Andros Townsend is “working tirelessly” to achieve his target of becoming a regular source of goals for Everton.
Forward Townsend smashed an effort against the bar in Saturday’s friendly meeting with Manchester United, the second time in pre-season the player has walloped the frame of the goal.
The 30-year-old netted three times in nine Premier League matches under Rafael Benitez when the pair were together at Newcastle United.
Townsend scored 13 goals in five seasons with Crystal Palace and the London side’s former assistant manager Ray Lewington told evertonfc.com last week that the Englishman boasts the attributes to increase his return.
And there has been an onus on unlocking Townsend’s scoring potential since he reunited with Benitez at Everton three weeks ago.
“The manager has worked tirelessly with me, at Newcastle and since I came here, on getting in the box more often,” Townsend told evertonfc.com.
“I don’t want to be outside the box scoring worldies once every six months.
“I have been working my whole career on getting in the box and when I am there finding the right areas – and he [Benitez] wants me inside the box.
“I got there on Saturday and probably should have done better and kept the shot down a bit.
“As long as I keep getting in the areas, I am sure those sorts of chances will start going in.
“The manager likes to work one-on-one with his players.
“He took us wingers to the side on Friday and told us exactly that [get in the penalty area] – and the positions be in.
“We have to be in the six-yard-box, especially when we haven’t got a big number nine, which was the case on Saturday.
“It was good to get in the area but with my quality on my left foot I should have done a lot better.”
Townsend travelled with Everton to Orlando for a week-long training camp days after completing his transfer from Crystal Palace.
He featured in the opening half of both friendly matches Stateside, a penalty shootout victory over Colombians Millonarios, when Townsend whacked the bar with a long-range strike, and 1-0 success against Pumas from Mexico.
The winger played 68 minutes of the weekend game at United, which Everton lost 4-0 after the hosts scored three quickfire goals before half-time.
Manager Benitez’s team start the Premier League season with a home game against Southampton on Saturday.
“I have had this in the past; when you lose in the last pre-season game, and it kind of galvanises the squad," said Townsend.
“You go into the week before the first game knowing what you need and how far off you are.
“The scoreline doesn’t look great but we know what we need to do and I am sure whoever goes out next Saturday will be ready to get three points.
“We need to keep working, we have a new manager, with new ideas.
“In the first half there were a lot of gaps, they penetrated our midfield line too much.
“But in the second half we got a lot more compact, the intensity was better, we got up to the ball and pressed them and created a lot more chances.
“We know what to do and I have no doubt come the Southampton game we will be ready to go.”
Everton upped their tempo after half-time at Old Trafford, notably winning the ball in positions which led to scoring opportunities.
Townsend and Demarai Gray and Alex Iwobi were all close to getting on the scoresheet.
And Townsend insists the increased urgency was reflective of the approach manager Benitez expects from his team.
“We have physical players and whoever is in the wide areas or up-front wants to press and win the ball high up the pitch,” added Townsend.
“We did that in the second half… another week under our belts will do us no harm at all and we will be ready for the weekend.
“Settling at the Club was quite easy.
“I am slowly building up the minutes... I have got to know the boys, I am fit and feel like I am ready for the start of the season, whenever that may be for me.”