Lucas Digne has revealed a conversation with Marco Silva convinced him to leave Barcelona for Everton.
Digne told Goal: “I wasn’t really planning to leave Barca and they were not looking to sell me, but when I spoke to Everton manager Marco Silva on the phone I got this special feeling. He really lit a fire inside of me and I thought: ‘Wow! I really want to play for this club and manager.’
“Then I went to Barca and asked them to please let me go. After a few talks, they accepted, that this was my wish. I am thankful for that, because now I feel happy in Everton.
“Barca was my childhood dream, so yes, it was difficult to leave, because I could have stayed to continue a great life in the club and the city. The club wanted me to stay.
“But I am 25 years old now and in a phase of my career, where I want to play every week, have a bigger role in the team and feel the full confidence of the coach. So I could not turn down the Everton project.
“I was only 22 when I signed for Barca, and it was the perfect place to develop myself. In my two years at Camp Nou I played 46 games for what I consider the greatest club in the world, training every day with the very top players in the world, like Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Neymar and so many more.
“Of course, I am a better player now. I enjoyed both seasons in Barca tremendously and chose to leave after a great season, winning the double in Spain, playing fantastic football, and for me personally developing as a player.
“Getting into the Premier League has been a pleasure,” he added. “Football is great everywhere – and different. I’ve learned a lot and developed myself as a player and as a person from these different experiences in different countries.
“Both the Premiership and La Liga are top class, but the difference is the incredible intensity during the game. In the Premier League there are challenges all the time and it’s full speed ahead every week.
“The style of football gives me a lot of pleasure. It is very physical and box-to-box for 90 minutes, and I enjoy going forward and getting a lot of crosses into the box. It is also intense because of the supporters, not only in the home games but also away, where they are simply fantastic. They give you extra power on the pitch.”
“I feel fantastic with Everton and in English football. It has been a super start to life in the Premiership, and the everyday life in the club gives me an extraordinarily good feeling.
“For me it was great to join other French speaking guys like Kurt Zouma and Morgan Schneiderlin, who I know from Les Bleus – and Idrissa Gueye, who I knew for six or seven years in Lille. But in general, we have a great group of players both on and off the pitch.
“The recent results show our progress. We have done well with four league wins and only one defeat – and our latest game was a 0-0 draw away against Chelsea. It was a tough game, but we fought well and got a deserved point and a great clean sheet in a difficult stadium.
“It is still early days for us as a team with many new players and a completely new style of football for the club with a new manager. But there is a great appetite for success, and the manager has an extremely good mentality and a great idea of football. I believe, that now every player understands what he wants.
“The manager and his staff have been working hard to implement the new style, and we as players have also been working hard both in training and in the matches. And that is why we are improving as a team and we are now getting good results.
“The next step is to believe in ourselves even more in the games against the biggest teams in the league because then the future will look bright for Everton. We are a club with huge traditions and a great history, and most of all we want to give our supporters something new to celebrate.”