Niels Nkounkou reveals he left Everton for Standard Liege on loan for regular minutes
Everton left-back Niels Nkounkou left Goodison Park for Standard Liege on loan on summer transfer deadline day, and he cannot wait to start.
The Frenchman, 20, is looking to play regular first-team football in the Belgian top-flight this term, and is hoping to help guide the side to Europe.
Nkounkou played six games last term after joining from Marseille, but he was not pleased with remaining at Everton and playing cover for Lucas Digne.
“I’m here to earn as much playing time as possible and help the team reach Europe,” the full-back told Dh Net.
“I am ready to play. I am seeing a talented team. I haven’t met everyone yet but from what I’ve seen, it’s promising.
“I have already played in left midfield with Everton. I can play on either flank. My system of choice? I don’t have one, I play where the manager needs me.”
Promising loan spell
The Toffees are currently short of natural options at left-back following Nkounkou’s exit, but Benitez will always find a way to provide Digne with quality cover and competition.
Despite being initially recruited to join the youth team and David Unsworth’s under-23 setup, the youngster immediately proved to be a step above that level, and manager Carlo Ancelotti took note of his quality.
Pipping his older and more experienced countryman to a starting berth was not going to be easy, but Nkounkou did enough to earn a spot in the France Olympic football squad during the summer.
His steady development needed to continue, and Everton decided a loan spell where he would get to play regularly was the best move for him.
The defender now has to prove himself in Belgium and with a side looking to challenge for the title or at least the European places this term.
He is not likely to return and give Digne a run for his money next summer, but the Toffees expect him to get better, and Nkounkou could soon establish himself in the first-team sooner rather than later.
In other Everton news, a pundit has predicted what is next in Rodriguez-Toffees saga after the window shut.