Djibril Sidibe says he drew inspiration from teammate Bernard to aid his smooth transition into Premier League football.
Right-back Sidibe, a World Cup winner with France in 2018, hadn’t played outside his homeland before joining Everton on loan from Monaco this summer.
The 27-year-old has started and finished Everton’s past four Premier League games after making his top-flight debut as a substitute at Burnley last month.
Sidibe powered forward to skilfully set up Richarlison for his side’s winning goal against Southampton in the Blues’ final game before the ongoing international break. He made seven tackles at St Mary's Stadium - four more than any other player on the field - and boasted his side's best passing accuracy rate (88.5 per cent).
Strong, agile and assured in possession, Sidibe owns the attributes to prove a hit in England’s robust top division.
But he pointed to the less likely figure of 5ft 4in attacking wizard Bernard to explain the essential ingredient required to flourish in the Premier League.
“The biggest difference in England is your state of mind, how you go into a game mentally,” Sidibe told evertontv.
“Look at Bernard. He is tiny but look at him, the intensity he puts into a game, his runs forward and back.
“His tackling and his gestures on the field. Everything. He is all action. He is an example we can all follow.
“Skill and ability and size are important.
“But your mental approach is very important, too; the fact you go 100 per cent all out for every challenge, in attack or defence.”
Sidibe’s English football baptism came on a filthy night at League One Lincoln City in Everton’s Carabao Cup second round victory three months ago.
He played – and created a goal for Dominic Calvert-Lewin – in the next round against Sheffield Wednesday, before making his Premier League debut from the bench at Burnley last month.
Sidibe started Everton’s following league game, a home win over West Ham United, and held down his place in the ensuing period.
The defender was a domestic champion with Monaco in 2016/17 and a key figure in the Principality team’s run to that season’s Champions League semi-finals.
And Sidibe, who agreed a one-year stay when he joined Everton in August, admits being “surrounded by good people” helped him settle into his new environment.
Indeed, a significant drop in temperature is the only major hurdle Sidibe has needed to overcome while acclimatising to a new country.
“Everything has been good,” said Sidibe, who played for Troyes and Lille before transferring to Monaco in 2016.
“The one big change from Monaco is the weather.
“But I am surrounded by good people and enjoying things. The football is good… everything is really positive.
“We are all very competitive as professional footballers.
“All we want to do is play games and show what we are capable of, so it was a case of being patient [in the couple of months after joining].
“I was excited when I got my chance and hopefully there will be more of them in future.”