Report: Carlo Ancelotti admits Niels Nkounkou needs one thing to challenge for first team

Following the retirement of Leighton Baines at the end of last season, Everton’s new summer signing, Niels Nkounkou, looks set to challenge Lucas Digne for a starting berth. 

The young left-back was one of his side’s best performers as the Blues eased into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup with a 5-2 win over League One side, Fleetwood Town on Wednesday evening. 


Manager Carlo Ancelotti has delivered his verdict on Niels Nkounkou’s impressive display as the Toffees booked themselves a home tie against West Ham in the next round. 

Richarlison had given the Blues a two-goal lead before the League One side pulled one back to reduce the gap. Alex Iwobi restored the lead a minute later only for Joey Barton’s side to respond again with a bicycle kick goal from Callum Camps. 

A goal each from Bernard and Moise Kean ensured the game sealed the victory for Ancelotti’s side at Highbury Stadium. 

After causing the hosts a lot of headache with his ability to attack and create chances for the visiting side, Nkounkou went on to provide the assist for the final goal of the evening with a deft backheel to Moise Kean who put the game to an end in injury time. 

Ancelotti was indeed impressed with the 19-year-old Frenchman, who was signed from Marseille’s B team this summer for only £250,000

Nkounkou was, in fact, initially brought into the club to be primarily involved with the Blues under-23 side, but the young lad is proving to be ready for bigger challenges. But his manager believes he needs one thing to earn a place in the first team. 

Ancelotti at the post-match conference said: “He had a good performance, he continued the performance he had against Salford.

“He’s showing good quality in front, he has to improve defensively, but in front, he has a lot of quality.

“He played with a lot of confidence, he has courage, he has character.

“I’m really pleased for him and also surprised.”