Oumar Niasse scored more goals for the reserves in 90 minutes than he has done at all for the first-team after a empathic display on Monday.
Niasse became the third most expensive player in Everton’s history when he arrived at Goodison Park for £13.5 million in January following a prolific spell in Russia, according to the BBC.
However, the 26-year-old’s Premier League dream quickly descended into a nightmare as a series of subpar performances saw him slip down the pecking order under Roberto Martinez before being frozen out completely following Ronald Koeman’s arrival from Southampton this summer (below).
Niasse admitted in a recent interview with the Guardian that he was upset about the way the club had treated him after his shirt number and locker were taken away, but has continued to perform impressively since being demoted to the reserves.
And Unsworth says Niasse’s clinical performance against Reading demonstrated the quality that has been conspicuous by its absence since his arrival.
“Oumar was terrific. He scored three great goals,” Unsworth said in an interview on Everton’s Twitter account.
“With Dominic Calvert-Lewin, he led the line well and he’s a good finisher. So we were delighted for him.
“He’s had a tough time and that’s football. What the future holds for Oumar, who knows? What will be will be, but his attitude, his application and his quality have been there for all to see.”
No matter how many times Niasse finds the net in the under-23s, however, he appears unlikely to claw his way back into the club’s first-team plans with the distinctly unimpressed Koeman at the helm.
However, any prospective injury to talismanic goalscorer Romelu Lukaku (below) could force Koeman’s hand, with the Belgian having netted over a third of Everton’s Premier League goals since the start of last season.