Yerry Mina cannot wait to make his full competitive debut for Everton after finally recovering from injury.
Mina joined the Blues from Barcelona on transfer deadline day for £27 million, but has since been sidelined due to a foot problem sustained in the World Cup with Colombia.
But loanee and fellow centre-back Kurt Zouma ineligible to face parent club Chelsea on Sunday, Mina is ready to finally get his Everton career properly underway:
“I’m really looking forward to it. I’m very, very happy. I’ve gone through one or two difficult moments where I’ve had to be patient. I’m nervous, but in a good way.
“I’m really excited about getting a chance to possibly play on Sunday. The moment’s come now and it’s thanks to the support that I’ve had not just from my family but also my team-mates who’ve been great and really supportive through the period where I’ve not been playing.
“Now I’m totally in great shape, 100 per cent fit, and I’m ready to bring my bit of help to the team starting from the weekend.”
Mina officially made his Everton debut in the 3-1 win at home to Brighton & Hove Albion last Saturday as a 90th-minute substitute, and also played the entirety of Tuesday night’s friendly win against Gor Mahia.
In today’s press conference, he said how happy he is to be back playing after a protacted spell on the sidelines, and how grateful he was for the warm reception he received from the Goodison Park faithful:
“It was a really good opportunity for me to get some first team football. I was really keen to get started and do what I like doing, which is, of course, playing football.
“When I came on I thought I was going to be a bit nervous getting used to things. but I felt really calm. It went well, I didn’t have any nerves at all.
“To get the full 90 minutes in the friendly game was great as well. It’s just a case of getting down to things and kicking on from there.
“I’d like to thank the supporters for how they showed their appreciation of me. I equally return that appreciation. I like them a lot as well; I’ve got a lot of time for them, obviously.
“I’ve almost got no words to describe the reception I got the moment I set foot on the pitch. It really struck me in a really positive way.
“Now it’s down to me to thank the fans and pay them back for that lovely reception. My only aim is to really do well for them and for me and for this great club that I’ve signed for.”
Mina, who made just six Barcelona appearances after joining the Camp Nou in January, said it has long been an ambition of his to play in the Premier League.
Though he is aware how tough the league can be, he is ready to embrace the challenge of coming up against some of the world’s best strikers:
“Since I was a young boy I’ve always wanted to play in the Premier League. I’ve watched it very, very attentively and carefully from back home.
“I’ve always known it’s a tough league to compete in and I’ve always been aware that every team is capable of beating every other team. I’ve always wanted to play here and now I’m actually here, it’s fantastic.
“I’m just determined to really enjoy my football. I know some of the top strikers in the world play in this league and I just cant wait to have the opportunity to come up against them and hopefully try and mark them well and dominate them.
In terms of his aims while on Merseyside, Mina simply hopes to keep impressing manager Marco Silva - who he enjoys learning from - but also dreams of helping the club end their 23-year trophy drought.
But the 24-year-old said he feels the positive atmosphere among his new team-mates will massively help the club achieve another piece of silverware:
“It’s a tough ask but you’ve got to try and win everything you enter. So [I want to] win a trophy and have a great season and do well, make friends and impress with my football.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with the manager. He’s a really good person and he shows that great character with all the players. You can have a friendly conversation with him. He talks to us all and deals with us individually and that’s great.
“Secondly, I’m really enjoying training not just with him but all the coaching staff and I think the fact we feel so much like a family is really positive here at the club because the more united you are as a group of players, the more likely you are to have success and win things.”