Martinez: Kone will start for Everton against Krasnodar
Everton manager Roberto Martinez has said that striker Arouna Kone will start for Everton in the Europa League fixture against Krasnodar on Thursday.
The Ivory Coast striker has been out of action for well over a year with a serious knee ligament but the Catalan feels that Kone is fit enough to start against the Russians.
“It’s really pleasing to see Arouna back in action,” said Martinez. “He has a big smile on his face again which always helps and he is ready to help the first team.
“He will start against Krasnodar in the Europa League which will be a great moment for him. We’re looking forward to seeing him make a new start to his Everton career because it’s been frustrating and very difficult to cope with an injury of that magnitude.
“But he’s back and I think he will be a very important player for us between now and the end of the season.
“You don’t have to be necessarily fully fit to do the things he does well in terms of his hold-up play and role as a target man. So I think we can expect to see Arouna Kone enjoying his football and having a big role on the pitch without being at his very, very best which will come with games and match fitness.
“We need to be patient and understand that, after such a long-term injury, Arouna will require a few months to get back to his very best. But, having said that, he can help the team straight away and have an influence.”
Will Kone play a big part over the Christmas period? Comment below or have your say in our dedicated Muhamed Besic thread: http://www.theevertonforum.co.uk/forum/threads/muhamed-besic.20157