Djibril Sidibe insists his first Merseyside derby will count as a memorable occasion only if he emerges on the winning side.
France international defender Sidibe has played Everton’s past six Premier League games and was excellent against Leicester City on Sunday after being asked to fill a more advanced wing-back position.
The 27-year-old joined Everton on a season-long loan from Monaco in August and his derby experience is restricted to Ligue 1 affairs in his homeland.
Sidibe’s former Lille team shares a rivalry with fellow northern-based club RC Lens. At Monaco, he is unbeaten in four starts against southern counterparts Marseille, handsomely winning three of those games.
Everton cross Stanley Park on Wednesday for a contest Sidibe hopes can ignite his club’s campaign.
Marco Silva’s side also tackle Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal before the month is out, while Leicester visit Goodison Park in a fortnight with a Carabao Cup semi-final spot at stake.
“As players there is no fear, or sense of being daunted, playing big games like these,” said Sidibe.
“They are the sorts of games which get professional players excited.
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LEICESTER 2-1 EVERTON: TWO-MINUTE HIGHLIGHTS
“We cannot wait, we are impatient to get under way against these sides.
“They are all clubs with massive budgets and squads full of top players.
“It is a dream to play against these types of teams, it is what we are here for.
“I know there is a massive rivalry between Everton and Liverpool and the clubs’ fans.
“But you don’t talk about just playing in these games, you talk only about winning them.
“It is a massive occasion and very important for the players and fans.”
Sidibe, whose Everton debut came in August’s 4-2 Carabao Cup win at Lincoln City, made his first Premier League appearance from the bench following Seamus Coleman’s red card at Burnley two months ago.
He has resisted Club captain Coleman’s challenge for the team’s right-back berth in the intervening period, piecing together a string of accomplished displays.
The tenacious right footer set up Richarlison for Everton’s winning goal at Southampton three weeks ago.
And he repeated the trick at Leicester, sending in a pearler of a cross for the Brazilian to head home.
Everton nevertheless lost that game in painful fashion, conceding deep into stoppage time after Jamie Vardy’s equaliser midway through the second half had hauled previously passive Leicester back into the contest.
Sidibe, who won two of his three Lille-Lens derbies, made a joint-high four tackles in the game against Leicester and recorded an exceptional 95.2 per cent passing accuracy figure, the best of any player on the field.
Only fellow wing-back Lucas Digne (eight) supplied more crosses among Everton’s players than Sidibe’s six.
The 2018 World Cup winner is being driven by the spectre of Coleman, who was ruled out of the trip to Leicester with a rib injury but is itching to regain his starting spot.
Sidibe’s overarching priority, though, is ensuring Everton claim the one big result he is certain will revitalise the Blues’ campaign.
“We feel we have the quality [to quickly climb the table], that is not in doubt,” added Sidibe.
“We have confidence in ourselves, the manager and coaching staff – the whole club.
“The performances we put in against West Ham [2-0 win], Tottenham [1-1 draw] and Southampton were all very encouraging.
“Maybe we just need one big game which will be the catalyst to get us going.
“I think at any big club there is lots of competition for places. It is a positive situation.
“At the moment, the manager is trusting me at right-back.
“He has given me the chance to help the side.
“I have grabbed it with both hands and am determined to hold onto my place.
“But we play so many matches here in England and I am sure Seamus will have plenty of gametime and chances to express himself and perform well for the side like he normally does.”