If you would have asked me to describe Everton’s Yannick Bolasie last year, I would have told you that he is the sort of player that will give you cracking end of year ‘Showboat’ compilation on Soccer AM, but is about as useful in the final third as a chocolate teapot most weekends.
The DR Congo international was the sort of player you’d watch just to see him make some of the Premier League’s best full-backs look like Alberto Moreno on a bad day, then do his best to replicate Jesus Navas on a normal day in terms of delivery.
Total flattery to deceive is – or at least was – the best way to describe him.
This season, however, we are starting to see a new side to the former Crystal Palace winger, as it appears his huge £25m move to Merseyside over the summer has placed enough of a weight on his shoulders to force him to deliver in areas he previously couldn’t.
Four assists this season means Bolasie has already surpassed his total for last season, and while he has only found the net once, the tricky forward is looking as big a threat as he ever has done in front of goal.
A major part of Everton’s renewed success this campaign, manager Ronald Koeman will be hoping that his form only continues as the Toffee’s aim for Europe come the end of the season.
We at FootballFanCast have done some digging around and found out these TEN things you may not know about Everton’s man of the moment…
Bolasie has, perhaps, even a more absurd footballing background than Leicester City’s Vardy, having started in non-league with Hillingdon Borough, before moving to the Maltese (yes, you heard right, Maltese) top flight. One season with Floriana was enough to earn him a move back to England with Plymouth Argyle and the rest is history.
The now DR Congo international had the chance to represent both France and England at international level through birth and heritage. He chose the African nation, however – England could do with someone as enigmatic and unpredictable as he out on the wings?
An advocate of grime music, having grown up in the London borough of Brent, Bolasie once squared off against New York Red Bulls’ Bradley Wright-Phillips in the long-running series ‘Lord of the Mics’.
Apparently, Bolasie just somehow happens to know Olympic 100m champion and sporting legend Usain Bolt. Even more bizarrely, him and his mates invited the Jamaican down to London for a quick kick about. “He is alright to be fair!”, Bolasie said about Bolt before claiming he “had him in a race”. I’d have to see it to believe it.
The partnership between Bolasie and Everton’s talismanic striker Romelu Lukaku has been a huge part of the club’s success so far this season. And no wonder the pair seem to get on like a house on fire (ironically), as they are neighbour’s in Bowden, a small village to the south of Manchester.
Being born and France and raised in London, it makes perfect sense that the winger’s idol is none other than Arsenal legend Thierry Henry. The DR Congo international was lucky enough to meet the Highbury icon himself recently as Henry was in Merseyside ahead of his appearance on Friday Night Football.
Not only is Bolasie’s younger brother a professional footballer, having played for Borehamwood FC among others, he is also cousin to both Lomana and Kazenga LuaLua, both who have represented DR Congo at international level also. Trevor Kandol, formerly of Bournemouth is also his cousin.
A martyr for the cause, the former Plymouth Argyle winger attributes his success to his strict training regime and personal trainer Rayan Wilson who he claims turned him from ‘beanpole to beast’. Nutrition, sleep and psychology all play into his master plan for which he keeps a weekly ‘points system’ to then compare to his performance at the weekend. Dedication.
Before his aforementioned move to Malta to pursue his footballing dream, Bolasie almost jacked the whole idea in to become a carpenter alongside his at the time girlfriend’s the time father. That may have been a riskier move than actually following his ambition as professional footballer, so we think he made the smart decision.
Bolasie described himself as a ‘puzzle’ during his time at Crystal Palace and thanks former manager Alan Pardew for finally ‘piecing him together’. Awwwwwwwww, isn’t that sweet?