Andros Townsend has spoken on his desire to prove wrong his doubters and has discussed his desire to sign for Everton and reunite with Rafael Benitez.
Townsend signed for Everton this summer on a free transfer after his contract expired at Crystal Palace, though the signing of the experienced winger has proven somewhat underwhelming for the Toffees’ fans after previous summers of heavy investment.
The 30-year-old admits he understands the stance of the Everton supporters and believes there are those who doubt whether he is ‘good enough to play at this level’, but has outlined his ‘hunger’ to make the most of his opportunity at Goodison Park.
“I understand when I signed maybe Everton fans, or fans in general, didn’t understand why this club, with their ambition, would get a free transfer from Crystal Palace,” Townsend told the Guardian.
“A lot of people wouldn’t have expected me to get this opportunity. I had a spell at the start of my career with Spurs fighting for the top six, then I had a spell when I was battling relegation each year and fighting to get into the top 10 was a good season.
“I feel I have a lot of doubters wondering if I am good enough to play at this level. My hunger is probably more than it was in the past. This is what gets me out of bed: trying to prove those people wrong.”
Townsend’s move to Merseyside reunites the 13-cap England international with Rafael Benitez, having enjoyed a productive loan spell under the Spaniard at Newcastle.
The winger has revealed he turned down the prospect of playing Champions League football – believed to be with a Turkish side – in order to secure a move to Everton and admits the reunion with Benitez was a ‘no-brainer’.
“I spoke to Rafa soon after he got the job,” Townsend said. “I had some interesting offers. I was trying to delay them as long as possible; I was waiting patiently for that offer from Everton to come through. Thankfully it did.
“Maybe I could have played Champions League football in a different country, which did excite me, but it wasn’t a case of weighing anything up. With the Premier League, Everton and Rafa Benítez, it was a no-brainer for me.”
Townsend discussed Benitez’s approach since taking charge at Everton this summer and admits the 61-year-old works ‘tirelessly’ to improve his squad and players, revealing the manager has encouraged him to drift inside and ‘get in the box more’.
“He has picked up where he left off,” he said. “He wants me to get in the box more, he wants me to come inside more and he works tirelessly.
“I don’t think there is a time when Rafa is pictured and there isn’t a player next to him, a player he is talking to, trying to improve parts of their game they probably have not even thought about.”