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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Joe Thomas

What Sean Dyche thinks of Neal Maupay as Everton striker's agent hints at move

Everton manager Sean Dyche believes goals will come for Neal Maupay if he is willing to fight for them.

Maupay’s agent this week revealed a move to Italy could be on the cards in the summer with previous interest from Serie A likely to be rekindled. The comments come with the striker struggling to cement a place in Dyche’s starting XI and with academy forward Ellis Simms having scored a breakthrough goal after being used ahead of Maupay at Chelsea.

Where his future lies is a question that will not dominate Dyche’s thoughts during this international break. But he will be hoping a player he has repeatedly backed in public can focus on driving Everton toward Premier League survival.

READ MORE: Sean Dyche to consider next step for Dele Alli, Abdoulaye Doucoure and five other Everton players

READ MORE: Inside story of Simms rise as coach shares hidden talent Everton can exploit

Maupay’s agent, Federico Pastorello, explained his client was close to a move to Serie A in the summer before the Blues swooped in the final days of the transfer window. Salernitana - who considered a move for Michael Keane in January - were the interested party back then and Pastorello has now suggested a move to Italy could be considered at the end of the season.

He said to Tuttomercatoweb: "We had strong negotiations with Salernitana, and then he went to Everton. There was a technical change, we're at the end of the season and we'll see what to do. You see [Serie] A as a place to go, we will work to accommodate him, there will probably be work for him to do in Italy.”

Dyche is wary of what he calls the ‘noise’ around the game. In his time as Everton boss he has already highlighted the focus on Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s as a media-led narrative, instead taking every opportunity to discuss the team as a collective rather than the value of individuals within that group.

He will likely view Pastorello’s comments in a similar fashion - as noise that does not directly correlate to relationships in the dressing room. But for a manager who values team spirit and is seeking to instil a relentless, ‘anything is possible’ psychology in a squad that for too long has been lesser than the sum of its parts, those words are not ideal in a relegation battle in which the Blues will need every player to contribute if survival is to be achieved,

Maupay has struggled to make an impression at Everton, his only goal coming against West Ham United in September. He is also a determined player who joined five games into the season and found himself playing inconsistently, in a team unsuited to his style and under significant pressure. Dyche has shown an awareness of this and has suggested the Frenchman will receive patience as he seeks form and, with it, confidence: “He’s come in here as a striker trying to forge his way and that can be difficult. He’s worked very hard from the games you’ve seen, his pressing from the front is good, his shape has been good for the team.”

Dyche has only started Maupay three times - first using academy striker Ellis Simms ahead of him and then, after a short run in the team, turning to Demarai Gray in his bid to find an effective option for the lone forward role at the top of his preferred 4-5-1 formation. But even after the Chelsea match, Dyche suggested Maupay was still in his thoughts - saying he introduced Simms through instinct and the call was part of the “fine judgement” decisions he has to routinely make.

While Pastorello’s comments may suggest Maupay’s future could lie elsewhere they also hint that a full judgement is yet to be made. Maupay was a big fan of Frank Lampard, the manager who signed him, but Dyche has shown support for the 26-year-old, describing him as hard-working in training and stressing that goals should come if he continues to work hard. The suggestion has been, publicly, that he will be given opportunities.

“It’s making the chances and waiting for one to go in. As long as he’s in there trying to take them,” said Dyche about Maupay. “At the end of the day, you get in there often enough one will go in. It goes in and it releases the weirdness of it and the noise of it, then you’re off and running. It can change quickly for strikers. I was a defender and the ones I used to worry about were the ones who hadn’t scored in a while. Before a game you would say, ‘stats and facts suggest you will score if you’re a striker’. As long as you keep giving it to them they will score. It’s not far away from him.”


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