Mateusz Taudul can’t wait for the new season to start – so he can put his injury nightmare firmly behind him.
The Blues Polish goalkeeper, 18, is keen to make up for lost time after missing the majority of last term with a ruptured cruciate ligament.
He made his return for Everton Under-21s at the weekend, playing 70 minutes against Southport – his first action since the start of December when he was last seen hobbling out of the Blues’ FA Youth Cup tie at Southampton.
“It [the knee] feels good at the moment,” Taudul told evertontv. “I’m back to training after a long break and rehabilitation. I’m feeling happy, finally.
“I’ve been training every day pushing myself as much possible. It’s been long – and quite boring – rehabilitation. Now I’m hungry to play some games, I’m looking forward to it.”
Taudul’s knee injury happened in very innocuous circumstances. There was no collision or tackle with an opponent, just an unfortunate freak occurrence.
“It happened in three stages,” Taudul recalled. “First of all I kicked the ball in the 15th minute and I felt something click in my knee.
“In the 30th minute there was a situation when a guy was one versus one with me. I sprinted and my knee just dropped. I carried on until the 79th minute and my knee just went again. I felt big pain and I couldn’t carry on any longer.
“After the game I asked the physios what it could be because it didn’t feel that bad. I thought I had only twisted it but when I went for the scan that was the worst moment in my career.”
Fast forward and a scorching hot Jerez – where the Everton Under-21s squad are currently based – is a far cry from a freezing St Mary’s Stadium where Taudul sustained his injury.
Alan Stubbs’ squad jetted out to Spain on Sunday to complete their pre-season programme ahead of the season opener at Wolves next Monday – a game Taudul hopes to be part of following his run-out against Southport at the weekend.
The goalkeeper, who played eight matches for the Under-21s last season, continued: “The coaches have been doing a massive job to get me back to the level where I was before my injury so I am really pleased with that.
“For the first 10 minutes [against Southport] I was quite nervous because it was my first game since December but I got used to it.
“In the 12th minute I made a good save and although I conceded two goals, I am still happy that I could get back on the pitch and be with the team.”