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Gueye Reflects On First Season

by Andy Lewis @efc_andylewis

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Despite only four starts and as many substitute appearances, Magaye Gueye has already done enough to suggest the reported £1m paid for his services was an absolute steal.

The France Under-21 star, signed from Strasbourg last summer, made an immediate impact for the Reserves and, after recovering from injury, forced his way into the first-team reckoning in the last month of the season.

With plenty of pace, a trick up his sleeve and an eye for goal he is the sort of player to excite supporters, while his teammates are also appreciative of his ability.

His first season was always likely to be one spent acclimatising to life in a new country and at a new club and his vastly improved English is testament to his progress.

Rewind 12 months and he barely knew a word. The name 'Everton' and the words 'five-year contract' had put a smile on his face but he was very much at the start of a path.

“It was difficult at first,” Gueye told evertonfc.com. “When I first came here I was a little homesick. I did not know many people, did not understand the language and did not know my way around.”

Learning the language has been important for the young Frenchman and several of his teammates have been particularly helpful on that front.

“My English has really improved,” he added. “Sylvain and Louis have helped me a lot and practise with me, also Seamus and Bily as we live in the same building. My girlfriend speaks very good English too and she helps me a lot.

“It has helped me settle. I like Liverpool and feel good here. The people are nice and I feel happy and confident living in the city. I have favourite restaurants, cafes and shops and feel good.”

On the pitch Everton fans have been treated to a few telling glimpses of Gueye’s talent.

An early exit in the League Cup probably cost him a few opportunities in the early part of the season but he did manage one particularly eye-catching display in the 5-1 win over Huddersfield Town in the second round.

His performances for the Reserves frequently earned praise from boss Alan Stubbs, while he never seemed to fail to score when away with France Under-21s.

An injury during the middle part of the season slowed his progress towards the first-team and it wasn’t until the final month of the campaign that the talented youngster got his Premier League chance.

“My first game was against Aston Villa,” Gueye added. “I think I did quite well for the 20 minutes I was on the pitch and we got a draw.

“After that I played at Wolverhampton and in that game I was so tired. I wasn’t sure why but I had very little energy. I had a chance to score but it didn’t happen.  Hopefully I will score my first goal soon. My last game was against Blackburn and I had some good moments in that game too. I thought I played better.”

Gueye insists he has improved in the past year but the biggest change in him has been physically. He feels he has had to toughen up ready for a career in England’s top-flight.

“It is the biggest difference,” he said. “Here you have to be strong and ready to fight for every ball. In France it is not like that. I have had to get stronger and I am ready now.”

 

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