Seamus Coleman hailed the footballing ability and relentless work ethic of teammate Richarlison after the Brazilian inspired the Blues to a comfortable 3-1 victory over Brighton.
The summer signing from Watford struck twice - either side of stand-in skipper Coleman’s emotional first goal since returning from a 10-month injury absence - as Marco Silva’s men racked up a third home Premier League victory in a row.
“I’ve spoken about him a couple of times this season but he’s a top player and he works so, so hard for the team, which is important,” said Coleman.
“He’s also got the ability to score goals and that’s been a major plus for us this season. The lads we’ve signed are really, really good people who have fitted into the dressing room so well and we’re delighted with the new signings.
“Playing in front of our home fans, whoever we’re playing we’re trying to press high, pass forward and play quick football, and we were a little bit disappointed after the [Manchester] United game so it was important to put it right.
“I thought we did very well. It’s a shame to concede the goal we did to let them back in the game but I thought we controlled most of the game and I think it’s a fair result.”
Richarlison’s instinctive first on 26 minutes came as the forward capped an incisive Blues breakaway that started with a foiled Brighton corner and also involved another summer recruit Bernard and the tireless Gylfi Sigurdsson.
That lead lasted just seven minutes as Lewis Dunk headed in a Solly March cross from close range but Coleman drilled into the bottom corner of Mat Ryan’s net five minutes into the second half to deservedly restore the hosts’ lead and register for the first time since January 2017.
Coleman spent almost half of the intermittent 22 months recovering from a horrific double leg break suffered on international duty with the Republic of Ireland, with the 30-year-old’s strike prompting a passionate outpouring of emotion and a round of congratulations from his Toffees teammates.
Richarlison then capped a fine performance by pinching the ball away from Coleman’s international colleague and former Everton defender Shane Duffy before rounding Ryan to put the result beyond doubt.
“I was out for a year so it makes it (22 months) sound a bit longer!” said a delighted Coleman. “I’m used to scoring goals, I was a little bit disappointed with my last performance and any time I score I go a little bit mad.
“I’m delighted to score the goal and hopefully it’s the first of many this season.
“It was a frustrating time to be out and then you come back and you have a few niggles and, unfortunately, this season I’ve had some niggles as well.
“Thankfully, I’m back on the pitch and the fitter I get the more chances I’m sure I’ll get.”
Everton’s next Premier League outing will take them to high-flying Chelsea next Sunday, with Coleman urging the Blues to build on a run that has seen them take 12 of the last 15 points available and further underline their progress under boss Silva.
What’s more, the Republic of Ireland captain says the in-form Toffees can travel to the capital without fear.
“I think that’s the next step for this group of players - to go to one of these grounds and come back with all three points,” he said. “And why not? They’re doing great so we have a free shot at it.”