Anthony Gordon insists he is primed to seize every opportunity to impress Carlo Ancelotti – and admits he experienced some butterflies before asking Everton’s manager how to regain his starting spot.
Teenage forward Gordon made his first Premier League appearance of he season with 32 minutes from the bench in Everton’s game at Southampton on Sunday.
He played 11 times in the competition last term, featuring in Everton's final 10 matches – including a full debut in June’s scoreless Merseyside derby – as the Academy graduate made a strong impression on Italian Ancelotti.
Prior to Sunday, Gordon had been limited to two assertive Carabao Cup outings this term.
Ancelotti revealed last month Gordon had sought out his boss for advice after missing out on the matchday squad for Everton’s opening Premier League fixture at Tottenham Hotspur.
“I didn’t go and bang his door down, I went and asked politely, ‘What can I do better to get in the team?’” Gordon told evertontv.
“I always want to get better and improve as a player.
“I just wanted his views on that – he gave me his view and I am trying to work on that every day.
“[There was] nothing specific [Ancelotti asked from Gordon], he said I am doing very well and to keep doing what I am doing.
“We have a very competitive side, which I understand.
“With the players we have brought in and already had, it is a really strong squad.
“For a young player to break through is hard and for me to be here and getting opportunities is testament to how I am training and improving.
“I was a little bit [nervous going to Ancelotti], yes. It was my first time doing it.
“But he is such a warm man and manager.
"For me, the nerves weren't as bad as they could have been, because he is such a nice person.
“He welcomed it with open arms.”
Gordon’s only 90 minutes this term came against Salford City in the Carabao Cup second round last month when the 19-year-old assisted two goals and came close to netting himself on innumerable occasions.
He played the second half the following week in round three at Fleetwood Town, exploding down the wing to create a goal for Alex Iwobi four minutes after coming on.
Gordon is angling for a return to top-flight action after his appearance on the south coast, where the player operated on both flanks.
Everton are due at Newcastle United on Sunday when Ancelotti’s side will be without Richarlison – the premium attacker serving the second match of a three-game ban – as they aim to correct the disappointment of a first defeat this season against Southampton.
“I have been working on providing goals and assists [during his period out of the team],” said Gordon.
“I am trying to get that end product where it needs to be.
“Ultimately, that is what I am judged on as an attacking player.
“I thought I did well in the cup games.
“I had a couple of assists but should have scored a few and that shows my inconsistencies and where I need to improve.
“I have a lot of attributes that can fit into different positions and have always prided myself on that – it gives me more chance of gaining opportunities when players are injured or suspended.
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“It felt like it had been ages [since my previous Premier League appearance] but we have a great team.
“That is how it’s going to be when you’re playing in a good team and you’re a young player.
“I understand that and I am always ready for any opportunities that come my way.
“My job [at Southampton] was to create something.. show him [Ancelotti] I am here and with the missing players we have I am ready to come in and play.
“Hopefully I have done that.”
Everton won four and drew one of their opening five Premier League games before defeat against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints.
Win at Newcastle on Sunday and Everton are likely to reclaim the top spot they occupy in advance of this weekend’s fixtures.
Ancelotti’s side must also do without Lucas Digne in the North East, the left-back sidelined by a one-match ban following his red card at St Mary's Stadium.
“No team goes without setbacks,” added Gordon.
“Of all the best Premier League teams, only one has been undefeated (Arsenal in 2003/04).
“Losing is never a bad thing as long as you learn from it – and, if you are a good team, you will learn from it.
“We have the [depth of] squad for players to fill in when others are missing games.
“It is up to the rest of the players to step up.
“It is the sign of a good team when players miss games and others can come in.
“That is what, ultimately, drives a good season.”