Gabby Agbonlahor is naïve to suggest that “the jury is still out” over Allan after Premier League sides have found a way to work-around the Everton star.
While speaking with Football Insider, the Aston Villa hero suggested the early praise given to Allan following the Brazilian’s £21million move to Goodison Park has been overstated as top-flight sides are already able to nullify his impact on games.
Agbonlahor believes the former SSC Napoli enforcer’s impact on Merseyside came in an initial flurry upon being reunited with Carlo Ancelotti, but that it will not be a be-all and end-all situation should he fail to feature at Fulham on Sunday amid a potential muscle injury.
Ancelotti was full of praise for Allan upon unveiling the 29-year-old this summer, stating how he was convinced the 10-cap international’s passion and energy can improve Everton.
“I think Allan is a fantastic player, he has fantastic energy and quality in midfield,” Ancelotti told EvertonTV. “Our supporters will love him because he plays with a lot of passion.
“He is going to improve the squad and our supporters will love him, for sure. Tactically he is really good. Really strong defensively, he wins a lot of balls. He is aggressive, and he is Brazilian, so he is able to do both – [contribute] with the ball and without the ball.”
But Agbonlahor is beginning to think Allan may not be all that he was made out to be after eight appearances across all competitions.
“I think, with Allan, he’s had a really good start to the season but the last three or four games he hasn’t been as good as I thought he was at the start,” the player-turned-pundit noted.
“Teams have found him out. He hasn’t had the legs in the middle to get the ball back. I’ve seen a lot of attacking players run off Allan. Maybe we all got a bit too excited in his first few games and now teams have found him out.
“He’s not been anywhere near the likes of Douglas Luiz, Fabinho, Thomas Partey in that position. For me, the jury is still out.”
While Agbonlahor is entitled to his opinion, it is naïve of the Aston Villa hero to suggest the jury is still out on Allan after his recent performances, as his involvement in Everton’s defeats to Newcastle and Manchester United prior to the international break were among his best displays in royal blue to date.
Allan won 14 ground duels, made six tackles, blocked one shot, completed four of his five attempted dribbles, found teammates with each of his three long balls and completed 88% of his total 51 passes while registering 76 touches at home to the Red Devils, per SofaScore.
His seven ground duels won from 10 was also the most achieved by an Everton player at Newcastle, where he registered a 95% pass success rate from 61 efforts, took 74 touches, played two key balls, blocked one shot, made one interception and again recorded six successful tackles – a team-high at St. James’ Park.
Those performances eclipsed his season averages for touches (63.0), accurate passes (52.0), successful tackles (1.0) and ground duels won (3.0), while only his 7.3 out of 10 match rating achieved against West Bromwich Albion in September eclipses the 7.2 earned against Manchester United yet trails the 7.5/10 registered at Newcastle.
Everton’s form as a whole has suffered a vast decline since opening the Premier League campaign with four wins and a draw to now be winless in three, but Allan has not and it is wrong to suggest teams have found a way to nullify his impact.