Idrissa Gueye on what Everton means to him

03/11/2022 21comments  |  Jump to last


In the Everton matchday programme for Saturday's game with Leicester City, Idrissa Gana Gueye tells of how concerned he became watching his old club battle against the unthinkable threat of relegation last season, and how he felt about returning to Goodison Park.

“It would happen every time,” Gueye said when asked how often he would watch Everton games during his 3-year spell in France with Paris Saint-Germain.

“My friends would say, ‘Oh, get out with your team!’... They used to try to wind me up because they knew how much I cared, but I told them, ‘You will see, we will be okay!’

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“It hurt me to see the club having a difficult time but I never stopped believing in them. The last few games were really, really tough for me because I was believing but I was worrying, too.

“This club can’t go down to the Championship. When they managed to do it against Crystal Palace, they made me proud. Then, seeing the supporters after the final whistle and seeing what it means to them, it’s a good moment and it just shows how big a club this is.

“But now I want to leave those kind of moments and reactions for the successful moments. I want us to be celebrating winning, not staying in the league — it’s a different thing. Last season is done now. It’s a fresh start.”

Gueye re-joined Everton from PSG for an undisclosed fee that is variously reported to be as low as €3m in the summer.  

 “I’m very, very happy to have another opportunity to give my all for this club. I spent 3 years here and once you are a blue, you are always a blue.

“How can I explain? It’s in my heart and it’s a feeling that will not leave. This club is part of me. It’s hard to find the words but coming back here, the sensation I had was that — like coming home. I had a good period in PSG and I was only ever going to leave for Everton.

“There were other opportunities, but I told my agent to refuse them straight away. It wasn’t in my plan to come back but, as soon as Everton called me and said they needed me and wanted me to help... I cannot say no. It’s my home, that’s how I feel.

“I can’t say no to Everton, regardless of whether they’re at the top of the league or bottom. It doesn’t matter for me because I care about this club. I’m up for this challenge and I want to help us move up the table.

“I want to bring my experiences from the past 3 years with me to the team. The reaction I’ve had from the Evertonians has made me very, very proud.

“They just confirmed to me — not that I had any doubts whatsoever — that I made the right decision to come back here. They’ve shown me that I’m part of this family. That’s the most important thing to me: the human beings, the people.”


Reader Comments (21)

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Neil Lawson
1 Posted 03/11/2022 at 12:35:38
Good stuff from him, but he now needs to up his game to the consistent levels we all expect from him. He is a crucial member of the set-up and needs to display it, week-in & week-out.
Derek Knox
2 Posted 03/11/2022 at 13:35:12
Yes, Neil, getting and loving the club as a player is one thing but only if it is matched with consistent performances on the pitch. We all know how good Gana was, but he has to prove he hasn't lost anything as there are others who can step in.
Rob Dolby
4 Posted 03/11/2022 at 14:29:38
Neil, what do you want a holding midfielder to play like?

He has improved us immensely in his position. What else do you want?

A player that has bonded and formed an attachment to the club comes back and expresses how much he loves the club is good enough for me.

Maybe we should have signed Casimero before Man Utd snapped him up for £70M.

Mike Gaynes
5 Posted 03/11/2022 at 15:41:29
A true, openhearted Blue. He shows it with every word he says and every minute on the pitch. And what an example he can be for the younger players like Onana and Garner. I'm very happy he's back.

Now please take care of the ball a bit better!

Ajay Gopal
6 Posted 03/11/2022 at 16:13:03
What a great bloke, Idrissa is!

I think Lampard needs to manage his game time by rotating between him and Davies (who was playing very well for us before Gana arrived if we remember). He can easily play another 3-4 years for is if managed carefully.

Jerome Shields
7 Posted 03/11/2022 at 17:37:54
No wayward passes, mate, please.
Paul Kernot
8 Posted 03/11/2022 at 19:33:47
He'll settle back into the pace of the Premier League.

Yes, he's been caught dwelling on the ball too long a couple of times in his first few games back but he's a class act. He'll iron those out. Meanwhile, he'll also be great for the younger midfielders.

Kevin Molloy
9 Posted 03/11/2022 at 21:11:37
You could see the difference he made when he came on against Liverpool.

As soon as he got back, the last few years just became a fading horrible dream.

Paul Kernot
10 Posted 03/11/2022 at 21:52:34
I was amazed we got him for $7mil first time round from Villa. There was a thread a month or so ago about who represented the best value purchase in our Premier League history. That surely would be up there.
Neil Lawson
11 Posted 03/11/2022 at 22:25:56

I would like him to play at least close to the level he was at when he left, and not to give the ball away. If you are happy with his current level of performance when compared to his ability and capability, then so be it. You will be in a large minority.

Yes, he has improved us, but a fully firing Gana will significantly add to that improvement.

Paul Birmingham
12 Posted 03/11/2022 at 22:46:58
His engine is retuning to the pace of the Premier League and he will improve with each game and he has high standards, and I have no doubts he will be aiming to improve his game, too, like all players do.

He's added to the tensile strength of the Everton squad and the spirit of the Team, along with Tarkowski, Cody and Pickford.

