Struggling Gylfi Sigurdsson

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Sam Allardyce believes Gylfi Sigurdsson has struggled to cope with the pressure of playing for Everton and the manager plans to bring in a sports psychologist to address the mental frailties of his new charges.

The Icelander became Everton’s £45m club record buy, making him £17m more expensive than any previous signing at Goodison Park, when he arrived from Swansea in August and Allardyce feels he has found it difficult to adjust to the demands of life at a higher-profile club.
Sigurdsson, who scored just his third goal for his new club in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Huddersfield Town, had a two-season spell at Tottenham Hotspur before rejoining Swansea City but he was not burdened with the expectation that comes with such a huge price tag during his days at White Hart Lane. Allardyce thinks the transfer has brought a culture shock to the player who recorded the third most assists in the Premier League last season but who, because of his cost, has become the face of Everton’s £140m summer recruitment drive.
“It is a big club,” he Ben Hutton Authentic Jersey explained. “No disrespect to Swansea, you are playing on a bigger stage so you have to have a greater mentality to come out and produce because the demand is higher to play for Everton.
“All fans want entertaining but they want to see a level of ability, too. It is big pressure and a lot of the other players who have come from abroad because of the start of the season, [and] the Europa League, it has not given them a real opportunity to settle in and be able to produce at Everton so that is a disappointment.”
Sigurdsson’s protracted move was finally completed on 16 August, depriving him of a pre-season with his new team-mates, and he had also missed Swansea’s summer tour amid uncertainty about his future. Allardyce is convinced that rendered his start more difficult.
“Gylfi came so late because of the ongoing saga of ‘How much will he be and will Swansea let him go? Will they or won’t they?’” he said. “In that time he wasn’t really training with the first team and it wasn’t happening for him Kevon Looney Youth jersey in terms of a full pre-season. So he is on catch-up.”
Everton have seen only glimpses of Sigurdsson’s ability amid a continuing debate about how to accommodate him and Wayne Rooney. The Icelander opened his account for his new club from 50 yards against Hajduk Split and scored again in spectacular style against Southampton last Sunday. A closer-range strike against Huddersfield had a rarity value.
If he ranks as Everton’s most expensive underachiever this season, he is far from the only one. While Huddersfield were defeated in part because of Allardyce’s half-time rejig, his initial work has been concentrated more on the psychological than the tactical.
Everton have endured the worst European group campaign of any English club and briefly dropped into the relegation zone in a traumatic start to the season under Ronald Koeman. While the caretaker David Unsworth had selected the side for Wednesday’s 4-0 win over West Ham, Allardyce has sought to engineer improvement. “I just had five minutes and talked about a few pointers about how you get better,” he added.
He has forged a reputation as both a man-manager and a motivator but has always been willing to call upon experts in specific fields. “Eventually there will not only be us who deliver psychologically, in terms of wanting to make the players stronger mentally,” he said.


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