Yerry Mina says his determination to keep a promise made to his mum as a 14-year-old is responsible for the defender becoming a “different person” when he crosses the white line to play football for Everton.
Colombia international centre-back Mina moved to Goodison Park from Barcelona after starring for his country at the summer World Cup in Russia.
A foot problem delayed the 24-year-old’s debut for the Club but Mina marked his first start at Chelsea last month by delivering an immaculate display which helped shutout the previously prolific hosts.
He has retained his place in the intervening period and taken to the speed and physicality of Premier League football as if to the manner born.
“We were struggling as a family when I was young,” explained Mina.
“There were four of us in rented property – living in one room – and I said to my mum, ‘I am going to get a house built for you and make sure you will eat'.
“I will provide for you both [his parents] and you will eat fine food.
“Wherever I travel in the world to play football, that is my motivation. When we play Manchester City, for example, it is my mum’s dinner or [City striker] Gabriel Jesus mum’s dinner.
“To be strong mentally and physically on the field, I say, ‘I am going out to earn my mum’s dinner’.
“I gain motivation from that and to serve as an example for kids in that position now.
“I am very different [from his easy-going nature] as soon as I go over the white line.
“I think that is how it should be. You do not have mates among the opposition.
“If I was playing against my dad, I would have to dish it out.”
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Mina was playing youth football for hometown team Guachene when he made his vow to mum Marianela Gonzalez.
He made his professional debut for first club Deportivo Pasto aged 19 and after two-and-a-half years with Bogota outfit Independiente Santa Fe left Colombia for Palmeiras in Brazil, in 2016.
Mina helped his new club win its first domestic title in 22 years before completing a transfer to Barcelona in January this year.
The player ended his time at the Nou Camp to join Everton in August and credits both the training methods of manager Marco Silva and the camaraderie which exists in the Blues’ dressing room for his swift adaptation English football.
“We have been playing a lot of small-sided games in reduced spaces,” said Mina, who could potentially make his fifth successive Everton start when Watford visit Goodison on Monday night.
"The football is very quick and end to end. You are struggling to find space.
“It is really helpful for me skill wise and when I go into games – it is training which is match related.
“On the pitch, I never give up any ball as lost.
“It is all about winning the individual battles, the one on ones.
“It hurts me loads when we lose or when we concede a goal. It really does hurt.”
On his new teammates, Mina added: “There is a great atmosphere here. The dressing room in Colombia is different, loads going on, loads of messing about and singing.
“Music on all the time, similar to Barcelona.
“It is calmer and quieter here but still a great atmosphere and everyone is having a laugh.
“We get in earlier here [before training and matches] so it gives you more time to get to know your teammates and build that rapport with them.”