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Naismith growing in confidence

08/09/2014  Comments (36)  jump
'When I first moved [to Everton], I definitely felt a bit inferior'
The 2014-15 season is only three games old but while Everton have made a disappointing start overall, one player has stood out from his teammates with a goal in each match so far.

The Scot's confidence is visibly growing after initially feeling inferior at Goodison, a turnaround that he attributes to Roberto Martinez who has allowed him to express himself in his preferred central role.

I always believed I could play at this level, Naismith told the Liverpool Echo after Scotland's narrow Euro2016 qualifying defeat to Germany.

I didn't envisage a change of manager [at Everton] and perhaps how long it did take me, but I definitely believed I could go [to the Premier League] and play.

When I first moved I definitely felt a bit inferior. It's been a problem for Scots boys in the past and I was the same. Looking around the squad you think to yourself, should I be here?' But as you get more comfortable with the lads on and off the field things begin to go for you. I feel I belong here now.

It has been a good start to the season for me. I enjoyed my pre-season and I've managed to kick on from there. I've managed to score a few goals.

"That comes from the manager who allows me to express myself.

He knows my best position and he's given me my chance there. He knows I can get up and down the pitch — but if I play wider I maybe lose aspects of my game. I grew up as a striker and he knows I still have a knack of getting in the box. He knows I will defend for the team but he still gives me the freedom going forward."

Quotes sourced from Liverpool Echo


Reader Comments (36)

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Kevin Rowlands
1 Posted 08/09/2014 at 15:39:50
Sometimes you have to put your hand up in the air and admit you were wrong and in this case I was one of quite a few who thought he wasn't good enough and wouldn't make it at Everton. He's been a breath of fresh air, plus by all accounts is a very decent lad, very happy to see he's proving a lot of us doubters wrong, long may it continue.
Peter Laing
2 Posted 08/09/2014 at 15:59:13
When Naismith signed on a free from Glasgow Rangers, he followed in the footsteps of his former strike partner Nikica Jelavic and was seen by most as a squad / fringe player at best. Naismith's cause certainly wasn't helped by David Moyes's strategy of playing him ineffectively out wide and, to be honest, I thought that Steven's days would be numbered once Roberto Martinez arrived.

To complete an amazing turn-around in Naismith's fortunes, the once lauded Jelavic has departed, Steven has rediscovered his form in a position that he is evidently suited to, and his work rate and never say die attitude has endeared him to most Evertonians.

From what I have read regarding his charity work and evident humanity, such a turn of events could not have happened to a nicer fella, long may it continue. Fast becoming a Lee Carsley type of player for me: every team needs such a character and Naismith is ours.

Ben Mackenzie
3 Posted 08/09/2014 at 16:10:33
I absolutely love him, when playing in his correct position. Always gives everything, cool finisher, superb.
Andrew Ellams
4 Posted 08/09/2014 at 16:17:38
His strength is his ability to read the game, which ironically was Jelavic's weakness based on the number of times he was caught offside.

Naismith gets stick for his lack of pace but I'm not sure it's a real issue in the way he plays and with his anticipation and speed of thought. He is on to balls in the box before some defenders see them coming, that alone is worth a couple of yards. I would take him over Fellaini any day.

Les Fitzpatrick
5 Posted 08/09/2014 at 16:17:09
I rate this guy, both as a player,and as a human being. I doubted him at times but never gave him stick because you could see he was always giving 100%.

Well done, Steven, and keep it going, son.

Brian Harrison
6 Posted 08/09/2014 at 16:23:29
I think he leads the line well is good in the air and has an eye for goal. With Lukaku likely to be out of the game against West Brom, I really hope that Eto plays behind Naismith. For me Naismith links the play better than Lukaku, and hopefully that is something that Lukaku will learn.
MIke McLean
7 Posted 08/09/2014 at 16:30:43
So lucky to have some very decent blokes on the playing staff. Credit to Moyes and Martinez. Compare and contrast with brats at Certain Other Clubs.
Christopher Wallace
8 Posted 08/09/2014 at 16:48:52
Brian

Would you not rather see Naisy in behind Eto'o? Sammy has the pace to stretch defences and get in behind. Naisy has energy to get up and down the pitch. He is also a lot harder to pick up in the hole, which allows him to exploit spaces, score goals and cause confusion.

Chris Fisher
9 Posted 08/09/2014 at 16:56:25
Christopher Wallace,

Totally agree, Naysmith himself says in the article that he has started to play well and feel comfortable at this level because Martinez has allowed him to play in his favourite position 'in the hole'.

If Lukaku is injured and doesn't play vs West Brom it should be a straight swop in my opinion Eto'o for Lukaku and don't mess about with Naismith's position at all! At the moment he should be the first name on the team sheet and played in his favourite position.

I hope Lukaku is fit though, I think its his movement and presence that has allowed Naismith the space to run into and score as regularly as he does, Eto'o is absloute class but a totally different player to Lukaku.

Danny Kewley
10 Posted 08/09/2014 at 16:53:10
A great player and a great bloke as well.

