Gbamin: I was confident I could make full recovery

Thursday, 8 April, 2021 40comments  |  Jump to last

Jean-Philippe Gbamin says that a positive mindset and the support of family, fans and the club are what propelled him through his recovery from two long-term injury set-backs.

The Ivorian midfielder had played just a game and a half for the Toffees after signing from Mainz in 2019 when he sustained a serious quadriceps injury in training and had to undergo two surgeries to correct the problem.

Then, just he was entering the final stages of his recovery during the initial coronavirus lock-down a year ago, he ruptured an Achilles tendon and had to go under the knife again.

Now 25, the £23m signing made his much-anticipated comeback at Goodison Park last Monday when he came on as a second-half substitute in the 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace.

“The feeling was great,” Gbamin told evertontv about the moment he was finally able to run out onto the pitch again. “I've been waiting for this moment for a long time. I've been patient and working hard to come back and it was easy but, finally, being there on Monday night was unbelievable.

“You can see on my face — I was smiling and it was a great feeling.

“I was close to coming back after the quadriceps [injury] and I was thinking I could get some [minutes] and be back playing because of COVID. After [I injured] the Achilles it was hard in the moment but I am always positive so it was hard but in my head, “It could be worse and some people around the world don't get the chance to play football.

“I knew it would be a long way to work back because with the Achilles it is always very difficult but I was confident.

“Everybody around me was supporting me. I got a lot of messages from the fans to not keep my head down. Not playing any games for Everton was hard … but I was thinking positively because if I thought negatively, I would go down for sure.

“But my family and everyone at Everton have been good to me. [The fans] were amazing; they were sending me messages on social media. It was very warm from them to think about me.

“When I came here, it was a like a second family. Everyone makes you feel like you are at home — it's special.”

Gbamin was signed and made his debut under one manager 20 months ago but made his return under another and as he builds his fitness, he can provide a timely boost to Carlo Ancelotti's midfield options at a time where injuries are giving the Italian a number of headaches.

Abdoulaye Doucouré is expected to be out for the rest of the month, Fabian Delph has been written off by supporters as a reliable presence due to his recurrent injury issues, Allan missed the Palace match with a knock and André Gomes had to be withdrawn from that game with a hamstring problem.

On top of that, the Blues' home form is derailing a tilt at the Champions League this season bur Gbamin is looking forward to helping Ancelotti achieve his aims over the longer term.

"I think he wants to make Everton fight for the big positions and the Champions League, so we want to have a competitive team,” Gbamin told the Liverpool Echo.

"To be part of this project is really, really good.

"This gives you a lot of confidence, and I want to give his confidence back and show it on the pitch."


Reader Comments (40)

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Dale Self
1 Posted 08/04/2021 at 17:17:46
You never know, maybe his return could spark something of a last gasp for a run. I certainly respect his effort getting back to what is the biggest test for any midfielder, the premiership welcome. Hopefully gets some quality minutes in this weekend and grows from there. Get in Gbamin!!
Michael Lynch
2 Posted 08/04/2021 at 17:37:10
The best of luck to the fella, it must have been miserable getting bad injuries back-to-back, and being so far from home and family during the pandemic.

My slight concern is that we actually need a complete refresh in midfield, and I highly doubt that we'd be signing Gbamin right now if he wasn't already on the pay roll. Gomes struggles after his injury, Delph is a sicknote, James seems to be able to play about one in three games for around 70 minutes before asking to come off, and Allan has missed a fair amount through injury too.

Fingers crossed for Gbamin but is there any reason to suspect that he'll be any good?

Jerome Shields
3 Posted 08/04/2021 at 17:54:26
One point at Home for Everton is better than no points and anyone who can add to midfield recovering the ball is a plus. Gbamin looked balanced and skillful, able to use both feet, against palace when he came on.
Christy Ring
4 Posted 08/04/2021 at 17:54:28
With Gomes out with a hamstring injury, Docoure probably out for tbe season, sicknote Delph hardly worth a mention, a fit Gbamin is definitely needed. Carlo said Allan had a minor injury before the Palace game, so he should be available this weekend, if so play Gbamin in his position as defensive midfielder, with Allan and Davies ahead of him. Carlo has to see that Siggy is not a midfielder, a no'10 only.
David Pearl
5 Posted 08/04/2021 at 17:59:43
Well, after 2 years and 1 and 3/4 games we have no idea how good he actually is. Although he looks quite defensive. For us and him lets hope he can stay fit and show us what can do over the next few weeks.
Eddie Dunn
7 Posted 08/04/2021 at 18:01:23
His brief cameo v Palace was far too short to see where he is at. Delighted that he has got this far from two big injuries. He is still young and let's hope for us and him that he can hold his own.
Derek Knox
8 Posted 08/04/2021 at 18:52:20
Made up for the lad, who has had about the same luck that I have on the Lottery, making everyone else richer, and myself poorer. Truth is, it's a lottery really, but one sure fire thing is, although the odds are astronomically against, if you don't buy a ticket you have NO chance, but on the other hand a little dabble here and there may just pay off.

