Former Blackpool loanee Ellis Simms believes he’s ready to make the step-up to Premier League football.
The striker, who has been linked with a loan move back to Bloomfield Road in January, made his Toffees debut last week in the 1-1 draw against Chelsea.
With injuries to Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, the 20-year-old was “grateful” to be handed his first start for the club by Rafa Benitez.
“On a personal note and on a team level, it was a great night,” Simms told evertontv.
“It was a brilliant place to make my debut – I’m grateful.
“I’ve been working hard in training and for it to happen is a dream come true.
“It was a big night. The team gave a big performance, every single player put a shift in and we stuck together, dug deep and got a good point. We’re delighted.”
Ellis Simms helped fire the Seasiders to promotion from League One last season
Simms added: “I was in the changing room and the manager read the team out – I heard my name and I just thought to myself, ‘this is really happening’.
“I tried to stay focused, stay relaxed and embrace it because big nights like these are what you dream of and what you work for.
“I’ve been training hard and obviously now we have a few injuries up front, so there’s an opportunity there.
“I’ve been working hard to let the manager know that I felt ready. I feel ready to take the step up to the Premier League.”
Simms enjoyed a prolific spell at Blackpool during the second half of last season, scoring 10 times in 19 starts to help fire Neil Critchley’s side to promotion.
“League One is obviously not as high a standard as the Premier League but I feel ready to make the step up,” Simms added.
“I have to do the fundamentals and do the basics right because, at the end of the day, it’s football so I didn’t have to change too much.
“Tactically, you have to be more switched on off the ball. I was trying to embrace everything and listen to the manager’s instructions.
“Chelsea are a great team so, obviously, coming here, they’re going to have the majority of possession, so off the ball is just as important as on the ball.”
Should Simms become available next month, the Seasiders will undoubtedly be keen to bring him back to the Fylde coast.
Speaking to The Gazette earlier this month, chief executive Ben Mansford said: “Ellis will hopefully always have a soft spot for Blackpool and Blackpool will always remember him fondly.
“It was tragic he didn’t get to play in the play-off final given how hard he had worked to get us to the final.
“Everton were really happy with how Ellis developed and how he enjoyed his time here, so if he becomes available, it’s right for us and it’s right for Ellis then we’ll keep you all posted.
“I’m sure he’s a player that will naturally be linked with us and you’re quite rightly going to ask about that because the fans want to know.
“At the moment, there’s nothing definitive to say and you always have to be respectful when you’re communicating with people like Everton that you maintain a really positive and professional relationship.”