When he made the move from Barcelona to Everton in the summer for just £4.2 million, Gerard Deulofeu was seen as a man who could have been one of the signings of the season for the Toffees. But since his move, he hasn’t been given the support, both from his manager and from his teammates, to properly influence games the way he should be.
During the second half of Sunday’s game against Swansea, Deulofeu got to the by-line three times, every time putting in dangerous balls into the back post across the goal. On all three occasions, Everton had multiple men in the box, none of whom made an effort to get to the ball. With the quality of balls put into the box, there had to be someone on the end of it.
Despite his abundance of talent and skill, Deulofeu doesn’t seem to have the trust of his Everton team mates. The lack of togetherness among the squad at Goodison Park could be a key reason for their underachievement in sitting 12th in the Premier League table.
Romelu Lukaku, despite his 15 league goals, must take some responsibility for not making the most of the openings that the Spaniard has created. Against Crystal Palace in November, the Belgian netted a late equaliser from a low cross from Deulofeu, but he has rarely made an effort to get on the end of his passes since.
More recently, Lukaku has tended to hang back towards the penalty spot, and throws his arms in the air like a petulant child, when Deulofeu has instead provided him with what would be a tap in if he were to do his job as a striker.
Given that Everton have been on a very poor run of form, winning just one in ten games, it may be time for Roberto Martinez to abandon his style of looking to keep the ball, and play in a way that suits the likes of Deulofeu more.
If he can find a style that suits his winger better, Martinez will be able to look up the table rather than down, and perhaps lead them towards a European place, where Everton really should be.