Ramiro Funes Mori says his belief never wavered that he would return from knee surgery as strong as ever – insisting, “I knew I was going to beat this”.
The centre-back returned to first-team action for Everton against Swansea City on 14 April – his first appearance for the Blues in more than a year, having suffered a meniscus injury while on international duty with Argentina in March 2017.
The 27-year-old – who signed for Everton from River Plate in the summer of 2015 – has also come on as a substitute in the Toffees’ past two Premier League matches, including a 45-minute appearance in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Goodison.
Funes Mori says maintaining a positive attitude during his spell on the sidelines was key in his recovery. He was also eager to praise the “massive” support he received from the medical and conditioning staff at Everton.
“It has been a challenge but I’m very strong mentally,” he told evertonfc.com. “I knew I was going to beat this. The way I’m feeling now – after such a long time out – it’s good.
“The people here at Everton have been massive for me. Not just to me, though, the other players who have been injured, too. They are very important for us.”
Now back fit, Funes Mori is hoping to be involved in Everton’s final game of the season on Sunday, as the Toffees aim to stretch their unbeaten run to six matches when they travel to the London Stadium to take on West Ham United.
The Blues head to the capital having taken 15 points from their past eight games, a run of form which has seen them rise to eighth in the Premier League table.
Funes Mori is eager to play his part in helping the Club finish the campaign on a high note and strengthen his case for a place Argentina’s World Cup squad.
“What I want to do is play,” he says. “I think I’ve had a good recovery and, of course, I’m very happy to be fit.
“It’s been a long time since I was injured. I missed the atmosphere in the stadium and the adrenaline on the pitch. It feels good to be with the players again and we have got some good results recently.
“I am focused on Everton now and, hopefully, I can go to Russia for the World Cup.”