Whisper it quietly but Everton might just be the dark horses of this upcoming Premier League season. Despite losing talismanic striker Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United for the best part of £80 million earlier this summer, the blue half of Merseyside have rebuilt their squad with a healthy mix of championship pedigree, untapped potential and foreign flair.
Ahead of his sixth season with Everton, Belgium winger Kevin Mirallas is as optimistic as he’s ever been that this is the year when he’ll fulfill his dream of winning a trophy with the Toffees. As he unveiled New Balance Football’s Furon 3.0 at a secret event in London, Mirallas gave us the lowdown on his expectations for the coming Premier League campaign.
As we approach the start of another Premier League season, how excited are you to get started?
This season is so exciting for Everton. We’re playing Europa League and signed some really good players, with maybe another two or three to come. It’ll be a difficult season – we’re going to be playing every three days between Europe and the Premier League – but I’m sure we’re going to be successful.
Everton have definitely had one of the busiest windows. Who has impressed you most on the training pitch so far?
It might seem obvious but Wayne Rooney. Everyone knows about his quality but for me, the best thing is the quality of the man. He’s a very good man with a good personality and I think this is the most important thing in football. Michael Keane is also a great defender, very comfortable on the ball. He’s been extremely impressive.
So many other Premier League clubs have also had an incredible summer in the transfer market. Are there any new arrivals to English football that you’re excited to play against?
Not particularly but I think City look very good on paper this season. City have signed defenders but they’re very good attacking defenders, Mendy’s quality with the ball is so amazing. Kyle Walker is the same. Manchester United as well. Tottenham haven’t signed anyone but they’ll be strong this season.
The best fans are Everton. Everyone talks about Liverpool fans but for me, when you play the derby at Anfield, it’s not quite as intense."
Newcastle, Brighton and Huddersfield are all new to the Premier League this season. Which of these clubs are you looking forward to testing yourself against?
I think Brighton. They were very good last season in the Championship and they’ve got a great team, it’s a very strong squad. This is going to be Huddersfield’s first time in the Premier League and it won’t be easy for them but they could be a surprise! Anything is possible.
What are the fixtures you’re most excited to play this season?
The first fixture I look for every season is the first derby against Liverpool.
Try and describe the atmosphere in the Merseyside derby. What makes it so special?
When you play at Goodison Park I think it’s better, the fans are a bit tighter. When we’re away it’s great but for me, the best fans are Everton. Everyone talks about Liverpool fans but for me, when you play the derby at Anfield, it’s not quite as intense.
You’re lacing up in New Balance’s new Furon 3.0 boots this season. How have you felt in them?
They feel really good. I’ve trained with them all pre-season and scored some goals with them in friendly matches already! I feel comfortable and they’re so different from the last Furon. This feels like really good progress.
Which Everton player are you expecting to surprise people and have a breakout season.
Maybe Sandro. Not many people know of him yet because he came from Malaga but he’s a different kind of striker and I expect him to score a lot of goals. He’s a great transfer for Everton.
And what are you hoping to get out of the 2017/18 season?
The most important thing is to play every game. I want to win a trophy with Everton, too. That’s always been my dream.
Kevin Mirallas wears the new Military Dark Triumph Green/Military Foliage Green/Alpha Pink New Balance Football Furon 3.0 boots. To find out more about New Balance Football go to newbalance.com/football or follow @NBFootball on Twitter and Instagram, @nbfootballofficial on Facebook and NB.Football on Snapchat.