Marco Silva has struggled to implement his vision of how football should be played since moving to Merseyside, but Lucas Digne has gifted the boss a welcome boost to his plans, according to quotes published on the official Everton website.
Unfortunately, the boost is not that the players are finally getting their head around how zonal marking works from set-pieces, but rather how his connection with Bernard is helping the pair to work in tandem on the left flank.
The left-back also hailed the skill and quality of Richarlison and Ademola Lookman, which suggests Silva’s Everton end game – on the attack, at least – may not be too far away.
“Bernard is an amazing player, he understands everything and is very intelligent,” Digne claimed. “We are talking all the time, in training and out of training. We have a very good relationship and it is really important to speak all the time.
“When you have a good feeling away from the game, you usually have a good feeling on the pitch, too. Now it is like this for us and I am very happy to play with Bernard.
“The coach sometimes chooses Richarlison on the left, too, and he is also an amazing player. And Ademola Lookman can play there, so I am lucky to play behind the attackers we have on that side.”
If Digne can continue to excel when Bernard starts ahead of him, and Richarlison can carry over his early-season form to the right-wing, there will be less reason for Silva to continually chop and change his starting XI without a severely disappointing performance by one of the aforementioned stars.
Add to that how the 25-year-old tackles one of his best attributes – crossing – and you would struggle to find a reason why the boss has taken so long to fashion his 4-2-3-1 around Bernard on the left and Richarlison on the right.
“It is not always my first thought [to cross], it depends on the situation and if Bernard or Richarlison move in front of me,” Digne added.
“It is down to how the game looks in that moment. But Dominic has good timing and when I saw him moving [against Newcastle] I wanted to put in the cross. He did his job very well.”