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Kone's Commitment

Striker has been fasting in pre-season but is now raring to go.

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Arouna Kone's quiet start to life at Goodison Park is about to change.

The Ivory Coast international signed for Everton at the start of July before immediately flying home for an extended break following international action.

Meeting up with his new squad midway through the month, Kone racked up a total of just 100 minutes of pre-season action in Royal Blue.

Almost breaking the crossbar with a thunderous half-volley at Blackburn aside, it's been a somewhat calm introduction into the Everton way for the Club's new number nine.

But it's not a decision necessarily ruled by tactics or performance as the Blues look to begin the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League at Norwich City on Saturday.

Kone has been honouring Ramadan throughout the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, which has seen the 29-year-old fast for up to 18 hours of each day.

No food or drink between sunrise and sunset undoubtedly poses a challenge, particularly for professional athletes looking to achieve maximum fitness for a new campaign.

But with his religious commitments concluding on 7 August, manager Roberto Martinez is confident Evertonians will see the best of this particular summer signing in due course.

“[Arouna] wants to show what he can do,” said the Blues boss.

“Obviously in the month of Ramadan sometimes it's not ideal for players to start the season as strong as they can be, but he has been working really hard in this pre-season and he's ready to fight for his position and show Evertonians what he can do.

“There are two ways to look at the challenge posed by Ramadan during pre-season.

“One is that it's the month you should do it because they are not official games and you can afford not to be at your very best.  

“The other way is that maybe it's a time when you could be running low, and running with fatigue so there's a risk of injury.

“But he copes with that balance really well; of coping with the commitment he has to his religion and being able to develop that fitness that will help him in the season, but not risking injury.

“As it stands he's gone through that period well and he's not been injured.

“He's strong and he's ready – so we've coped with it well. But he's a very responsible player and a very responsible man who makes sure he has always had the food when he needed it, and been ready for every session.

“He's settling in really well. He's a well-balanced human being and I understand him really well. I hope we see him go from strength to strength and he's able to help the team – which is his main priority at the moment.”

Watch Kone and the Blues in action at Goodison for all 19 home league games this season – with 2013/14 Season Tickets on sale from just £95 for Under-11s. Click here for full pricing details and to purchase.

bernard philipsStrong in faith and heart is what EFC is all about, I`m sure he will do well. Cheers.

Friday 16th August 13:20 Report Comment
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