Sylvain Distin says his recent spell out of the team made him realise he is nowhere near ready to turn his back on football.
The veteran Frenchman turns 35 later this month but says he has no intention of hanging up his boots just yet.
Last month, Distin was demoted to the substitutes’ bench for three weeks, sitting out Everton’s Premier League matches against Sunderland and Reading.
He has since impressed following his recall to the starting line-up, however, channelling his frustration into solid defensive performances against Norwich, Arsenal and Manchester City.
The centre-half was at his imperious best on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium, where it took a dubious penalty from Carlos Tevez to breach what was otherwise a water-tight defensive unit.
And Distin believes the fierce competition for places in the team is a key reason why the Blues have been so hard to beat this season.
Speaking exclusively to evertontv, Distin said: “I’m working hard every day not to be on the bench, but we have four great centre-backs.
“We have an England international (Jagielka), a Dutch international who played in the final of the World Cup (Heitinga) and then you have me and (Shane) Duffy.
“It’s tough competition but it is healthy competition. We enjoy playing with each other and there is no tension between us.
“This can only make us better and we know that we have to perform week in and week out, otherwise there will be another two players who will be picked.
“Being on the bench, I didn’t like it and I think it’s my longest spell on the bench since I started football.
“So, if you ask me, I did hate it. But I did try to take the positives out of it and it made me realise that I’m not ready to stop at all. I’m not ready to be on the bench, and that’s a good thing.”
Distin was in upbeat mood following the 1-1 draw against the reigning Premier League champions.
While the Blues may have slipped a place as a consequence, the former Portsmouth man says the Club’s continued progress can be measured against their corresponding record from last season.
Fifteen matches into the 2011/12 campaign, the Blues were sitting in 14th position after losing eight of their opening games.
This time round, however, David Moyes’ men are six points better off and can leapfrog fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with a victory this Sunday.
“I know a lot of people will moan at us for not winning games but they have to remember where we were at this time last season,” Distin added.
“We haven’t conceded many goals, we are scoring more and we are sitting in a comfortable position.
“I was asked before Arsenal about whether we have a point to prove. We don’t because we prove a point every week.
“People have to be realistic. Some people might think I’m being pessimistic but I’m not – I want to win every single game and I want to play in the Champions League, who doesn’t?
“But we have to realise that at the moment we are doing really well.”
Watch Distin and his teammates in action this Sunday when Everton tackle Spurs at Goodison Park.
Tickets are still available. To secure your seat online, click here. Alternatively, call 0871 663 1878 or visit our ticket outlets at the Park End Box Office, Ticket Quarter or Everton Two.