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Digne: Family Club Everton Best For Me And My Career

Left-back settled on Merseyside and aiming for success.

The immaculate sweep of a bright blonde fringe is enough of a giveaway.

It is just about all the huddled group of 15 or so children excitedly peering through the window can see of their surprise guest as he sits facing away from them, waiting to be interviewed.

“It’s Lucas Digne,” one declares in a gleeful whisper that then rolls through the cluster like an echo.

It says plenty for the impression Digne has made in the short time since he arrived on Merseyside that his presence at Holy Catholic Primary School in Bootle is playground news.

Having stepped on to the pitch for the final minutes of Everton’s opening weekend draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Digne was handed his full Blues debut against Rotherham United in the Carabao Cup 11 days later and duly set up a goal for Dominic Calvert-Lewin in a comfortable 3-1 win.

A little over 72 hours later, the pair combined once more as this time Digne teed up the forward to earn a 1-1 draw against Huddersfield Town on what was the left-back’s first Premier League start.

The applause that met his eventual substitution - the 25-year-old made way for stalwart Leighton Baines with 14 minutes remaining - was a 40,000-person strong recognition of a job well done.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, though. You don’t amass more than 100 senior appearances while representing clubs like Paris Saint Germain, Roma and Barcelona - not to mention rack up 21 caps for the French national team - unless you are a player of some substance.

Brief as his time in England may have been, Digne has now sampled four of Europe’s top five leagues. When he declares the Premier League the best of the lot then, his opinion carries clout. 

“Here you play more direct and it’s more physical,” he says. “I think it’s different to the other countries.

“But it’s the best league in the world and you are very happy when you play on the pitch in the Premier League. It’s perfect.”


That he volunteers he would happily have “zero assists and two wins” from the four-day spell that brought cup progress but only a point against the Terriers tells you much about Digne’s character.

This is a grafter, a team player; someone who both fully comprehends the primary responsibilities of his defensive role, yet boasts the attacking verve to make him a perfect fit for Marco Silva’s progressive Blues.

It was his conversations with the Portuguese and Everton’s Director of Football Marcel Brands over the summer that convinced him to leave the prestigious Camp Nou behind and set up a new home in England.

“Barcelona is the biggest club in the world, everybody knows that,” he says. “But when I came here, I felt very good.

“I felt something with Marcel Brands when I spoke with him, and the coach, too.

“I had a very good feeling, and I said to Barcelona, ‘Please let me leave to go to Everton, it’s the best thing for me and for my career’.”

Digne7503
Digne7501

A seamless transition into life at USM Finch Farm has only served to validate his decision.

Able to lean on French speakers Idrissa Gana Gueye - a teammate for two seasons at his first club Lille - and international colleague Morgan Schneiderlin, the Parisian has refused to take the easy route, instead working hard to establish bonds across the dressing room.

Phil Jagielka, Seamus Coleman and Baines - the man whose decade-long stranglehold on the Toffees’ left-back berth he is seeking to loosen - all get namechecks when he is asked who has helped him feel at home inside the plush new first-team facilities at Everton’s Halewood training site.

“The French guys are a big help but it’s a very good group of teammates, we have good relationships," he confirms. "And a very good mentality.”

Digne is joined on his trip back to school by Joao Virginia, Portugal’s Under-19 European Championship-winning goalkeeper who, like the Frenchman, arrived at Everton last month.

The pair are here to present Holy Catholic with a bag of new football kit and sports equipment as a perk of their involvement in the Primary Stars initiative, a scheme that is the brainchild of the Premier League but delivered across schools in Merseyside each week by coaches from Everton in the Community.

Digne and Virginia join in enthusiastically as the pupils take part in a specially-tailored PE session that combines running and skipping with word games, harnessing the youngsters’ love of sport and physical activity to advance their learning in other areas of the curriculum.


“It’s a very good thing for them to learn with us, a good moment for everybody and I hope they enjoyed it,” says Digne afterwards, admitting that attending such an event has taught him something of the off-field demands that come with being an Everton footballer. The kids even have him attempting the floss.

