Everton have had a stuttering start to the 2019-20 season, and the midfield area has been especially hard-hit by injuries and suspensions, forcing Marco Silva to juggle his starting lineups more often than not.
Whether by design or having his hand forced by the aforementioned injuries, Silva has inserted Tom Davies into the starting lineup for the last four Premier League games, and the 21-year-old has shown his versatility in those games to make himself an indispensable member of the team. Whether he has been called upon to play a stable defensive-midfielder role in a 4-2-3-1 or a be the marauding attacking-midfielder in a 4-1-4-1, Davies has shown that he has outgrown a number of weaknesses from last season that saw him yo-yoing in and out of the side.
He has even shown up in goalscoring positions in games against West Ham United and Southampton, something that has been previously identified as lacking in his portfolio. Davies’ movement late into the box during set-pieces has created mismatches for defending sides, and made him even more dangerous, resulting in a goal at the Saints a couple of weeks ago.
Speaking with evertontv, Davies has credited a new diet and exercise regimen for improving his overall shape.
“I am feeling strong and fit – that side of my game is coming along and I can feel it out on the pitch.
“I have always done extra in the gym and I am a vegetarian now. I feel strong and also that I am growing into the physicality of the Premier League. I am happy with everything and how things are going for me.
“Scoring is an area of my game I can still improve on a lot and it is definitely something I need to do more. I know I can get goals, it is a case of finding opportunities in games to score.
“I managed to get one at Southampton, so I’ll look back at how I did that and try to recreate it in more games.”
The born-and-raised Blue is away with the England Under-21 side during this international break, and is happy to be considered a veteran there while still continuing to learn his craft from his teammates with both teams.
“When I haven’t been playing at Everton I have had a chance to go there and play. I feel like a responsible figure in that team.
”It is massively helping me, the coaching staff there look after me, so I am grateful for that opportunity.
”At Everton, I am just looking to learn from everyone. Whether that is a younger lad coming in and doing something different, or the older lads who have been in the game a while.
”Fabian has won the Premier League and the older players have been around a long time and gained a lot of experience. It [what you are aiming to learn] is simple things like game management.
”You are always looking to improve as a player. I am not going to settle for being at the level I am now.”
While different opinions still abound as to what Davies’ best position on the pitch is, there is no doubt that right now he provides an injection of pace and energy to a side that has plodded at times in possession of the ball. Whether he’s had to lean to the left, right, or up the middle, he has improved his passing accuracy and range to make the Blues more efficient in attack.
Silva has shown that he is willing to choose his lineup and formation depending on the opponent and whether they are home or away. As long as Davies continues to play the way he is right now, he needs to be one of the first players penciled into the manager’s lineup every weekend.