Ellis Simms says his loan spell at Sunderland helped him prepare for the challenge of playing Premier League football for Everton. The young striker spent the first half of the campaign on loan at the Stadium of Light, before being recalled by Frank Lampard in January.
Now playing under Sean Dyche at Goodison Park, Simms came off the bench to score Everton's late equalising goal to earn his side a 2-2 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge at the weekend. And as he looked forward to bagging more goals for the Toffees, he has reflected on his journey so far, including the lessons learned on his loan spells.
Simms scored seven goals for Sunderland in just 17 appearances, often having to lead the line on his own with Ross Stewart ruled out for lengthy spells during his time in the North East. That persuaded under-pressure Lampard to bring him back to Merseyside and, while he was sacked by Everton shortly afterwards, new manager Dyche has used him largely from the bench - culminating in Saturday's Stamford Bridge heroics.
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"Honestly, I can't put it into words," Simms told evertontv. "I've been working hard for this moment, training hard and it's a dream come true. I've always wanted to score my first Premier League goal and it happened. Then, even better it was to get a point for the team. We dug in and it's massive for us.
"I definitely reflect on the journey I've had so far after a moment like this. I've been on a few loans and I've done well. The main purposes of those loans is to come back and use it to try to get into this team.
"I've worked hard and I've been patient, waiting for the moment. When I do get on the pitch, I know I need to grab it with both hands and take it."
Dyche held talks with Simms following his arrival at the club, and has been impressed with his attitude and work ethic.
“There’s no lack of belief from me, because I played him at Anfield - I believe in him,” Dyche said. “He’s got to learn the hard yards of the Premier League. You see he hasn’t quite got the fully feel of the Premier League and the physicality - and that is going to be a big part of his progress.
“He came in and asked me what he needs to do last week and I said, ‘What do you think?’ He gave me four things and I said, ‘You’re right’. It’s an amazing thing about football. He knows what he’s got to do, so I’m saying, ‘Right, well take action’, and tonight he has. He has taken action.
“He didn’t just finish, he fights, he runs hard to get his chance and then finishes calmly. That’s him taking action - not me. He’s told me the answers... Well, go and do it!”
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