DANNY MURPHY: Gomes Says Swapping Barca For Everton Was Step Forward

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[/sport/teampages/everton.html Everton] midfielder Andre Gomes is among a select group to have been team-mates with both Lionel Messi and [/sport/cristianoronaldo/index.html Cristiano Ronaldo]. 
Now he is pulling the strings for Everton manager Marco Silva, whose team's European push continues at [/sport/teampages/bournemouth.html Bournemouth] on Sunday. 
Sportsmail columnist and former [/sport/teampages/liverpool.html Liverpool] star Danny Murphy crossed the divide to meet him, while JOE BERNSTEIN listened in...
Everton midfielder Andre Gomes reveals all in his interview with The Mail on Sunday
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  ANDRE GOMES: Hello, Danny, good to see you. Liverpool meets Everton, no fighting!
DANNY MURPHY: I nearly signed for Everton myself when I left Liverpool in 2004. It was the year Rooney left, David Moyes was in charge. I wouldn't have had to move house, I knew the fans were passionate like Liverpool supporters. But in the end my head was 'No, I can't do it'.
GOMES: The fans were 80 per cent of the reason I signed for Everton from Barcelona this summer after a year on loan. They made me feel wanted. It was a really good connection. Maybe I felt I needed that.
MURPHY: I can relate to that. You're a bigger player at Everton than you were at Barcelona. At Liverpool, there were always bigger players like Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen. When I went to other clubs, I felt more appreciated in a way.
GOMES: It's true and I don't look at it as a step back. Coming to Everton meant being in an environment where I'm comfortable in myself. I'd say last season was a big step forward for me personally and now I'm an Everton player full-time.
Former Liverpool star Danny Murphy (left) sat down with Gomes to talk all things football
MURPHY: You've already had a great career Andre and you're only just 26. Benfica, Valencia, Barcelona, Portugal at Euro 2016. But English fans in general won't know that much about you. 
I played centrally for the last five or six years of my career, as you do now. I always had a mindset before I went out, I wanted to try to create things. What's your approach?
GOMES: It's probably a little bit more automatic for me than pre-planned. Once the ball starts rolling, I just try to enjoy. But the game is more organised now than ever before. I've only scored once for Everton, I like to get forward but sometimes I'm more focused on trying to build well from the back, get the ball safely to my team-mates to attack.
MURPHY: You have a good shot so maybe you can try to add a few goals. Maybe at Bournemouth! People say the Premier League is harder physically than La Liga. I'm not so sure the gulf is insurmountable.
GOMES: If you are a good player, you can play anywhere. It's about your mindset. I watched the Premier League as a kid and it was something I wanted to try. The intensity of English football is the same as when you played Danny but the difference is teams are more compact, more organised.
MURPHY: Is training the same in Spain as at Everton?
GOMES: People are serious in Spain as well but maybe training is a bit different because the tactics are slightly different in games. Most teams play tiki-taka in Spain.
MURPHY: I notice you changed your shirt number to No 21 this season. Is there any reason for it? I always had No 13. When I joined Liverpool, Karl-Heinz Riedle already had that so I had to wear something else. When he left I took it!
GOMES: There is a story behind the 21. When I first left Portugal to play in Valencia, I was just about to turn 21 years old. The number represented a new adventure, almost like starting again without my family or friends around me. Things went well and so I always like to wear the number.
Gomes has only scored one goal for Everton and insists he likes joining the attack
MURPHY: When you joined Everton, did you study the history of the club? When I started watching football seriously in the Eighties they were one of Europe's best teams.
GOMES: I needed to know some of the history, the big times for the clubs, the big players. It's important to help you settle in.
MURPHY: Portugal has had a massive impact on English football for such a relatively small country. Ronaldo, Mourinho, Carvalho, Bernardo Silva, Nuno at Wolves, your manager here Marco Silva.
GOMES: Portugal does a lot of great work with the academy system. A new generation comes through every couple of years. Our U19s reached the final of the European Championship this summer. A lot of clubs take the best players from around Portugal at 12 or 13 and put them in club accommodation, put them in school together. It helps the young players become more mature.
I stayed in my home town Porto until I was 17, then I went to Benfica, spent a year in their academy, but the next year when I started in the first team I had my own space.
Our managers also work very hard as well to achieve things. The perfect solution for everyone would be to live in their own country and work in an amazing league. But in Portugal you have to make a big effort so you can go out to a club in one of the top leagues.
MURPHY: Portuguese players in general travel well. They have a good work ethic and speak good English, like you. I was part of the first generation of English Premier League players that had a lot of overseas team-mates. Gerard Houllier was really insistent and pro-active that all the nationalities mingled together.
If he walked into the canteen and he saw four French lads together on their own, he would hit them with big fines. But it wasn't one-way. If us English players weren't interacting with the foreign boys, he would have a go at us too.
Gomes believes it is important to know the history of a club as it helped the player settle in
GOMES: We don't have precise rules at Everton but the idea is the same. I'm Portuguese like the manager but when the group is together, the information he gives me is in English.
If I'm on the team table with Yerry Mina and we say something in Spanish, we will always translate for the others, so nobody feels left out of the conversation. If someone needs to give me instructions about marking at a corner and I don't understand, no good.
MURPHY: Every club I played for would set a target at the start of the season. What is Everton's?
GOMES: The ambition is to get back into Europe. As you know, living with all the expectations is difficult as fans love the club and want to see big things happening, especially with the money being invested. We deserve as a club and fans to go to Europe. Our team wants the right mix. We need that fighting part because of the way our fans live the game. But we want the other side too, playing smart.
MURPHY: Not many have played with both Messi and Ronaldo. That's a bit of a claim to fame.
GOMES: They were always a step away from the rest of the players. I met Ronaldo for the first time when I was 19 after my first call-up to Portugal. With Leo, I was a bit older, 23, when I signed for Barcelona.
Their quality is over the line. Sometimes I can't understand why people fight so much which one is the best. Different styles but with the same goal. They like to be the man in the game and they reach the goals they set, to help the team.
Off the pitch, you can speak with both easily. People like to think one of them is shy, one is arrogant but no, they are both normal people.
Gomes met Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time when he was 19 during his first Portugal call-up
MURPHY: I was covering the Euro 2016 final when Portugal beat France. Ronaldo had to come off injured but he was like the conductor for the rest of the game. Up and down like a cat on a tin roof. It was extraordinary to see.
GOMES: I was on the bench. We all felt the nerves and stress in the last 30 minutes. Everyone was shouting instructions to the players on the pitch, us and 75,000 in the stadium! It was such a big moment for our country. It was our first trophy but also a lot of Portuguese people live and work in France.
MURPHY: You were at the Nou Camp in 2018. Why move?
GOMES: I wanted a new chapter [Gomes was competing with Rakitic and Busquets at Barca]. I had options from Spanish clubs and other Premier League teams but Marco spoke to me and explained the way he wanted the team, how they are building and that I'd be an important player and improve. 
I didn't know him personally at that time but I knew his record in Portugal, Greece and England. After hearing his ideas, it was an easy decision to sign on loan.
MURPHY: It was always important for me to speak to the manager before signing. I don't understand players who sign without doing that. I just loved playing, every time I wasn't playing for long, I always left. 
You're still only 26, not one of the older ones but you could still be important in helping guys like Richarlison and Moise Kean fulfil their potential.

