In August 2012, Everton purchased Belgian international winger Kevin Mirallas from Greek side Olympiakos for £6 million after he impressed in the Greek league with 20 goals in 25 games during the previous season. The signing of Mirallas was made in order to address Everton’s problem of a lack of pace and the tricky right winger was able to build an immediate connection with right back Seamus Coleman in a similar fashion to the partnership of Pienaar and Baines on the left. A partnership that was one of the most fruitful partnerships of 2012/13.
Many Everton fans are now used to seeing Mirallas’s name on the team sheet, and when it isn’t, they assume it’s down to injury. So how has he become one of Everton’s most important players after such a short time at Goodison Park and what makes him the player he is?
In an injury hit first season, Mirallas still managed to net 9 times with 2 assists, becoming an instant fan favourite with his slick, pacey dribbling and use of skills to beat his opponents. These talents were shown when Mirallas scored a brilliant individual goal against Stoke on 30 March 2013. The Belgian received a loose ball on the halfway line then skipped away from Steven N’Zonzi before turning last defender Geoff Cameron inside out and finishing his great work off with a cool finish past Asmir Begović.
One way to become an instant Everton success is to play well in the Merseyside derby, and help Everton to get one over on Liverpool, and when Mirallas came up against Jose Enrique in the derby, he absolutely tore him apart. Starting on the right hand side of midfield, his pace and skill when getting to the byline far surpassed Enrique’s ability to stop him, and time and time again Mirallas was both providing opportunities for his team mates and taking some shots himself. On that day in particular he seemed to be the missing piece in a flourishing Everton attack that bombarded the Liverpool goal. Even when switching to the left hand side and taking on Glen Johnson, Mirallas made him look foolish by easily skipping past him and getting to Liverpool’s byline. It was after that game that Everton fans saw him as their right midfielder.
So what does he bring to the team? One of his best attributes is his sheer pace, something that opposite winger Steven Pieenar doesn’t have. This brings a whole new dimention to Everton’s wing play, the ability to get down the line, beat defenders and cross the ball for new striker Romelu Lukaku, a tactic that was shown in the striker’s winning goal against West Ham, from a Mirallas cross.
He also brings a wide range of skills and technical ability with the ball at his feet, from stepovers to spins, he always has a way to beat a defender and get a pass or shot off. This has got him out of sticky situations with defenders numerous times and is what makes him such a handful, that has been terrorising defenders since his arrival.
In his most recent appearance for Everton, he scored a perfect inside of the right foot goal from 20 yards to give Everton the lead against Hull, a match they went on to win 2-1 after a goal from Steven Pienaar sealed the 3 points.
Overall, Kevin Mirallas brings everything to the Everton team that they had been missing for quite some time, a quick tricky right winger that can pitch in with some goals but mainly creates chances for his striker. The fact that he is also developing a partnership with right back Seamus Coleman is only a bonus and something that Everton fans can look forward to seeing develop in seasons to come.