Football

A Year On, Oumar Niasse Has Truly Made Ronald Koeman Eat His Words

A Year On, Oumar Niasse Has Truly Made Ronald Koeman Eat His Words

Football is a funny old game.

If you had asked Everton fans at this point last year how they felt about Oumar Niasse, some of them would have even gone as far as to suggest that he was the worst striker to have played for the club. Those were seriously the murmurings after his early performances in blue.

After signing as a relative unknown from Lokomotiv Moscow, Niasse struggled badly to adapt to English football and his performances for the Everton U23s lead to those who showed up to Goodison Park week-in, week-out questioning why the £13.5 million had been spent on someone that looked as out of his depth in the Premier League as he did.

As the transfer window at the start of the 2016/17 neared it's conclusion, Koeman scoffed at the idea of Oumar Niasse featuring in his misfiring team, claiming that if he wanted to play football, he would have to leave Everton.

But Niasse waited. He would eventually join Hull City on loan in January where he proved that he was, at the very least, capable of playing and scoring goals in the Premier League, but for those six months he was forced to take a back seat and train every week knowing that he wouldn't be in the team.

He wasn't even given a locker at Finch Farm, the club's training ground.

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Koeman admitted when Niasse was named in his squads at the start of this campaign that he had earned his place by impressing him with his attitude and his performances for the U23s.

He also said the following:

It's not necessary to speak any more about what happened last season.

No surprises there.

Had Everton lost to Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon, it would have piled a lot more pressure on Ronald Koeman's job as the club would have been in the relegation zone with four points from their first six games, and considering they were 1-0 down with 75 minutes on the clock, it was close to becoming a reality.

Instead, Oumar Niasse, who came on as a second-half substitute for Wayne Rooney, scored twice to flip the result on it's head and claim a vital three points for Everton.

Koeman will breathe a sigh of relief, and the man who he couldn't understand for not leaving Everton last year has saved his bacon. The Dutchman has been made to eat his words, and will be happy to continue to do so if Niasse keeps on scoring, but the Senegalese striker deserves huge credit for the manner in which he bounced back from what would have been humiliating comments from his manager.

People were surprised when he scored goals for Hull City, and even more surprised as he has started to do the same for Everton, but it's clear he just needed time to settle in, and a chance.

Fair play to him for working his ass off, and taking that chance when it came.

Mikey Traynor

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