Aaron Lennon has said he did not feel Tottenham Hotspur disrespected him, as he bids to make his second debut for Evertonduring their next Premier League match against defending champions Chelsea on 12 September.
Along with Emmanuel Adebayor, the experienced winger was deemed surplus to requirements by Mauricio Pochettino this summer and did not even receive a squad number ahead of the new Premier League season. Instead, the number seven shirt he had worn since arriving from Leeds United in 2005 was handed to new signing Heung-Min Son following his £22m ($33.9m) switch from Bayer Leverkusen.
With Lennon having failed to register a single minute of playing time in 2015/16 and also having spent the latter stages of last season on loan at Everton, a return to Goodison Park always appeared likely, despite the time it took for a deal to be completed. Now he is back on Merseyside, the 28 year old claims there are no hard feelings over how his decade-long stint at Tottenham was finally brought to a close.
"Not really," he was quoted as saying by the Liverpool Echo when questioned if he felt disrespected as a result of his treatment. "Everyone pretty much knew that I wasn't going to be there and I wasn't in their plans so I didn't take it that way. I was just concentrating on getting fit and hoping this move happened, which thankfully it did."
Given that Lennon was effectively frozen out of the first-team picture at Tottenham, Everton supporters could be forgiven for holding initial reservations over his conditioning. Roberto Martinez, though, has no such concerns and backed his new arrival to increase his match fitness during the visit of Jose Mourinho's Chelsea.
"I'm not worried about his physical state and he needs to play games now to sharpen up his play," the Spaniard told Evertontv. "He's refreshed and is in a great position. He knows the football club inside out and is desperate to get back to Goodison.
"From that point of view, I expect Aaron to be involved one way or another at the weekend. The big advantage Aaron has is that he knows the league and he knows the competition. He needs match fitness but he is fresh and has been working very well throughout pre-season."
That forthcoming clash with Chelsea represents something of a big occasion for John Stones. The England centre-back was pursued persistently by Mourinho prior to the transfer deadline, although Everton refused to wilt in the face of sustained pressure and defiantly rejected four bids, despite the player complicating matters by handing in a transfer request.
He is expected to start the game, although a decision on the fitness of Bryan Oviedo will not be taken until late after he suffered a setback in his recovery from a knee problem. Brendan Galloway is back in contention following a patella tendon injury, while Ramiro Funes Mori could play some part after his £9.5m move from River Plate.