Nikica Jelavic will thrive on the added competition in Everton FC’s forward ranks and put his difficult last campaign behind him, reckons Leon Osman.
The Croatian striker suffered a frustrating second season in the Premier League last term, as he struggled to match his prolific start to life at Goodison Park.
Osman believes the target man will react well to the new strikers that have arrived.
“I think for the most part strikers relish competition,” he said after Jelavic returned from an extended break to watch his team-mates in friendly action against Austria Vienna on Sunday.
“It makes them work harder, it makes them strive to improve themselves every single day. Jela turned up to watch us. He tried to keep it a secret and came as a surprise before travelling back with us. Then he’ll be right back on it on his first day of training.
“He seems happy. I don’t know whether it’s because he’s had a good summer or he’s just happy to see us. He seems lively and raring to go.”
Osman insists the apparent second-season syndrome which unsettled Jelavic last term is not restricted to only foreign imports, but the former Rangers player’s hard-working attitude continued to endear him to his team-mates.
“It can happen for anyone – not just the foreign lads who have come over here,” he said. “Any player can have a tough season or a dip in form. The one thing you can’t let up is your commitment and you can always give that.
“He showed what he was capable of in that first three or four months when he came over, and we haven’t got anything to complain about what he did last year because he always worked as hard as he could for the team. When you ask someone to go over that white line and they give you everything you can’t really complain.”
With the addition of Kone and Deulofeu, Osman believes Everton have started to solve a long-standing problem with relying on too few goal providers.
He added: “Looking at the bigger picture – the most successful clubs are the ones who have an abundance of choices in strikers and we’re now getting there with quite a few options. It’s better for us.”
Do you think Jelavic will stay? Rumours his advisers have been trying to get him a better deal and he wants to be top dog, but Ossie thinks he is happy? What are your thoughts? Have your say at www.theevertonforum.com