No regrets for Bilyaletdinov
Diniyar Bilyaletdinov has no regrets over joining Everton despite being dropped to the reserves.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 16/02/10 4:41pm
Diniyar Bilyaletdinov insists he has no regrets over joining Everton despite being dropped to the reserves in recent weeks.
The Russian midfielder made an encouraging start to his Everton career after joining from Lokomotiv Moscow last summer.
But the left-sided player was taken off at half-time last month with the Toffees 2-0 down on the way to an FA Cup exit against Birmingham and was overlooked for the next three games.
Having played some of the Russian season before moving to England, there have been concerns whether Bilyaletdinov is fatigued.
And Bilyaletdinov, who turns 25 a week on Saturday, denied he asked to be substituted against Birmingham.
"It is absolutely untrue," he told the Liverpool Echo."We had a very bad first half and in the second looked better though failed to equalise. It just happened that this improvement was after I was replaced.
"That is probably the main explanation of my move to the reserves. Then we won the next two matches and you do not change a winning team.
"I am not against being in the reserves at the moment. At training I am working hard according to the coach's words, so I hope things will straighten out in a while."
With Steven Pienaar suspended, Bilyaletdinov returned to the side that beat Chelsea 2-1 last week and is hoping to retain his place in the starting line-up as the Toffees host Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League on Tuesday night.
"I don't know how I look from the outside but I feel no tiredness," he added.
"In Russia, after the spring part of the championship, I had a six-week break because of injury, and I only started to play regularly in July so I cannot be fatigued.
"After a good autumn I was on the bench, and I have not played for more than two weeks already. Though I feel that I am in good form now.
"My display in the Cup match against Birmingham where I was substituted was bad, but the match was bad for the entire team.
"Prior to this match there was an excellent game against Manchester City, and I think it was the best for me in several months.
"I see no pre-requisites for me staying in the reserves but, in any case, the coach is the one to decide it."
After almost six months in England, Bilyaletdinov not only feels settled here but wishes he moved to the Premier League sooner.
"I feel that I am a part of the team already," he said. "There are no problems. My relations with the team-mates are good, and all language barriers are overcome already.
"There is nothing left in my English life that I cannot get used to.
"I can only say that at the moment, I really pity that I had not come here three years ago. Here is football that you really want to play."