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Digne on life at Everton & how he's finally able to take free-kicks without 'world's best' Messi around

10:12 pm AEDT 26/1/19
Lionel Messi Lucas Digne Barcelona Everton 2018-19
The France international left-back has enjoyed a fantastic start to life on Merseyside and is delighted with the start he's made under Marco Silva

Everton defender Lucas Digne has revealed how well he's settling into life at the club and that he's thrilled with the attacking responsibility given to him by manager Marco Silva.

Having signed from Barcelona in the summer for a fee of £18 million ($23.5m), the 25-year-old France international has been one of the revelations of the Premier League this season.

Indeed, Digne has chalked up some impressive numbers lately, with three goals and two assists arriving in the last eight matches.

Speaking exclusively to Goal , the Frenchman discussed how he's adapting to life in England and that he's enjoying Everton playing to his strengths.

“I’m enjoying my football,” he said. “I’m enjoying having more responsibility and confidence from the manager. I focus on marking, positioning, winning my duels on the ground and in the air. But nowadays being a left-back is also about attacking, and I am happy to contribute to the team in this way too.

“I enjoy having good personal stats and it’s nice to hear those because I try to give my best every time. 

“In football and in life it is always important to develop - never stand still - and the feeling of developing together as a team where we all have the same ambitions and dreams for the club is amazing.

“What really counts is how the whole team performs. And we must improve in the last part of the season. We are building a new team with a new style under a new manager, and we always want to progress. We have shown good things, but we will get better and more consistent.

“I like the way we play with crosses, which have quickly become part of my game. In Barca, I never crossed the ball like here – it’s not their style to play that way because there are no tall players in the box!”

Additionally, he has shown quite a talent from free-kicks, scoring twice, which was a chance he was never afforded at Camp Nou because of the presence of the "best player in the world" in Lionel Messi.

“I didn’t take any direct free kicks in my two years at Barca so I’m enjoying taking them now, and of course it’s been a pleasure to score two of them in the last month,” he added. “When you have Messi on the pitch, it is natural that no one else should get near the ball on a direct free kick. He is in a class of his own - also in that discipline. 

“For me Messi is without any competition the best player in the world. The best I have played with - and the best I have seen.”

Although he is enjoying a fine run of form on the field, he is also thriving in the intimate atmosphere off it on Merseyside.

“The Premier League is the biggest league in the world and Goodison Park is great – it is intimate and the fans sit so close to us out there on the pitch,” he added. “They’re like a 12th man. When I take a throw-in, a corner, or a free kick - they always are right behind me shouting to help me do things better.

“It was easy to adapt here. My team-mates and manager – the whole club – helped me a lot. I felt at home from the beginning. 

“It’s definitely been an advantage that I’ve played in top leagues before, not only in France, but also in Italy and Spain, and that I’ve gained international experience with my national team.”

Having been warmly embraced into the Everton family, Digne is looking to give a little back via the club’s charity.

“I have been impressed with the great work that the club do with the local community in Liverpool,” he added. “Everton in the Community is a fantastic charity and I have enjoyed meeting so many people across Merseyside who have benefitted from its great work. 

“Going with the club to different projects and meeting people has helped me settle in. I feel connected to the Evertonians and to the people of this city, and they have been so warm and friendly to my wife and me.”

And ahead of the FA Cup meeting with Millwall on Saturday, he is targeting silverware with the club, with Everton having not won a trophy since 1995.

“The FA Cup is not only important to our supporters but also to the club and the players,” he said. “Everton are a club with a great history winning a lot of trophies. We want to bring that back to the Evertonians, and everybody at the club is working hard to achieve that goal. 

“This team wants to win trophies - and right now we want to advance and get to the most exciting phases of the FA Cup. I have been used to winning trophies with my previous clubs - like last season I won the double in Spain. 

“At Everton we are building for the future of this great club, and right now the FA Cup is our chance to play for a trophy.”