I just hope and pray that JPG stays fit and available till the end of the campaign, and gets a chance to put his claims to the acid test, but there's bound to be someone who says before too long what did we buy him for?

Danny O’Neill
9 Posted 08/04/2021 at 18:57:17
Very pleased for the lad. I know they are only words but like the way he's talking up champions league ambition. This season may be too soon but the players are talking that language. Hopefully that is the mentality being installed even if most of this squad will never achieve that. Their replacements may.
Robert Tressell
10 Posted 08/04/2021 at 19:48:49
If he really is back fit then we've got a very good player on our hands. I just can't quite believe he's really back. I guess the next few games will tell given the injuries mounting up across our midfield. Due credit to him if it works out. Plenty would have fallen by the wayside after his run of bad luck
Tony Everan
11 Posted 08/04/2021 at 19:50:15
He’s been very unlucky, and you have to respect him for putting in the rehab work to get back to full match fitness. It is an admirable effort. It’s going to be interesting to see if he gets the nod as a starter and how well he does. It will be a massive boost for us if he can strengthen our midfield.

He should know that we are all behind him and willing him to do well. I think we may need a bit of patience though because I can’t see this reintroduction to Premier League football going totally to plan.

Jack Convery
12 Posted 08/04/2021 at 19:55:08
Good to see you back. Best of luck for the rest of your EFC career.

Anyone see who Chelski brought on as subs last night - Kante and Thiago Silva !! We have so far to go its untrue.

Mike Gaynes
13 Posted 08/04/2021 at 20:28:18
LOVED his grin when he came on. Loved it. Never saw a guy so happy to just be walking out onto the pitch. That and the one tackle he made were truly splendid moments.

And if he really does still have the pace to be a Prem player, it'll be a wonderful miracle -- and one for the medical books.

Go on, son. Do it.

Roger Helm
14 Posted 08/04/2021 at 20:58:05
It is great to have him back. I remember another midfield player some years ago who had a chequered injury history but went on to be one of our best and most successful ever players - so here’s hoping!
Dave Abrahams
15 Posted 08/04/2021 at 21:15:28
I didn’t want him to come on when he did, because of the score, but once he was on I didn’t care how he played, I didn’t expect anything outstanding from the lad, just wanted him to experience the pleasure of being back in the game and enjoy those few minutes, which he obviously did.

The first tiny steps back after a very long bumpy agonising journey to get there, I hope those tiny steps the other night expand into many galloping games for the Blues, best wishes mate and a long injury free few years to go with them.

John Keating
16 Posted 08/04/2021 at 21:48:28
How many millions of us would like to play footy for a living?
Now we ask how few of us actually make it?
Here we have a lad out of the few thousands actually get there and have all this shit put on them
Just hope he gets back to a level where we saw his potential and he succeeds with us
Wish him all the best
Derek Knox
17 Posted 09/04/2021 at 02:22:20
Mike G @ 13, I thought at first it was Chris De Burgh there when I read, that had adapted the lines from Lady in (some colour or other) but gradually was reassured it was you. Let's hope he is the missing, or one of the missing elements of midfield, along with Allan. That will surely make us more solid, and a force to be reckoned with.
Martin Mason
18 Posted 09/04/2021 at 08:40:09
Here's hoping that he proves to be a great asset for us, he actually did quite well when he came on, looks to have good mobility. If it save us buying a player it will be amazing.
Neil Lawson
19 Posted 09/04/2021 at 09:15:48
His recovery is a terrific story and I sincerely hope that he can build up to true match fitness and be a force for the future. However, I query why is he being thrown in just so quickly ? What happened to the days of a few games playing for the reserves ( as was ) or the U23 side ? We must not place the great weight of expectation upon him. He is coming in to an indifferent team and should be protected and allowed to progress slowly and steadily so that he is truly "at it" when next season starts. It would be dreadful if he were to be overstretched and suffer another injury setback.
Alan McGuffog
20 Posted 09/04/2021 at 09:52:12
Must disagree. Never been a better time to get him match fit. Nine games to go and no pressure. The club / players seem to have accepted that Europe is not for the likes of us. Top ten finish should be assured.
Get him in, it'll build up his fitness and awareness of the EPL for next season

Michael Kenrick
21 Posted 09/04/2021 at 11:18:59
Yes, that's kind of old-school thinking when it comes to having them play in 'the reserves' – a dated concept in professional football that was consigned to the annals of history a number of years ago – but of course we oldies cling on nostalgically...

