Everton boss Roberto Martinez is confident Christian Atsu has returned from the African Cup of Nations a better player and can help his side turn their season around, the Daily Star reports.
However, his Africa Cup of Nations form was in stark contrast to his performances on Merseyside and Toffees boss Martinez is confident he will return a different player.
"I have always been aware Christian maybe needed a bit of a period to settle into the British game. Wingers rely on balance, one on one situations, and need time to adapt over here,” he explained.
"When he went to Africa Cup of Nations, I felt he was getting stronger in training and having a big influence.
"I always felt the second half of season would be his time and felt he would play a lot when he came back. He will have opportunities to show the player he is."
Can Christian Atsu turn Everton’s season around?
The Goodison Park outfit have been one of the biggest surprises of the 2014-15 campaign, but unfortunately for them for all of the wrong reasons.
After accumulating a record 72 points last season, Martinez and his men have desperately struggled this term and lie in 12th place, just five points above the relegation zone.
With just six wins all season – one in their last nine – many observers have questioned their defence, but equally the Merseysiders have been lacking on the creative front.
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The Blues-owned winger Atsu has barely featured this season, and, as shown by Opta Stats, when he has there has been little to show for the pre-season hype which greeted his arrival at the club.
However, there is undeniable talent there and if Martinez can extract just half of the 23-year-old’s ability displayed in Equatorial Guinea then the Spaniard and his side are on to a winner.
With the Toffees’ experience of late surges in the second half of the Premier League campaign, it appears only a spark is needed to get them going and Atsu has all the tools and ability to be their catalyst.