Who’d have thought it a year ago? An example to all who play the game!

Kevin Tully
11 Posted 08/09/2014 at 17:23:29
An intelligent footballer, whose runs and movement in and around the box are second to none. Three in three this season already - fully expect 12-15 goals this season if he stays fit. You would pay a lot of money for that return in the Premier League. Well done Steven.
James Stewart
12 Posted 08/09/2014 at 17:27:41
Playing out of his skin and best form of his career. He shouldn't be feeling inferior anymore been our best player this season so far by a long way.
Denis Richardson
13 Posted 08/09/2014 at 17:29:02
I disagree with his 'The last six to eight months of last season I played well'....I vividly remember spurs away, home fans were singing 'keep him on' when subbed off!...to name just one game.

Anyway, last season aside, I really hope he keeps up the performances he's put in so far this season. With Rom, Kone and possibly Eto all injured, we're very very light up top.

He's not going to be a lot of fans' favourite but he's certainly on a better footing now than a year ago or even 6 months ago. Hopefully his new found confidence will help him to keep doing the simple stuff and banging them in......all we can ask.

Christopher Wallace
14 Posted 08/09/2014 at 17:40:41
Kevin

Someone on here mentioned about backing Naisy for 20 goals this season, before Leicester game, though I can't recall who it was.

Needless to say, a few people derided him for this. Hopefully he placed the bet, and hopefully he's quids in before Easter! If he gets two or three chances a game, you fancy him to take one at least, in current form.

Always liked him from his days in Scotland, glad to see him reaping the rewards from his hard work, surely it can rub off on the other lads.

Peter Bell
15 Posted 08/09/2014 at 17:51:31
What has caused the change?
Simple, he is now managed by a coach, when he used to be managed by a sergeant Major,
Steve Pugh
16 Posted 08/09/2014 at 18:07:17
I wonder how Jelly would have performed if Moyes had actually played him ahead of Nais, like they did at Rangers.
Ajay Gopal
17 Posted 08/09/2014 at 18:05:22
Unfortunately for Naismith, when he joined Everton, he was held back by Fellaini because Moyes used to always play him behind Jelavic, and you couldn't really argue against that, at least initially. There were a quite a few knowledgeable TWers who called for Naismith and Jelavic to partner together up front, because of their Celtic days, but sadly, we never saw that partnership develop.
Tommy Campbell
18 Posted 08/09/2014 at 18:37:55
Naismith is one who goes to show that not being the most gifted of footballers shouldn't hold you back

He gives his all, nobody can doubt that but when he was used wide by Moyes, his all just wasn't good enough. But Martinez knows how to get the best out of this player in a way that it benefits the team and his performances from Jan 14 onwards have been fantastic.

The thing he appears to be blessed with most is his ability to stay calm in front of goal and slot away his chances.

Dave Pritchard
19 Posted 08/09/2014 at 19:08:00
Whoa Ajay (17), hope you're not in the company of Glaswegians.

Naismith's goal against Chelsea summed him up. He was alert to the space ahead of McGeady as the defenders followed Lukaku, and his one touch to control and then a one touch finish was tremendous. Let's hope for some more on Saturday.

Andy Meighan
20 Posted 08/09/2014 at 19:27:05
If thereÂ’s a more improved player in the Premier League, can someone let me know who it is.

And a great lad to boot!

Jamie Barlow
21 Posted 08/09/2014 at 19:26:14
I disagree Denis. I think he's a huge fans favourite, just for the effort that he puts in. I've always liked the lads and he has proved if you work hard, it pays off.

Wrong team Ajay.

Liam Wilson
22 Posted 08/09/2014 at 19:46:22
Ajay Gopal
17

Neither Naismith nor Jelavic ever played for Celtic.

Just sayin, like.....

Tony Abrahams
23 Posted 08/09/2014 at 19:37:28
Dennis, I never went to Spurs, last season, it was one of the few games I watched Everton on the telly but why were the Tottenham fans singing keep him on?

I hate watching on TV, unless it's the highlights, but I thought Naismith, had as good as game as anyone else that day. Martinez, made a sub and Naismith, ended up playing on the wing, and then his game, went to pot. (If my memory is correct) Steven Naismith has never been a winger, and I believe Moyes, was absolutely destroying him.

It's a different game on the telly though because James McCarthy impressed me most times I watched him last season, but that day at Spurs, I thought he was woeful.

Stephen Brown
24 Posted 08/09/2014 at 19:55:09
Seems like a cracking fella and represents the club well. Also saved us paying out to replace Barkley. You could even argue in last 3 games he’s been more effective than Barkley.

Well done, Naismith, everyone loves a trier!! He could be next for a pay rise!

Denis Richardson
25 Posted 08/09/2014 at 20:05:47
Jamie 21 - we'll have to agree to disagree. It wasn't too long ago that the guy was being torn apart on this website and whilst I'm not one to jump on a player's back after a few less than top performances (as some have done re Rom this season, even though he was injured), I am also not one to jump on the love boat after just a couple of decent performances.

