Gylfi Sigurdsson: Everton’s Icelandic midfielder targets strong season finish

Gylfi Sigurdsson admits the suspension of football has been far from ideal for Everton, coming less than three months into Carlo Ancelotti’s reign at Goodison Park.

Everton sit 12th in the Premier League with work to do in their final nine games if they are to secure European football next season.

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Ancelotti’s side were thrashed 4-0 at Chelsea in their last game before the football shutdown at the start of March – and Everton were closer to the relegation zone than the Champions League places before football’s hiatus.

“It’s not come at the best time,” Sigurdsson told Sky Sports. “With the new manager having been there for a little while, we were getting used to what he wants. We were looking forward to the last nine games of the season.

“Hopefully we can come back into training and really finish strongly.”

Everton have predominantly used a 4-4-2 formation under Ancelotti, carried on since Duncan Ferguson’s time as caretaker manager.

The system has meant Sigurdsson not playing in his preferred No 10 position – and that has contributed to the 30-year-old scoring just one Premier League goal this season having been Everton’s joint-top scorer during the 2018/19 season with 14.

“Of course, I have played as part of a two in midfield for Iceland – which is a little bit different, but it’s not my natural position.

“I’ve played most of the games and I’ve got used to playing in that position under the manager. It doesn’t give me the chance to go forward as much as I would like, but it’s something different and I’m enjoying it.”

‘Behind-closed-doors will have massive effect’

Sigurdsson was watching closely as the Bundesliga returned last weekend behind closed doors and under rigorous health and safety measures.

It is an environment he will have to get used to himself when the Premier League returns – but it is not one he is relishing.

“It’s going to have a massive effect I think. The fans make the atmosphere and they bring a lot of passion. The players feed off that, so of course you wonder what it’s going to be like celebrating a goal.

“When you win with no fans in the stadium, it’s going to be totally different, but it will be nice for fans to watch football again on the TV. Hopefully, this is just the first step to things moving in the right direction. Hopefully, sooner rather than later we’ll have fans in the stadium.”

Sigurdsson’s long-lasting love for English football

The attacking midfielder has a painting of himself embracing his father after knocking England out of Euro 2016 in his study, and the Icelander pinpoints that night in Nice when his country reached the quarter-finals as the most memorable of his career.

The following summer, after proving to be Swansea’s talisman in keeping the club afloat following a season in which the club flirted with relegation, Sigurdsson joined Everton for a club-record £45m.

The challenge was to be the figurehead of the Farhad Moshiri era at Goodison Park, but aside from fleeting moments of magic, it has been a Blues career riddled by fits and starts and unfulfilled potential.

Despite the sense of unfinished business on Merseyside, understandable given his price tag, it has been a successful time in England for Sigurdsson – a love affair which started at a very young age.

“My interest in football in England started very young. The Premier League was on TV and my dad used to watch it so naturally I would be sat with him on a Saturday or a Sunday watching the football with him.

“My dad and my brother took me over to England a few times to train with various clubs. My brother basically ended up sending a CD to a few clubs of me playing football. That seems like a long time ago now, but it ended up signing for Reading.”

The Royals already had fellow Icelanders Brynjar Gunnarsson and Ivar Ingimarsson on their books, while Eidur Gudjohnsen and Hermann Hreidarsson had already blazed a trail for their countrymen to follow.

Sigurdsson added: “We had a few players to look up to and see that it was possible to get into the Premier League, but of course back then it was a bit more difficult to make the step – but thankfully we had CDs and my brother was able to make one!”

The former Swansea playmaker admits life without football has been surreal, calm and “different” without being able to prepare for a game at the weekend.

Gym work and golf course runs has been the order of the day for eight weeks, but Sigurdsson is happy to return to USM Finch Farm this week.

“It’s been refreshing at the same time, spending time with the family and think about other stuff. But myself and all the boys are really forward to getting back into training.

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