Kieran Dowell has thanked Everton for helping him become a better player by choosing a loan move that suits him "down to the ground” in Nottingham Forest.
The Ormskirk-born Academy graduate has excelled for the Championship outfit so far this campaign, becoming a regular in the ‘number 10’ role for Mark Warburton’s side.
Dowell has scored six goals - including a hat-trick in a 3-2 away win over Hull City last month - and provided three assists in his 12 league outings to date.
And the silky midfielder, who made his senior Everton debut against Krasnodar in December 2015 and then his Premier League bow in a 2-1 win over Bournemouth a season later, believes he is in the perfect environment to improve further between now and the end of his temporary spell away from Goodison Park.
“When you don’t see an instant route into the first team, going out on loan is the next best thing,” said Dowell. “I think credit goes to Everton and everyone involved that I have come to Forest because they have suited me down to the ground, with the way we [Everton] like to play and the way they [Forest] like to play.
“It’s my first experience in professional football. There are a lot of games and it’s been full on. I think I’ve grown up a lot in the small time I’ve been there so far.
“I definitely feel like I’ve improved. Learning more of the know-how of the game has helped me, you only get that from experience, so I am grateful for the amount of games I have played and hopefully I can play a lot more.
“I’m really pleased, I’ve settled in really well and it’s been quality. We play some really good football, it’s a great team, there’s great staff and it’s a really good club.
“I think for the past month or so, we have started to click and might not have got the results at one point and then all of a sudden, we have been getting the goals, the ball has been dropping for us in the box.”
Dowell followed up a fruitful 2016/17 campaign, in which he helped the Under-23s win the inaugural Premier League 2 title, with an unforgettable summer by winning the World Cup with England Under-20s.
After impressing at that level, the now 20-year-old has subsequently made three appearances for England Under-21s this term and was included for the Euro 2019 qualifier against Ukraine on Friday.
Dowell says he will also be taking the opportunity to catch up with some familiar faces in Everton teammates Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Jonjoe Kenny and Ademola Lookman during the international break.
“Winning the World Cup was massive, it is something that will stay in my memory forever and a really proud moment for me and my family,” added Dowell.
“I don’t think we were aware [of the attention] until we got to the final stages and we got messages from famous people. Then since I’ve been home I’ve had my family saying people have even been going up to them in Morrisons to speak about it!
“This time, tere will be Wozza [Nottingham Forest defender, Joe Worrall] and then the Everton lads so I’ve had to introduce him to the Everton lads - it’s a good group
“It’s a massive honour to play for England, something what you dream about doing as a kid. I had every England kit when I was younger and to pull one on to wear for a match is unbelievable.
“We have got a strong group, with some good teams. Ukraine are up there so it will be tough competition on their ground, so it will be a tough game but we’re England and we will back ourselves against anyone so hopefully get the job done.”