Kieran Dowell said the ‘Wayne Rooney factor’ is helping to bring out the best in him after the midfielder produced another eye-catching performance in the friendly win against FC Twente.
Fresh from scoring a stunner in the 2-1 win against Gor Mahia in Tanzania last week, Dowell chipped in with a sublime left-foot finish to add the gloss to Everton’s 3-0 victory over their Dutch opponents.
That strike capped an excellent second-half display from the England Under-20 World Cup winner, who is seizing his chance to impress manager Ronald Koeman during the Blues’ pre-season friendly campaign.
And Dowell said he is reaping the benefits of playing alongside the likes of Rooney and fellow new signing Davy Klaassen as he seeks to make his mark in the first team.
“He’s been quality,” said Dowell, referring to the positive influence Rooney has had on the Everton squad since his arrival from Manchester United.
“As a local lad as well, he’s really taken to us young local lads and really helped us.
“Even sitting next to me in the first half, he was giving me tips before I came on, so it’s really good to have someone like him in the squad.
“It was great playing with Wazza and Davy (Klaassen) in the second half, and with Cuco Martina overlapping down the right, I thought it worked really well.”
Dowell is one of a number of young Blues staking a strong claim for a place in Koeman’s squad for next week’s Europa League qualifier at Goodison.
Ademola Lookman and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who were also part of England Under 20’s World Cup winning squad this summer, similarly impressed against FC Twente and Dowell believes the Blues’ young lions are spurring each other on.
“I think we’ve fit into the group really well,” said the midfielder of his England colleagues.
“There’s a lot of young lads in the squad and I think that’s healthy because young lads bring loads of energy, and that also keeps the older lads on their toes as well.
“There’s loads of people fighting for places - it’s probably difficult to name the side at the moment - so there’s plenty of healthy competition.”
The players now have one last chance to impress the manager, in Saturday’s friendly game versus Genk in Belgium, before all attention turns to the Europa League.
Dowell added: “It’s a case of just getting more match fitness on Saturday and then the next game is around the corner next Thursday, so we’re looking forward to it.”