“It’s an amazing day when you meet the children and you can join in with them,” he says, explaining he’ll be seeking advice on the dance move from his six-year-old cousins in future.

“When you are young, you look up to the players with the big eyes, it’s crazy. 

“I can remember when I was a child, I was like that."

It wasn’t just the children paying attention to the word games either. On arriving at Goodison, Digne revealed that improving on his school-learnt grasp of the English language was his number one priority. Like his on-pitch efforts, it’s coming along nicely.

“I am learning English - I take lessons,” he says, speaking throughout this interview in his adopted tongue and, as he has insisted on since signing, not through the aid of a translator. 

"My English teacher wants to see my interviews to see if I make any mistakes! He told me yesterday, ‘Send me the videos’.

“English is difficult to learn but it’s okay. I want to learn fast, more for my life out of football and my lifestyle. My wife is learning, too. It’s better when you can speak with everybody.”

Of his own school days, Digne avows to being “a good kid” who did his best to balance the demands of study with those of striving to flourish at Lille’s youth academy and representing his country at every age group from Under-16s upwards.

Digne7502
Digne7504

He loved history because, he says, “with the past you can make the future”.

To that end, he wants to leave his mark at Everton.

His name may already be popular among the youngest generation of supporters but he understands what it will take to truly etch it into Toffees folklore.

“Every player knows the history of Everton,” he says. "We want the best for the Club and it’s possible.

“We want to win a trophy, we want to be better year by year, and we will see.

“We have a good group, good quality and, in football, everything is possible. 

"It’s a family club and, for me, that’s really important,” he adds. “When you feel the fans really close to the team and the team very close to the fans, that’s huge.

“When I played my first game, it was a friendly game [against Valencia] but it was amazing. The fans clapped me for three or four minutes and, for me, I said, ‘Wow’.

“You feel the people are so friendly in England and in Liverpool, too. It’s very important when you see a fan and they say, ‘Good luck for this week’. It’s every time, it’s friendly and I love that."

Find out more about Premier League Primary Stars and the work of Everton in the Community here



03:51 Fri 14 Sep 2018

Digne: Family Club Everton Best For Me And My Career

The immaculate sweep of a bright blonde fringe is enough of a giveaway.

It is just about all the huddled group of 15 or so children excitedly peering through the window can see of their surprise guest as he sits facing away from them, waiting to be interviewed.

“It’s Lucas Digne,” one declares in a gleeful whisper that then rolls through the cluster like an echo.

It says plenty for the impression Digne has made in the short time since he arrived on Merseyside that his presence at Holy Catholic Primary School in Bootle is playground news.

Having stepped on to the pitch for the final minutes of Everton’s opening weekend draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Digne was handed his full Blues debut against Rotherham United in the Carabao Cup 11 days later and duly set up a goal for Dominic Calvert-Lewin in a comfortable 3-1 win.

A little over 72 hours later, the pair combined once more as this time Digne teed up the forward to earn a 1-1 draw against Huddersfield Town on what was the left-back’s first Premier League start.

The applause that met his eventual substitution - the 25-year-old made way for stalwart Leighton Baines with 14 minutes remaining - was a 40,000-person strong recognition of a job well done.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, though. You don’t amass more than 100 senior appearances while representing clubs like Paris Saint Germain, Roma and Barcelona - not to mention rack up 21 caps for the French national team - unless you are a player of some substance.

Brief as his time in England may have been, Digne has now sampled four of Europe’s top five leagues. When he declares the Premier League the best of the lot then, his opinion carries clout. 

“Here you play more direct and it’s more physical,” he says. “I think it’s different to the other countries.

“But it’s the best league in the world and you are very happy when you play on the pitch in the Premier League. It’s perfect.”


That he volunteers he would happily have “zero assists and two wins” from the four-day spell that brought cup progress but only a point against the Terriers tells you much about Digne’s character.

This is a grafter, a team player; someone who both fully comprehends the primary responsibilities of his defensive role, yet boasts the attacking verve to make him a perfect fit for Marco Silva’s progressive Blues.

