For years, Everton striker Victor Anichebe has bore the brunt of fans frustrations due to a perceived lack of effort, skill and fitness. Times look to be changing for the big Nigerian striker and he is slowly establishing himself as the top striker at Everton.
During the early years of his Everton career, Anichebe showed great promise in certain games but was never able to put a string of games together due to injury or form. Often looking bulky and unfit, Anichebe struggled to get in the side past such amazing strikers as James Beattie, James Vaughan, Andy Johnson and Yakubu, often being preferred by David Moyes as a winger.
In the UEFA Cup Anichebe scored four times, against Metalist Kharkiv, Larissa, FC Nuremberg and SK Brann of Norway, showing glimpses of the player he should be by worrying foreign defences.
Having only completed 90 minutes 3 times in 4 years is a worry to any Everton fan, but this season has seen a transformed player.
What has been the difference?
Effort Anichebe has been commited everytime he has been on the pitch, chasing down lost causes and hurrying defenders (something Evertonians love in a striker). For a 6ft striker, he has often not used his physical presence enough, but this season he has been excellent.
Fitness This season Anichebe has been fairly injury free for a change and this has mean he has been able to have an extended run in the side.
Confidence Having a run in the side and having the crowd behind him has seen a big improvement in his all round game. He doesn’t whinge as much as he seems to be enjoying his football.
Scoring Anichebe found his scoring boots and was scoring most chances he was presented with.
A few years ago, when rumours came out that Big Vic had accepted a large contract (despite poor performances) Victor was booed by the Goodison crowd. These rumours were dismissed at the time and Anichebe was a massive scapegoat. The last 12-18 months have seen a transformed player who actually deserves the contract amounts talked about.
He is still only a young lad at 24, so maybe the penny has finally dropped about what is expected. Anichebe could have a very good future as an Everton player. He has all the attributes needed to become a top class premier league player. Lets hope he continues to put in the effort that he has done in the last year and a half and he could present David Moyes (or the new manager) with a very difficult decision.