The rot started in 1999 on the day the Central League in the north and The Football Combination in the south were replaced by the FA Premier Reserve League.

The so-called Reserves finally disappeared in 2011, to be replaced by the age-defined Professional Development League, the Under-21 Premier League becoming Premier League 2 in 2016, with the age limit increasing to Under-23s.

I think it's fair to say that first-team players simply do not play for the Under-23s. We were even told last month that senior players commonly have that written into their contracts. So a progressive reintroduction to the first team through sub cameos has become the norm.

I think the last senior player to recuperate in the U23s (not counting Oumar Niasse) was James McCarthy, 2 years ago. Yet think of the countless injured senior players who have needed to reacquire match fitness after injury since then – and not one has done it in the U23s.

I was sure Seamus Coleman had a game with them before coming back from his broken leg... but I can't confirm that. But I would class both McCarthy and Coleman as 'old school' in this regard — It really is a thing of the past.

Robert Tressell
22 Posted 09/04/2021 at 12:25:05
Michael, I think you applied some editorial licence by removing reference to reserves from one of articles recently. I can see why. There's no such thing any more. The concept now exists as the non-playing members of the first team squad. Some of these guys must go months between competitive appearances in any form. Weird situation.
Michael Kenrick
23 Posted 09/04/2021 at 12:52:29
Yea, it is a puzzler, Robert. Players and coaches must feel that practise matches in training (assuming they do that?) are sufficient exposure but you would think there is no substitute to a competitive game for hooning match fitness. Something that Tony Abrahms could perhaps tell us about?

But then agian, the slew of knowledgable academy bashers on here say the U23 games are just training exercises anyway and provide nothing by way of preparation for the big time.

Dave Abrahams
24 Posted 09/04/2021 at 13:08:58
Michael (23), Michael surely you’ve seen some of the U23 games to make judgement on the standard, to me they are more like training sessions than tougher competitive matches, as Robert says (22) some players eligible for the U23’s never get a game, Knouknou is one example, he’s hardly played for the first eleven and hasn’t started for the U23’s in the last few months so how does he progress by just training, doesn’t make sense to me.
Robert Tressell
25 Posted 09/04/2021 at 13:17:25
I take the view that the U23s is a flawed concept. Not as an Anti-Academy or Anti-Unsworth thing - but because it seems more of a place to stagnate than progress. Something along the lines of proper reserve football would be better but that is history. Once you've demonstrated you can cope with U23s I think you should be out on loan or with a feeder club (home or abroad) playing competitive football with grown men - which is more along the lines of the standard of the old reserve leagues.
Phil Smith
26 Posted 09/04/2021 at 13:21:23
I noticed he didn't move much the other day. I would give him a full 90 at U23 before throwing him for a Premier game. Maybe needs must at the moment though.
Neil Lawson
27 Posted 09/04/2021 at 13:37:44
We will have to agree to disagree. Do remember however, that this is a player unproven at Premier League level. I know that some of you will say that this is the perfect opportunity for Gbamin to demonstrate his ability but putting him on to the pitch at a crucial point in the game also demonstrates a degree of desperation. Was there truly a need for a change? Is an non match fit unproven midfielder a better option than a fully fit and motivated youngster. It may say much about the quality of the U23 players and/or Ancellotti's mentality and apparent resistance to young players. It may also be symptomatic of the modern approach of getting the big names and money earners on the pitch whatever the level of performance. How old was Joe Royle? How old was Wayne Rooney?. I could go on.
Just musing whilst having a break from painting fence panels.
Stan Schofield
28 Posted 09/04/2021 at 13:42:39
I’m not knowledgeable about the under-23s, but I cannot understand why the old reserves setup was abandoned as described in above posts.

When I had a season ticket donkey’s years ago, it enabled free access to all Central League games at Goodison. The standard of those games looked fantastic preparation for any young player developing for the first team, for any first team players coming back from injury, and for any first team players who don’t feature regularly in the first team to keep themselves match fit and ticking over.

