Cenk Tosun is ready for a new beginning with Everton after overcoming a serious knee problem to figure for Carlo Ancelotti before the ongoing international break.
Striker Tosun came off the bench in this month’s Premier League games against Newcastle United and Manchester United, his first football for Everton since the day of Ancelotti’s appointment as manager back in December.
The 29-year-old’s comeback gathered pace with a scoring return to Turkey’s national team on Wednesday.
Tosun, who came to Everton in January 2018, had a loan spell with Crystal Palace earlier this year prematurely curtailed by an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
He underwent surgery in March and insists he is indebted to Everton after being looked after "like a member of the family” during his rehabilitation.
Turkey have two Nations League fixtures this week – following a friendly draw with Croatia when Tosun struck from the spot – before the player returns to a congested schedule with Everton.
Ancelotti's side is set for nine games in 42 days, starting with next Saturday’s visit to Fulham.
“It will be a really big opportunity for me,” said Tosun, talking to evertonfc.com from Turkey’s Istanbul training base.
“Dominic [Calvert-Lewin] and Richarlison are doing really well.
“But they are not robots, they can’t play every game.
"I feel like a new transfer for Everton.
“All the things I have done wrong, I will not do them again.
“I am different now.
“I train and prepare better to help the team more.
“I have to be fit and, when I get the chance, I have to use that chance, to be there to score and help the team.
“That is how I am preparing for the next games.
“The international matches will help me.
“We have three games and I will have some minutes to get physically better.
“After seven or eight months of not playing, you are physically not as good.
“You can’t get it back from only training, the matches are totally different.
“Step-by-step, I will get better and stronger.”
Tosun played his eighth and final Everton game of 2019/20 when he came off the bench in the first half of a scoreless draw with Arsenal on 21 December.
He completed a temporary transfer to Crystal Palace three weeks later, moving to Selhurst Park with a view to “getting some minutes, getting some confidence and coming back stronger to Everton for this season”.
Tosun scored once – away at Manchester City – in five Palace appearances before he was hurt when landing awkwardly in training.
He admits to contrasting emotions following his Everton return against Newcastle, Tosun “enjoying every second” of his 21 minutes on the field but “upset” by his side’s 2-1 defeat.
Everton lost to Manchester United immediately before the international break, a third successive setback, but lie seventh in the Premier League, five points off the top spot they occupied last month.
“When the season started, the team impressed me so much with the new players,” said Tosun.
“The first game against Tottenham was unbelievable.
“I was just excited to get in the team and worked harder and harder every day.
“We started very well and played really good games but then we had a small bad period.
“We had injuries and suspensions for Richarlison and Lucas Digne, who are both very important for our team.
“Hopefully, after the international break everybody will be available to play.
“We are a very strong team in the head and we can change things in our favour.
“We will grow up from these three bad games and start winning again.”
Tosun had his operation shortly before the spring lockdown.
His recovery, then, began with daily sessions via video link with First-Team Physiotherapist Carl Howarth and Danny Donachie, Everton’s Director of Medical Services.
The pair have overseen every step of Tosun’s rehabilitation programme and Howarth joined the player on his two-week summer family holiday to Turkey.
“I want to thank everyone at the Club,” said Tosun.
“Mr Moshiri, Marcel [Brands, Director of Football], Carl, Danny, everyone.
“I was still at Crystal Palace [when he was hurt] but Everton took care of me like a member of their family.
“They helped me so much.
“I asked Marcel if I could have a physio with me when I went to Turkey for my summer break.
“Everton paid for Carl’s flights and accommodation and we worked for three or four hours every day.
“They didn’t need to do that.
“It was a sign of how much the Club cares for me.
“Danny and Carl helped me a lot from the start of my recovery.
“And they are calling me every day during the international break to see how I feel, how training was, how my knee is – they have helped me so much.
“Now, I hope, when I am fully back, I will play for longer periods and help the team more.”
Keep your eye on evertonfc.com this week for an in-depth interview with Cenk Tosun.
The centre-forward reveals how his character changed as a consequence of his injury setback, the part Carlo Ancelotti had to play in his recovery, why Ancelotti's brand of football could bring out the best in Tosun and the depth of his feelings for 'fantastic club' Everton.