Everton’s forgotten man earns redemption under Sean Dyche

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A player who was cast out by Frank Lampard has re-emerged to become a key starter under the new manager.

Sean Dyche has cleary had a positive impact since joining Everton in late January. Two wins in three games has moved the club out of the bottom three and fans cna already see his impact on a number of players.

Under predecessor Frank Lampard, some players found their chances limited. Former Watford midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure was one such player, but it’s all changed under Dyche.

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Signed in 2020, Doucoure was key for Carlo Ancelotti as a midfield destroyer but he had started just once this season before Dyche’s appointment. It’s been three starts in a row under the new boss and he’s gone from the forgotten man to a key player.

He was effective and productive in the 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Leeds United this weekend. It was a game that required a big performance from the whole side, but Doucoure’s industrious performance in midfield was key to securing a vital three points.

His 88% pass accuracy was paired with two chances created, four tackles and nine recoveries as he worked well on the right-hand side of their midfield trio. Plus, his gallivanting runs saw him complete two out of three dribbles attempted as he helped to drive Everton forward with his energy, even if cutting edge quality often eluded him.

Steadying the ship has been key for Dyche and Doucoure’s presence has helped the side to gain a far better foothold in midfield. Prior to this, Lampard had persisted with a midfield three of Amadou Onana, Alex Iwobi and Idrissa Gueye, or with a back three that saw Onana and Gueye as a midfield two which failed to protect their defence or galvanise attacks at a regular rate.

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The added bite of Doucoure has given the engine room a new lease of life and it also allows Onana and Iwobi to enjoy more space and freedom, as Gueye and Doucoure are tasked with being their midfield generals. It’s worth noting the pair combined for a total of seven tackles and 14 ground duels won at the weekend - it’s clearly a partnership that worked.

Two wins out of three has completely changed the mood at Goodison, but far tougher tests are to come and any untimely injuries to Doucoure or any of their starting midfield trio could be detrimental to their Premier League safety. But, for now, Doucoure will remain as a key operator until at least the end of the season.

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