Everton have got pride and belief back in playing for the shirt, and this has been instilled by manager Frank and his Team, it's a work in progress but is on the right track.


“Whats Our Name?”

Mike Gaynes
13 Posted 03/11/2022 at 23:08:59
Neil #11,

He's not going to play the same way at 33 as he did at 29. That's simply not realistic.

In his previous seasons with us, he averaged four tackles and three interceptions per game, the best in Europe along with Kante. This season, he's averaging two tackles and two interceptions. But he's also much smarter on positioning, fouls less often, and his forward passing is way better. He was a key linkup man at PSG.

I can't explain those three momentary lapses of concentration we've seen -- two cost goals, and one cost a game -- but I don't think they had anything to do with the speed of the Premier League, because he wasn't under great pressure on any of them. It may just be that he's still looking for sharpness after seven starts.

Jonathan Oppenheimer
14 Posted 04/11/2022 at 05:33:35

Given my history of overreacting and not wanting to be overly negative, please let me know when it's appropriate to start calling for Garner to come on in his place, especially because we need more composure on the ball in the middle of the park.

Because, if these mental lapses keep happening where he gives up the ball in dangerous positions, at a certain point his defensive prowess is outweighed by his mistakes and it will cost us points.

There's no question he's a true Blue, and in Frank I trust, but the giveaways are a bit concerning. However it plays out, you have to love him and anyone with that much love for the club.

Rob Dolby
15 Posted 04/11/2022 at 09:19:47
Neil 11, I would love Coleman to play like he was 3 years younger; it's not going to happen.

Playing centre-mid in the Premier League is one of the hardest jobs in world football. He isn't a robot: one week, he is being criticized for not playing enough forward passes; the next, he is criticized for losing the ball.

Go back to last season and compare midfields, he has improved us enormously but obviously not enough for some. Someone has even mentioned Tom Davies replacing him!

There is room for Garner, Onana, Gana and Iwobi in our midfield, we would just play more narrow.

Danny O’Neill
16 Posted 04/11/2022 at 09:36:20
Always fascinated by how people come up with these statistics.

I couldn't go into that level of detail so tend to just say what I see. Respect though!!

Gueye is making a difference to our midfield. He makes mistakes but give me a footballer who doesn't. Football is a game of skill, brilliance, passion and, whether we like it or not, mistakes. Especially in midfield where games are won and lost. Even the 13th disciple across the park literally slipped up when it mattered and cost them a title. Fortunately.

Onana will be some player. He's 21, so still very much developing. Give him time and be patient. He too will make mistakes along the way. It's part of football and developing.

What we're missing is the creativity and something to aim for. Or that player who can sit and spray passes. It's a shame Lewis Warrington isn't quite ready yet.

Dave Abrahams
17 Posted 04/11/2022 at 09:59:28
Gana has made mistakes that have cost us but he is constantly looking to go forward and looking to pass forward but the lack of movement by other players is hampering him.

We have much better midfield players now, some young and new to the club and still finding there way, with Garner hardly used, his time will come.

For me, Gana would be the first name in the midfield, I hope he is fit for Saturday after that horrendous tackle by the Fulham striker.

Frank is not spoiled for choice with forwards but he has got to sort some way of using them better than he has done in too many games this season. Look at the goals for column, not very encouraging is it?

I know Mr Thelwell may sort it out in January…. meanwhile!!

Mike Gaynes
18 Posted 04/11/2022 at 21:06:31
Jonathan #14,

I'll leave the timing on that to Frank, but I'm comfortable predicting Garner will replace Gana in the starting lineup before the end of the season.

That said, I love Gana and I think those mental errors will not recur.

Joe Hurst
19 Posted 04/11/2022 at 21:18:42
Oh to hear commentators who pronounce his name correctly…

Idrissa Gie-yay, rather than “Gay” as they keep using.

Andy Meighan
20 Posted 04/11/2022 at 21:45:23
What a man. Once Everton has touched you. Says it all, great guy and a tremendous little player. The nearest to Kante anyone has got.
Paul Kossoff
21 Posted 07/11/2022 at 15:12:00
Here is what it means to him, £80,000 a week! He's 33 and is not a good addition being surplus to requirements at PSG. He was touted round the clubs in Europe last season for nothing and had no takers. Nowhere near as good as he was.

And with Onana, bought by Lille for €12.6 million, played 11 games, sold for over £30 million to Mugs are Us, we now have two liabilities added to our growing list of players who are not good enough, (see Maupay, McNeil, Rondon etc).

We are heading to another dark winter of Bottom 6 mediocrity with our only salvation hopefully avoiding relegation.

Danny O’Neill
22 Posted 07/11/2022 at 15:22:14
Although hard to pick out from a poor performance, probably our best player at the weekend?

I dont like the wages thing personally. Wages are dictated by markets. Players we can attract shaped by where we are in the market. It's no different in any business vertical.

Alongside Onana, this could work for a year or two. We need to get Onana more consistent and involved throughout games, not just a crowd pleasing go to ground tackle. That should hopefully come with time looking at his ability. Idrissa in the twighlight of his career and with his experience, can potentially be a mentor.

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