Yerry Mina exclusive: Poetry, Professor Silva and preventing goals
"I keep my feet on the ground but I'm happy to say I my head is in the clouds." Colombia international Mina opens up about life on Merseyside ahead of Everton vs Wolves on Renault Super Sunday - live on Sky Sports Premier League from 1pm; Kick-off 2pm
Last Updated: 01/09/19 12:46pm
Yerry Mina arrived at Goodison Park after a whirlwind six months. He'd just won La Liga and the Copa del Rey, despite making just six appearances for Barcelona, and his three goals at the World Cup propelled Colombia to within touching distance of the quarter-finals at Russia 2018.
But defeat to England on penalties in the last-16 was to be followed by further setbacks. The buzz of his £30m move to Everton was curtailed by a series of injuries that prevented him from making his Premier League debut until November and he was limited to a mere 15 appearances in his first season on Merseyside.
Twelve months on, though, the 24-year-old has put those setbacks to bed, playing every minute of the Toffees' league campaign to date. And Mina's progress has had such a profound effect, it's inadvertently unearthed this poetic verse from the Colombian.
"It's really nice to be at Everton," he told Sky Sports. "I feel good, am very relaxed and am getting happier and happier with how things are progressing in the club and in the Premier League.
"That's very important for me and every day I give thanks that I am in this position. I keep my feet on the ground but I'm happy to say my head is in the clouds."
Mina has settled at the heart of Marco Silva's Everton defence, the like of which has not been seen by the Goodison faithful for some time. The Toffees haven't conceded at home in six Premier League games, a nine-hour shutout that Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Burnley and Watford have all failed to bring to an end.
A seventh against Wolves on Renault Super Sunday - live on Sky Sports - will equal the club's Premier League record of consecutive home games without conceding and move Silva's side to within one clean sheet of Everton's all-time record of eight, which they set while defending the league title in 1987/88.
"Something is certainly going right. We're working very well together and defending well," Mina added. "Records are hard things to achieve - everyone has to work together very well.
"The positive aspect about that is that we know each other very well and I'm lucky to be here in this great club. It's full of strong personalities and I've got great team-mates. We're like a family and that is what is contributing to us getting better and better day by day."
The characters and camaraderie in the Everton camp may well have aided Mina's adaptation to Premier League football but, as far as he's concerned, there's only one person responsible for his and Everton's improvement - and that his manager, "Professor" Silva.
"We're achieving this by following the boss' instructions and step by step we're definitely going in the right direction," Mina said.
"Professor Marco, as I call him, is a very positive person, he's a man that loves to always come out on top, he's a winner and he motivates all of us to win and be winners - that concept of being a winner. He's very open, very easy to talk to and is a hard worker as well. He puts in long hours.
"We all have a very good relationship with him, I am pleased he's shown so much confidence in me and every time I go out on the pitch, I try to demonstrate he was right to put that confidence in me. I want him to know I appreciate the good judgement he's shown to put so much faith in me."