Not good enough short passing/control to be a defensive midfielder that sits deep
Not sure he has the positional awareness to be a roving ball magnet like Kante or Gueye
Definitely doesn't have the skill, intelligence, leadership, to be Viera
Doesn't have the passing range to be a Pogba
Doesn't have the close control or dribbling to be an attacking midfielder
What he does have is all round footballing ability, athleticism, superb engine, ability to arrive in the box, lots of 7/10 attributes but maybe nothing world class. Start of the season I was worried we'd resort to playing him as a no.10 to hold the ball up and disrupt things like Fellaini did. But I'm glad that we have sufficient attacking threat and defensive cover to give him a box to box mandate and permission to bomb on.
I doubt he'll get many caps for France, but I think he's a very good PL player and Benitez really understands how to get the most from his game.
...beast as you say. Once again the FSW is getting the very best out of player after player by a combination of coaching, support, foregrounding an individual's strengths and putting round pegs in round holes within a system.
So far I'd say he's improved:
Townsend & Gray (obv)
Coleman going forward
Gomes too on yesterday's evidence.
Keane, Mina & Holgate - too early to tell? Takes time to build/rebuild a defensive unit.
Pickford - encouraged to play long to take advantage of his kicking accuracy.
DCL and Richie maybe not so much... yet.
Against these, Digne has been quiet in the new-look side. Perhaps he's being asked to cover for Gray's relative weakness in tracking back and tackling.
The biggest change has been the midfield. The two dangerous wingers have allowed Allan and Doucoure to flourish in their own central midfield jobs and not have to cover others' weaknesses.