By Alex Stevens
Danny Higginbotham has admitted in the Sun he has been blown away by the tactical excellence of Everton young gun Tom Davies.
The 18-year-old has made a huge impact since establishing himself in the team at the end of last year, leapfrogging the likes of Gareth Barry and James McCarthy in the central midfield pecking order.
Davies was selected alongside January signing Morgan Schneiderlin and Idrissa Gueye in a central midfield three as Everton put Hull to the sword during Saturday’s 4-0 Premier League demolition.
Sky Sports pundit and tactical expert Higginbotham explained why Davies’ cleverness and understanding of space was providing the platform for the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley to thrive.
“Tom Davies is an outstanding young player,” wrote Higginbotham in his weekly Sun column. “He is good on the ball and I really like his movement off it. Against Hull he swapped positions with Barkley constantly and dragged players away from Lukaku.
“It is giving Barkley four or five extra seconds on the ball, helping him have a real impact.”
Following a handful of substitute appearances, Davies was given his full Premier League debut by manager Ronald Koeman on 2 January in Everton’s 3-0 win over Southampton.
He has kept his place in the team, with Koeman naming the teenager in the starting XI for nine of Everton’s last 10 league appearances.
In total, Davies, who spent the first half of the campaign playing for the club’s development side in Premier League 2, has now played 18 Everton senior matches, scoring one goal and supplying three assists.
Everton climbed to sixth in the Premier League with their victory over Hull to keep alive their hopes of a Champions League finish, even though they are six points adrift of fourth-placed Liverpool, who drew 1-1 in an absorbing clash against Manchester City on Sunday.
In other Everton news, there is friction at the club between manager Ronald Koeman and director of football Steve Walsh.