DAVID MOYES insists Kevin Mirallas must toughen up and push his body through the pain barrier for Everton FC’s cause.
The skilful Belgian has scored in three of the Toffees’ last four Premier League games to keep their outside chances of a top four finish alive.
But he continues to be hampered by a succession of niggly injuries, which have occasionally prompted the 25-year-old to signal to the bench that he wants to come off, so Moyes wants the Belgium to Man Up!
He said: “He’s had a lot of niggles. He’s nearly not quite adapted to what the Premier League means and how the games go.
“I look at him and he’s signalling to me with 15 minutes to go – so maybe he’s not quite got what’s required at Everton or the Premier League.
“What he has got in abundance though is pace, ability, he can score goals, he can take you on and he can play in two or three different positions.
“But we’re finding that we’re getting 60 or 70 minutes into games and thinking will he keep going? Will he pick up an injury? Will he lose concentration?
“His ability is not in question but there are a lot of players who can take time to get used to the Premier League.”
Moyes accepts that Mirallas’ period on the sidelines with a persistent hamstring complaint earlier in the season have set back his transition from Greek football to the rigours of the English top flight.
“He missed three months through the middle, so he’s had a bit at the start and now at the end,” he said. “So maybe he’s not quite got up to match speed all the time and we may have to deal with it to the end of the season.”
The Blues boss is confident that with time the toughness of Mirallas’ team-mates will rub off on him.
He said: “When you stay at Everton for a time it gets you used to it. Look at how Marouane Fellaini has recently played with injuries, look at Phil Jagielka and Tim Howard.
“That mentality grows on you when you have been here a while, so when you’re new to it maybe he’s not aware that’s what you do at Everton.
“Because we don’t have the numbers, or in some cases the quality at times, when we can say ‘Don’t worry you can come out because we’ve got someone to replace you’.
“We need people to play in two or three positions which he can do – but quite often you have to go out there when you’re not always at 100 per cent.”