Andros Townsend has enjoyed a renaissance at Everton under Rafael Benitez.
The winger arrived at Goodison Park on a free transfer from Crystal Palace and has already grabbed five goals and three assists for the Blues in all competitions.
Having won the Premier League goal of the month award for a record third time on Friday, the 30-year-old has settled into life quickly on Merseyside.
Benitez played a large part in bringing him to the Toffees, having briefly worked together before at Newcastle, and Andros’ father Troy Townsend has spoken candidly about the influence the Spanish coach has had on his son.
“From the first inkling of Rafa being appointed, we felt something would or could happen,” he said.
“I think Andros would have parked outside the stadium and waited for Rafa to be unveiled, to be honest!
“He was producing the same kind of form under Rafa at Newcastle. Rafa knows what to expect from Andros and what he can deliver. The relationship has remained.”
While at Newcastle, in a short spell before experiencing relegation in 2016, the England international scored three and assisted two in 10 league games under Benitez.
Townsend then joined Palace the following summer, where he was often asked to do his fair share of defensive work, instead of playing on the front foot.
Everton ’s new arrival has been honest in his appreciation for the chance to join the Blues, insisting that he is eager to “prove people wrong” who may have initially been underwhelmed by his signing.
Following his bright start to the campaign, the former Tottenham Hotspur man has admitted he is aiming to reach double figures for goals and assists , a feat he has yet to achieve in his career and Townsend Sr. believes he understands one of the reasons for his upturn in form.
“The status of the football club always helps. Wanting to achieve for a fanbase absolutely intertwined with the club and wanting people to respect him again as a footballer,” he told The Athletic .
“It’s realising that this is another chance to excel at the highest level of the game.
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“This is an Everton team that should always be looking at Europe. You can see that mentality and quality of player that he hasn’t played with for a long time.”
His latest goal for the Toffees came in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford, with his precise finish coming at the end of a fluid team move.
Townsend has talked previously about the tactical tweaks Rafa Benitez has made to his game, which has seen him become an integral part of a promising Everton team.
Though the Blues boss may not always be forthcoming in his praise, often opting to point out where improvements could have been made, Townsend Sr. insists that his decision to utilise Andros as more of an inside forward has given a boost to his confidence.
“Andros hasn’t had that for a very long time. It was always, ‘Stay outside and cross or come inside and do one of those shots you do’,” his father said, who is also Head of Development at Kick It Out.
“What Rafa has done is say, ‘This is where you belong — I want you to be an important part in getting between a full-back and a centre-back’.
“That’s where Andros thrives. Rafa knows it’s there but it hasn’t been utilised in the last few years.
“It’s instilling him with confidence so his contributions can be valuable to Everton this season.”
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