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Neal Maupay is convinced Everton ‘have everything’ they need to get ‘back on track’

While other players stretch out, chat, listen to music or browse the match schedule, Everton striker Neal Maupay will have his head in a book ahead of today’s kick-off against West Ham.

His current book is a French study on psychology translated as “The Five Wounds That Prevent You From Being Yourself.”

It may sound tough, but for the 26-year-old striker it’s the perfect way to relax before a big game at Goodison, as his new club look for their first win of the season.

Neal Maupay was a special guest at an Everton in the Community Premier League Primary Stars session focused on literacy
Neal Maupay was a special guest at an Everton in the Community Premier League Primary Stars session focused on literacy

Neal Maupay was a special guest at an Everton in the Community Premier League Primary Stars session focused on literacy

“It’s not to motivate myself, it’s just good to have something that makes time pass quickly without having to think too much about the game. Two hours of waiting is a long time from the moment you get to the stadium, so I’m reading,” he explains.

“This particular book is interesting. The brain is interesting. There is much to learn. People always seem surprised that football players read, but we went to school!’

Maupay joined from Brighton in the final week of the summer transfer window for £15million, making his debut in the scoreless Merseyside derby two weeks ago.

The 26-year-old admitted he loved reading to kill time spent in the stadiums before kick-off
The 26-year-old admitted he loved reading to kill time spent in the stadiums before kick-off

The 26-year-old admitted he loved reading to kill time spent in the stadiums before kick-off

He was signed to give Frank Lampard an extra scoring opportunity after Richarlison’s departure, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin had only just returned from injury.

Maupay, who was born in Versailles but grew up in Nice, can see the Merseysiders follow the upward trajectory he experienced in Brighton under Graham Potter.

“Football is changing. Just because you struggled yesterday doesn’t mean tomorrow won’t be good,” he says.

“I was in that process of a new manager and players at Brighton. We had two tough seasons, we finished 15th and 16th, then the good (9th). Building takes time.

Maupay arrived at Goodison Park in the final week of the transfer window for £15m
Maupay arrived at Goodison Park in the final week of the transfer window for £15m

Maupay arrived at Goodison Park in the final week of the transfer window for £15m

“I really believe that’s the case at Everton. We have everything and I see it as a step up for me, it’s one of the biggest clubs in England.

“We haven’t had any wins yet, but I see positives. We won in Brentford and Leeds, drew with Liverpool. I think it’s only a matter of time before we turn these draws into wins.”

Maupay has been Brighton’s top scorer every season he has been there, including a sensational bicycle kick against current opponents last December.

His busy nature will also appeal to Evertonians.

“I understand the weight of the shirt and how much you have to fight for it,” he emphasizes. ‘That’s who I am. When I do something, I do it 100%.

Maupay was Brighton's top scorer in every season he spent at the Amex Stadium
Maupay was Brighton's top scorer in every season he spent at the Amex Stadium

Maupay was Brighton’s top scorer in every season he spent at the Amex Stadium

“Yes, I run a lot, but I will score goals, provide assists, fight and do everything to help the team.

‘I am someone who needs challenges. I can get bored pretty easily and after three seasons in Brighton, where I feel like I gave it my all, maybe I needed something new.

“To play for Everton and get the club back on track is a great challenge.”

Ironically, he will be reunited with West Hams’ Said Benrahma on Sunday – the pair are close friends who started together at Nice’s academy and later became teammates at Brentford.

Maupay and Said Benrahma played together in both Nice and Brentford
Maupay and Said Benrahma played together in both Nice and Brentford

Maupay and Said Benrahma played together in both Nice and Brentford

The immediate priority is to get points on the board and Maupay believes he can play with Calvert-Lewin rather than the pair fighting for one position.

‘We can play together because we are completely different in terms of characteristics,’ he reasons. “He’s very tall, strong, he spends a lot of time in the penalty area, while my game falls more short and falls behind.

‘I’ve played with strikers like him before; Danny Welbeck in Brighton, Ollie Watkins in Brentford. I can play as a No9 or with someone else.’

Maupay saw Potter grow into a manager who was subsequently picked up by Chelsea. Lampard will have his own style, but the player has been impressed so far.

‘Every manager is different. From what I’ve seen so far, Lampard has a very clear idea of ​​how we should play. He is also close to his players.

“I wasn’t surprised Chelsea wanted Potter because he did well in Brighton, especially on a smaller budget and selling players like Ben White.

“He will need time and the question is whether he will get it at Chelsea. You have to be successful at such clubs right away. If he gets time, he will do well.”

Everton’s immediate priorities are more modest, as they will happily avoid another nail-biting relegation battle this season.

The French striker praised Frank Lampard's close relationship with his Everton players
The French striker praised Frank Lampard's close relationship with his Everton players

The French striker praised Frank Lampard’s close relationship with his Everton players

Yet they are the biggest club Maupay has played for and he is happy to embrace it.

“The fans come to the stadium or travel every week, the least we can do is give them everything,” he says.

“When you walk down the street and they say ‘thank you’, it means a lot because our work isn’t just about playing football – we can influence people’s lives too.”

Fittingly, Maupay turns to see a drawing of a child on the classroom bulletin board as he wraps up the interview at St. Lawrence Elementary School as part of Everton’s Community Literacy Program. It is titled Think Positive.

The former Brighton and Brentford attacker made his debut against in the Merseyside derby
The former Brighton and Brentford attacker made his debut against in the Merseyside derby

The former Brighton and Brentford attacker made his debut against in the Merseyside derby

Neal Maupay and Dwight McNeil were special guests at an Everton in the Community Premier League Primary Stars literacy-themed session given to children from Kirkdale St Lawrence Primary School, just a mile from Goodison Park.

The program uses the appeal of the Premier League and Everton Football Club to inspire children to learn, be active and develop important life skills.

Everton’s award-winning charity is promising to give schools in the L4 zip code free access to the Primary Stars program this year.

The gesture aims to bridge the gap in education equality, with Liverpool’s Kirkdale district in the bottom five percent of disadvantaged areas nationally.

The program is currently being rolled out across 61 schools in Merseyside, the highest level of engagement since its launch in 2017.

Maupay was joined as a special guest during the visit by his teammate Dwight McNeil (center)
Maupay was joined as a special guest during the visit by his teammate Dwight McNeil (center)

Maupay was joined as a special guest during the visit by his teammate Dwight McNeil (center)

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