Andros Townsend is determined to prove he can have a major role in Everton’s drive for success – after joining a club “set up to compete for honours and win things”.
Forward Townsend, who insisted choosing Everton over alternative options was a “no-brainer”, has signed a two-year-deal, keeping him at Goodison Park until at least the end of 2022/23.
The player formed a potent alliance with Rafa Benitez at Newcastle United and is convinced the Everton manager can help him realise his goalscoring and creative potential.
Townsend started his career with boyhood club Tottenham Hotspur and won the first of 13 England caps in October 2013.
He moves to Everton after five years with Crystal Palace, where Townsend scored 16 goals and provided 28 assists in 185 appearances.
“Everton is a massive football club and very ambitious,” Townsend told evertontv.
“They would admit I’m coming here to be a squad player.
“My job now is to prove I’m good enough to be an important part of this football club.
“Whenever I get the opportunity in pre-season, I will try to prove I’m good enough to be an important player here.
“That’s what drives me, it is what wakes me up in the morning and gets me out of bed.
“I worked with Rafa at Newcastle and had great success [personally] with him.
“We tried to link up on a few occasions after that but it wasn’t to be.
“When he called me, with the backing of Everton, who are a massive football club and have big ambitions… it was a no-brainer.”
Townsend had two months playing for Benitez at Newcastle and in only 10 games with the Spaniard scored three goals and provided two assists.
The player’s time at St James’ Park ushered in a period when – in his own view – he refined his game, adding industry and resilience to the flair and improvisation that captured the imagination when Townsend emerged as an influential figure for Tottenham.
““When you’re young and a winger, you focus solely on when you have the ball at your feet,” said Townsend.
“What can you do when you have the ball?
“Rafa tried to get me to work off the ball, run in behind, come into the pockets, work back defensively.
“As you get older, the penny drops. At Palace, the penny dropped for me.
“I really grew up, I went from a boy to a man.
“I turned from an exciting player into a dependable player – I matured and became a great professional.
“I owe them a lot.
“I feel I am at my peak physically, at the best stage of my career.
“And, hopefully I can show the other side of my game, the crosses, the goals, and getting the shots in, as I did when I was younger.
“At Newcastle, he [Benitez] knew I could score from outside the box, he was trying to work on me running in behind without the ball and getting on the end of a pass to score goals, as opposed to doing it all myself.
“Hopefully, he can rediscover that goalscoring form I had at Newcastle and I can really start adding some numbers in both goalscoring and assists.”
Benitez, appointed Everton boss in June, spoke last week about employing a system to maximise the power and height and finishing of “great” centre-forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Townsend, a prolific crosser of the ball, arrived in short order.
“That’s probably the main reason I am here,” said Townsend.
“I worked very well with [Palace striker] Christian Benteke, another big man, especially last season: got loads of balls in the box and helped him score goals.
“Rafa is very experienced, he does a lot of work on the tactical side on the training pitch and leaves no stone unturned.
“More importantly, he’s a great man, a great man-manager, and he’s always talking to you.
“I’m sure he will be very successful here.”
Townsend, who favours a position on the right but can operate anywhere across the frontline, is yet to win a major club honour, the closest he’s come a run to the 2015 League Cup final with Spurs.
“This is a club set up to be able to compete for honours and win things, whether it be cup competitions or getting into Europe, which I’m sure is the aim this season,” added Townsend.
“That’s exactly the reason I’ve got a smile on my face today, that [potential success] excites me. When I left Spurs, way back when [January 2016], the chairman told me it’s very hard to get back to a big club.
“I didn’t believe him but he was right.
“Now I’m back at a big club… I’m going to work as hard as possible to make it a success and play as many games as possible for this football club.”