After some increasingly influential performances for Everton, Amadou Onana is now away with Belgium for the upcoming international break.
Onana has had an up and down time at Goodison Park since he signed in the summer of 2022 under then manager Frank Lampard.
Following his capture from Lille that summer the Belgian midfielder showed glimpses of the athleticism and talent that had persuaded Lampard to shell out close to £30 million for him.
At times he looked every inch the modern midfield dynamo working box-to-box, winning challenges, running with the ball at the opposition and spreading passes around.
However there were also times when he looked lost and way off the pace in the Premier League struggling to get to grips with the match or his opponents.
One of the problems was that he was moved around in terms of his starting position and main responsibilities by Lampard.
Sometimes he was operating in a more advanced role and at other times he played deeper with greater defensive obligations.
When Sean Dyche took over in January, he deployed a five-man midfield with Onana operating in the central three alongside Abdoulaye Doucoure and Idrissa Gueye.
They formed the basis of Dyche’s tactical approach to make his Everton side much harder to break down and score against than had been the case with the more attack-minded Lampard, whose sides has become increasingly and worryingly open.
For a while it worked quite well although Onana wasn’t always first-choice and the Blues reduced the number of goals they conceded as Dyche was able to finally plot a route to survival at the end of that campaign.
When this current campaign started Onana wasn’t an automatic choice again and Dyche seemed to prefer the experienced veterans Gueye and Doucoure more often.
The Belgian then got a chance to play in the centre alongside James Garner in the Carabao Cup tie at Aston Villa and they immediately appeared to hit it off working well together in that 2-1 win.
Since then the pair have generally been impressive together when they start in the centre, with Doucoure operating as a more advanced attacking player in support of Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
So, he has become a much more integral individual as Dyche tries to build on the recent momentum of the Toffees unbeaten run.
Onana missed the draw at Brighton and went off in last Saturday’s win at Crystal Palace, nominally as a precaution.
And the Everton manager will be very glad to hear that Belgium manager Dominco Tedesco isn’t thinking of playing him in Blegium’s upcoming matches as he becomes a vital cog in Dyche’s team.