Everton central defender Kurt Zouma is relishing making his Goodison Park bow in tomorrow’s Carabao Cup tie against Rotherham United.
Zouma, who joined the Blues on a season-long loan from Chelsea, replaced the injured Michael Keane in stoppage time in Saturday’s 2-2 draw, but is expected to start against the Millers on Wednesday.
He has had to bide his time since his deadline-day arrival, with manager Marco Silva preferring fellow centre-halves Keane and Mason Holgate. Speaking at today’s pre-match press conference, he told of how keen he is to make an impact at Goodison, saying:
“[It is a] very important moment for me because I came here to play and I am ready to come here and help the team win games.
“In every team there is competition, so if one goes out, the other one has to do the same or even better to keep their place. But the attitude and the spirit in the team is very good, so every player in the team will want to win and want to give everything for the team.”
While Everton will be overriding favourites to beat Rotherham, 15th in the Championship after winning promotion from League One last year, Zouma, 23, stressed the importance of taking the second-round tie seriously.
He believes the Carabao Cup offers Everton a real chance of ending their 23-year trophy drought, adding:
“Of course, with the players we have [we can win it]. We need to start well and be focused on our game, and if we give them one chance then I know it’s going to be very, very hard. We have to be really focused and respect them.
Speaking about his personal goals for the season, Zouma, a mainstay while on loan at relegated Stoke last year, simply wants to keep improving and hopes he and the team can continue to impress a reinvigorated fanbase after the apathy that clouded much of last season. He said:
“I want to keep playing. Last year at Stoke, I played more than 30 games, so I am very happy but obviously we went down last year.
“But this was the past now and I just wanted to come back as soon as possible and this season I just want to keep playing, like I did last year, and help the team win something.
“In the big clubs there is good competition and you will see everybody giving 100 per cent when they get a chance. That can help the team to win and show the fans that we want to make them happy and make ourselves happy.”
Zouma is likely to find himself on the field more often now after Keane discovered he will be out for three or weeks following his collision with Idrissa Gueye on Saturday, while new signing Yerry Mina will also not feature until September due to a foot injury [Telegraph].