John Collins says Andre Gomes can be a key figure in the closing months of Everton’s campaign.
The Portuguese midfielder adjusted quickly to Premier League football following his debut against Crystal Palace back in October, the European Championship winner playing 19 top-flight matches on the spin in three-and-a-half months.
He opened his goalscoring account for the Club with an explosive strike against Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this month.
But it was Gomes’ comfort in possession and expansive passing range which quickly made him a hit with both Evertonians and teammates such as Tom Davies, who cited the 25-year-old as one of the players he looks to for pointers on his own game.
Former Everton midfielder Collins is similarly taken with Gomes’ positive use of the ball and reckons the ex-Benfica and Valencia player has proved he is sufficiently robust to withstand the physical demands of England’s top division.
“Andre Gomes is a very good football player,” Collins told evertonfc.com.
“He knows how to get on the ball, he always wants it and makes good angles.
“You have to be good with and without the ball, though.
“Tackling is less of a part of modern-day football but interceptions are important, you have to be sharp, win back possession and work hard for your teammates.
“That is part of being a good footballer, too, and Gomes is very good at that side of the game.
“You have to work your socks off, give every drop of energy, in every single match.
“And on top of that, Evertonians also want players to pass and move and be creative and entertaining. Andre Gomes is an excellent passer of the ball and good to watch.”
Gomes has a passing success rate of 84.6 per cent this term, a figure which is especially relevant given he is primarily aiming balls into territory populated by opposition defenders. He has, for example, struck 72 accurate long passes in his 19 games.
Gomes is routinely among the Everton players who cover most ground during any given 90 minutes and more than once has clocked eight-plus miles in a match.
Academy graduate Davies pointed to Gomes’ ability to shift the ball swiftly and purposefully as instrumental in getting Everton on the front foot in matches.
Gomes, who featured 78 times in two seasons for Barcelona, before joining Everton for 2018-19, could potentially play his 20th successive game when Marco Silva’s side travel to Cardiff City next Tuesday.
“Most good teams that dominate the ball have central midfield players who can take the ball; receive it and give it, give it and go,” added Collins, who played 64 games in two years with Everton after joining from Monaco in summer 1998.
“That is the type of player Gomes is, he gets it off the back four and moves it to the next area of the pitch.
“He showed recently he can get up the park and score goals, too, and hopefully he can continue adding that to his game.
“The type of football Marco Silva wants to play, everybody has to want the ball and be comfortable on it. It is a thoughtful type of coaching.
“Football is about having options, about movement, and Gomes generally picks the right option.
“He has good touch and vision. And he works hard when his side doesn’t have the ball to make it difficult for the opponents.”