Michael Keane insists Everton remain full of “confidence and positive energy” and the centre-back is welcoming his role as a senior voice maintaining the belief in Carlo Ancelotti’s squad.
Everton host Keane’s former club Manchester United at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Manager Ancelotti’s side sit fourth in the Premier League but following a blistering start to the season are targeting an uplifting victory after fruitless visits to Southampton and Newcastle United.
An exclusive in-depth interview with defender Keane features in Everton’s matchday programme for United’s visit.
“The longer I am here the more connection I have with the supporters and staff and everyone around the Club,” said Keane.
“I feel completely at home and absolutely love going into training every day.
“I want to be here as long as possible and want the Club to achieve great things.
“I think we are on the right path.
“We have a healthy mix of youth and experience and a lot of top-quality players.
“It is a really exciting time and I am so happy to be part of it.
“I want that responsibility of being a leader.
“The mood in the camp can dip after a couple of losses and that is what we have to prevent.
“I am one of the more experienced players and have a lot to offer.
“You lead during the week by setting standards in the way you train, the intensity you train, always talking on the pitch – identifying things tactically and correcting them. Being vocal and positive.
“We need to keep the confidence and belief and positive energy around the place that has served us so well.”
Keane is ever present this season after starting and finishing the closing 11 games of 2019/20.
The 27-year-old, who has his fingers crossed for an England call when manager Gareth Southgate names his latest squad on Thursday, began his run in Everton's side when Manchester United were last at Goodison on 1 March.
Italian Ancelotti has already shown his hand in terms of his goalkeeper for the meeting with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team, with Keane’s international teammate Jordan Pickford poised to start.
Robin Olsen, signed on loan from AS Roma last month, played at Newcastle, affording Pickford a break following 120 straight Premier League appearances.
Keane has played more games with Pickford – 116 for Everton and England – than he has any other teammate.
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“Jordan fills you with confidence when you play in front of him,” said Keane.
“He is always talking and we know his quality as a keeper.
“He is a fantastic shot stopper and incredible with his feet, passing out from the back, which is what we like to do.
“Robin did well at Newcastle. That competition for places is good – we have it all over the pitch – and will push Jordan to keep doing what he is best at.
“I have no doubt he will be brilliant when he’s back in the team and I love playing with him."
Read the full wide-ranging feature with Michael Keane in Everton's matchday programme for Saturday's Goodison Park clash with Manchester United.
A blockbuster edition includes an exclusive interview with fascinating former Everton striker Ibrahima Bakayoko, messages to Evertonians from manager Carlo Ancelotti and captain Seamus Coleman and up-to-date news from the Club's Women, Under-23s and Under-18s teams.