David Moyes has lavished praise on Nikica Jelavic for the manner in which he has embraced the responsibility of being Everton´s main striker.

Moyes: “Being the main striker for Everton is a big responsibility but Nikica has embraced it. He is a good lad off the pitch and has settled into the area very quickly. He mixes well, helped by the fact he speaks good English, well, in his case, Scottish, after his years in Glasgow. His emergence has refreshed the Croatia squad and they will provide a tough opening game for Ireland”

“When somebody scores goals in the SPL, people will always say: “Ah, but it’s only Scotland.” You have to be careful but Nikica Jelavic has proved in his short time for us at Everton that he’s a goalscorer whatever league he plays in.

“When I was scouting him I made sure I saw him in Old Firm games. Sometimes I was impressed, at others I came away disappointed. But my contacts in Scotland kept saying “Jelavic, Jelavic” and Davie Weir [now a coach at Everton] kept telling me he was terrific. He was the one who tipped me over the edge on Nikica.

“You can tell pretty quickly what you’ve bought. You’re looking for the signs in the new player’s first training session. I thought immediately: “He looks a player all right.”

“Everything about him was impressive from the start. He had to get used to a greater intensity of training and higher tempo in matches but, once he did, he began proving himself an incredible bargain at £5m. We were desperate for someone to score goals and in his very first start he produced a brilliant finish against Tottenham. That gave everyone — him, the fans, the other players — confidence that the move would work out and he didn’t stop there, scoring 11 times in 16 appearances.

“One big thing is that he has made all the other players play 10% better. Suddenly someone is finishing off all their play. They played the same ball into the box but now somebody was putting it into the net and that gave them the confidence to try more things. Players raise their game if someone comes in and starts playing at a new level”.

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