Walcott: Fans Inspired Us To Stoke Victory

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Theo Walcott thanked the travelling Everton supporters for their vociferous backing following the Toffees’ 2-1 victory at Stoke City.

Large chunks of Saturday’s contest were fought out amid a swirling snowstorm in a spitefully cold Potteries

But the dreadful weather conditions did not deter more than 3,000 Evertonians from packing their corner of the bet365 Stadium and roaring on the Blues to a win secured by Cenk Tosun’s second-half double.

The Turkey international forward struck either side of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s stabbed 77th-minute equaliser, to defeat a Stoke team reduced to 10 men following the dismissal of midfielder Charlie Adam for an injudicious challenge on Wayne Rooney on the half-hour mark.

Everton have collected 23 points from the past 30 available at Goodison Park but the success at Stoke was the Blues’ first away from home since Rooney’s goal downed Newcastle United in December.

"First off all I have got to thank the fans,” said Walcott. “Being here, hearing how loud they were in that weather…they made that win for us.

“It is well-documented that our away form has not been great but the guys worked really hard in tough conditions. Playing against 10 men is not easy. At a place like Stoke and when the conditions are that bad, you have to deal with it and I felt we did.

“Everyone was trying to get to grips with the weather, especially in the first half. In the end we got the three points, which were much needed.”

Walcott served up Turkey international striker Tosun’s second strike – and fourth in three games – with a beautifully weighted delivery into the box.

And after his key role in clinching the win that moved Everton to within three points of seventh-placed Burnley, Walcott promised the Blues would remain “switched on” as they target a strong finish to the campaign.

The Toffees will return from the international break in a fortnight ready for successive mouth-watering Goodison Park encounters, with the Merseyside derby on 7 April slated to follow seven days after the visit of Pep Guardiola’s Premier League frontrunners, Manchester City.

And 29-year-old England international Walcott, who has directly contributed to four goals in eight games since his January switch from Arsenal, insists those matches represent the next staging posts on Everton's positive long-term plan.

“I have come here for a reason,” said Walcott, who was boss Sam Allardyce's second purchase for the Club following the capture of Tosun. “We should do a lot better with the quality we have and we all know that.

“It was a difficult start that Everton had [this season] but I am seeing signs of improvement. I see it in training every day.

“I feel like we can push on and have a very good end to the season. I think that is more for next season, as well, but we have got to make sure we are switched on with the games ahead because this is where teams start to switch off slightly. We need to make sure we are not doing that.”

Walcott’s fellow new-year signing Tosun is beginning to replicate his outstanding goalscoring feats for Besiktas in a blue shirt.

The 26-year-old struck 20 times in his former club’s Super Lig title triumph last season and had bagged 14 in 24 matches for the Turks this term before his transfer to Goodison.

And he has displayed his full finishing repertoire in Everton’s past three matches, converting twice with his head and once each with his left and right feet.

Tosun will now report for his country's friendly matches against Republic of Ireland and Montenegro, before heading back to USM Finch Farm to prepare for his duel with City’s miserly rearguard.

“As a striker, it is all about confidence,” added Walcott. “It obviously takes time and Cenk came in January as well.

“I see it in training every day – he is a great finisher. I am very pleased that he got on to my ball for the second goal.

“They were both extremely good finishes and I am really pleased for him. Obviously, everyone who is going on international duty will look after themselves, as we have a busy few weeks ahead.”

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