Arouna Kone vows to repay Everton faith after fitness battle

Everton striker Arouna Kone says he is ready to prove that he is finally over his injury problems.

Kone, 31, re-established himself in the side over the second half of last season after 14 months out with knee ligament damage sustained in October 2013.

At one stage, manager Roberto Martinez had to dismiss suggestions that the Ivory Coast international's career was in jeopardy.

Kone managed 16 appearances in total last season, but has still to show his best form for Everton. The forward, 31, has scored only one goal in the two years since moving to Goodison Park from Wigan for £6 million.

He told Everton's official website: "In terms of my injury, last season really helped me to come back and get fitter.

"When I left Wigan, I knew I was coming to a bigger club, a successful club, and I knew that being surrounded by such a great group of players could have a great impact on myself, so to suffer the injury that I did was very difficult.

"I feel a lot better physically now. The few games that I was able to play last season allowed me to regain a lot of my confidence, which is very important.

"Now it's all about this summer and this preseason and making sure I set out as I mean to go on. The fans haven't been able to see me at my very best level, but I hope I can get there next season and show them what I am about. I am hungry to do that and I want to prove I can cut it here.

"The fans and everyone around me have been really supportive and that's kept me going throughout the difficult months.

"I really want to repay those people now and use my performances to help push the team towards the top of the table, where they deserve to be."