Stats never tell the whole story. They aren’t the be all and end all; they provide a useful guide for painting a picture and backing an argument up however shouldn’t be treated as gospel.
The best way to judge how a player is playing is to watch their side play. Obviously, no one can watch every minute of every match so this argument falls down pretty quickly. However, that won’t matter for this article as I watch enough Everton matches to know how a certain Spaniard is playing.
The best thing that happened to Everton last season was Gerard Deulofeu’s dreadful year in Seville. After a hugely successful loan spell on Merseyside, the Barcelona youngster stumbled in the south of Spain and Barcelona offloaded him on the cheap back to a very willing Roberto Martinez.
In fact, it was a good deal for all three parties. Sevilla had a very successful season, winning the Europa League, even without a fully firing Deulofeu. Barcelona have a buy-back clause for the next two seasons so it’s essentially a loan for two years, whereas Everton get probably one of the best 21 year olds in Europe.
After a slow start to the season, Deulofeu inspired Everton to a 2-goal comeback at Barnsley in the second round of the Capital One Cup. Transferring this form into the league, the last few weeks have seen the Spaniard get fully match fit, become the first name on Everton’s team sheet and the upshot has been an increase in form, mood and confidence throughout Goodison.
But, here’s the catch. He’s only scored 1 goal and assisted 5 in 11 appearances. Admittedly, you would expect more from a winger, especially one who is such a key player.
And hence we arrive where we started. Stats never tell the whole story.
Gerard Deulofeu makes things happen, he makes the team tick. The players know that and whenever they can; they will give him the ball. As this article shows, his teammates are enjoying linking up with him.
What Coleman says isn’t wrong. Deulofeu used to be all about pace, now he has added maturity to his game, at only 21!
So, why did it go so wrong for him at Sevilla and why was he never afforded a shot at Barcelona? Two questions which can possibly boil down to one answer. The Roberto Martinez effect. Everton’s Spanish manager knows how to look after and nurture young talent; he knows how to make players feel welcome and loved.
Deulofeu may return to Barcelona in the next couple of years. If he does, he will depart Goodison one hell of a player. I hope not, but obviously there is nothing we can do if Barcelona want him.
Deulofeu is just one part of an exciting batch of Everton youngsters. Along with him stand Stones, Lukaku and Barkley in the current side with Galloway, Browning and Garbutt on the fringes of the first team and Ledson, Dowell, Henen and Evans coming through the ranks.
Everton’s future is incredibly exciting, but, with Deulofeu at the heart of it, the present is just as promising.