Everton have booked their place in the next round of the EFL Cup after a comfortable, if not uninspiring, win over Salford City.
The Toffees never looked in trouble after Michael Keane’s early opening goal, with Gyfli Sigurdsson finishing off a well-worked move and Moise Kean scoring a penalty to secure the 3-0 win.
There were plenty of positives to take from the game, including decent displays from the likes of Bernard, Anthony Gordon, and Gylfi Sigurdsson.
There were also negatives. Kean and Theo Walcott badly underperformed, Jonjoe Kenny did not take his chance whilst an injury to Jarrad Branthwaite deepened the club’s defensive worries.
But for many Everton fans, the main positive to take from the game was the display of back-up left-back Niels Nkounkou.
Signed for a reported compensation fee of just £240,000 (as reported by La Provence) from Marseille, the Frenchman arrived as a potential under-23 player and one for the future.
However, he has impressed immensely since his summer arrival and he was excellent in his official debut today.
Nkounkou formed a brilliant attacking partnership with Gordon on the left and looked more than capable when asked to perform defensive duties.
Whilst Gordon might have been the star of the show, Nkounkou was his impressive supporting actor and perhaps Everton do not need to look any further for their Leighton Baines replacement.
Nkounkou is class. Hasn’t been tested defensively, but going forward he is so good. Excellent dribbling and weighted passes.
— Nic (@NegotiantMarcel) September 16, 2020
Nkounkou is the second best Left Back in Merseyside
— 🤘🏼 (@EFCal97) September 16, 2020
That Nkounkou looks handy doesn’t he?
— Rachael Cotgrave (@bluegirl1878) September 16, 2020
Fair to say Niels Nkounkou has secured his Young Player of the Season vote from me tonight
— Michael (@greenallefc) September 16, 2020
I’m not one for getting carried away with Everton players….but I’m 99.9% certain Nkounkou is a perfect blend of Paulo Maldini, Phillip Lahm and Bixent Lizarazou.
— The Clawless Lobster 🦐 🤨 (@JuiceTerry9) September 16, 2020
Nkounkou masterclass you absolutely love to see it.
— The Gwladys Street (@TheGwladysSt) September 16, 2020
I’m just absolutely made up that we won’t have to see this team week in week out, thank god for our new signings! Talking about new signings, Nkounkou looks quality, lovely shrewd bit of business that #UTFT
— Peter Mac EFC (@PeterJMacca) September 16, 2020
Nkounkou looks a player 💥
— Ste (@toffee_ste) September 16, 2020
Don’t wanna over exaggerate but Nkounkou might be the best left back in world football
— Jack ◢ ◤ (@JackEFC95) September 16, 2020
Not to get carried away but nkounkou is the next Roberto Carlos
— 👍 (@lucash787) September 16, 2020
Nkounkou looks quality, decent buy getting him
— Ben (@ToffeeBen96) September 16, 2020
Niels Nkounkou mate some player 👌🏻
— Simon J Villiers (@simonjv91) September 16, 2020
Nkounkou is so good he could challenge Digne already. So impressed with him. Not had a bad game for us.
— Ben (@eton5s) September 16, 2020