Davy Klaassen says it is time for Everton to “show what we can do” – but the attacker is warning his side to expect a demanding test when they attempt to kick start their European campaign against Lyon at Goodison on Thursday (8.05pm kick-off).
Klaassen’s Ajax team contested an exhilarating two-legged Europa League semi-final with French outfit Lyon back in May, eventually prevailing 5-4 on aggregate.
Furthermore, the Dutchman, who left Ajax for Everton four months ago, is familiar with the mercurial talents of two of the Ligue 1 giants’ players – and well acquainted with one of Lyon’s key defenders.
Former Chelsea forward Bertrand Traore was a teammate of Klaassen’s at Ajax last season, as was Kenny Tete, a right-back who, like Traore, swapped the Dutch capital for Lyon during the summer.
Another Holland international, express winger Memphis Depay, is undergoing a career renaissance at the Groupama Stadium after a difficult 18 months with Manchester United.
Klaassen has not featured in Everton’s past two Premier League matches and is determined to grasp his next playing opportunity with both hands.
“I am eager to play, of course – against these types of teams and former teammates, you really want to play,” Klaassen told evertonfc.com.
“We knew we had a difficult start with a few tough games – but now is the time to win games and show what we can do.
“Lyon have lots of good players. Traore was really important for us at Ajax last year. I do not think everybody noticed it at the beginning but he is so good with the ball, he dribbles with it and is dangerous all the time.
“Depay is exceptionally talented. When he played for PSV Eindhoven in Holland he was so good, he dominated the league.
“He had a rough time in England but he is picking it up again at Lyon and is doing well.
"And Tete is a really good defender, good in the tackle, strong and fast.”
Victory for Everton at Goodison Park against Lyon would see them leapfrog Bruno Genesio’s men in Group E and reignite the Toffees’ push for a spot in the competition’s knockout stages.
Traore and Tete have been joined at the 2010 Champions League semi-finalists by, among others, former Real Madrid striker Mariano Diaz and imperious midfielder Pape Cheikh Diop from Celta Vigo, while highly-regarded France Under-21 defender Tanguy Ndombele has signed on loan from Amiens.
“Lyon have a strong team,” added Klaassen, whose Ajax side were ultimately beaten 2-0 by Manchester United in the 2017 final. “If you look at how big a team Lyon was last season, that was Ajax’s best win in the Europa League.
“They were extremely good and it was not just Lacazette and Tolisso.
“They had lots of other strong guys, and now have the two I played with last year – as well as Depay of course. They are a really good team.”
Tickets are still available for the Blues’ Europa League clash with French giants Lyon at Goodison on Thursday (8.05pm kick-off), priced at £20 for adults, £10 concessions and £5 for under-11s. Click here to book your seat.