March 6, 2018 / 7:05 AM / 3 months ago

Soccer: Fit again Funes Mori eyes Everton starting spot

(Reuters) - Everton defender Ramiro Funes Mori is ready to stake his claim for a first-team spot ahead of Saturday’s Premier League tie against Brighton and Hove Albion after featuring for the Under-23 team on his return from a long-term knee injury.

Britain Football Soccer - Everton v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League - Goodison Park - 16/17 - 4/2/17 Everton's Ramiro Funes Mori Action Images via Reuters / Jason Cairnduff/Files

The Argentina international, on what was his 27th birthday on Monday, delivered an assured performance in a 2-0 win over Swansea City.

It was the first time Funes Mori played in a competitive fixture since facing Hull City in March last year, shortly after which he underwent knee surgery.

“I’ve been training good these past weeks,” he told the club website. (

“Even though I wasn’t playing for the first team, I’ve been playing for the Under-23s to get the rhythm, get the tempo. I’m 100 percent fit to play and I’m ready for Saturday.”

Funes Mori is also targeting a place in Argentina’s World Cup squad and his chances were boosted by a call-up for friendlies against Italy and Spain later this month.

“I’m very satisfied that the manager (Jorge Sampaoli) has called me even though I haven’t played for the first team,” he added.

“But I’m fit, I’m ready to play. I’m feeling good – hopefully I get my chance and go on from there.”

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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