Rafa Benitez is ‘really pleased’ with how Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure has taken on board his advice to push up into the opposition box, via quotes by the Liverpool Echo.

The Spaniard has repeatedly encouraged Doucoure to offer a box-to-box presence since taking charge at Goodison Park this summer. He believes the Frenchman has the energy and potential to thrive in the role, and is doing well so far.

Doucoure has started all six of Everton’s Premier League fixtures under Benitez to date and has scored two goals. The £75k-a-week technician has also recorded three assists, with an array of defence-splitting passes over his appearances this term.

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Doucoure shared earlier this week how multiple aspects of his game have changed under Benitez at Everton. The 28-year-old’s five goal involvements to date match his total return under Carlo Ancelotti over 29 top-flight games after leaving Watford for £20m last year.

Benitez has no doubt that Doucoure can still improve at Goodison Park, and explained that he is constantly telling him to push forward.

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“With Doucoure, it’s clear he has the energy and potential to get in the box,” Benitez said. “I told him so many times: ‘Go’. He’s doing well and focused on that, so I’m really pleased. That is an extra motivation for any player.”

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Is Benitez unlocking another level to Doucoure at Everton?

Doucoure has clearly taken Benitez’s encouragement to push forward and ran with it for Everton this season. And the Toffees are reaping the rewards, with the Frenchman prising open opposition defences to create chances and score.

Burnley fell victim to Doucoure’s greater attacking influence last month with his piercing through-balls feeding Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend. He is also getting into the box more often than under Ancelotti to get onto crosses when not the playmaker.

Doucoure has always been a hard runner from the centre, but showed great composure to score against Norwich last weekend. Sealing the win for Benitez with an expertly struck shot after Gray seized on sloppy midfield play from the Canaries.

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