Idrissa Gana Gueye has revealed one of the secrets to his strong relationship with fellow Everton midfielder Amadou Onana — speaking Wolof.
Gana and Onana have been a near constant presence in the Blues’ starting line-up this season after sealing moves from Paris Saint-Germain and Lille respectively last summer.
The pair, who were both born in Dakar — the capital of Senegal, are in international action this evening (Tuesday), with Gana potentially set for his 101st international cap after reaching a century in Senegal’s 5-1 win over Mozambique on Friday.
Onana, meanwhile, opted to represent Belgium, having moved to the European nation for his father’s work as a youngster, and has five senior caps so far for the Red Devils.
The duo have built a strong relationship both on and off the pitch since linking up on Merseyside and Gana says, particular in the early months of this season, that was helped by their shared ability to speak Wolof, the national language of Senegal.
“Sometimes I speak to him in Wolof on the pitch, it’s much easier!” Gana told evertonfc.com. “It’s always been very easy to be with him because he speaks Wolof.
“Ama is a good young baller, he has so much quality. He’s in a great place but he has to work hard now and keep the mindset he has of thinking he has a long way to go to fulfil his potential.
“I believe he can become one of the best midfielders.
“I try to give him some advice. Not just him — the other lads, too — but with him it’s so natural for me to find the right words to explain myself to him.
“I enjoy working with him and I enjoy listening to him. I like to get the best from him and also hope I can give him my best and at the end, hopefully we can both be better players for it.”
Revealing where he first learned Onana could speak his mother tongue, Gana continued: “I played against him once last season when I was at PSG and after he made a tackle he said something to me in Wolof.
“I didn’t know at the time that he was Senegalese and when he spoke to me in Wolof, I thought he could only say a couple of basic things.
“But then when I arrived here, he spoke to me in perfect Wolof and then I realised and we quickly got talking about everything.”
As well as Wolof, both Gana and Onana also speak fluent French, with midfield colleague Abdoulaye Doucoure last week revealing Gana acts as the group’s imam when praying together.
The trio, along with goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, are currently observing the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Click here to see which Everton players are set for international action over the domestic break.