Rio Ferdinand and Jermaine Jenas hail Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure at Old Trafford
Rio Ferdinand and Jermaine Jenas waxed lyrical of Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure at Old Trafford on Saturday.
The BT Sport pundits were pitchside ahead of Manchester United’s home clash against Everton with the clubs neck and neck on 13 points heading into their Premier League encounter.
Rafa Benitez made just one change to the side that beat Norwich City last week, and that meant a sixth successive league start for Doucoure, who has started the season in scintillating fashion.
“It’s a massive bonus for Rafa to have him in this side, without him they’ve lost 22% [of games],” Jenas told BT Sport. “With him in the team, it’s 54%. He has to play and when he does he has such an impact.”
Ferdinand added: “The way he’s being allowed to play this season is the reason why Everton bought him in the first place because that’s how he was playing at Watford.
“That ability to run beyond the forwards at times, I think he’s a great asset and I think without him they’re not as hard a team to play against.”
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Doucoure plays a pivotal role in the Everton engine room alongside Allan, scurrying across the pitch to make interceptions and impose himself on the opposition.
He and the Brazilian share the defensive workload, but the Frenchman’s ace up his sleeve is his attacking prowess, something that probably wasn’t on show enough last season, mainly owing to the defensive nature of Carlo Ancelotti’s set-up.
However, the 28-year-old is thriving under Benitez this season, scoring two goals and supplying three assists in his first six Premier League games.
It’s no wonder he is receiving such adulation from the likes of Ferdinand and Jenas, both of whom were esteemed international performers.