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03:01 Mon 20 May 2019

Sigurdsson Dedicates Goal Of Season To Evertonians

Gylfi Sigurdsson says Evertonians voting in overwhelming numbers for him to claim the Club’s Goal of the Season award was especially pleasing because “we play for the fans”.

Sigurdsson was joined by Lucas Digne and Andre Gomes in a three-way battle for the prize.

Left-back Digne was nominated for his measured free-kick against Watford back in December, while a scorching penalty-box drive in a meeting with Wolves earned Gomes his recognition.

Sigurdsson, though, won the vote after reaching his half-century of Premier League goals with a strike to beat Leicester City that blended ingenuity, audacity and a surgeon’s precision.

On seeing the ball nestle beyond goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, Sigurdsson made for the Evertonians packed into a corner of the King Power Stadium, sliding on his knees towards 3,000 euphoric supporters to create one of the images of Everton’s season.

“We play football for the fans and they are watching all our games,” Sigurdsson told evertontv.

“So it is special to win the Goal of the Season when it is voted for by them. It means they are happy with it and we play to try to bring joy to the supporters.

“I remember seeing the ball going in and running to them.

“It had been raining and the pitch was wet so it was ideal to slide towards them.

“The physios don’t like that celebration but it was perfect!”

Sigurdsson shared Everton’s top-scoring honours with Richarlison in 2018-19. The pair both netted 14 times in all competitions, Sigurdsson adding to his six strikes from the previous season after joining from Swansea City early in that campaign.

Renowned for his prowess from outside the box, Sigurdsson landed an outrageous long ranger on his full debut for the Club. The Icelander was 57 yards from goal when he hit the target in a Europa League tie at Hajduk Split in August 2017.

He has continued in similarly reliable vein from distance in the meantime and last month defeated Manchester United’s David de Gea from 25 yards as Everton toppled Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team 4-0.

That victory represented a significant staging post in Everton’s late-season bloom under Marco Silva, the Toffees winning six and drawing three of their final 11 matches.

Manager Silva, appointed 12 months ago, engineered a fine start to the campaign, too. When Everton went to Leicester on October 6 they were in the embryonic phase of a run of five wins and one draw from seven games, form which lifted them into the Premier League’s top six.

Leicester appeared poised to deny Everton all three points after Ricardo Pereira’s goal five minutes before half-time levelled an early strike from Richarlison.

With 13 minutes remaining, however, Sigurdsson received a pass from Kurt Zouma and promptly bent the match to his will.

“Just before I got the ball, I was thinking about playing it back,” added Sigurdsson, who had his back to goal when he came into possession.

“One of their players [James Maddison] tried to read what was happening and get in front of me.

“I managed to turn, took a touch, looked up and saw the keeper was – not far out – but off his line.

“I thought, ‘Why not try to have a go and get it over him.

“I have scored a couple of good ones but that is one of my favourites.”

Sigurdsson flourished in his preferred role behind the striker during Silva’s first season in charge.

The ex-Reading player featured in all 38 of Everton’s Premier League games, starting 36.

He contributed directly to 19 top-flight goals and it was a measure of Sigurdsson’s mushrooming confidence that he had 86 shots during the season – the division’s 11th highest total.

The 29-year-old, who has struck 59 Premier League goals, captained Everton on four occasions during the campaign. He wore the armband on the season’s final day at former club Tottenham Hotspur, Sigurdsson firing another two efforts at goal and providing three key passes in a 2-2 draw.

“I love shooting and always practise after training with some of the strikers and wingers,” added Sigurdsson.

“Being successful [when shooting from distance] comes with hard work and a little bit of luck.

“You have to strike the ball correctly and make sure you hit the target.

“We finished the season playing very well, being positive in attack and defending strongly throughout the team.

“We had a lot of confidence and a solid base, which allowed us be creative up front.”

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