Leighton Baines believes “amazing signing” Richarlison gives “everything you want as a footballer” after the Brazilian’s two-goal heroics on his competitive Everton debut in the 2-2 draw at Wolves.
The summer signing from Watford put the Blues ahead with a 17th-minute finish from close range, before making it 2-1 midway through the second half despite the visitors being reduced to 10 men after Phil Jagielka’s red card moments before the break.
Marco Silva’s men had to settle for a point in the end following goals from Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez but it was an impressive display from the Toffees, typified by Richarlison’s energy, pace and willingness to track back and defend with Everton at a numerical disadvantage.
Baines, who himself caught the eye at Molineux as he started his 12th season at the Club, combined with the Brazilian down the left-hand flank throughout the contest and admitted he has been hugely impressed by Richarlison’s contribution since the forward penned a five-year deal last month.
“He has been magnificent since he came in. He’s a really, really good player,” said the 33-year-old Baines. “He has great work rate, a great attitude - everything you want from a footballer. His ability is unquestionable and I’m so excited to play with him and watch him play.
“He’s such an amazing signing for the Football Club and I’m chuffed to have him. He does it all - there’s nothing that he doesn’t do. He has strength, he’s got pace, he’s got skill. He can find a pass and he can score a goal. I honestly couldn’t compliment him enough - he’s brilliant.
“The manager said that he wanted competition in every position and we have got that here. You can see that on a daily basis and what that brings to the intensity of training. It will serve us well throughout the course of the season.”
— Everton (@Everton) August 11, 2018
Having twice taken the lead in their opening game of the 2018-19 Premier League season, Baines was disappointed not to come away from the West Midlands with all three points.
Even with 10 men, Everton went back in front through Richarlison’s smart turn and finish and had chances to edge ahead for a third time in the closing stages, including a counter-attack involving Seamus Coleman and substitute Oumar Niasse.
Baines felt the Blues can take positives from a draw against last season’s runaway Championship title winners and use it as a platform to build on going into Saturday’s game against Southampton at Goodison.
“It was a very tough game,” he added. “We knew visiting a newly-promoted side that it was going to be tough. We started the game pretty well and knew that Wolves are a good side in possession. We expected high energy and they produced that.
“For a period it looked like we’d get the win but unfortunately we conceded an equaliser. On reflection, people might say it was probably a fair result but we had a couple of opportunities with 10 men, so we are disappointed not to come away with the win. All in all, we go back to Goodison for our first home game and if we win that, it’s not too bad.”