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Gray, Benitez nominated for Premier League August awards

Everton are off to an excellent start this season after a tumultuous summer

FBL-ENG-PR-EVERTON-SOUTHAMPTON Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images

Everton are four games into the new season and have just reached the first international break with the Blues still unbeaten; wins at home against Southampton, away at Brighton & Hove Albion and at Huddersfield Town, and a thrilling draw at Leeds United too.

You could argue that with the fixtures we had at the start of the season, seven points and passage to the Carabao Cup Third Round should be a minimum return, however, nothing is guaranteed in this league. Along with this, our performances have been a lot closer to what I and many others expect as a minimum from any Everton team.

This positive change has been instigated in part by two of our summer recruits, Demarai Gray and Rafa Benitez, who have been nominated for Premier League Player and Manager of the month respectively for the month of August.

After another summer of change at Everton with a controversial managerial appointment and an underwhelming transfer window due to profit & loss restraints, there was a significant lack of optimism going into this season. However, other than a somewhat shaky performance with a second string side at Huddersfield, there have been clear signs of improvement and a shift towards a gritty, fighting mentality that will be appreciated thoroughly throughout our fanbase. This shift has been implemented primarily through the new manager’s tactics.

Admittedly, along with a significant portion of our fanbase I was sceptical about Rafa’s appointment, but already the Spaniard is beginning to relieve any doubts I had. It is evident that he has a clear idea on the way he wants us to play, which has been showcased in our summer transfer business and our opening fixtures. Despite the lack of summer spending though I trust that Rafa has brought in the right players for the way he wants to play.

Although I do believe we are still a few players short, which hopefully the club will be able to rectify in January, the early signs from this season suggest that the manager knows how to get a tune out of this squad. Hopefully, we can continue on this path and Rafa can help us to reclaim the identity we have been stripped of in the last few years.

You can vote for Rafa Benitez to be awarded the Premier League Manager of the Month for August here.

I think I speak on behalf of most Evertonians when I say how pleasantly surprised I have been by Demarai Gray’s start in Royal Blue. Along with his blistering pace and two goals, he has added a much desired energy and fearlessness we have lacked for countless years. Granted it is still early days, but if Gray carries on the way he is going, he could prove to be one of the bargains of the season. Hopefully Everton can provide Demarai with a home and somewhere he can deliver on his undoubted potential for years to come.

You can vote for Demarai Gray to be crowned the Premier League Player of the Month for August here.