He's had a great start this season and long may it continue but I also remember enough 'average' (being kind here) performances last year... as I said above, all we can ask is that he keeps it up.

If he bangs in 10-15+ league goals this season (assuming he gets the chance) I'll be jumping for joy. But like a lot of people on this site have already said numerous times, we've only played 3 games so far so I'll keep my praise muted for now (especially as we haven't even won a game yet).

I obviously prefer this version of Naisy to that of the past.....

Jamie Barlow
26 Posted 08/09/2014 at 20:24:48
Fair enough. I wouldn't say he is a fans' favourite because he's a great player, but the effort he as always put in, whether he's having a nightmare or a decent game, is spot on for me. You'll never see him go missing.
Denis Richardson
27 Posted 08/09/2014 at 20:31:57
Can't argue with the effort Jamie....that's true. If all the team should the same commitment we'd have a hell of a side!
Anthony J Owens
29 Posted 08/09/2014 at 22:46:30
I can honestly say, and people who know me (ie, my match-going mates) will back me up, that ever since he came to the club, I pleaded with people to give the lad some time, show some patience with him. Anyone who has played the game could see that he was a very intelligent footballer, not blessed with the natural skills of Rooney or Barkley, but a very good brain for the game.

What a lot of people overlooked was that he was just getting over a bad injury he picked up at Rangers, also coming to a much higher standard of football than he was previously playing in. These things take time.

I remember the game against Man City, the season before last, when David Moyes made one of his more inspiring substitutions, we were winning 1-0 but were down to 10 men due to Pienaar being sent off. He took Mirallas off for Naismith, much to the bemusement of the crowd and the comment of "What’s he bringing him on for?" He was the type of player that was needed that day for his contribution when we never had the ball, and for long periods of that 2nd half, we didn’t have the ball. His positional sense was priceless.

Then, with 5 minutes to go, he robbed a City player of the ball just inside his own half and released Jelavic with a nice throughball that he dispatched into the net via a fortunate deflection. I believe that was the day he shook off the shackles; never ever once has he gone missing, never once has his head dropped. A credit to himself.

Just goes to show you, we sometimes need to be a bit patient, and as Evertonians we should be well versed in that.

Peter Healing
30 Posted 09/09/2014 at 06:50:35
I'm getting a Naisy Europa shirt 3rd kit.
Darryl Ritchie
31 Posted 09/09/2014 at 07:25:57
When we picked up Jelavic and Naismith from Rangers, Nicky seemed logical; we desperately needed a striker. He was an immediate hit. Firing in goals with regularity.

Naisy seemed to be an add-on... An extra body. Fresh off a major injury, he was forced to learn a new position, on a new team, in a new league. He became the Evertonian number one target for abuse.

Two years on... quite a change. Jelly’s a Tiger and Naisy’s our leading scorer. Who’da thunk it!

Tony Abrahams
32 Posted 09/09/2014 at 08:13:08
A good mate of mine once watched Naismith in an old firm game and he told me he was a good player and probably MotM that day. "He reminds me of Adrian Heath" were his words; "might not be as quick, but better in the air," he said. "The thing that stood out was the clever little positions he took up," he told me. "Just like Inchy, with the same eye for a goal."

If Moyes was still manager, then Naismith would never have got a chance in his real position, which is really puzzling to me when you consider who signed him.

Neil Pickering
33 Posted 09/09/2014 at 13:30:31
The game against Fulham away really made me change my opinion of Naismith.

In the first half, we had Barkley in behind Lukaku, and he kept making the wrong choice of pass. At the start of the second half, Naismith replaced him and his decision-making made him really stand out. He scored at least one goal if I recall and made another that day.

I think he Is a massively underrated footballer, who is far more than a workhorse. You could also argue he is the best finisher at the club.

Geoff Evans
34 Posted 09/09/2014 at 19:09:56
The boy's attitude has always been top class, he knows the secret... 10% talent, 90% hard work. At last he's getting the appreciation he deserves and not before time. He bleeds blue. All the best teams have their Naismiths.
Mark Evans
35 Posted 09/09/2014 at 20:44:12
Absolutely delighted that Steven has finally come good and shown the doubters what he's capable of. I must admit I had my doubts too in the early days, that mis-hit pass across the box against Norwich being a prime example.

Let's hope he goes from strength to strength now as his confidence is sky high, in complete contrast to his days under David Moyes where he was played out of position. He's a thoroughly decent guy as well and deserves all the praise he's been getting.

Jason Lam
36 Posted 10/09/2014 at 09:45:50
He's got great biomechanics, the way he covers the ground, forward acceleration, low CoG, shooting uses all available sides of the boot (not just some pussy side footing). Aggressive in the challenge and gets in the ref's and opponents' faces. For the sake of the team, I hope he soon does feel inferior – it will mean the other players are catching up and realize the season's started FFS COYB
Jason Lam
37 Posted 10/09/2014 at 09:58:14
Sorry to hijack this thread, speaking of getting Europa shirts, why aren't there Eto'o Europa shirts available?

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