Everton striker Arouna Kone is desperate to return to first-team action after nearly a year on the sidelines with a knee cartilage injury that he suffered in October 2013.
The player only moved to the Toffees in the summer of 2013 and was only able to make five appearances before his unfortunate injury.
At his previous club, Wigan, the striker was one of manager Roberto Martinez’s key players as he made 34 Premier League appearances, scoring 11 goals.
Martinez saw enough value in him to take him to Everton when he replaced David Moyes in June 2013.
As of yet, it is clear that Kone has been unable to prove himself in a blue shirt.
Kone speaks of uncertainty
Speaking to Everton’s official website, he spoke of the uncertainty he felt after the injury.
“It has been a really trying time," he said. The worst thing has been the uncertainty about the injury and never quite knowing when I would be able to come back.
“You continue training and working hard but in the back of your mind, you don’t know when you are going to be fully recovered.
“In a way, it’s worse than something like a break or a ligament injury where you know you have a finite time where you can assess the period of recovery. At least you have a date to aim for.
“I would say I am at 70 per cent now in terms of the pain I am still feeling – I have got a slight twinge of pain from the injury.
“In terms of physical fitness I would say I am nearer 80 per cent. It’s okay because you can control the pain when you are taking part in training sessions.
"The plays that you take part in and the actions in a session are different compared to a match.
“I still have to have conversations with the medical staff and the manager to find the opportune moment to make my comeback.”
Severity of knee injury
Indeed, knee injuries are notoriously difficult to recover from, and can stay with a player for the remainder of their careers.
Former Manchester United player Owen Hargreaves was widely regarded as a brilliant player, but in four seasons with the Red Devils he made only 27 league appearances, mainly due to knee problems.
However, Kone’s injury history is nowhere near as bad as a player like Hargreaves, and he will be hoping that his playing return comes sooner rather than later.
Kone hoping for permanent comeback
The Ivory Coast international featured on the bench in Everton’s Capital One Cup tie with Swansea and is now hoping for a more permanent return to the playing squad.
“I can’t stress enough how really keen I am to be back playing,” Kone added. “I am desperate to regain full fitness and be back out on the field.
“I felt great after having those opportunities with the Under-21s and then to be on the bench against Swansea in the cup.
“Although I didn’t play it was nice to be part of things again. It gives you that extra encouragement to continue working towards coming back."
Given that main striker Romelu Lukaku has only scored twice in seven games this season, Kone may be able to grab a few goals when he returns to help move the Toffees out of 17th place and further up to the top end of the table.