From goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, the highly-rated young England stopper from Sunderland, to a defence including Three Lions star and former Burnley centre-half Michael Keane and ex-Southampton full-back Cuco Martina, to former Spur Gylfi Sigurdsson and Ajax graduate Davy Klaassen in midfield, all the way through to a revamped forward line including the experienced Wayne Rooney and one-time Barcelona striker Sandro Ramirez, the Toffees have strengthened in all areas.
We spoke to Eric Dier, who knows Pickford and Keane from the international picture, and Christian Eriksen, who played with Sigurdsson here at Spurs and is aware of the talents of fellow ex-Ajax star Klaassen, to find out what we can expect when we return to Premier League action at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon…
Thoughts on Everton
“They’ve made some really good signings, some young English players and of course Wayne as well, as someone who is a bit more experienced, so it will be a really tough game on Saturday. Over the years we’ve always found Everton to be really tough opposition and it will be no different. Obviously playing at Goodison as well, it’s really tough to go there so we’re going to have to be at our best.”
Tell us about Jordan Pickford…
“He’s a really fantastic keeper. I’ve worked with him quite a lot for England and he’s a fantastic keeper with so much potential so I think the future is going to be great for him. Hopefully we can find a way past him on Saturday, though!”
And Michael Keane…
“Again, he’s a very good player. He came from Manchester United, went to Burnley, did very well and deservedly got his move to Everton. I think it’s a great fit for him there and he can show his quality. He’s very calm on and off the pitch and has a good attitude, a good personality so he’s a very good signing for them but, as I said before, hopefully we can beat him on Saturday!”
Thoughts going into Saturday’s game
“Now the transfer window has shut, we’re all back from the international break and the atmosphere at the training ground over the last couple of days has been fantastic. Everyone is really looking forward to getting down to business now.”
How do you assess Everton ahead of the weekend?
“Of course, you never know what to expect with a new team, it could be a good game or a bad game. They’ve started the season with some ups and downs but they’ve brought in some very strong players, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Davy Klaassen from Ajax so they’ve got a lot of good midfielders in the squad and they’ve improved so we’ll see on Saturday how we do.”
On Gylfi Sigurdsson
“It’s always fun to play up against Gylfi. Of course he’s at a different club now and I think for his potential he’s in a very good way. You’ve seen as well with the Iceland national team how important he is, he’s been there for years now and they’re doing well so of course he’s a very good player.”
How would you summarise Gylfi’s progress since he left us in 2014?
“He’s playing very well. He’s matured more, he’s creating even more chances, creating more goals and scoring more goals so he’s really built on everything. He scored some nice goals before and he still does that so nothing has changed really, he’s still the same Gylfi. I think he keeps improving.”
Can he be as influential for Everton as he was for Swansea?
“Yes, I think so, with his deliveries and his ability to know where the ball is on the pitch. He’s a very smart player and I think he can definitely help to take Everton to the next level. Hopefully we will take the upper hand on Saturday, though, and come away with the three points.”