EVERTON’S new on-loan Spanish starlet Gerard Deulofeu reckons that training with Lionel Messi has helped him flourish.
The highly-rated 19-year-old Barcelona forward said he can’t wait to get his Goodison stint started, after Roberto Martinez won the race for his temporary signature over a host of other top European clubs.
Deulofeu, who scored 18 goals for the Catalan giants’ B team last term and made a number of first-team substitute bows, said: “Obviously training at Barcelona is a fantastic experience.
“You train alongside players like Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta who are clearly some of the best players in the world. To learn from them is a very nice experience. I’m very keen to get started and I’m delighted to be at such a big and historic football club. I really can’t wait to get started.”
The ECHO understands Barcelona were keen for their talented teenager to head for the blue half of Merseyside instead of his other suitors – which included Liverpool – because they are confident Martinez can further boost his development.
And in turn, Deulofeu hopes his attacking prowess can also help Everton during his time in the Premier League.
“I’m an attacking player and I can play wide,” he said. “I’m quite quick, quite decent at one-on-one situations and I’m looking forward very much to helping the team.
“The truth is that I follow the Premier League quite a lot. It’s one of the best leagues in the world.”
Deulofeu will join up with the Blues squad later this summer after enjoying a well-earned break following his involvement in the recent Under-20s World Cup in Turkey – an experience he enjoyed.
He added: “It was a great and pleasant experience. We were up against some teams like Mexico who we were able to get through against. We didn’t quite manage it against Uruguay, but it was a great experience.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and getting started. Obviously I have got a few days holiday coming my way because I have just finished in the Under-20s World Cup but I can’t wait to get started.”
On linking up with his fellow Catalan Martinez, he said: “He did a great job at Wigan and we have spoken on the phone. I look forward to meeting him very soon.”