Of all the players on Everton’s lengthy injury list, the one that is slated to return to the pitch last is Ramiro Funes Mori. The Argentine defender underwent knee surgery after picking up an injury before the end of last season, and continues his rehabilitation with a view to getting back in April of this year.
He recently made some public appearances on behalf of the club, including a visit to the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and featuring in the latest episode of The Everton Show.
“It’s been ages since my injury but I’m feeling better, day by day I’m progressing and I’m feeling comfortable with my knee, so hopefully everything goes well to come back as soon as possible.
“It’s not been nice to see all my teammates injured but it is what it is and I’ve been doing some training with them and it’s been good to have someone to talk to or to be doing the rehab with. That’s been good.
“I’m happy for Yannick and James because when you suffer injuries it’s very tough - you don’t want to be injured but it’s part of football.
“It’s inspired me to come back, and the way I see them, they look sharp, they look good, they look very fit, so I’m very happy for them that they’re back in the squad.”
The 26-year-old faces an uphill battle to get fit and ensure a spot on the Argentine’s squad to the 2018 World Cup in Russia this summer. It’ll start with getting Sam Allardyce to notice him and playing him for the Blues.
“When you’re injured and a new manager comes it’s like you give an advantage (to others) because you can’t show yourself or be out there showing what you can do.
“But I think the manager knows every player and knows what our players can give to the team, to every training session and to the Club.
“I think I’ve done well for the Club but I think I need to keep improving and when I come back I have to show him I can be in the squad.
“It wasn’t nice to see Everton at the bottom of the league but now we are in a better position and I know we have the players to climb even higher.”
Then early on Saturday he posted a picture of him in Everton training gear - does this mean he’s back on the pitch and working out? In which case might we see him a lot sooner than April?
After some center half performances we’ve seen this season, we’d be happy to see the well-coiffed but chaotically-limbed Funes Mori slinging the ball all over the park again.