Everton boss David Moyes believes Nikica Jelavic can make use of the summer break to “freshen up” and bounce back in the next season as a better player.

The 27-year-old striker has struggled for form this campaign, finding the back of the net just eight times in 40 matches.

As a result, the Croatian footballer has lost his regular place in Moyes’ starting unit, with the manager instead opting to play Victor Anichebe in the frontline.

Jelavic’s pitiful stats are in sharp contrast to his startling entry into the Premier League in January last year. After making a switch from Glasgow Rangers to Everton for a mere £5 million transfer fee, the prolific forward smashed home 11 goals in just 16 matches, playing a pivotal role in the Toffees upsurge in the second half of the season.

Moyes, who started with Jelavic last week in his side’s 1-0 win over Fulham for the first time in four weeks, expressed his optimism that the striker will soon rediscover his form and feels that the upcoming summer break could aid his cause.

He told the reporters: “We left him out for a few weeks. But we'll persevere and hope for the day when he gets his form and his goals back. The summer might freshen him up.”

The Merseyside club currently occupy the six slot in the table – five points shy of European places.

Their manifest weakness upfront could be attributed ultimately to their failure to finish inside the top-four places.

The Goodison Park chief admitted the club needed a striker who can notch up 15-20 goals in a season and backed Jelavic to take up this role next term.

The Scott also said that despite his poor recent form, the Croat remained a popular figure amongst the fans who are aware of the striker’s true potential.

He added: “I think with Jela, it's a bit of second-season syndrome, or a bit of a loss of confidence. So we need to give him the chances. We want to keep giving him opportunities to go and get his form back.

"The crowd are desperate for him to do well, you can tell. There are other players who would maybe get criticised but he doesn't because the crowd know how he's done and what he is capable of.” 

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