Jean-Philippe Gbamin says being surrounded by “great players” is accelerating his settling-in process at the Club - as the Everton midfielder gets set for his first taste of Goodison.
Gbamin made a quicker-than-anticipated debut at Crystal Palace on Saturday, the 23-year-old thrust into action eight days after joining from Mainz 05 following an ankle knock for Andre Gomes.
Ivory Coast international Gbamin played at Selhurst Park after the briefest of pre-seasons. He was with his country at the Africa Cup of Nations until 11 July and started preparing for this campaign in earnest only after completing his switch to Goodison Park.
On that note, the former Lens player insists the “quality and intensity” of Everton’s training is aiding his bid to make up for lost time.
“It is very intense and that is good for every player,” Gbamin told evertontv.
“We fight every day in training for a place in the XI for the game.
“There is quality and intensity. It is very hard but that is how every footballer wants to train.
“If you have great players around you, it is easier to play.
“We have the quality in the squad… we will keep working and go forward together to grow in the future.”
Gbamin is relatively seasoned in the context of his tender years.
He was playing senior football for Lens in France before his 18th birthday and had made 98 appearances for the Ligue 1 club when he left for Mainz in 2016.
The player – most comfortable in a holding midfield position but perfectly capable at centre-half – flourished in Germany.
In his three years with Mainz, Gbamin played 95 matches and there was a pointer towards his maturity when he captained the side at the tail end of last season.
He represented France at every level from Under-18 to Under-21 before declaring for the country of his birth.
Gbamin had a weighty role in Ivory Coast's progression to the African tournament's quarter-finals, where they lost on penalties to eventual champions Algeria.
Regardless of his breadth of experience, Gbamin cannot conceal his excitement over the prospect of playing at Goodison Park for the first time this weekend.
Morgan Schneiderlin will serve a one-match ban for Watford’s visit on Saturday. Everton are waiting on the fitness of Gomes, too, raising the possibility of Gbamin featuring against the Hornets.
“We will be at home and we want the three points to build on our draw at Crystal Palace,” added Gbamin, who has been capped nine times by Ivory Coast.
“With the fans behind us, it will be amazing.
“I have no choice but to learn quickly [about Everton’s playing style].
I came at the end of the market, so I will try to learn fast and keep going and work hard.
“I enjoy the challenge, it is good to accept any challenge you face.
“This is the best league in the world, so I will embrace this.
“Everything at Everton was ready for me to feel at home. The players are helping me and I will give everything to take my chance here."