When Everton signed Bernard in the summer I wanted to tell Marcel Brands how sound he was. Securing the Brazilian playmaker was one of the few reasons that made me believe in what him and Marco are trying to do at this football club. To get him on a free as well was the pinnacle of a very nice transfer deal, especially after seeing him at Shaktar in the Champions League on a few occasions. I was excited! Not one, but two Brazilians for the mighty blues this season. So what have I made of the little magician so far?
Well, it’s a tough one. Watching him against Leicester away at the start of the season, Bernard showed me he has the quality for the Premiership. He stood out amongst everyone and tore Wes Morgan to pieces. Also, just recently, changing the game against Cardiff from where we dominated when he came on. He has shown cute touches and decent skill, proving slowly but surely, he has all the attributes to be a top player here. However, he has also been off the boil a few times but to be honest, Everton’s only consistent player all season has been Lucas Digne for me. I’m a firm believer that if the team doesn’t play well, individuals’ standards tend to drop. Barring the odd few of course.
If it was up to me though, I would be starting the trickster every game from now on. Players need time to bed in to this league and Bernard has showed enough for me to be fully convinced that next year he will be instrumental for us. The lad needs to add goals though, and that has probably been the biggest negative I have to say about him. I actually think he could have scored a few more by just pulling off the odd shot but he seems to like laying it off to create chances more. I played with a friend in five-a-side a few times who just loved setting people up instead of scoring and this reminds me of Bernard. However, this is the Premier League and you have to score goals to win games, it’s as simple as that. In his position as one of the front three, it’s a downfall that his only goal has been in the cup against Lincoln. He recently came out after the Merseyside derby and said the exact same thing. He knows what is expected of him and I like his drive to get better. Looking back at his tally for Shaktar, he had a pretty decent goal-to-game ratio so he knows where the net is… unless it’s at Old Trafford!
One concern for some Everton fans was his height. At 5ft 5in, he is one of the smallest players in the league, However I think this sometimes works to his advantage. We have seen him run rings around defenders a few times and I think this might be part of the reason why. He’s just awkward to get at, and the little terrier doesn’t let looking up at his opponents bother him at all. Just look at the confrontation he had with Rudiger at Stamford Bridge. What a moment! Ryan Fraser, for me is an underrated player who is even smaller than Bernard yet he still has a massive impact for Bournemouth, so I have no issues with his height.
I have spoken to a few fellow blues who seem to think he might be better in the middle where Gylfi plays as he may create more opportunities. This isn’t the case in my eyes though as you are basically taking your top goalscorer out of his comfort zone. Sigurdsson played on the wing against Watford and it used to drive me crazy when centre-mids would be put there in the Martinez and Koeman days. Is he really going to make a difference in the number ten role when we don’t have a proven striker in front of him? I highly doubt it. Like I said, I just think it’s a matter of time before Bernard is up to full speed with the fastest league in the world. He’s fine on the wing for now. We have to remember the lad missed a lot of football and had no pre-season with us either.
I have taken note of a few of his comments on the club in the past. He seems to be one of them who is loving their time here despite it being such a disappointing season for most blues. He always says about the team too. He sets targets for himself yes, but i get the impression he is desperate for everyone to click and is fully on board with the managers plan. Seeing some of the things he says let’s you know the kid has heart, and you can’t teach heart.
At the moment, I feel the South American is starting to hit a bit of form. He was decent in the derby and gave Trent a few things to think about. I am looking forward to seeing him see out the remaining games but more importantly, what he will bring to us next season. He could be a vital cog in Silva’s vision. Lets hope to see Bernard tear them apart… again!