Everton manager Marco Silva admits he had a challenge convincing Ademola Lookman about his future but is convinced the youngster has the talent to have a successful career at the club.
A year ago the 21-year-old forced a January loan move to RB Leipzig despite then boss Sam Allardyce not wanting him to leave even though he had barely played him.
Lookman scored five goals in 11 appearances for Leipzig, leading to the Bundesliga club making a concerted effort to sign him permanently – with the player keen to go – only to have a £25million bid rebuffed in late August.
The winger was restricted to just seven substitute appearances in the opening three months of the Premier League season but has featured in six of the nine league matches since November, including back-to-back starts in the last two games.
“He is playing because he is deserving,” said Silva.
“We have a good challenge with him and step-by-step we convinced him of his quality, although I don’t think he has a doubt about that.
“He can help us and we can help him to achieve what he wants – to play football and enjoy football.
“He is a talent in my opinion, he has everything there. Some things he has to change and he knows what I want.
“He knows what I am demanding from him – and it is nothing different from the others.
“He can really improve and have a fantastic career.”
Lookman could make it four successive starts if selected for the FA Cup fourth-round tie at struggling Sky Bet Championship side Millwall.
With inconsistency dogging their league campaign the knockout competition offers a welcome distraction.
Majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri and chairman Bill Kenwright have both publicly expressed their desire for a long cup run but Silva insists that has not added extra pressure.
“Nothing more than what we put behind ourselves,” he added.
“At a club like Everton it is normal. Since the first day we knew it was going to be an important competition as a club.
“What the chairman and the owner said is the same we are saying every day at Finch Farm, nothing different.
“At the moment we have two important competitions for us. I can’t say this competition is bigger or not.
“What has happened in the last few games is not important any more. Of course we are not happy with our last performance (defeat at Southampton) but now it is a new game.
“You have to prove on the pitch why you are the favourite for the match.”
Meanwhile, the Toffees have made it clear striker Cenk Tosun will not be allowed to leave on loan in the current window.
Press Association Sport understands Crystal Palace made a tentative, informal approach about the availability of the Turkey international, who has scored just twice this season, but were informed the club have no intention of allowing a temporary deal.