I knew very early on that I had to do more, to work harder than I ever had. I had to be aggressive, had to be a leader. I wanted to make an impact, to leave an impression, to be respected within the changing room.
But I think David Moyes knew exactly what type of characters he was signing at that time, and the players he was bringing in to build the core of a team that could play to his style. I was fearless, and I had arrived to do a job – he knew from very early on that he could lean on me.
It was important, too, to earn the respect of the Evertonians in the squad: Duncan Ferguson, Alan Stubbs, Tony Hibbert. They taught me what it meant to be an Evertonian.
“David Moyes knew how to set up a defence, but his transition on attack was superb”
It was my second game for the club, away at Manchester City, when I scored my first goal for Everton. A Hibbert cross that I headed back the same way it came from – something I had done in training for my whole life, and throughout my career.
I was in shock. My first ever goal for Everton, 1-0. I was so happy, and I celebrated by lifting my shirt over my head. Literally put it up, then put it down again. But it was just at the time they’d introduced the rule that pulling your shirt over your head got you a caution. Yellow card.
I’d already been booked. I scored my first goal for the club after 60 minutes, and was sent off (below) on 61. That half an hour waiting for the whistle to blow felt like the longest time of my life, but when it eventually came – and the team had held on – it was a very special moment for myself.