Abdoulaye Doucoure insists he can flourish in any midfield formation, as he set out his determination to deliver more match-defining contributions for Everton.
The Frenchman has underlined his willingness to perform in whichever role manager Rafa Benitez believes best suits the team, acknowledging the need to be adaptable depending on the opposition.
The 29-year-old has scored twice and provided four assists in his 14 Premier League games this season, meaning he has netted the same number of times and set up one more goal than he did in the entirety of the 2020/21 campaign.
One of Doucoure’s strikes this term came in the Blues’ 2-0 home win over Norwich City in October and the Blues will aim to complete a double over the Canaries when they meet at Carrow Road on Saturday.
Ahead of the clash, Doucoure has revealed how he is comfortable operating in both a two-man or three-man midfield – and explained how boss Benitez has given him clarity over his role.
“Since the beginning [of Benitez’s tenure], the manager knows what he wants from me,” he said.
“At the beginning, he spoke to me about how he wants me to play, how he wants me to go forward, how he wants me to help the team.
“I think sometimes when you play a three, we have more possession in the midfield and more numbers in the middle, so sometimes it's better.
“But, of course, sometimes a two is quite good as well so it depends on the game really. I like to play in a three and a two.”
Doucoure made his 50th Everton appearance when he was introduced as a substitute in Everton’s 3-2 FA Cup third-round win at Hull City last weekend.
The all-action midfielder joined the Blues from Watford in summer 2020 and revealed how the backing he has received from Evertonians since his arrival has further driven his hunger to deliver success for the Club.
“I can feel the support and I always want to give 100 per cent for that shirt,” he added.
“Of course, when you give everything, when you start scoring goals or give assists, I think the fans see that.
“I would like to score more goals. I’m very happy with the assists so far – I think I’ve beaten my record from last season – so I’m happy with that.
“It means I have improved on something and, of course, I want to improve this number in the second half of the season.”
Doucoure is regularly deployed alongside Brazilian international Allan in Everton’s midfield engine room.
He outlined why he believes the pair’s qualities complement each other well and praised the former Napoli player’s influence on and off the field.
“Allan has a lot of experience, he's a leader in our team, he's very loud,” Doucoure said.
“Every time he wants to win, even in training. We have the same mentality on the pitch.
“When we are both fit, when we are both well, I think we have a great partnership. As well some of other the players…we have a good mix in the middle. I think Andre [Gomes] is a great player, Tom Davies, you have [Jean-Philippe] Gbamin, too. Fabian Delph, when he played, was great as well.
“Of course, I've played most of the time with Allan, so I think we have something special between us, but the other players work well, too.”