GOMES: The first thing is to make them feel comfortable on the pitch. Everyone is a different character and personality and you try to find that out. It is easier when the kids enjoy working hard and the young kids here want to improve so it is easy to talk to them. 
They will make small mistakes in training and matches but you can speak with them because they will learn. It's important for them to feel comfortable speaking to the players, the experienced ones like Bainesy [Leighton Baines], Jags [Phil Jagielka] last season.
MURPHY: Did you have to do an initiation song
GOMES: The first week. I sang a Portuguese song, one that nobody could understand. Playing safe! This pre-season in Switzerland, we had new signings and couple of boys from the U23s. It was like a concert with 10 players singing. The first thing you take is the phone, 'Don't forget in two years I can smash you with this!'
MURPHY: It's funny how the confidence can drain away when they sing in front of team-mates.
GOMES: Under the floor!
Everton's Portuguese midfielder played alongside Lionel Messi at Barcelona for https://www.legitforum.com/index.php?action=profile;u=9684 three years
MURPHY: Do you have a stand-out game?
GOMES: It's in my personality to be a perfectionist. I can go home having done a good job and I'm thinking about one time I lost the ball or made a bad pass. You shouldn't think in an overly negative way but sometimes it's hard to change the way you are.
My only Everton goal so far was against Wolves last season but we lost so I was silent all the way home. I was completely upset and people were trying to tell me it was a good goal. 
Sometimes you don't have the balance. I missed the 4-0 win against United. I was banned for a stamp [on Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic]. I went late and went on his foot. It was a bad tackle.
MURPHY: Which midfield opponents have stood out for you?
GOMES: It was good to play against Nemanja Matic last season, we were team-mates at Benfica. N'Golo Kante is good. Similar to Gana [Idrissa Gueye] covering space for us last season but more offensive, he can go forward and get back straight away. Liverpool are hard to play against; not one player but the overall pressing.
MURPHY: Portugal will defend their European title next summer. Wouldn't it be great for you to get back into their squad?
GOMES: They called me up three times last season but I was injured or needed to get fit. They are doing really well and have good players. I have to be patient.
RELATED ARTICLES [# Previous] [# 1] [# Next] [/sport/football/article-7452503/Sportsmails-10-things-look-Premier-League-football-returns.html Will Liverpool continue their 100 per cent start? Can...] [/sport/football/article-7426339/Bournemouth-vs-Everton-team-news-predictions-match-facts-odds-more.html BOURNEMOUTH v EVERTON: Goalkeepers look away now - the...] [/sport/football/article-7461933/Everton-news-Marco-Silva-insists-Michael-Keane-past-England-howler.html 'It is a moment for him to learn': Everton boss Marco Silva...] [/sport/football/article-7460225/Tim-Cahill-posts-dressing-room-snap-Premier-League-legends-Vincent-Kompany-testimonial.html Tim Cahill posts dressing room snap alongside Premier League...]

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