Andros Townsend is aiming to elevate his game to “another level” with Everton – and the forward is vowing to leave nothing to chance in his efforts to seize an unexpected opportunity with a "big and very ambitious club".
Englishman Townsend has exploded from the blocks following his arrival at Goodison Park this summer.
And the player with three goals and three assists from six starts spoke exclusively to Everton’s matchday programme for Saturday’s visit from Norwich City.
Townsend talks candidly about overcoming a number of imposing obstacles in his career.
A hamstring injury soon after the winger's England debut, aged 22, forced Townsend to rip up his playing style and start all over again.
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He details the changes that enable him to flourish today and relates his experience of employing a sports psychologist.
Townsend discusses the complex process of recovering from a gambling addiction and a motivation to help others that underpinned his decision to speak publicly about the issue.
The former Tottenham Hotspur player, who turned 30 in July, credits Rafa Benitez for triggering a footballing “kick-start” at Newcastle United.
And reunited with Benitez at Everton, Townsend is convinced there is room on his career trajectory for plenty more growth.
“I am very grateful to be here and whenever I am given time on the pitch, I am going to give my absolute all to keep hold of the shirt and start the next game,” said Townsend.
“Until the day you retire, you can always improve and somebody can always help you.
“I will continue to work hard every day and, hopefully, take my game to another level in my thirties.
"I am thrilled to be playing for Everton and there is no way this chance is going to pass me by, or I am going to fail because of lack of effort.
“I have reached a stage where I know my capabilities and what I can and can’t do.
“If you give me the ball in the final third, I will put a good delivery into the box.
“I will work hard for the team and I know the Evertonians appreciate that.
“The fans have been amazing.
“They sang a song about me for the first time after I scored at Huddersfield and that was an incredible feeling.
“I just want to keep working hard and impressing. I have been battling at the wrong end of the table for six years.
“I was very fortunate the stars aligned. I was out of contract, free transfers were more attractive following COVID and Rafa was appointed to the Everton job.
“I have the opportunity to fight at the right end of the table with a big and very ambitious club."
Townsend emerged from Spurs’ academy as a tearaway winger, albeit he went round the houses before gaining a first-team foothold.
The Londoner had nine loans before he turned 22 but in his first season as a Tottenham regular in 2013/14 made a goalscoring debut for England.
Townsend, who has 13 caps for his country, went to Newcastle in January 2016 but six months later transferred to Crystal Palace, where a large proportion of his five years were spent under Roy Hodgson.
“It has been a great start personally at Everton and I am really enjoying my football,” said Townsend.
"Roy Hodgson did an incredible job with me, working on the defensive side and making me a more dependable footballer, rather than the luxury player I was.
“I am very grateful for the time I had with him.
“I am an accomplished defensive-minded winger, if needs be – but, here, I know I will be judged in the final third.
“As a winger that is all you want and I am really loving playing for an attacking side and want to contribute with goals and assists like I should every season.
“For one reason or another, barring a couple of seasons, that has not been the case.
“Hopefully, this is the season when it all comes together.”
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