Everton's recent return to a semblance of form, at least at home, has coincided in part with the re-emergence of Tom Davies as a much-needed fixture in the Blues' midfield.
The club's turbulent season has taken its toll on the form of practically all of Everton's outfield players at one point or another and the 19-year-old Academy product was no different.
Unfortunately for Davies, the downturn in the Toffees's fortunes came at a crucial period of his burgeoning career — the development stage, as former player Leon Osman puts it — but he is showing signs that he has the strength of character to fight through it and keep demonstrating that he could have a massive future ahead of him for club and country.
An impressively mature performance coming off the bench at Arsenal with the Everton 4-0 down made a strong case to current boss Sam Allardyce that he should have been in the starting XI.
And, having been involved in the second goal against Crystal Palace last Saturday, Davies followed that up with his first goal of the season when he converted Gylfi Sigurdsson's cutback to make the game safe at 3-0.
His efforts haven't gone unnoticed by observers of the Blues and there are some who feel that Davies hasn't been dealt a fair hand at times this season.
“Davies is a lovely kid and a smashing young player,” ex-Everton manager Joe Royle said on BBC Merseyside earlier today. “I don't think, at the start of the season, he was treated particularly well [by Ronald Koeman].
“He was played out of position. If there was a sub to be made he was first off. So it's nice to see him returning to form.”
Another former Blues playing star, Michael Ball, acknowledges that Davies hasn't hit the heights of last season in a struggling team but, like many, he sees the potential of the midfield trio that was so effective in the last two home games against Leicester and Palace.
"Second seasons are always tough for young players," Ball says in the Liverpool Echo. "Davies hasn't had the best of campaigns but the same goes for the rest of the squad. As a young player, in your second season, it is always difficult to keep progressing.
"The opposition finally know who you are and what you are good at because when you break in they know little about you and last season Tom was very dangerous.
"However, Wayne Rooney, Idrissa Gueye and him are working well together in midfield and they look like they trust each other, which is something that has been missing from Everton this season."
Osman, meanwhile, a former midfielder himself, says that Davies can offer nn energetic, box-to-box presence that has been lacking at Goodison Park since Koeman took over.
“Tom has the energy you need for that position,” Osman says on evertonfc.com. “He is an old-fashioned player. He can go box-to-box and he can tackle.
"He is an all-round midfield player, which was lost from the game for a number of years. People wanted to be attacking midfielders or defensive midfielders.
“We lost the guy who wants to do the complete midfield job and do everything well. Tom is a throwback to midfielders of old and I think we will see a lot more of them over the next few years.
“And it is great that we have a young man like that coming through at Everton.
“I am pleased to see him back in the side. I always want to see players in the team who know the club and have that passion for it. But your form has to merit being picked — and Tom's does.”
“This is the development stage of his career,” Osman continues. “It can be quite difficult when you break into the first-team at a young age, because you are expected to be close to the finished article.
“He has a number of years to develop and improve and the second season is always more difficult than the first season.
“But he has done well. He has battled his way through and now we are starting to see the re-emergence of a more experienced and educated football player.
“He is doing his developing while he is in the team. That is hard, because you will have dips and rises, which is a natural part of your progression. It is difficult to do it in the limelight, so you have to be mentally strong.
“And Goodison is a place where you have to be mentally strong to play week in, week out. Thankfully, he seems to have the ability to be able to deal with all of that.”