Seamus Coleman has praised the influence “top player” Andre Gomes has had on Everton, as he detailed why the Portuguese is a joy to play alongside.
Gomes produced a man-of-the-match performance as Everton beat Cardiff City 1-0 on Saturday to move up to sixth in the Premier League table.
The 25-year-old’s skill, class in possession and football intelligence were evident throughout in a dominant midfield display.
His hunger to get on the ball was emphasised by the fact only Michael Keane had more touches than his 85 during the game. Gomes was both progressive and accurate with his passing, too, finding an Everton shirt with 86 per cent of his attempts.
Republic of Ireland captain Coleman – who was the only player on the pitch to boast a greater pass success rate (95.2 per cent) than Gomes - highlighted the midfielder’s willingness to take possession under pressure in congested areas as a standout attribute.
And as well as revealing his admiration for the Euro 2016 winner’s footballing ability, Coleman explained how Gomes has made a positive impression off the pitch.
“He had an injury when he came but as soon as he got up to speed you could see the quality he has," he said.
“When you look at the clubs he’s played for, it speaks for itself.
“And playing like he has been, it makes everyone else’s job a little bit easier.
"If I get the ball in the right-back position, I know I can give it to him with a man on his back and he can turn his opponent or play a one-two with you.
“You’ve got that confidence to give him the ball in tight situations. He really is a top player.
“He is a great lad, too. I think the manager has done great in not only signing good players but really good lads, too.”
Coleman - who is now clear in 10th on Everton’s all-time Premier League appearance chart having had his 227th top-flight outing on Saturday - was also eager to praise the positive and ambitious philosophy implemented by Marco Silva since his appointment at Goodison.
The defender spoke of Silva's commitment to driving up standards and revealed he has already benefited from the manager’s progressive training methods.
“He is demanding,” Coleman said. “He wants us to pass the ball forward. For me, personally, he is really trying to help my game. Advice like, ‘open your body up when you receive a pass forward’.
“If you don’t do what he wants, he lets you know. As players, that’s what you want. It’s in a great manner, too, how he puts his message across. He does everything for the team.
“He’s a positive man and a great man. Everyone who has worked for him in the past said they really liked him, that he is very demanding on the training pitch - and he is. But if you speak to him personally, he asks about your family and things like that. He is great.”
As Everton prepare for Sunday’s Merseyside derby at Anfield, Coleman explained how Silva’s positive approach has given the Blues the belief they can compete with any side in the country.
The Toffees have showcased their ability to go toe-to-toe with the Premier League’s top teams this season, producing courageous and expressive performances at the Emirates Stadium, Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge.
“We were quite happy with the draw at Chelsea but we wanted to win,” Coleman added. “The manager has hammered home he wants us to be better away from home against the top six.
“Hopefully the lads will step up to the occasion and try to get on the ball in the way we have been doing this season.
“I think the lads we signed as well will be going into this derby with a fresh approach. We signed some lads from big clubs and they played in some big games. With someone like Richarlison, too, he is a fighter - he will fight for everything.
“We will see on the day but we are definitely full of confidence going into the game. We are looking forward to it.”