Andre Gomes is savouring the “freedom” to influence games under Carlo Ancelotti – and targeting an extended period in Everton’s team.
Midfielder Gomes has started three of Everton’s past four games after a succession of appearances from the bench.
He was effective in and out of possession in Wednesday’s draw with Leicester City, sustaining a productive run of form after creating goals in his previous two appearances.
Gomes had a significant hand in James Rodriguez’s strike against the Foxes, too, switching play with a raking pass to Lucas Digne, who directed the ball to the eventual scorer.
The Portuguese, who made his 50th Everton start in the FA Cup meeting with Rotherham United this month, has begun six of his side’s 18 Premier League games this term.
“When I get my opportunities, I try to do my best and help the team,” Gomes told evertontv.
“The manager tries to give me freedom to play forwards and combine with my teammates.
“I am happy with that: trying to be more up front and influence the game from those positions [high up the pitch].
“It is important to score and give assists.
“It is a big deal to keep playing well because there is competition for places, we have a really good squad, full of top players.
“Every time I get my opportunity, I try to do my best to stay in the squad for the next game.
“It is my job and what I am working for.”
Gomes confessed earlier this season he was striving to recapture full fitness following his disrupted recovery from a serious ankle injury.
There were encouraging signs on that score against Leicester when Gomes rode a couple of forceful challenges to surge forwards late in the game.
That was one of five dribbles, more than the total managed by any other player on the field, adding to five accurate long passes, the most of any Everton player.
Gomes had an important role protecting his back four, too, and the four tackles he made was matched only by Leicester’s Wilfred Ndidi.
His licence to roam was reflected by Gomes supplying three crosses.
He used that route to tee up a goal for Dominic Calvert-Lewin against Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday, nearly a fortnight after Gomes came on at Wolverhampton Wanderers to land a tremendous left-foot delivery on the head of Michael Keane for Everton’s winning goal.
The point Everton secured against Leicester maintained a push for a European qualification, with Newcastle United’s visit to Goodison Park on Saturday marking the halfway point in the Blues’ league season.
“Every game is really important, the opponent doesn't matter,” said Gomes, whose 90 minutes against Leicester represented a first full league game since he started and finished the win over West Bromwich Albion back in September.
“We need to respect every team.
“Our focus is only ever on the next game and we can see again [position in table and consequent targets] after that.
“Every game is different and it is good to have the confidence from another assist [on Sunday].
“I have tried to keep the spirit and help as much as I can.
“It was really important to keep the momentum and with our confidence high we can continue performing and winning games.
“Now it is time to keep working.
“The manager will have his choices and, if I get the opportunities, I will try to keep it going.”