Noel Whelan has tipped Everton winger Bernard to make an immediate impact on his return to the side after being left sidelined through injury.
The former Leeds United striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that the Brazilian wide man has the creative spark needed to boost their attacking fortunes and that the 27-year-old can allow Richarlison to move back into a centre-forward role.
Speaking prior to Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Norwich City, manager Marco Silva confirmed that he was hoping to have Bernard back in full training this week ahead of the clash against Leicester City, the winger missing the last three games with a knee injury.
With the South American closing in on a return to the side, Whelan says he can be the player to make a difference in attack – if he also shows the desired work ethic in defence as well.
Whelan told Football Insider: “What he brings you is that creativity. We saw him before his injury he was getting goals and he got the injury at the wrong time.
“We were seeing that Bernard that we’ve not seen, we were getting that consistency from him, the goals, the creativity – right now that’s what they need again. They need to score goals and sometimes when you’ve got a player of that ability, it’s very hard not to play him.
“Can he do the defensive side as well? Every midfield player now, you can’t afford luxury players, everyone’s got to chip in on both sides of the game. Defensively, that’s the only area that I’d worry – can he get back in formation, can he get behind the ball, can he do it in 90 minutes?
“I think you’ve got to play Richarlison – through the middle he’s the better of the two. It’s a sensible move to bang him through there to make way for more of a creative player like Bernard.”
Bernard has nine appearances under his belt for the Toffees this season, netting two goals in his eight Premier League outings.
He has just four goals under his belt in his 45 Everton games, with a further four assists to his name.