Sky Sports pundit Darren Bent has suggested Gylfi Sigurdsson often plays within himself, but that Everton need to see the Iceland star step out of his own shadow.
Sigurdsson featured in central midfield alongside Tom Davies at the weekend as we fell to a 2-1 loss away to Leicester City, and saw his sole shot on goal blocked in the 50th-minute before recording his only key pass of the game in the 63rd.
The 30-year-old’s defensive presence was dribbled throughout the fixture, too, with three successful tackles recorded across the league meeting, along with two clearances and three interceptions no sooner than 25 minutes apart, per WhoScored data.
Sigurdsson had entered the Foxes clash on the back of testing four shots in the 2-0 home defeat to Norwich City, which was the most efforts he had attempted in a single game since the opening day draw at Crystal Palace.
The Reykjavik-born playmaker has not scored since finding the back of the net against West Ham United in October, though, and last assisted a goal when we beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-2 in September.
But Bent feels the 74-cap ace can be the real difference-maker for our side when on song, and has urged Sigurdsson to demonstrate his true ability.
“He is one of the players who they need to step up and take charge of games,” the former England striker told Football Insider. “He has got that extra-added bit of quality where he could just change the game for them when he plays inside himself and they play inside themselves as well, it doesn’t help anybody.
“He was bought for big-money as well and he’s the only one I think, I mean you got people like [Alex] Iwobi there who will run around and put a real shift in, but when it comes to real quality, he’s that real one player who can do something and change the game, so he needs to step up and be counted.”
Should Silva bench Sigurdsson?
Yes, and start Iwobi
No, he has to play
Yes, and start Bernard
Sigurdsson has struggled to see his efforts ripple the back of the net in the Premier League thus far this season, but is recording nearly the same number of efforts as he did last term, when he ended the campaign as our joint-leading goalscorer and leading creator.
At present, the £45million 2017 signing from Swansea City is averaging 2.3 shots per 90 minutes – down from 2.5 per 90 last season – with 1.0 of those finding the target, 0.6 sailing wide and 0.7 blocked, per WhoScored data.
Last season, of Sigurdsson’s average 2.5 shots per 90, 1.0 were on target, 0.9 blocked and 0.1 hit the post, as he held a chance conversion rate of one every 6.6 shots to one every 25 this term.
In other Everton news, fans have been slamming a key Toffees man for his ‘poor decision making’ against Leicester City on Sunday.