'Another captain': Ancelotti praises unsung player's influence in Everton success

Sam Brookes January 29, 2021
'Another captain': Ancelotti praises unsung player's influence in Everton success
Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has hailed Gylfi Sigurdsson’s attitude and labelled the midfielder “another captain”, as reported by the Liverpool Echo.

The Icelandic playmaker saw opportunities limited at the start of the season. However, he is now a key member of the Everton side, starting six of the last seven league games.

Sigurdsson’s mindset

Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s meeting with Newcastle United, Ancelotti said Sigurdsson’s mindset made him a leader.

The Italian said: “He’s another captain in this squad for his attitude.”

Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Everton needed to show resolve in midweek as they held an impressive Leicester City side to a 1-1 draw at Goodison.

Ancelotti: ‘Just a coincidence’

James Rodriguez gave Everton the lead against Leicester, curling home beautifully with his weaker foot.

The Colombian now has seven direct goal contributions this season in the Premier League. All have come at Goodison Park but Ancelotti isn’t concerned about his performances away from home.

“It is just a coincidence he did better at Goodison Park,” he said.

Ancelotti backs Pickford

The disappointing moment from midweek was Leicester’s equaliser. Jordan Pickford has been criticised for allowing Youri Tielemans’ shot to squirm past him into the net.

Ancelotti acknowledged the error but was adamant his opinion of the shot-stopper hadn’t changed.

He said: “(Jordan) did a mistake and I think we can say this, but this doesn’t change for me or his teammates the confidence we have. He did fantastic saves in the past.”

Goalkeeping change a possibility

Despite backing his goalkeeper, Ancelotti admitted he had yet to decide whether Pickford would start in goal tomorrow.

Pickford, who came through the ranks at Sunderland, was left out in the reverse fixture when Everton lost to Newcastle 2-1 in November.

When asked whether the same could happen again, the Italian coach replied: “I don’t know. I have to think about this.”

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Sam Brookes is an aspiring sports journalist with a background in football analysis. He has written for a number of online publications in recent years, and specialises in English and Italian football.