Alan McGuffog
29 Posted 09/04/2021 at 13:53:54
Neil...where would you rank painting fence panels compared to watching our recent showings ?
Kieran Kinsella
30 Posted 09/04/2021 at 14:09:15

I thought it weird too. Aside from the quality debate, surely just playing a full 90 minutes for the u23 a few times would get him back into a routine. Also assuming the first team have 11 a side training sessions, I don’t imagine they’re full blooded with the risk of injuring team mates.

Danny O’Neill
31 Posted 09/04/2021 at 14:10:06
I'm not Tony, but I'd agree Michael. There is no substitute for match fitness than playing. Sounds obvious, but no matter how fit you keep yourself in the summer or between injuries, that first game back leaves you feeling like someone transplanted your hamstrings with a pair that are too small for your legs the next morning!!

I didn't care for the old reserve set up and nor do I for the current Under 23s. Both were about as non-productive as each other in my opinion.

I've always been interested in exploring the B Team concept as is applied in Spain. I think Martinez once spoke of trying to promote the idea in the English league. Players getting competitive league football but with their own club, so negating or at least reducing the tendency to use the loan system, which I know many here are not fans of either.

Robert Tressell
32 Posted 09/04/2021 at 14:16:30
Neil the only thing I'd say there is that Gbamin is an international with a very strong track record at club level (albeit in France and Germany).

The most obvious youth player to have tried instead is Onyango but he's just suffered a very serious injury. Price and Warrington also look talented but are still feeling their way into the u23s so makes sense for Gbamin to be ahead in the pecking order.

For any dead rubbers in the final games of the season might be nice to see Nkounkou, Small and Warrington get some minutes (Price needs a few big dinners over summer first, I think!) over Delph for example.

Whether it was right to bring Gbamin on with the match in the balance is another point, I guess.

Danny O’Neill
33 Posted 09/04/2021 at 14:25:03
They're not Kieran, but isn't that were he got injured last time? I think if injuries are going to happen they do and will regardless.

I guess the U23s just isn't proving itself to be the preparing ground it should be either for young potential or those coming back from injury. I assume the conditions aren't right for what is needed for first team football.

Goes back to what a lot of us believe; not fit for purpose and a flawed concept.

Neil Lawson
34 Posted 09/04/2021 at 14:40:09
Alan. Painting fence panels is a tedious task rendered worse by dodgy knees and a creaky back. However, as I draw to a conclusion, the final result is very satisfying. Tried to sub my wife for the final 2 panels but she insisted that the best man for the job should stay on for the best outcome.
The answer to your question ? Given the degree of angst, annoyance, frustration, disappointment at nearly all of our recent performances, it has to be fence panels. Going to paint the downstairs bog on Monday evening starting at 8 p.m.
Danny O’Neill
35 Posted 09/04/2021 at 14:57:09
Neil, you have me guiltily looking at my back lawn now. I should really get it done but will put it off until Monday.

And then I'll still end up watching Everton, having been to a beer garden, and promise to do it on Tuesday.

Jay Harris
36 Posted 09/04/2021 at 15:15:30
Thats assuming you are not feeling depressed and in need of liquid refreshment on Tuesday Danny.–
Phil Smith
37 Posted 09/04/2021 at 16:00:30
Alan (29), what a great question that is!
Si Cooper
38 Posted 09/04/2021 at 21:04:19
Doesn’t it depend on what is meant by match fitness?
I’d say it is more about match ‘sharpness’ and taking full-bodied blows. Under those circumstances I would doubt the U23s games are representative enough of first team footy to be really useful preparation, especially for the positions where strength can be the deciding factor.
Michael Lynch
39 Posted 12/04/2021 at 13:30:45
Hope the rumours about another injury turn out to be false. If true, his head must be cabbaged at this stage. Poor fucking guy.

Recent signings in midfield - Gbamin, Allan, Doucoure, Gomes, Delph etc - all seem to be keeping nursey busy in the sick bay. We should sign two players for every one we need, based on the number of crocks we end up with.

Nick Page
40 Posted 12/04/2021 at 14:17:44
Heard he’s out for the season again. Unbelievable. Everton that
David Connor
41 Posted 12/04/2021 at 19:15:57
Oops. Bet he wished he kept his trap shut. Time for the club to cash in his insurance policy. I think he could be finished. He's made of glass unfortunately. Who in their right mind will touch him now?

We should've wrapped the lad in cotton wool and taken a financial hit in the summer. No chance now.

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