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Begovic wants to be a leader at Everton

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In his first interview with the Blues, the veteran talks about backing up ‘world-class’ Pickford

Everton Unveil New Signing Asmir Begoviv Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

34-year-old goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has joined Everton on a free transfer from AFC Bournemouth, signing a one-year deal with the option of a further year after passing his medical on Saturday.

Speaking to evertontv after the signing was made official, the Bosnia international talked about his motivation for joining the Blues.

“When I first heard of the possibility of joining Everton, I was really excited. Opportunities like this don’t come round every day so I’m just really honoured and pleased to be here.

“I’m definitely here to compete. Jordan is a world-class goalkeeper and I think the group here is fantastic. We have a great goalkeeper coach in Alan Kelly. We are going to push each other every single day and set those standards in training.

“I’m going to look to help in whatever way I can… with a bit of leadership around the group and trying to be a positive influence. Not just on Jordan but on all my teammates. The talent at this club over the years has been amazing.

“It is no different now, with a lot of good players coming through, especially in the goalkeeping department. If I can help them in any way, shape or form, then I would love to do that and set an example: train well, play well and hopefully help them [emerging players] along in their careers.”

The veteran has over 250 Premier League appearances for a number of clubs including Portsmouth, Stoke City, Chelsea and Bournemouth, and also won the Premier League title with the Stamford Bridge side.

Last season he was a key member of the Cherries squad and got them to the Championship play-off semi-finals, and wants to continue to be an influential member in the Toffees dressing room too.

“I want to be part of a successful club and with the squad we have, the fan base, everything is in place for us to be successful. To work with people of [Rafael Benitez and Director of Football Marcel Brands’] calibre is really pleasing for me and I’m looking forward to learning from them.

“The ambition is to get this club where it belongs… that has to be challenging for those European spots, challenging for the domestic trophies and being in the upper echelon of the league. With the squad we have and now bringing in a couple of experienced players and that winning mentality, I don’t see why that’s not doable.

“I love to play the game. When I’m out there, I try to be as consistent as I can in all areas of the game and be that dependable, reliable goalkeeper for the team. I’ve tried to be a positive influence on my teammates: communicate well, support them and really work as a back unit as well as we can.”

The veteran shotstopper indicated that he was driven to continue his career by AC Milan teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic who is still playing in the top flight at the age of 38.

“He [Ibrahimovic] was a huge inspiration for that… I was able to work with him and learn from him. I’m looking forward to playing for as many years as I can. I have never really put a limit on it but I feel great. I like to learn every day. I think I have a lot to offer on the pitch. Hopefully, I can do that for many more years.

“I’ve played against Everton numerous times, played at Goodison numerous times, and what you know is, this is a humungous club. It’s a big club that deserves to be at the highest level. With the fanbase, the tradition we have, the facilities, the squad – we really need to get back into European football.”

Begovic had complimentary things to say about his new manager at Everton as well as goalkeepeing coach Alan Kelly.

“Just in my first couple of conversations with him [Benitez], it’s clear he has a massive knowledge of the game.

“He has an incredible track record in terms of what he’s achieved and accomplished. To work for those sorts of managers is very good for me.

“The first impressions [of Kelly] were great. He’s been in the game a long time, worked at the highest level and has great experience. He’s someone I can certainly learn from and I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can.”