Sunday, September 25, 2022

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Neal Maupay is convinced Everton “have everything” they need to “get back on track”.

While other players stretch, chat, listen to music or flip through the schedule of games, Everton striker Neal Maupay will have his head in a book ahead of Sunday’s kick-off against West Ham.

His current reading is a French study on psychology, translated as “The Five Wounds That Prevent You From Being Yourself”.

It may sound tough but for the 26-year-old forward it’s the perfect way to unwind ahead of a big game at Goodison when his new club are aiming for their first win of the season.

“It’s not meant to motivate me, it’s just good to have something that makes the time go by quickly without having to think too much about the game. I’ve read that waiting two hours from arrival at the stadium is a long time,” he explains.

“This particular book is interesting. The brain is interesting. There’s a lot of stuff to learn. People always seem surprised that footballers read, but we were at school!’

Maupay joined Everton from Brighton for £15million in the last week of the summer transfer window and made his debut in the goalless Merseyside derby two weeks ago.

He has been signed to give Frank Lampard an additional scoring option after Richarlison’s departure as Dominic Calvert-Lewin has just returned from injury.

Maupay, who was born in Versailles but grew up in Nice, can see the Merseysiders following the upward trend he saw at Brighton under Graham Potter.

“Football is changing. Just because you have problems yesterday doesn’t mean tomorrow won’t be good,” he says.

“I have been in this process of a new manager and new player at Brighton. We had two tough seasons with places 15 and 16 and then the good one (9th). Building takes time.

“I really think that’s the case with Everton. We have everything and I see it as a step forward, it’s one of the biggest clubs in England.

“We haven’t had any wins yet, but I see positives. We won at Brentford and Leeds and drew against Liverpool. I think it’s only a matter of time before we convert those draws into wins.’

Maupay has been Brighton’s top scorer in every season he has been there, including a sensational overhead kick against opponents on Sunday last December.

His busy nature will also appeal to Evertonians.

“I understand the weight of the jersey and how hard you have to fight for it,” he says. ,This is me. When I do something, I do it 100%.

“Yes, I run a lot, but I will score goals, provide assists, fight and do everything I can to help the team.

“I am someone who needs challenges. I can get bored pretty easily and after three seasons at Brighton where I feel like I’ve given my all, maybe I needed something new.

“Playing for Everton and helping the club get back on track is a huge challenge.”

Ironically, he will be reunited with West Hams’ Said Benrahma on Sunday – the two are good friends who started out together at Nice academy and went on to be Brentford team-mates.

The immediate priority is getting points on the board, and Maupay believes he can play with Calvert-Lewin instead of fighting for position with the pair.

“We can play together because we’re completely different in terms of attributes,” he explains. “He’s very tall, strong, a lot in the penalty area, while my game tends to fall short and run behind.

“I’ve played with strikers like him before; Danny Welbeck at Brighton, Ollie Watkins at Brentford. I can play as No. 9 or with someone else.”

Maupay saw Potter develop into a manager who was later acquired by Chelsea. Lampard will have his own style but the player has been impressed so far.

“Every manager is different. From what I’ve seen so far, Lampard has a very clear idea of ​​how we should play. He is also close to his players.

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