Theo Walcott hopes his late equaliser in Everton’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa can help the Blues build momentum heading into the final two matches of the 2019/20 season, as he declared performance levels “still need to be raised”.
Walcott met a superb Andre Gomes cross with an equally-accomplished header three minutes from time at Goodison Park - his looping effort beating Villa goalkeeper Pepe Reina to earn Carlo Ancelotti’s side a point.
Ezri Konsa had given the away side the lead 73 minutes in with a close-range finish.
Walcott was introduced as a substitute on the hour mark and the winger revealed his hunger to make an impact on the game to stake a claim for a starting place when Everton travel to Sheffield United on Monday (8pm).
The Toffees conclude the season with home game against Bournemouth six days later and Walcott added the team will be targeting a significant upturn in form as they aim to finish the season in positive fashion.
“There was a lot of grit in our performance compared to the game at Wolves,” said Walcott, whose goal was his 11th for Everton on his 81st appearance for the Club.
“There was pressure from Aston Villa - obviously, they’re fighting for their lives.
“It was a step in the right direction, but we need to be winning at home, especially with the players that we have in the dressing room.
“We still know that standards need to be raised, but it’s a small step for now.
“I just have to do my job - it’s simple as that. As a forward and a player coming off the bench, you need to be able make an impact when you can and be an option for the team.
“Luckily for me, it managed to get the result.
“It’s a very important goal in an important moment because we need to try and bounce back and play for something [for the rest of the season].”
Walcott revealed the squad’s collective desire to produce a response following Sunday’s disappointing 3-0 defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
“The intensity in training definitely raised a level [in the last few days],” he said.
“It feels like everyone’s position is up for grabs, so the competition for places is always important.
"I’ve always said this in my career, that it’s always good to have someone pushing you."
Walcott says each player is eager to show their qualities to “elite manager” Carlo Ancelotti as he strives to shape a squad capable of competing in the upper echelons of the Premier League table.
“The manager has come in for six months or so and implemented his style but he’s going to need a full season of course,” the 31-year-old added.
“There’s a lot of work to do still and a lot of changes we need to get used to.”
“I feel next year is a big season for Everton Football Club of where we want to be and push on to.
“We’ve got an elite manager and some elite players as well in that dressing room and we just need to believe in ourselves a bit more.
“It’s as simple as that.”