Carlo Ancelotti left James Rodriguez out of his Everton side against Leeds on Wednesday and allowed Gylfi Sigurdsson to take centre stage.

Sigurdsson was deployed in the number ten role and opened the scoring before sending in the corner which allowed Dominic Calvert-Lewin to make it 2-0.

The Icelandic star was also key to keeping Kalvin Phillips quiet, after he absolutely ran the show at Goodison Park back in November.

In an exclusive chat with Nigel Martyn, we asked him about how good Sigurdsson’s performance was and it’s fair to say he was impressed.

Leeds United v Everton - Premier League
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“He played very well (against Leeds),” said Martyn. “Playing in that number ten role really suits him.

“Playing away to Leeds suited him in the respect he got a bit more space because of the way Leeds play and the amount of players he threw forward. Nice touches on the ball, got his goal and his delivery is always excellent.

“He had a really good game and a real influence on the result. That number ten role is to get up and support Calvert-Lewin but also to get in and sit on Phillips.

“In that reverse fixture Phillips ran the show and it was probably his favourite fixture of the whole season. But when somebody attaches themselves to you, it’s harder to play.

“Something Ancelotti’s very good at is setting up his team to nullify the opposition. But you’ve got to do both, attack when you do get the ball and it was a good away performance from Everton in that respect.”

Liverpool v Everton
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Sigurdsson is arguably enjoying his best season in an Everton shirt and has seemingly responded to the arrival of Rodriguez by raising his game accordingly.

Ancelotti could trust him to do his defensive work on Phillips as well as providing match-winning contributions going forward.

That’s the ideal combination for an attacking midfielder and Ancelotti will be looking for more of the same at Old Trafford this weekend.

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