Updated with highlights and Unsworth interview
Oumar Niasse is determined to prove his worth to Everton. Not quite £13.5m worth, but at least worthy of a spot in the Premier League squad.
Ronald Koeman had decided very early on this season that there was no room for the striker in his squad, and sent him down to the U-23 squad playing for David Unsworth in the Premier League 2.
The manager had some pretty harsh words for Niasse at the beginning of the season, saying that he didn’t see a role for him at the club based on his poor display of skills and fitness which meant he barely featured for Roberto Martinez, and only played one half of a preseason game for Koeman.
The forward subsequently refused multiple opportunities to go ply his trade elsewhere while the summer transfer window was open.
What followed was a test of his faith as the club first took away his squad number, and then relegated him to the youth training facilities, where in his own words he didn’t even have a locker to change at.
“The other players have where they put their stuff but I don’t. I come with my bag and I just have a place I know. I put my bag down, I train and after, I put everything in my car and go home.”
Often football players come off as spoiled brats, and fans are rightly justified in asking that players be accountable for the outlandish wages they are paid. However, Niasse’s plight is odd for an organization that prides itself as “The People’s Club”.
It does appear that Niasse has decided to not feel sorry for himself and is instead going to play his way back into the manager’s good graces.
He has been in sparkling form recently for the Everton U-23 side, and has five goals in seven games. The Blues youth side is top of the table with a four point lead, and Niasse is tied for second place on the goalscorer’s charts.
Niasse’s latest goalscoring exploits came in a whopping 6-3 win over Reading’s U-23 side, with the player grabbing a 21-minute hat-trick.
| HIGHLIGHTS: Watch Oumar Niasse's hat-trick and the rest of the goals from last night's 6-3 victory over @ReadingFC. #PL2 pic.twitter.com/LgH5qpXiFm— Everton (@Everton) October 18, 2016
The Senegal international has his name in the Premier League’s official squad list, so all Everton would need to do is assign the player a squad number and he would be eligible for the matchday squad if Koeman chooses.
No doubt youth side manager David Unsworth is in his ear giving him all the latest updates on Niasse’s exploits. Unsie has been very happy with the striker’s workrate -
| Six goals away from home and top of the league by four points. Here's David Unsworth's verdict on #EFCU23 6-3 win at Reading. #PL2 pic.twitter.com/JIjIWiw1V9— Everton (@Everton) October 18, 2016
Which brings up the interesting question - should Koeman rescind his original decision and allow Niasse back into the senior squad, at least for practices to begin with?