Three goals in seven electrifying minutes gave Everton a 3-1 win over Burnley at Goodison Park to continue their unbeaten start to the Premier League season with Townsend scoring a memorable first goal for the club.
As Michael Keane levelled from a Townsend cross, before Townsend himself curled home a stunner from 30 yards into the top corner. It was just his second goal in his last 56 Premier League appearances after a quiet period playing for Roy Hodgson at Crystal Palace.
“I have to give a shout out to my mum,” Townsend told Sky Sports. “During the week she sent me a compilation video of all my goals and told me to believe in myself again. You can see that with the goal, rolling the back years. I’ve got it in my locker, I just need to produce it on a more consistent basis. Hopefully with the manager here I can keep getting into the right positions and score more and assist more for this historic football club.”
However, Townsend became Everton’s first signing of the Benitez era with the winger having previously played under the Spaniard at Newcastle. After a period of heavy spending at Everton, this summer saw a change in their recruitment with the likes of Townsend and Demarai Gray, who has scored three goals already this season, being signed for small fees.
“He wants it all – he doesn’t let us sit on our laurels,” Townsend said of Benitez. “Demarai has had a great start but the manager is still pushing him to make runs in behind and be more clinical, can you have a reaction when you lose the ball. He was exactly the same after the game – he didn’t congratulate me on the goal. I don’t really know what he said but he said something about playing too wide or wasn’t making enough runs in behind. That’s what he’s like. He doesn’t praise you. He is always looking to improve you and that’s what I love in a manager. I’m enjoying linking up with him.
“During the last five years at Crystal Palace, Roy Hodgson worked tirelessly with me to make me a more dependable in a defensive sense but now I’ve come here Rafa Benitez isn’t concerned about what I do defensively. He wants me to be clinical in the final third with goals and assists.”