Everton’s Tom Davies makes case for first-team role by impressing for England U21s

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Tom Davies may have played only 11 minutes for Everton so far this season but his form at national level shows he has something to offer Marco Silva.

The 21-year-old started in the England U21 matches against Kosovo and Turkey recently and has now featured for Aidy Boothroyd’s side on 12 occasions, with a single goal scored against Andorra.

At national level he has been given a more prominent role by his manager, acting as the anchor in midfield, sitting deep and keeping the midfield ticking over, allowing more creative players such as Phil Foden the freedom to roam.

It is a different role for the youngster who has previously stated he prefers to play as a box-to-box player, but one that has seen him thrive and earn praise from Boothroyd, who called his display against Kosovo outstanding.

By comparison, under Silva he has seen his game time at Goodison Park reduce, starting only 13 times last season compared to 26 starts in the campaign prior to that.

Davies has often operated in a box-to-box style but if there is one area of weakness in his game it is his lack of productivity in the final third, with just four goals and six assists in 90 games for Everton.

Against Kosovo he played a key role in his team’s opening goal and if he can replicate the composure he showed in the opposition’s half, with two key passes according to SofaScore, then he will become a more reliable figure for Silva.

Playing in a deeper role reduced the pressure on the midfielder to create going forward, and that made him more effective in defence.

With Jean-Philippe Gbamin set for a spell on the sidelines the Toffees lack defensive cover in the middle of the pitch and Davies has begun to show he is capable of fulfilling that role.

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He won possession back for his side on seven occasions against Kosovo, which indicates that his understanding of the game is improving with more game time, as is his positioning – with one interception also, though that is an area he will likely look to improve.

However, he is far from the finished article and in a more ruthless environment such as the Premier League he will need to improve his ball retention, having given the ball away on six occasions against Kosovo.

Davies was also dribbled past twice last night and against better opposition at club level there is a possibility he could struggle.

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