Fabian Delph is determined to prove his quality in an Everton shirt and banish the frustration of an injury-disrupted beginning to his debut Blues campaign.
Midfielder Delph completed 90 minutes in Everton’s Carabao Cup success against Watford on Tuesday following a short period on the sidelines with a hamstring complaint.
Everton host Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Sunday aiming for a victory which would lift them above 11th-placed Spurs and represent a third straight Goodison Park win.
Delph, who sat out the home clash with West Ham United a fortnight ago before appearing from the bench against Brighton & Hove Albion last week, insists his side will draw encouragement from a slick second-half display to beat Watford.
And the 29-year-old is convinced Everton will be hard to stop once they hit their stride this term.
“The season has been frustrating [personally],” Delph told evertontv.
“I was available for the game at Brighton but the lads got the three points against West Ham and it would have been very harsh to change the team.
“I was looking at the Watford game thinking, ‘I need to play a full 90 minutes, get that under my belt and play well’.
“I felt like I helped the team.
“I don’t feel as sharp as I have – I feel there is a lot more to come.
“But I am sure that will happen with game time.
“I felt we did very well on Tuesday, especially in the last 30 minutes, and we got the result we needed, so we have positives to take into the game on Sunday.
“It is very important we generate that momentum.
“Once you get into a rhythm and start winning games it becomes second nature.
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DELPH ON EVERTON'S NEXT CHALLENGE
“You create that winning mentality and that is what it is about – getting leaders on the pitch and striving for the same goals.”
Delph played five league games on the bounce and won an England recall after recovering from a thigh problem to make his Everton debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 1 September.
He received rave reviews for his performance in that match when the Yorkshireman partnered Andre Gomes in the Blues’ engine room and was pivotal in Everton’s 3-2 win.
Delph had to wait until this week to renew his alliance with Portuguese Gomes, however, the two players in turn suffering injury-enforced absences from the team.
But Marco Silva is progressively operating with a stronger hand, certainly in the centre of the field, where only Jean-Philippe Gbamin remains unavailable.
Former Manchester City player Delph, who had to withdraw from his national squad last month after sustaining that hamstring problem at Burnley, reckons Everton are equipped to compete with anyone, regardless of which midfielders get the nod from manager Silva.
Equally, turning his thoughts to this weekend's meeting with Tottenham, Delph insists the support at partisan Goodison Park – where Everton have won eight and drawn one of their past 11 matches – injects an additional shot of adrenaline into the home team.
“I love it [playing at Goodison],” said Delph. “It is a very, very honest group of fans.
“They let you know when you are not doing well. And when you are doing well, they are right behind you.
“I prefer that.
"I am a guy who is black and white, there is no grey.
“If I am not playing well, I don’t mind being told.”
On his embryonic relationship with Gomes, Delph added: “Twice is not a lot of times to have played together [with the season two-and-a-half months old].
“He is a very talented player. But whether it’s Andre, Morgan [Schneiderlin] or Tom [Davies], I feel very comfortable playing with any of them.
“Any of the four of us can play and do a job.
“And I enjoyed Tuesday, being back on the pitch and playing again.”