Everton new-boy Allan has only further proved the defensive midfielder is football's most-important position these days

WITH the way modern football is at the moment, one of the most important positions on the pitch is the defensive midfielder.

In the case of Everton, it is a role they have finally filled with the right player in Allan from Napoli – and it has revolutionised the rest of the team.


During previous seasons, especially following the loss of Idrissa Gueye, the Toffees attempted to fit square pegs in round holes to solve their deep-lying midfielder issues.

Gylfi Sigurdsson, Tom Davies and Andre Gomez all tried to fill in.

All the while, Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Fabian Delph have both suffered with injuries.

It was a position made up of players who were not natural defensive midfielders.

They would still attempt to be on the attack, to dictate play with the ball and push higher up the pitch.

That made it difficult for the back four, who would be caught between dropping deep and leaving space in between themselves and the midfield for an opposition No10 to exploit, or pushing up and leaving space behind.

In turn, the likes of Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin would become isolated and either drop deep to pick up the ball or go out wide.

That should be the attacking full-back's role, but with no security in the middle of midfield they were forced to stay back and be more cautious.

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It is no wonder 12 teams conceded fewer goals than Everton last season, and ten scored more.

But with Allan, a natural defensively-minded player, they look stronger at the back and better going forward.

The two centre-backs in Michael Keane and Yerry Mina are protected.

Another signing, James Rodriguez, has been given license to roam free and create, while Lucas Digne at full-back has space to get forward and Calvert-Lewin is now in positions to get on the end of crosses and through balls.

The start to the season has brought two wins from two, with two goals conceded but six scored.

You do not want to get carried away so quickly, but under Carlo Ancelotti and the players they now have a balanced starting XI and should be looking towards a European spot.

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