By Nick Ware

7th Jan, 2021 | 4:31pm

Surprise defensive stat on Everton ace Sigurdsson ranks him as one of PL's best

Everton midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson is not a player famed for his defensive work but a surprising stat ranks him among the very best in the Premier League.

Five Yards, a football company that scouts and tracks players across the world, posted an infographic on their Twitter account showing the Premier League players with the most successful defensive duels this season, with stats drawn from Wyscout.

Toffees defender Yerry Mina came out on top with an impressive 78% success rate from 50 battles won and the rest of the top five was littered with other tough-tackling central defenders like Wolves’ Willy Bolly and Aston Villa’s Ezri Konsa.

However, at the bottom of the graphic and in sixth position was Sigurdsson, a player known more for his attacking tendencies and creative eye, with his 57 battles won earning him a success rate of 73%.

With some tweets from Everton fans expressing their surprise at Sigurdsson’s inclusion Five Yards also commented that he was the only ‘non-defender’ in the top 20, ahead of the likes of Liverpool enforcer Fabinho.

Perhaps Sigurdsson is not the passenger that many people take him for.

Showing his worth

After a slow start to the season where he began the Premier League campaign on the Everton bench Sigurdsson has stepped up recently to show the qualities he still possesses.

The Iceland midfielder has started Everton’s last six games including their last five in the Premier League.

Prior to this run he had been a substitute in their last three fixtures.

His Toffees recall has included winners in 1-0 victories over Chelsea and Sheffield United conveying the goalscoring touch he can bring to the side.

He only scored twice in last season’s Premier League but after matching that tally already he will hope he can move closer to his 2018/19 record when he netted 13 times.

With Dominic Calvert-Lewin off the goal trail at the moment, with none is his last six, Everton could do with retaining as many goal scorers as they can in the side.

This might mean Sigurdsson keeps his place in the side despite the impending return of James Rodriguez who has appeared as a substitute in their last two matches.

People might have considered a double inclusion of Rodriguez and Sigurdsson as a luxury Everton cannot afford to have in their side, with both men considered in some quarters to be unreceptive to the idea of tracking back and winning the ball for their team.

However, the aforementioned inclusion of Sigurdsson among the very best for defensive duels shows that he is doing both sides of the game with aplomb at the moment.

In other Everton news, super fans debate the merits of an FA Cup run alongside the target of a Premier League push for European spots.