Andre Gomes says the unconditional backing of Evertonians is helping him “feel important” again.
Midfielder Gomes completed a season-long loan move from Barcelona to Everton on the eve of the 2018-19 campaign – two years after joining Barca from fellow La Liga team Valencia.
He played 78 matches for the five-times European champions but found regular football harder to come by in his second season at the Nou Camp, starting 12 games and appearing from the bench 19 times.
A hamstring problem forced Gomes to wait until October for his Everton debut – a 2-0 Goodison Park win over Crystal Palace – but the Portuguese has proved something of a revelation since coming into Marco Silva’s team.
“It is really important when you get good feedback from the supporters, you feel important and it is a good thing personally,” Gomes told evertontv.
“I am one hundred per cent sure [I can enjoy my football at Everton]. That is why I signed for the Club.
"I saw it as a really big opportunity to play for a big club in the Premier League. All the little details were important.
“I arrived injured but still received huge support from the people and I am enjoying every day as an Evertonian.
“It wasn’t a big injury but it happened during pre-season [in a friendly match for Barcelona] and it is never easy when you start with an injury.
“I appreciated all the messages from the fans and my first days in the Club with my teammates were important – talking with them and getting to know them – that time made me feel more comfortable at the Club and in my rehab.”
Gomes's stock has continued to soar since he introduced himself to his new club's supporters with a classy performance against Palace. He made his eighth successive Premier League start in Monday's 2-2 draw with Watford and set up Everton’s opening goal for Richarlison.
The former Benfica man was integral to his side claiming a 56.5 per cent possession share, his 66 attempted passes far and away the most of any player on the pitch.
He had a match-high 87 touches of the ball and put in the hard yards, too.
Gomes covered 7.2 miles – Watford’s Roberto Pereyra was the only other player in the game to run further than seven miles – and embarked on six sprints, clocking a top speed just shy of 18 miles per hour.
Of his 66 passes, 28 were fed accurately into Watford territory. The modest Gomes insists his job is simplified by the intelligent movement of Everton’s mobile attackers – a quartet formed by Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Bernard and Theo Walcott against Watford.
“Our work is easier when we have forwards like them; we are in good shape and have a good balance," said Gomes.
“We have a lot of competition in midfield and it is a hard decision for the manager.
“We have talent and players with the ability to solve any problems in a game.
“The high expectations [at Everton] are normal.
"I am feeling really comfortable here. We are like a family and it is a huge pleasure and honour to be here and playing for this badge.”
— André Gomes (@aftgomes) December 10, 2018