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Allan: Everton midfielder thrives on Premier League return in 1-0 Saints win

Allan thrived on his return to Premier League action to prove that Carlo Ancelotti was right to start the Everton midfielder during Monday night’s 1-0 victory over Southampton.

The Brazilian had not featured for the Toffees since December’s 2-0 win away to Leicester City, having sustained a hamstring injury late in the first half at the King Power Stadium.

Ancelotti had recalled Allan to his matchday squads at home to Fulham and against Liverpool last month, but opted against introducing the 30-year-old to the action until he was confident of no lingering fitness concerns.

Has Ancelotti now got his best midfield?

Doucoure, Allan, Gomes is ideal

Doucoure, Allan, Gomes is ideal

Ancelotti still needs better

Ancelotti still needs better

Allan looked like he had never been away on Monday night, slotting straight back into the holding role of Everton’s engine room alongside Abdoulaye Doucoure and Andre Gomes.

The £70,000-per-week enforcer covered almost every blade of grass in midfield as he mopped up loose balls, took the challenge to Southampton and set Everton on the attack.

Ancelotti needed Allan to deliver a fine performance on his return having lost the Brazilian’s stand-in Tom Davies ahead of the Saints visit to Goodison Park, with the Blues product sitting out Monday’s game due to a minor knock.

The Italian opted against risking Davies with Everton in action two more times in the next seven days, with a Thursday night trip to West Bromwich Albion followed by a trip to top-four rivals Chelsea next Monday.

Davies had been one of the Blues’ form men of the moment in recent weeks, with Ancelotti praising his performance against Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup and his efforts following last month’s 3-3 draw with Manchester United.

“The only thing I said to him is to simplify his work and his style of play,” Ancelotti said, via quotes by the Liverpool Echo, after the Old Trafford affair. “He plays in a position where, tactically, you have to be really focused.

“Watching the game against United, I think tactically he was perfect. With the ball, he has maybe not the quality of a top midfielder but in that position, we need to play simple passes, you don’t need to over-complicate.”

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Allan made sure his return did not come at Everton’s expense on Monday night, with a performance Blues fans have come to expect of their £21m summer signing from Serie A side SSC Napoli.

The Brazilian delivered three successful tackles against Southampton, only Lucas Digne (5) offered more for the Blues, along with one clearance and one interception, per WhoScored.

Allan further attempted four dribbles to help drive Everton up the field, close to twice his average (2.4) achieved in the Premier League so far this season.

His three successful tackles from four attempts also offered a higher hit-rate than before his injury, having averaged 3.4 successful attempts from 5.8 challenges. The midfielder’s sole interception and clearance matched his average scores of one and 0.8 respectively.

Ancelotti may look to rest Allan against West Brom so that he is ready to go at peak fitness against Chelsea, but his return to action could not have gone much better.

AND in other news, Everton are tracking a prolific 15-goal winger backed to reach another level

Article title: Allan: Everton midfielder thrives on Premier League return in 1-0 Saints win

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