Everton midfielder Darron Gibson believes striker Nikica Jelavic's predatory instincts make him similar to the likes of Michael Owen and Ruud van Nistelrooy.

The Croatia international may not have been able to replicate last season's stunning impact of 11 goals in 16 matches having arrived in January, with six in 17 games this campaign.

But Gibson thinks the quality of the striker means he will get plenty more for the Toffees.

"He's a bit like Michael Owen or Van Nistelrooy in the box," said the Republic of Ireland international.

"He's first class and I don't think there's many better than him in the Premier League at the moment.

"The vein of form he had when he first came was special and from a football point of view I think we knew he couldn't keep it up constantly.

"Every striker goes through a lean spell but it hasn't taken him too long to score again.

"He's definitely up there with the best goal scorers I've played with to be honest. His finishing is unbelievable."

"I don't think there's many better than him in the Premier League at the moment" - Darron Gibson

Gibson said Jelavic makes life easier for him with the options he offers.

"He makes some great runs and he makes the passes easier for me," he told the Liverpool Echo.

"He makes my decision for me by his movement. He's a great player and luckily he's scoring again which is important for us."

Gibson is currently in international exile after pulling out of the Ireland squad to play Kazakhstan in September. 

Manager Giovanni Trapattoni said recently: "It certainly seems he is not ready to come back at the moment.

"I have been in contact with him, just to wish him a happy Christmas, but we will continue to follow him."