against Brighton] and I was made up for all of them.
“The lads around me made it a lot easier for me to play and I was pleased to be able to slot in and help them continue the form they’ve been in.
“I want to play as much as I can and it was great to be back out there.”
Davies joined up with England Under-21s immediately after helping Everton to their 4-2 success against Brighton – the fourth time in five games in all competitions Ancelotti’s side scored at least four goals.
The young Lions will bank qualification for March’s European Under-21 Championship group stages with victory over Turkey on Tuesday.
Davies scored and was captain in last week’s 3-3 draw in Andorra, where new Everton colleague and fellow 22-year-old Godfrey was rested.
The former Norwich defender made his Under-21 bow in the reverse fixture with the Turks last year and has counted Davies as a teammate in all five appearances for manager Aidy Boothroyd’s team.
“Ben is a good player and a good lad,” said Davies.
“He is a leader in the Under-21s.
“He speaks a lot.
“He is quick at the back, a strong tackler and good in the air.
“He is young and has that determination to want to improve and do well for the team.
“He is a great addition and will fit in easily.”