Why It’s Great To See Naismith Sticking With The Toffees



For so many reasons it was fantastic to see Steven Naismith pen a three year extension to his Everton deal this week.

Firstly, it’s great to see his hard-work and endeavour being rewarded. His form in 2014 has been fantastic. So far this term, he has become a first team regular (almost the first name on the teamsheet) and has found the net five times in fifteen outings. The Scotsman runs his socks off, helping create space for players like Romelu Lukaku, Kevin Mirallas and Samuel Eto’o. The attacking midfielder also works hard tracking back and pressing opposing players back or into mistakes.

A lot is made of Naismith’s work ethic and obviously its helped him dramatically. He struggled to adapt to the pace and strength of the English game when he first signed for the Toffees back in 2012. The Everton fans were unconvinced he’d be anything more than a frustrating bit part player. But he got his head down and worked harder and the results have been magnificent. But many forget to point out he’s also very smart with his runs. As I’ve already mentioned his runs out wide can create space for other forwards but his runs into the box are usually timed with perfection, often catching out defenders. His first time finishes will also help him beat goalkeepers as they struggle to set themselves.

Now back in 2012, I was asked to go on a local Liverpool radio station and talk about what impact Naismith could have at Goodison. At the time, I said that he’d need time to settle, he needed that when he made his first big transfer to Rangers. It amazes me that football fans never give players time to settle in at their new footballing homes. I then said he could become the new Tim Cahill (not as prolific) and strike up a good partnership with the main striker (at the time Nikica Jelavic). So it’s always great to see a prediction come true, especially for my ego.

It is also fantastic to see a superb footballer who also has a heart of gold. Now, Rangers fans won’t agree as he left on a free when they were liquidated but the fact is Naismith is a stand up guy. He has done a lot of work for homeless shelters in Liverpool and Glasgow, given away Everton tickets to some unemployed folk in Merseyside and he’s an ambassador for Dyslexia Scotland.

The Rangers situation was all down to Steven thinking about his career. People are quick to judge but just look at what has happened at Rangers since the meltdown in 2012! Naismith and others like him had to safeguard their own futures and that of their families. Plus lets not forget that he took a 75% wage cut during his last six months at Ibrox. I will always judge him on his footballing performances and his charitable work ahead of his exit at Rangers.

His form and happiness at Everton has also seen him become an integral part in Gordon Strachan’s Scotland set-up. His performances as the second striker have helped see Scotland enjoy great results over the Polish and Irish and have Scotland in with a chance of qualifying for the 2016 Euros in France.

I am delighted Steven Naismith has proven his worth at Everton and for Scotland too. He seems well liked in the Goodison Park dressing room and is trusted by coach Roberto Martinez, who is getting the best out of the forward.

Long may his fine form continue and the footballer with strong community roots keeps proving any doubters wrong!


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