Yerry Minaís default setting is a wide grin and laid-back manner; taking things in his stride.
Itís an outlook which has served him well on his journey thus far, from Bogota to Brazil and then Barcelona, and has also made him a big hit on Merseyside, where he is a popular figure in the Everton dressing room. But even Mina could have been forgiven for a frown and moment of concern on Saturday evening.
While his team recovered from a shaky start to blow 10-man West Brom away, Carlo Ancelotti was not all praise and plaudits afterwards. Everton conceded the first goal of the game and it left few in royal blue covered in glory: from James Rodriguez and Andre Gomes to Mina and Jordan Pickford. But itís Mina who, on closer inspection, perhaps disappoints the most, backing off the rampaging Grady Diangana and allowing the West Brom man space and time to try his luck.
ďYerry had an average game, I think he could be more aggressive and do more with the ball,Ē said Ancelotti afterwards, once he had finishing waxing lyrical about his teamís attacking. ďThe only aspect we have to look at is him being more aggressive when he can press the opening.Ē
Itís hardly tearing Mina, who turns 26 today, apart but it was an unusually blunt assessment from the Italian. Itís also a fair one.
Mina was brought to Everton for £27 million in the summer of 2018 on the back of an eye-catching World Cup with Colombia. His aerial presence in both boxes and stout tackling brought him to the attention of a host of clubs who were aware that Barcelona were prepared to sell. Evertonís director of football Marcel Brands admitted to dismay when Mina scored against England during that tournament, concerned others may gazump his pursuit of the defender.
(Photo: Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
In the end he got his man, but Evertonians have yet to see consistent evidence of the player Brands was so eager to capture. So far his form has been patchy. Mina has good games, he has poor games, he gets injured.
Almost a year ago, Ancelottiís predecessor Marco Silva was praising the Colombian in his programme notes before the home game against newly-promoted Sheffield United. In return, Mina scored an own goal and was partly culpable in the build-up to the visitors scoring their second goal in a 2-0 win. Itís characteristic of his inconsistency so far.
Headers of the type he squeezed past Pickford during that World Cup have been few and far between, even if heís always a threat from set pieces, but itís the flaws highlighted by Ancelotti that cause more concern. He would benefit from more aggression and decisiveness, both in snuffing out danger and seizing the opportunity to start the play, if heís to avoid more uncomfortable critiques from his manager.
Against West Brom it was Minaís defensive partner Michael Keane who attempted more passes and completed more of them successfully. It was the same story at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on the opening weekend too. It is on the turn, in particular, when fast opponents are running at him, that Mina seems vulnerable.
The reality is that Mason Holgateís absence owing to a toe injury suffered at the end of pre-season, which could see him sidelined for another 10 weeks or so, offers Mina a big opportunity. When Holgate is fit, Evertonís current first-choice central defensive partnership is the 23-year-old and Keane, who recently signed a new long-term contract extension.
Holgate might not have the same towering presence as Mina but he is more mobile, as good at reading the game and increasingly better at playing the ball forward through the opposition press. Itís a quality Ancelotti prizes highly and no doubt something he might have expected to see more of from a player with Barcelona on his CV.
For now, Everton remain on the hunt for another centre-back, to boost what was already a thin quota of defenders even with the promise of 18-year-old Jarrad Branthwaite. After the teenager was also injured in the Carabao Cup win over Salford City last week, the urgency to bring in a defender on loan only intensified.
As it stands, Evertonís interest in Chelseaís Fikayo Tomori seems to have cooled. Frank Lampard used the 22-year-old against Liverpool, and Tomori would likely want a move that guaranteed him more playing time; something Everton could not necessarily promise with everyone fit.
That leaves them looking at both ends of the age scale: younger defenders from European clubs who want to come and be involved in the Premier League, or older ones who wonít complain if theyíre not playing every weekend.
There is little over a fortnight of the window remaining. But given the type of loan Everton are looking at, the window for Mina to really convince should be open a bit longer.
He just needs to start seizing it.