Nyarko Looking Forward

Alex Nyarko was as relieved as any Evertonian come 5.00pm on Saturday evening but immediately after the final whistle he switched his attentions to the future for a number of reasons.

The Ghanaian's primary concern is making sure Everton can finish in as high a position as possible in the Premiership and he has also started to look at his Goodison Park future.

Nyarko has another 16 months left on his cotract with the Blues, however, his work permit that allows him to play his football in the EU expires in June.

Since the 30-year-old signed, for £4.5 million in July 2000, work permit rules have changed and whereas now you can apply for the necessary documentation for the length of the player's contract, back then it was for a maximum of four years.

Everton officials will re-apply to the Department of Education and Employment come the end of the season and Nyarko is confident that he will still be on Merseyside next season.

He explained: "My work permit finishes in June and I still have another year left on my contract. I don't know what will happen but I hope to be an Everton player as I am today."

Nyarko returned to the Everton starting line-up for the first time since the FA Cup replay at Fulham at the beginning of December in the 1-0 Portsmouth win and gave an assured display alongside Tobias Linderoth in the centre of midfield.

Replacing the suspended Thomas Gravesen, he seems much more settled than the player who left Goodison in April 2001 after the infamous Highbury incident.

He continued: "It's nice to be back. I'm happy. I'm happy with the people around, the fans, the players, the coaches and I feel happy in my life. I feel happier now compared to three years ago.

"Things have changed a lot, the management and all that. But as long as you do what you're doing properly that's more important.

"I had an advantage on Saturday when Thomas Gravesen was suspended. When I played in the reserve game on Wednesday I knew I'd have a good chance to be in the team for Saturday. It was very good.

"Me and Tobias in the middle made sure we did our job. In the first half I went forward a lot but in the second half it changed and we had to be very careful not to concede a goal."

Nyarko won many plaudits for the way he performed throughout the victory over Harry Reknapp's side and insists that there is still plenty of work to be done in the remaining games of the season.

"The three points were very, very important for us," he said. "Before we went onto the field we knew it wasn't going to be easy but we have to continue.

"It's not enough at the moment but it's very good for the team. We needed the points and the win was very important.

"It's unfortunate that we're still not in a good place in the league. We have 10 games more. We will work hard and see what we can get."

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