Premier League • England

Red-hot Everton star reveals Benitez role in rejecting Champions League offer

Rafa Benitez Everton

Everton summer signing Andros Townsend has revealed the reasons behind joining Everton, and claimed he rejected an offer to play Champions League football elsewhere.

Townsend is in the form of his life at Everton having scored five goals and assisted three in 10 games. As such, he has quickly become a fan favourite.

Many clubs registered interest in the winger when it became apparent he would leave Crystal Palace, per Liverpool Echo.

And according to Townsend himself, he could have even been playing Champions League football this season.

“I had an offer to go to Turkey, to play in the Champions League in Turkey,” he told Everton’s Official YouTube Channel.

“In a way I was excited for that, but I knew I had so much more to offer in the Premier League. I wasn’t able to show what I was capable of in Crystal Palace in terms of goals and assists and I knew I had so much more.”

Indeed, Townsend has shown that he had more to offer in England, and can have Everton boss Rafa Benitez to thank for that. The pair worked together at Newcastle in 2016, and Benitez was keen on a transfer when he took charge at Everton.

“Since then [2016] we’ve kept in brief contact every now and then. We’d talk over text for a bit. But when he got the Everton job my agent was saying, ‘Rafa’s interested’. I thought, ‘Alright Marlon, next joke’!” he said.

Rafael Benitez watches on during Everton's Carabao Cup 2nd round win at Huddersfield

“He made the manager call me to let me know it was legit. From the time I heard that, it was about drawing out the other offers as long as possible.”

“It came to a point where a club gave me 48 hours to accept or reject their offer. I spoke to the manager, he wasn’t confident, and then thankfully on my birthday my phone was pinging off and it was the manager saying he had the green light.”

Townsend was Benitez’ first signing at Everton, and he has repaid the favour with his stunning form. The pair are clearly both happy with how the transfer has panned out.

Townsend gaining fans approval

Andros Townsend, Man Utd v Everton, October 2021

Initially, Townsend felt as if the fans did not want him, but knew how to get them on side.

“I knew that it didn’t bother me. I knew I could win these fans over with my hard work first and foremost,” he said.

“It’s not an opportunity I expected to happen, but because I know how fortunate I am I’ve made it my goal to not let this pass me by through lack of effort.”

The Englishman’s effort has certainly been on show. His form, along side others, has kept Everton in the top half of the table, only five points behind league leaders Chelsea.

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