Anthony Gordon says the redoubtable duo of Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines have been significant influences in the teenager’s first-team emergence this season.
Gordon spoke to Everton’s matchday programme for an in-depth interview fewer than 24 hours after making his first senior start in this month’s Merseyside derby.
The 19-year-old’s exceptional form illuminated USM Finch Farm following Everton’s return to training in May and his sky-high confidence received another boost with the call to face Liverpool.
Indeed, Gordon had evidently made an impression on Carlo Ancelotti following the Italian’s appointment as manager, twice appearing from the bench in Premier League games before football’s coronavirus shutdown.
He is candid nonetheless about a dip in self-belief last term which led to Gordon seeking out two of Everton’s senior figures for counsel.
“Leighton and Seamus are so approachable and such nice people,” said Gordon.
“I spoke to them last season – along with my family and my agent, who I am really close with – and I have carried on doing it.
“They are such good leaders and unbelievable with me.
“I feel I can talk to them about anything… even about details that might seem small but could take me a long way.
“Seamus, for example, tells me I should use a certain movement more often; when I come to the ball, then go away in behind.
“He says, ’Use your pace, you are powerful, no defender likes running towards their own goal'.
“I went through stages in my youth career when I lost a lot of confidence.
“But that is natural… managing ups and downs and losing confidence then recovering it helps you grow and mature as a player as you come through the youth system.
“You learn from your mistakes.
“Being around first-team players and taking advice, my confidence has grown and grown.
“I understand more of what the manager wants from me.
“I am playing with freedom and that is enabling me to perform as I should.”
Gordon joined Everton aged 11 and his name started being mentioned in terms of first-team potential when he burst onto the Under-18 scene with a goal-filled campaign in 2017/18.
The following season was more of a slow burner as Gordon attempted to bridge the gap between Under-18 and Under-23 football.
His chats with Everton captain Coleman and fellow full-back Baines, however, prompted a strong finish to the campaign.
Gordon picked up where he left off this term, surging into senior contention and gaining the faith of acclaimed boss Ancelotti.
His start against Liverpool was followed by a substitute’s outing in Everton’s win at Norwich City last week.
And, insists Gordon, each taste of Premier League football is advancing his appreciation of the game at its highest level.
“It is still hard to believe [Ancelotti’s confidence in him] and shows how far I have come,” said Gordon.
“I am an attacking player and have a lot of confidence in myself.
“If you are trying to create things, you will give the ball away.
“You have to accept it and move on, you can’t change it.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned playing in the Premier League is you need to take your chances, you don’t get many.
“And if you delay a through ball a split-second, the chance is gone, I missed a couple [against Liverpool] because I delayed them.
“I am always trying to be positive. If I lose the ball, I lose the ball.
“That is something I am really keen on.
“At least I am trying to move the team forward and create things.”
Anthony Gordon was speaking exclusively to Everton's matchday programme for a wide-ranging interview which will feature in the Club's edition for Wednesday's visit of Leicester City.
Read Gordon's full interview, where he reveals the unique lockdown regime which enabled him to hit the ground running following football's break and revisits a life-altering week in Spain two years ago, in another exclusive-filled 68-page issue.
Carlo Ancelotti, Seamus Coleman and Pat Van den Hauwe also feature in what is sure to be come a collector's item copy.
We will be producing full-length programmes for Everton's subsequent three home games, against Southampton, Aston Villa and Bournemouth, too.
Programmes are priced at £3.50 each, plus shipping fees. Delivery is subject to Royal Mail so order early to receive your copy before each match.