‘I learnt how to play on the streets’ - Everton’s Niasse on his fighting spirit

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The 27-year-old relived his earliest football memories and says playing on the streets of Ouakam helped him develop a resilient mentality

Everton forward Oumar Niasse has attributed his fighting spirit to his footballing foundation, saying he ‘learnt how to play on the streets’.

The Senegal international joined the Toffees from Lokomotiv Moscow for £16 million in January 2016 but has endured a difficult spell at the club.

However, following a successful six-month loan spell at Hull City last season, the ex-Brann striker had to bide his time first in the team’s u-23 side, before breaking into the senior squad on his return to Goodison Park.

And after scoring five goals in his last eight games across all competitions for the Merseyside outfit, the former Akhisar Belediyespor marksman says he modelled his game after Argentine Carlos Tevez and that’s why he never gives up on a play.

“When you are 16 they teach you how to control the ball and where to run, but I didn’t have that,” Niasse told club website.

“I learnt how to play on the streets.

“But that helped me and it’s why I focus more on the players who can fight.

“I’m not someone who looks at players like [Dennis] Bergkamp or [Karim] Benzema and the way they play. That is more technical.

“I like Tevez. I used to look at him in the way he is fighting on the pitch.

“Tevez is [technical] but he is more fighting, so that’s why I say I was just watching players like him all the time.

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“It is helping me a lot. If the ball goes behind the defenders, some people may think it is going out but, me, I am running. One bounce can help me. My mentality is that I am always going to run.

“It is helping me because the defender or goalkeeper think I am not going to be there, but I am not going to give up.”

Niasse who was on target in Everton’s dramatic 3-2 victory over Watford before the international break will be looking to continue his recent goalscoring form when they visit Selhurst Park to tackle Wilfried Zaha’s Crystal Palace on Saturday.

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