Ashley Williams says that he wants to bring to Evertonians the same thrills that Wales gave their supporters on their magical run to the semi-finals of Euro2016 over the summer.
The defender captained the Welsh side through an impressive tournament that almost ended with an improbable place in the final but they were beaten by eventual winners Portugal.
Since then, Williams has ended his long-time association with Swansea City where he made well over 300 appearances and opted for a new challenge at Everton, one that he is really enjoying.
The Blues have had a patchy first quarter of the Premier League campaign but Williams is eager to reward the “incredible” support from Everton's fans by giving them something to celebrate.
"When you come to a new club there's a real desire to impress everyone and you have to get your head down and start again from scratch. I've enjoyed that challenge,” the 32-year-old told the Liverpool Echo.
"I've enjoyed working hard in training and focusing on the challenge we've set ourselves as a team and that is competing for European football.
"Obviously, I had the experience of getting to the semi-finals of the Euros with Wales in the summer and that was immense for the whole of the country, the pride that generated in people.
"That's the kind of thing we want to do here at Everton."
Williams suggests that while the Toffees are a bigger club than Swansea. with whom he ascended to the Premier League after signing from Stockport County, he has joined a club similarly in touch with its supporters and the local area.
"What I've loved since coming here is that Everton is rooted in family and community," the Wales skipper continued.
"The passion that supporters have for the Club is incredible and you see it and feel it when Goodison is packed for every game and when the away ends are bursting at places like The Etihad and everywhere we go, no matter the game, no matter the distance.
"It gives players a real impetus — certainly, it's done that for me.”
While the summer was a career highlight for Williams, he is keen for another international adventure with his country, this time at the World Cup for which they haven't qualified since 1958.
Their qualification campaign for Russia 2018 has not gone as well as the one that swept them to France for this year's European Championships, however, and Wales currently sit in third place in Group D, two points behind Serbia and four behind leaders Ireland.
Williams is under no illusions about how tough it will be to qualify but he is confident his nation can do it.
"They will all be big games to come. But we feel we have enough in our dressing room to win all of them if that is what we have to do," he told the BBC after the frustrating 1-1 draw with the Serbs in Cardiff this past weekend.
"We have to take the positives from the game. We haven't lost yet in the campaign and feel like we can beat any team.
"I think it will be a close group right up until the end. It is not all doom and gloom. It is just a frustrating night," Williams said.
"All of the remaining games are big now. They were before, but now the more it goes on, they turn into must-wins.”
Reader Comments (16)
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1 Posted 14/11/2016 at 17:44:23
2 Posted 14/11/2016 at 18:11:09
3 Posted 14/11/2016 at 18:24:09
4 Posted 14/11/2016 at 19:26:12
God, I wish he had just a bit of pace to go with it.
5 Posted 14/11/2016 at 19:35:52
I suppose there are many reasons for this comedy of feck-ups:
1) players bought in by the manager themselves who were either poor to start or now past their best.
2) older players who they don't have the balls to drop and have been there way too long... and we have quite a few of them now!!
These two issues may seem small to people but they're core values for winning teams are huge. This has constantly been a problem within our club over the last 20 years or more, That's been a huge barrier why we haven't been near winning anything and this won't change until these and other issues have been addressed?
Or maybe we just haven't managed to select the right manager with the individual game/team philosophy to enable us to maximise our potential.
What is frustrating is that is other big clubs have delivered on this issue! (Not always with big money). What seems to come up consistently is selecting the manager that fits perfectly with our DNA and club/supporters philosophy.
These issues may never be addressed and, in my opinion, our failure to develop and become a winning club again 'soon' will quickly weaken our position permanently to a point were it becomes irreversible and we become a second class club and the top clubs become untouchable in money, support, infrastructure and the right guy in charge!!
6 Posted 14/11/2016 at 19:38:45
11 Posted 14/11/2016 at 21:55:20
We have got some tough games coming up and he needs to be on top of his game and hopefully big Ron won't try and be a smart arse and play five at the back again!
Best form of defence ... attack!
14 Posted 14/11/2016 at 22:30:51
It'd be great to have more skill in the team but players showing less than 100% professionalism is and always has been a knife to the heart of fans.
23 Posted 15/11/2016 at 13:56:43
We should beat Swansea quite comfortably at home this weekend, I believe they are a million miles away from playing Chelsea at home who are on fire lately.
We have some very tough games in December home to Man Utd, Arsenal & Liverpool and away to Leicester so we need to start picking up points soon.
Will Baines be back for Saturday?
25 Posted 15/11/2016 at 17:15:19
26 Posted 15/11/2016 at 19:58:05
27 Posted 15/11/2016 at 20:22:08
If you REALLY believe that, you would be insane not to take the 11/2 you can (currently) get on a Swansea win.
Hundred nicker = season-ticket sorted for next season.
28 Posted 16/11/2016 at 07:54:59
29 Posted 16/11/2016 at 08:00:35
30 Posted 16/11/2016 at 11:32:35
My point was IF I was convinced they would â€“ like Max Murphy (#26) appears to be â€“ I would deffo take the 11/2 on offer.
31 Posted 17/11/2016 at 11:38:41
Swansea have beaten us once in the league in their history. Get yourself a dictionary and learn the English language before stringing a sentence together.
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