Everton centre-back Con Ouzounidis paid tribute to the Club’s staff and coaches for aiding his development after signing a new one-year contract with the Blues until the end of June 2021.
The Australian youth international said the support he has received from Everton “is hard to put into words” as he declared his hunger to continue working hard and progressing all aspects of his game.
After recovering from successive ankle and Achilles injuries which meant he missed the first three months of the 2019/20 campaign, Ouzounidis made an impressive return to David Unsworth’s Under-23s team.
The 20-year-old Academy graduate delivered a series of towering performances before the season was ended early due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ouzounidis believes the environment at Everton provides an ideal platform for him to fulfil his potential.
“I’m so happy to sign this new contract,” he told evertonfc.com.
“I’ve worked really hard and I feel like I’m progressing well.
“The whole time during my injury earlier in the season, the Club staff were speaking to me, telling me they believed in me and they knew what I could do.
“They kept me positive mentally, explaining that when I got back I would get my chance to prove myself.
“When I did come back, I think I played well. I owe a lot to the physios and the coaches for putting their faith in me. I just hope we get back to training before too long and I can keep developing.
“When you see the direction the Club is going, we’ve got a world-class manager here, it’s a very exciting place to be.
“Next season, I just want to get as many minutes in as possible, keep playing well, and impress Unsy and the first-team manager.”
Ouzounidis outlined how working under a manager of Unsworth’s calibre – the Everton Giant made 350 first-team appearances for the Blues and has led the Toffees’ Under-23s team to two Premier League 2 titles – has provided an invaluable experience.
“Unsy’s been there and done it all, and in my position [centre-back],” he added.
“I listen to what he has to say every day in training and try to pick up as much as I can and implement it into my game.
“He’s a great person to learn from.”
Ouzounidis insists he will continue “working hard and giving my best” to repay the belief shown in him by Everton.
The Australian explained how he has developed a close bond with the Blues during his time at the Club.
“It’s hard to put into words what Everton have done for me,” he said.
“If I ever needed any help, there is someone there to advise me with what I need, whatever the situation may be.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be part of this club.”