Kevin Mirallas is blossoming under Roberto Martinez’s management and his performances are helping to keep Everton in contention for the Champions League.
These such statements have previously been reserved for Romelu Lukaku but the plaudits are now firmly on his fellow Belgians shoulders – now the stage has been reached where mental strength is as crucial as skill, Mirallas is coming to the fore.
His new found game of digging deep might come as a surprise to some fans. When he first arrived in August 2012, Mirallas had no problem showing off his nice touches but his stomach for the fight was often questioned.
Yet Mirallas has scored in 12 Everton games and is yet to finish on the losing side with ten wins and two draws in the games he has scored in.
But the Belgians change in mentality is down to some stern words from his father, Jose, who triggered a significant shift in his son’s outlook along with the guidance of Martinez.
Mirallas has not missed a Barclays Premier League game since January 21st last year and his ability to go the distance was evident to everyone in the win over Aston Villa – his sublime free-kick securing that victory.
“Before it used to be that I would play one game well, then two games not so good,” said Mirallas.
“Now I can play good consistently a lot more. I spoke with the manager and I spoke with my father. My father told me I had quality but sometimes my mentality wasn’t good. That had to change. I spoke to some of the other players here too but my father made the difference. I feel very fit and very good as my mentality changed. I can play strong and well in every game.”
The Belgian international had the confidence to tell Leighton Baines to step aside to take the free-kick himself. He said: “We had to win; now we have one point more than Tottenham. Next game is Tottenham away and we will go there for three points. It is not finished with (us and) fourth place.”
Martinez is full of praise for Mirallas too and says that he is developing into an incredible player. The boss has said that the Belgian has matured into one of Everton’s most important players and says that the 26-year-old is now setting an example for his team mates and has become a different footballer from the one who started the season.
“Earlier in the season he was a player helping the team but now he is desperate to set standards week in, week out.”
Have your say. What do you think of Mirallas’ performances this season?