The father of West Ham midfielder Nikola Vlašić insists his son was right to go to Everton earlier in his career, with circumstances simply working against him at Goodison Park.

Vlasic returned to England this summer after a spell in Russia, where he had established himself as the star of the show for CSKA Moscow at home and in the Champions League.

That led West Ham to pay £30m for his services, a fee that shows they have no concerns about his previously disappointing spell with Everton.

He had joined the Blues from Hajduk Split in a £9.27m deal in 2017 after impressing against them in the Europa League.

There were high hopes for him, and he showed plenty of positive signs in his early days, but circumstances at the club worked against him.

The arrival of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Wayne Rooney that summer meant there was intense competition for Vlasic’s favourite number ten spot, while turmoil at the club meant chances in the first-team were limited.

He was eventually loaned out to CSKA and then shipped out permanently, but his father insists they don’t look back on it negatively.

Embed from Getty Images

“It was a good decision, but the circumstances did not go his way,” he told Nacional.

“Everton were boosted that summer by extremely expensive midfield reinforcements, paid 25 to 43 million euros, who had to play, and he was placed in the right-wing position. Nikola is the best in the midfield as a ten or as an eight.

“The right-back who used to go very low, almost to the goalkeeper’s wing, and Nikola was left with a huge space that he had to constantly cover. So he was very exhausted in the up and down sprint, sometimes more than 70m.

“Despite such circumstances and poor results, Nikola has often been apostrophized by audiences, journalists and coach Koeman as a rare bright spot for Everton.

“The coach was soon fired, and his successors had some players of their own and some other ideas.

“At every training session, Nikola showed his quality, and when Rooney left the club, he approached him and said: “Just keep going, and you will be a great player.”