BY G9IJA

Former Brighton striker Neal Maupay
Former Brighton striker Neal Maupay

It was a happy return to Brighton for Neal Maupay earlier this week as Everton ran out 5-1 winners at the Amex Stadium.

The Frenchman returned to Sussex on Monday for the first time since his £15million move to Everton last summer, starting on the bench for the Toffees before making a cameo appearance in the final minutes of the Premier League fixture.

By the time Maupay came off the bench, Everton had already wrapped up the three points, leading 4-1 heading into stoppage-time before Dwight McNeil added a fifth late on.

It was a vital win for the Merseyside club who climbed out of the relegation zone as a result. With just three games left, Sean Dyche’s men occupy the last survival spot of 17th, sitting just two points above the bottom three.

In three years with Brighton, Maupay scored 27 goals in 109 appearances and played a big part in keeping the Seagulls in the Premier League.

It was no surprise to see the Frenchman receive a warm welcome from his former teammates, laughing together with Solly March before hugging the midfielder and then Julio Enciso, who trained with the striker for a number of weeks last summer before Maupay’s move to Everton.

Before that, the former Albion striker also showed a touch of class ahead of the pre-match warm-up. Maupay raced out from the tunnel but quickly slammed on the brakes when he heard his name being called from a line of Brighton mascots with their arms outstretched. Maupay quickly diverted his run and high fived each of them before heading out onto the pitch.

The moment was captured by a fan and the video was posted on social media. One Brighton fan responded: “Get’s a lot of stick, but that’s class by him.” Another commented: “Still love him!”