Carlo Ancelotti has done a “magnificent job” getting the best out of Gylfi Sigurdsson at Everton, according to Noel Whelan.
The former Premier League striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, admitted the 31-year-old had “risen from the dead” after an indifferent 2019/20 campaign at Goodison Park.
The Iceland international, who cost the Toffees a reported £45million from Swansea City back in 2017, has endured mixed fortunes during his time on Merseyside.
His first season at the club was cut short in March due to a knee injury, although he bounced back with 13 goals in 38 league games during the 2018/19 campaign.
Sigurdsson’s form last term shadowed Everton’s own fluctuating performances, with just two goals and three assists under his belt.
Initially an attacking midfielder, he has since been moved back into a deeper midfield role by Ancelotti and has featured in all but one game across all competitions this season.
Whelan admitted it has taken a time for the former Tottenham and Swansea man to get back to his best and insisted Ancelotti had played a huge role in his revival.
Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “I think Sigurdsson is a bit like Lazarus, he’s risen from the dead there at Everton.
“When you looked at that kind of money that they spent when they bought him, you’re thinking and question marking him because he wasn’t that player. All of a sudden he’s becoming that player that they bought and now captaining the club.
“What a turnaround that is for him and what a turnaround and joy it must be for Ancelotti to have that kind of quality and that player back at his best. You saw the quality (v Leeds), you saw what he brought to the team.
“Great forward runs, he spots danger, he controls that midfield area, he keeps it simple when it needs to be done and he’s a leader out there and that’s exactly what Everton paid that big money for. It’s taken a bit of time but they’ve got there in the end.
“I do believe that it’s down to the managerial presence as well, getting the best out of players, making them feel that they’re that special player again. I think Ancelotti has done a magnificent job with him because he looks that important player to Everton but they bought years ago.”