After a rather anemic offensive display in last weekend’s 0-0 home draw against West Bromwich Albion, Everton need some spice up top.
Enter Gerard Deulofeu, the Barcelona starlet that Roberto Martínez was lucky enough to land on a season long loan from the Catalan giants.
After featuring sparingly throughout Everton’s pre-season tour of the U.S., Deulofeu has grown “frustrated” at being relegated to the Toffees bench for the first two Premier League contests. But now, that’s all set to change as Martínez will hand the winger his competitive debut in the Capital One Cup against Stevenage on Wednesday.
Martínez says Deulofeu, who scored 18 goals for Barcelona’s B team last season, needs time to adapt to British football and claims it may not be until the new year when Goodison Park witnesses the best of the 19 year old.
“He’s been frustrated so far, which I really like,” the Everton manager said. “For someone so young to feel they want to help the team is something you want to see as a manager. We need to be patient with Gerard. We will see the best of him in January or February. He’s an exciting winger. He takes people on and can play on both wings.
“He is the sort of player who can create something out of nothing but you need to remember that he is still very young and growing physically. It is also a big change from the way he [was] playing [at] Barcelona to adapting to the British game. It’s going to take a little bit of time but straight away you can see he’s got something that we haven’t got in the squad. He will be really important for us throughout the season. I have seen many crowd pleasers who do not have an end product and are not effective for the team. Gerard is a crowd pleaser with an end product.”
Martínez also spoke about the adaptation that Deulofeu must undergo from Spain to England. “For him, the biggest difference is going from a team like Barcelona who normally get so much respect that they give you 75% to 80% of possession. For a winger it is different when you play in a league which is more open and more box to box. That’s part of the adaptation for Gerard and it is nothing he can’t achieve.”
Predicting a line-up for a Capital One Cup match is never easy but it’s likely Deulofeu will be played on the left wing in place of 31 year old Steven Pienaar, who has played all 180 minutes of Everton’s first two Premier League matches.
Deulofeu could also be deployed on the right side of play, which would either displace Kevin Mirallas or send the Belgian to the left wing. Playing Deulofeu with Mirallas would seem to be a complimentary partnership given the players’ respective speed, skill and guile. With a similarly gifted Arouna Kone worked into the forward three, Martínez may be able to find an attacking combination that can put an end to the underwhelming offensive display that marred the club last Saturday.