Carlo Ancelotti insists South American duo James Rodriguez and Allan will improve with Everton as the manager’s in-form team grows in confidence and stature.
Forward James stepped into Premier League football with a series of productive displays following his summer transfer from Real Madrid and had a hand in both Everton goals in Saturday’s Merseyside derby draw.
Fellow 29-year-old Allan, signed from Napoli last month, is already a cornerstone of Everton’s midfield, the multi-dimensional Brazilian marrying defensive awareness with attacking thrust at the base of Ancelotti’s engine room.
When Allan missed out against Brighton & Hove Albion prior to this month’s international break his role was adeptly filled by Tom Davies.
Ancelotti maintains 22-year-old Davies boasts the hunger and attributes to mature into a complete midfield performer.
But the Italian claims his players have a universal desire to expand their qualities – and the process will occur organically in an Everton side unbeaten in its opening five Premier League matches.
“This team has good professional players and, slowly, slowly, they are showing more character, attitude and personality,” Ancelotti told evertonfc.com.
“This is important.
“I think we can show these qualities more when we have a clear idea what we are going to do on the pitch and for this we have to work in training.
“Tom can improve because he is still young, although he has more experience than our other young players.
“But I think everyone can improve – also James, Allan and the more experienced players.
“The quality of the training is better… it is important to keep this high.
“Every player has to show his own leadership.
“Not only players like Allan – the others can show leadership by example, by being professional on the pitch and training ground.
“That is not so difficult.”
Ancelotti has named the same team for four of Everton’s five Premier League games this term.
The exception was against Brighton when injuries presented opportunities for Davies and Gylfi Sigurdsson, while Alex Iwobi came off the bench on 25 minutes following a knock to Richarlison.
Equally, Ben Godfrey received a battlefield promotion in the weekend’s derby after right-back Seamus Coleman pulled-up short in the opening half.
Davies prepared for his starting chance by studying footage of Allan’s opening Everton displays.
Only three top-flight midfielders have made more tackles than Allan’s 16 this term, the player who spent eight years in Serie A with Udinese and Napoli instantly acclimatising to the hurried rhythms of England’s top division.
“I think Tom has the advantage that he can play in all the positions in the midfield,” said Ancelotti.
“He can play as a holding midfielder but it depends what we are going to ask from him.
“Against Brighton, he did really well tactically… [exactly] what I asked from him.
“He didn’t have to do special, fantastic passes, he had to control well the position in front of our two centre-backs and, honestly, he did really well, tactically.”
An impending three-match suspension for Richarlison will create a space in Ancelotti’s team, with 19-year-old Anthony Gordon one of those pressing for inclusion.
Gordon asked his boss for a steer on what was required to reclaim his squad position following the opening-day win at Tottenham Hotspur.
On what he told Gordon, Ancelotti said: “To be patient. He needs to be patient because there is a lot of competition in the team, in all the positions.
“I want to have competition in all the positions – defenders, midfielder, strikers, also goalkeepers.
“I think the competition keeps the intensity of the training. We need quality and high intensity to keep away the difficulties.
“He reacted really well [to Ancelotti’s demand].
“They are young, so they want to play.
“This is good, to have ambition to play because this gives the players motivation.”