clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Steven Naismith’s comfort at Goodison Park is Everton's gain

Scotland striker Steven Naismith is proving a hit with the Goodison faithful as a result of superb performances and an endearing personality.

Paul Thomas

If there was one thing that David Moyes did well, it was sign superb players cheaply. The likes of Tim Cahill, Tim Howard, Phil Jagielka and especially Seamus Coleman are all proof that the Scot was a much better dealer at the lower end of the market than at the top.

Steven Naismith could be another name to be added to that list as he flourishes under the guidance of Roberto Martinez. Having signed from Rangers on a free transfer in 2012, Naismith initially struggled to find his place at Goodison Park, often played out of position on the right wing and struggling to impress and even questioning his own right to be there.

Now entering his third season in Liverpool, the Scotland forward is now finding himself a fan favourite following series of impressive performances. After he scored the winner against Chelsea last year, in Martinez's first league win nonetheless, he propelled Everton into a season of superb football and Champions League dreams, accruing nine goals in a fruitful second season at the club. Not bad for a man many had deemed below the par just a year before.

In fact, as Naismith's confidence has grown, so has his importance to the side. While few would have him occupy the number 10 role behind Romelu Lukaku when young England midfielder Ross Barkley is fully fit, on current evidence the young Scouser has a lot to do to earn his place back when he eventually returns from his latest injury. With three goals in three games, Naismith has become a key cog in the Everton machine and set down a challenge for the talented midfielder.

His opening goal at Leicester City was a masterful turn and finish that left the keeper' easily beaten, while his finish against Arsenal was one of extreme composure, all question marks about him being offside irrelevant. His goal against Chelsea in that hectic game last time round was of a similar ilk; a superb touch and wonderful finish with the outside of the right boot a thing of beauty. If one of the world's bigger name strikers had finished like that, the media would be talking about it incessantly, and that is not just the protestation of an Everton fan.

Goals aren't the only positive though, as his upbeat attitude and continuous running are infectious to the rest of the team. Not only that, the Scot is much better with the ball at his feet than he is given credit for and is often involved in Everton's build up play, while his movement off the ball is a thing defenders have nightmares about.

His attitude off the pitch has also proven popular with the Everton faithful, and everyone else besides. The recent news story about him paying for Everton tickets to be given out to the unemployed of Merseyside has endeared him to his own fans and those at other clubs too, with the media widely praising him for his actions and being keen to promote them. Not only was it uplifting to see a Premier League player doing something for the fans, but also in this era of prima donnas and playboys, it was a refreshing change from the norm.

If Steven Naismith continues to perform and score goals as he has been, it won't be long before he is being spoken of in the same light as some of the other Scottish greats that have graced the Goodison turf over the years. If that turns out to be true, then Everton can thank their former manager for another player signed on the cheap, who is coming good under the Martinez regime.