Tom Davies is ready to shoulder greater responsibility in Everton’s midfield – and “show everyone how good I am”.
Davies scored Everton’s first goal – and his first in the Premier League away from Goodison Park – in Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Southampton.
The 21-year-old's strike on the south coast represented the latest staging post on his return to prominence after Davies responded to his recall against West Ham United last month with a heavily influential display in Everton's 2-0 success.
Davies’s appearance at the weekend was his fourth on the spin in the league – following the player's eight-month wait for a starting chance.
And the Academy graduate, whose dynamic contribution at St Mary's Stadium won him man-of-the-match honours, is in the mood to establish himself as an integral component of Marco Silva’s side.
Asked if he returned to Everton’s team eager to secure a long-term role, Davies told evertontv: “I want to play for Everton as much as I can.
“For that game [against West Ham], it was about impressing as much as I could to stay in the team.
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SOUTHAMPTON 1-2 EVERTON: TWO-MINUTE HIGHLIGHTS
“I’ve managed to do that and got a good run of games and I hope it continues.
“I want to keep that going and show everyone how good I am.
“I think so [I can be a senior figure]. That’s how I play the game.
“I’ve been here since I was a boy, I know how everything works.
“I’ve been in the first team a long time, so that’s something which comes naturally to me.
“I’m happy to do it [lead] if the lads need it.
“Although I am young I am still a leader in the dressing room.”
Davies stole in at the back post after five minutes of the weekend clash with Southampton to put Everton in front and set the ball rolling on a terrific individual performance.
The England Under-21 captain, who made his 50th Premier League start in last month’s game at Brighton & Hove Albion, won eight of his nine duels against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team.
He had 60 touches (second only to Lucas Digne), completed three interceptions and three clearances and contested three tackles.
Davies had three attempts at goal, too, as Everton controlled large portions of the contest.
Manager Silva’s side had 24 shots in all, Everton's most in a Premier League away game in seven years, and sealed the three points when Richarlison volleyed home after Danny Ings’s goal had drawn Southampton level.
The resurgent Davies last started four top-flight games on the spin in January and February this year, with the end of that run prompting his period out of the starting XI.
Asked if a spell on the sidelines enabled him to return a better player, Davies added: “I think so, I am always improving and learning.
“I’ve had a chance to improve and reflect on how I have been playing, so I am in a good period.
“It is always good to score and I am buzzing to have got a goal and helped the lads to a win.
“And I am just buzzing for the lads to get that away win and put in a [strong] performance.
“It was tough but we did what was needed.”