Niels Nkounkou is aiming to add his “speed, strength and technical skill” to Everton’s team as quickly as possible after the thrill of a personal call from Carlo Ancelotti when the defender was tying-up his move this summer.
Frenchman Nkounkou is training with manager Ancelotti’s First-Team squad and made a sound first impression as a substitute in Everton’s opening pre-season fixture at Blackpool seven days ago.
The teenage left-back apparently had a host of illustrious suitors following the expiry of his contract with Marseille, the club he joined from Stade Brest in 2017.
But the depth of Everton’s ambition, coupled with a personal pledge from Ancelotti to accelerate the player’s development, convinced Nkounkou to opt for Goodison Park.
“Carlo called before we finalised my transfer,” Nkounkou told evertontv.
“He told me he was very pleased I was coming over to join the Club and that he was going to teach me a lot of things so I would be ready to play from my arrival.
“Carlo had a great career as a player and another great career as a manager, everywhere he has been he has won titles.
“When a coach like him takes an interest in you, it is something that makes you really proud.
“It was a great pleasure for me and my family when we heard Everton were interested in signing me.
“I was certainly struck by the Everton project – that hit home with me straight away.
“Then came the matter of the various choices before me, including the choice of managers open to me, and when I saw it would be Carlo Ancelotti commanding this great vessel, the decision was quickly made.
“I am delighted to be where I am today.”
Nkounkou has a deal of competitive football under his belt after 35 appearances for Marseille’s B team in the fourth tier of the French domestic structure.
A France Under-19 international, he was twice included in Marseille’s first-team squad last term and routinely trained with the Ligue 1 club’s senior side.
The 19-year-old completed his Everton switch two months ago, beginning training with David Unsworth’s Everton Under-23s in the first week of August after being starved of football since Marseille B’s final game before the coronavirus shutdown on 7 March.
Nkounkou replaced compatriot Lucas Digne for the final 28 minutes of Everton’s 3-3 draw with Blackpool last week and, in addition to thrashing one attempt at goal, delivered the through ball for Theo Walcott which eventually led to Gylfi Sigurdsson's free-kick equaliser.
“I think I had a positive start [to my Everton career] against Blackpool,” continued Nkounkou.
“I had the opportunity to create a few chances for myself, though unfortunately none of them came off fully with a goal, but I'll continue to work to get us winning matches and clocking up a lot of points this season.
“I am quick on the break, I'm also pretty well-built, so I think my style of play will be well regarded over here in the Premier League, where we see a lot of players who run very fast and are also technically very skilled.
“I believe those will be my strengths, too.
“I am looking forward to making my debut appearance in the First Team, that will be my first target at the Club.
“Secondly, as everyone here knows, we're all looking to have an excellent season.
“Everton is respected as a big club here in England and with the talent we have at hand, we can go on to have a really great season.”
Watch Nkounkou's first evertontv interview above or by clicking here.