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Wednesday 04 April 2012

Bilic impressed with Jelavic form

Former Everton defender hails impact of January signing from Rangers

Everton striker Nikica Jelavic has made a fine start to his Goodison Park career

Former Everton defender Slaven Bilic is confident striker Nikica Jelavic will make a lasting impression at Goodison Park.

Jelavic's performances for Everton have impressed so far and he has scored two goals in seven Barclays Premier League appearances since joining from Rangers in the January transfer window.

Bilic, the current Croatia manager, watched his compatriot in Everton's 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday and said Jelavic is enjoying life on Merseyside.

"He is a good link player and in my opinion is ideal for Everton"
- Slaven Bilic

"I spoke to Nikica the other night and he is very happy here, he has made a dream start but I am sure it is not just a start – he will last here for a long time," Bilic told the club's official website.

"He is flying and is so happy. He is a guy who is down to earth but also very self-confident. He knew he needed a good start and he has made one.

"There is always a doubt when a player signs [for a new club] because you meet new team-mates, maybe there’s a new system and tactics so some players need time to adapt.

"You maybe need a little bit of luck as a striker to get a goal straight away. He has got that and now I expect him to play even better for the Blues."

Bilic, who played for Everton between 1997 and 1999, has selected Nikica Jelavic for Croatia on 18 occasions over the last three years.

Quality player

And Bilic says the signing of Jelavic was a shrewd move by the Toffees.

"It was easy for me [to predict Jelavic would be a success] because I have known him since he was a kid," added Bilic.

"He is an honest player, a quality player and exactly what Everton needed. Sure, they have a great squad here but I felt they needed a proper centre forward and he has started very well.

"Modern football is so competitive, physical and tight so you need a player up front who can hold the ball but is always very dangerous in the box.

"Nikica is good in the build-up, good in every part of the game really and is also very hard for an opponent to mark. He is a good link player and in my opinion is ideal for Everton."

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Key Points

  • Slaven Bilic impressed with the start Nikica Jelavic has made at Everton
  • Striker has scored two Barclays Premier League goals
  • Croatia manager Bilic is confident forward's form will continue