Seamus Coleman believes Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu needed to add a defensive dimension to his game and he thinks he has.
The 21-year-old Deulofeu spent the whole of 2013/14 season on loan at Goodison Park from Barcelona and scored four times in 29 appearances, but he gave little cover to Coleman at right-back.
Now though the right winger, who spent last season on loan at Sevilla, has matured and his defensive game has improved since he arrived for a bargain £4.2million on a permanent deal from the Catalan giants in the summer.
Deulofeu, who was brilliant in the 4-0 win over Aston Villa, has scored two goals and provided five assists so far this season, but it is his defensive work which Coleman has been lauding.
“Geri (Deulofeu) had to improve defensively – because I’ll shout at him if he doesn’t get back!” joked Coleman. “In all seriousness, he is a great lad and is so willing to help out defensively.
“When he came back he actually told me that he would be better defensively this season. When it comes to the right hand side, it’s just a case of the two of us having a good partnership.
“At the moment, when I get the ball I just give it to Geri because he is playing unbelievably. I think he is a better player now than the one he was two years ago. He has added so much more to his game, which is a credit to him.
“He used to be a winger who would always go at people, so defenders would stand off him. But now when they do, he is whipping the ball in and setting up goals for fun.
“Now people don’t know whether to go tight on him or stand off him,” Coleman told the club’s official website.
Coleman also says he has adapted his own game to accommodate the Catalonia-born forward.
“My role has been a bit different. When you have got someone like Geri in front of you, its not like you can get on the overlap every time because he himself is so fast.
“He is not a link-up winger, he likes to stay wide and get at people.
“So now it’s a case of me getting the ball to him and backing him up. I have no complaints with that, because Geri is producing the goods,” added Coleman.