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HE MAY have delivered an unequivocal ear-bashing last weekend, but David Moyes is also happy to impart more soothing words for Jermaine Beckford.
The Everton manager was quick to remind Beckford of what is expected when he pulls on a Blue shirt as his work-rate faltered against Wolves last Saturday.
But overall Moyes is pleased with the contribution of the 27-year-old he signed for nothing from Leeds United last summer.
And he admits that he saw something in Beckford during various spying missions before his capture, that reminded him of some of the great goal poachers.
“He has definitely got goals in him,” he says. “That’s why I signed him. Some of the best movement I’ve ever seen in the box was by John Aldridge. I thought he was brilliant, I used to think ‘how the heck does he keep on scoring?’.
Š“Robbie Fowler was another with great movement in the box. He’d take the centre-back one way then the other, then suck the defender in and spin off the other side.
Š“I think Beckford has all of that in the box. In terms of movement in the box, he’s right up there. He is very, very hard to mark.”
Moyes believes that Beckford, who has scored nine goals in total so far this season, has lived up to his hopes - even if he does want the former non-league marks-man to show greater desire.
Š“He has done what I hoped he would have done, which was by the end of the season becoming more regular in the team and understanding more about what it’s all about. I can see him beginning to look that way,” he says.
Š“He actually started the first game of the season at Blackburn, and I knew then that it was too soon. He wasn’t ready.
Š“He probably needed six months of seeing how the Premier League worked – he was jumping up two divisions, don’t forget – and he needed to be coming off the bench and starting cup games.
Š“He wasn’t ready to start back then, but now he is. He can score in any division, the Premier League, the fourth division. All of them.
Š“Goals breed confidence for forwards, and Jermaine thrives on them. I have seen that. When you are that type of player where much of your game is about yours goals, and you aren’t maybe that involved in the rest of it, and you aren’t getting the goals, then what other part do you play?
Š“But he is starting to get his goals. He was one-on-one twice with the keeper against Villa, and there are very few games where he hasn’t had a chance at goal. That’s a good record.”
Moyes accepts that he had to temper his expectations of Beckford based on the meagre financial outlay required to bring him to Goodison.
Š“We always knew we were taking a chance with Jermaine. We were in a financial situation last year where we couldn’t spend much, and we thought we’d give Jermaine a try on a free transfer,” he says.
ŠŠ“We’ve had to make allowances for him a little bit. If I had paid £10m I might have been more worried. But I’m not. We both knew when he signed that we were both taking a chance.
Š“If he wants it, he can really step up to the Premier League. He has the ability. But now it’s a lot to do with his desire.
Š“He maybe has to come out of that comfort he has been in. He knows he has gone to Leeds and scored, he’s gone to Scunthorpe and scored.
Š“But when you step up to one of the top clubs in the country and are playing against international defenders, although you might score you need to keep stepping up and stepping up.”
Self-sacrifice and work-rate are bare minimums for any Moyes team, and they are qualities he hopes Beckford fully absorbs.
Š“You have to do it for the team. You can’t just score the goal and think ‘that’s me, I’m done’,” he says. “At Everton we require more than that.
Š“His work rate has improved. We need him at the moment. He gives us an outlet, he is able to run in behind defences and he gives us speed up front.
Š“Our other centre forwards tend to come towards the ball but Becks can get in behind defences. But if you are going to be that kind of player, you have to keep on doing it.
Š“This week in training, I think he’s shown that he realised he needs to up it another notch again.
Š“For 45 minutes against Wolves he played really well. He scored a header, could have maybe scored another one, set up the goal for Phil Neville, and had another he could have played in.
ŠŠ“So it’s up to him. How much does he want to really make himself a Premier League player? If he wants that, he can do that.”