So it appears we have a new hero – an unexpected one, but most importantly a willing one!
Oumar Niasse’s fairytale Everton rebirth has been a welcoming development in what’s been a disappointing start to the new season, albeit a difficult start to the season fixture wise.
It’s fair to say that bringing so many new players to the club will inevitably take time for those individuals to bed in and to familiarise themselves with both the football club and in some cases, the Premier League. But as we know, time is a rare commodity in today’s game.
Despite Ronald Koeman seemingly discarding the forward, brought in by Roberto Martinez for £13.5M two seasons ago, it should be noted that the manager has been big enough and honest enough to realise when he has to go back on his judgement and credit has to be given to him for having that change of heart.
However, whilst that relationship provides the spotlight to the situation, I’m really interested in the mechanics of how we have come to where we are now.
Niasse, as we know, spent some time on loan at Hull City, but it’s important to note the contribution of David Unsworth to both the physical and mental state the player found himself in when the opportunity presented itself for him to take his chance.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think David Unsworth’s man-management skills are as much an asset to him and the club than any technical coaching abilities he may possess.
Some time ago, I wrote a piece about his influence on the reserve team whilst as a senior player who found himself out of the first team picture back in the 90s. I recall how much he contributed to the sense of camaraderie and togetherness and instilling belief in those young players who eventually went on to win the reserve Premier League.
I know that Unsworth has once again used those man-management skills to help Niasse understand and embrace the essentials that are mandatory if you want to be a top professional at a top club.
From what I understand, Unsworth has given time and encouragement to the young striker even to the extent of using him as a mentor to the younger lads in the Under-23 squad, which of course very cleverly gave Oumar not only responsibility, but at the same time reminded him of the fundamentals of a good professional.
Please don’t see this as a criticism of Ronald Koeman, because I don’t think he deserves that. As a manager you are in the firing line and you have to make difficult decisions; some right, some wrong, and also some which may change in the future. David Unsworth doesn’t have that intense pressure on him but nevertheless his support to the manager in this situation and I’m sure many others, has been crucial and has reaped its rewards, especially for Koeman who was heading for a difficult post match grilling until the introduction of both Tom Davies and Niasse.
Make no mistake, in David Unsworth we have a future Everton manager but for now we have a really important member of the coaching set up which truly benefits both the club and the current incumbent of the manager’s seat.
It’s really difficult for any manager to not field players he has spent big money on, that’s at any club not just Everton, but Ronald Koeman has continued to use all of his squad and has been big enough to use players he may have previously disregarded. It may, and more than likely will happen again – who knows we may even see Ross Barkley in an Everton shirt again. But one thing is for sure: these players will be in a good place whilst they are out of the first team picture under the guidance of David Unsworth.