By 90Min
May 02, 2018

Evertonians probably expected that it wouldn't happen but, lo and behold, Sam Allardyce actually gave them what they wished for last Saturday.

Forgotten man Nikola Vlasic hadn't kicked a ball in anger on the pitch for the Premier League side since mid-January when he was hauled off in the drab 1-1 draw at Goodison Park with relegation-threatened West Brom.

It seemed that the Croatia international, a £10m summer signing from Hajduk Split, had run out of opportunities to impress Allardyce and his staff, with Theo Walcott and Yannick Bolasie preferred on the wings over the past month.

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In a shock to the travelling Toffees' contingent, however, Allardyce elected to hand Vlasic a rare start against Huddersfield - and the winger provided his manager with food for thought with a decent display on the right flank.

It wasn't vintage from the 20-year-old, particularly in the opening 20 minutes when he was caught out a couple of times, but he grew in confidence as the game wore on before his eventual removal from the field on the 75th minute mark.

A few trademark dribbles down the wing, a deft back heel that almost set up the marauding Seamus Coleman for a goal and his work ethic to help out his full-back will have boosted Vlasic's self belief and fitness levels now, and proved to Allardyce that he can be a viable option for his squad moving forward.

Of course, the attacker will have to do more to convince those in the dugout that he is deserving of a regular berth or, at the very least, more time on the field from the bench.

That will come with an improved consistency as he acquires more experience and learns about the rigours of top flight football in England though, and the faith of his manager wouldn't go amiss either when all is said and done.

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Allardyce had admitted that Vlasic was 'frustrated' over not being involved for the senior side and would then duly forego picking him - comments and a decision that won't have endeared him to Vlasic.

Having taken a rare opportunity now, however, Vlasic should be afforded more game time - and Allardyce should allow him to try and shine  again before the season is out.

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