(left-right) Manchester United's Anthony Martial, Everton's Yannick Bolasie and Manchester United's Matteo Darmian battle for the ball
Monday Dec 25, 2017. 17:30
It was an emotional return to the Everton bench for Democratic Republic of Congo international Yannick Bolasie after 12 months on the sidelines.
The 28-year-old was an unused substitute in the Toffees’ English Premier League match against Chelsea this past Saturday and despite not featuring Bolasie admits he was moved by the fans.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: ERIC BAILLY - HIS YEAR IN REVIEW
It was Bolasie's first call-up to the squad since overcoming a serious knee injury which had kept him out of action for a year.
“It's massive and that gives a player confidence,” Bolasie told BBC Sport after he was greeted with loud cheers from the Everton faithful when he was introduced to the crowd.
“The fans have not seen me playing for a year and for them to still have that kind of faith and belief makes me push even harder to get back to my best.
“I am looking forward to playing. If I do play it will be strange because last time when I made my debut for Everton it was against West Brom - it's going to be special regardless.”
Bolasie joined Everton in June last year in a deal worth £30 million, and made sixteen appearances before rupturing his cruciate ligament against Manchester United in December 2016.
Since then the DRC international has endured two operations and 12 months on the sidelines.
“The injury has taken me where I am and I can't change that. I had to focus on something else and now that I am back on the field, I have to forget about what happened in the past,” added Bolasie.
“I feel ok to be fair but you never know how you actually feel until you step onto the field. You can be 100 percent but nothing is like playing a game.”