Everton have caught the eyes with their impressive start to the 2018-19 English Premier League campaign and the exciting brand of football they have been playing under manager Marco Silva.
Having won four and drawn three of their opening nine games, the Toffees visit Old Trafford on Sunday to face Manchester United in high spirits and morale-boosting confidence.
Silva brought in five players during the summer transfer window, and competition for playing opportunities is currently at an all-time high at Goodison Park.
As expected, a couple of players haven’t been involved in the action like they would have wanted, and the boss has claimed the reason is not a question of talent, but rather, one of character.
“It’s not just a matter of talent here, you have to have different things behind you to be a success at this club,” Silva recently told the ECHO.
“The other things are really important for me as well – character, a good personality, being a good professional.
“To put players in our dressing room we have to be sure about his behaviour, and it’s something I like to be aware of. But some of them have the knowledge to play at the big clubs. I know their talent but I know their character as well.”
The likes of Ademola Lookman and Oumar Niasse, who have made just three and four substitute league appearances respectively, are struggling to establish themselves in the manager’s first-team plans, and as he has rightly pointed out, it takes more than talent to be a success at such top-level of football.
The futures of the duo at Goodison Park appear bleak, and a January exit, either temporarily (especially for the 21-year-old) or permanently, could be on the cards.
Lookman’s talents and potential and Niasse’s hunger surely can’t be questioned, but they have to be stronger character-wise if they are to force their way into Silva’s plans going forward.