By Tom Blackburn

Jose Antonio Reyes has backed Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu to develop into a Premier League star.

The two Spaniards, who played together at Sevilla two years ago, will go head to head at Goodison Park on Saturday as Espanyol face Everton in a pre-season friendly.

Talking to the Everton website, former Arsenal attacker Reyes said Deulofeu, 22, possesses skills that make it hard for defenders.

“Deulofeu has been my teammate at Sevilla and I also know him about what he did and how he played at FC Barcelona,” Reyes said.

“He is a quality player, fast with good dribbling and he is always seeking to leave defenders behind, which he achieves often.

“He is still young and has a long way to go in his career but he is also already experienced and is getting more and more important for his team every season.

“He is speedy and hard to control, intuitive and always searching for the weak point of his opponents. He tries always to get an advantage.

“He still has to consolidate himself in the Premier League but he is playing more and more minutes and offers not only assistance to the target men, but he is also scoring some goals on his own, which is obviously important for attacking players.”

Deulofeu has been deployed as a striker in pre-season by Koeman, a role unfamiliar to the Spaniard, but not one he has shied away from.

Three goals in three games is an impressive return for the natural winger and with the future of star striker Romelu Lukaku still up in the air the Spaniard could be relied on to be a key contributor of goals.

Deulofeu joined Everton from Barcelona in 2015 after a successful 12-month loan spell at the club two seasons before.

The Spaniard made 29 appearances and scored four goals during his first stay, which promoted a permanent transfer of £4.2million for the youngster.

He is contracted at the Merseyside club until 2018 and is expected to feature heavily under Koeman this season.

In other Everton news, Koeman is to imminently sign a £15million makeweight in a player-plus-cash exchange deal.