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Everton head into the international break on the back of a 2-1 defeat at Manchester United, but they could beh anded a timely boost with the return of striker Arouna Kone. The Ivorian, who joined the Toffees from Wigan last summer for £5m, has been out injured for almost a year but is nearing his comeback - and the 30-year-old opened up on how difficult his time on the sidelines has been.
"The worst thing has been the uncertainty about the injury and never quite knowing when I would be able to come back," said Kone. "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. I can't stress enough how really keen I am to be back playing," he added. "I am desperate to regain full fitness and be back out on the field."
Kone's imminent return may be a boost, but manager Roberto Martinez still has to face other injury news. Left back Bryan Oviedo recently returned from a broken leg, but the Costa Rican has pulled out of his country's upcoming fixtures after going back under the knife in order to remove a screw in his left leg which was inserted during his original operation.
Meanwhile, rumours are swirling around that defender Sylvain Distin has had a huge bust-up with Roberto Martinez, with some reports even suggesting that the Frenchman has been banned from attending training at Finch Farm. The former Portsmouth and Manchester City star has recently lost his place in the Everton side in favour of John Stones, and whilst the rumours are so far unsubstantiated, the 36-year-old's future looks bleak on Merseyside.