It was his conversations with the Portuguese and Everton’s Director of Football Marcel Brands over the summer that convinced him to leave the prestigious Camp Nou behind and set up a new home in England.

“Barcelona is the biggest club in the world, everybody knows that,” he says. “But when I came here, I felt very good.

“I felt something with Marcel Brands when I spoke with him, and the coach, too.

“I had a very good feeling, and I said to Barcelona, ‘Please let me leave to go to Everton, it’s the best thing for me and for my career’.”

Digne7503
Digne7501

A seamless transition into life at USM Finch Farm has only served to validate his decision.

Able to lean on French speakers Idrissa Gana Gueye - a teammate for two seasons at his first club Lille - and international colleague Morgan Schneiderlin, the Parisian has refused to take the easy route, instead working hard to establish bonds across the dressing room.

Phil Jagielka, Seamus Coleman and Baines - the man whose decade-long stranglehold on the Toffees’ left-back berth he is seeking to loosen - all get namechecks when he is asked who has helped him feel at home inside the plush new first-team facilities at Everton’s Halewood training site.

“The French guys are a big help but it’s a very good group of teammates, we have good relationships," he confirms. "And a very good mentality.”

Digne is joined on his trip back to school by Joao Virginia, Portugal’s Under-19 European Championship-winning goalkeeper who, like the Frenchman, arrived at Everton last month.

The pair are here to present Holy Catholic with a bag of new football kit and sports equipment as a perk of their involvement in the Primary Stars initiative, a scheme that is the brainchild of the Premier League but delivered across schools in Merseyside each week by coaches from Everton in the Community.

Digne and Virginia join in enthusiastically as the pupils take part in a specially-tailored PE session that combines running and skipping with word games, harnessing the youngsters’ love of sport and physical activity to advance their learning in other areas of the curriculum.


“It’s a very good thing for them to learn with us, a good moment for everybody and I hope they enjoyed it,” says Digne afterwards, admitting that attending such an event has taught him something of the off-field demands that come with being an Everton footballer. The kids even have him attempting the floss.

“It’s an amazing day when you meet the children and you can join in with them,” he says, explaining he’ll be seeking advice on the dance move from his six-year-old cousins in future.

“When you are young, you look up to the players with the big eyes, it’s crazy. 

“I can remember when I was a child, I was like that."

It wasn’t just the children paying attention to the word games either. On arriving at Goodison, Digne revealed that improving on his school-learnt grasp of the English language was his number one priority. Like his on-pitch efforts, it’s coming along nicely.

“I am learning English - I take lessons,” he says, speaking throughout this interview in his adopted tongue and, as he has insisted on since signing, not through the aid of a translator. 

"My English teacher wants to see my interviews to see if I make any mistakes! He told me yesterday, ‘Send me the videos’.

“English is difficult to learn but it’s okay. I want to learn fast, more for my life out of football and my lifestyle. My wife is learning, too. It’s better when you can speak with everybody.”

Of his own school days, Digne avows to being “a good kid” who did his best to balance the demands of study with those of striving to flourish at Lille’s youth academy and representing his country at every age group from Under-16s upwards.

Digne7502
Digne7504

He loved history because, he says, “with the past you can make the future”.

To that end, he wants to leave his mark at Everton.

His name may already be popular among the youngest generation of supporters but he understands what it will take to truly etch it into Toffees folklore.

“Every player knows the history of Everton,” he says. "We want the best for the Club and it’s possible.

“We want to win a trophy, we want to be better year by year, and we will see.

“We have a good group, good quality and, in football, everything is possible. 

"It’s a family club and, for me, that’s really important,” he adds. “When you feel the fans really close to the team and the team very close to the fans, that’s huge.

“When I played my first game, it was a friendly game [against Valencia] but it was amazing. The fans clapped me for three or four minutes and, for me, I said, ‘Wow’.

“You feel the people are so friendly in England and in Liverpool, too. It’s very important when you see a fan and they say, ‘Good luck for this week’. It’s every time, it’s friendly and I love that."

Find out more about Premier League Primary Stars and the work of Everton in the Community here